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best dj mixer for beginners

our ultimate buying guide

A DJ mixer does exactly what is says it does. It receives music from two or more sources and mixes them together.

The first DJ mixer I ever bought was not exactly packed with features. Crossfader, master volume control, gain, bass, mids, treble and cue buttons.

And that was about it!

Nowadays things are different, even a DJ mixer for beginners will tend to feature a generous handful of effects and filters. Although you'll probably be paying upwards of $200 before they start to get really feature loaded.

And while this is undoubtedly a good thing, the amount of features now packed into the average DJ mixer can make the buying process pretty daunting for a beginner.

When it comes to choosing the best DJ mixer for a beginner, it's all about finding something with that will provide room to grow over the early years, while at the same time not being overwhelming in its functionality.

Being at the right price point is also important. If you're just starting your search, you're quickly going to notice that the price range across the market is staggering. 

Choose your DJ mixer carefully. 

It's definitely worth taking your time and loading up on information before parting with your cash.

A well bought DJ mixer should last you for a long time. When it does come time for a change it should be because you want to upgrade, not because the build quality has let you down.

Best DJ Mixer for Beginners

There is no single best DJ mixer, not at any level. 

There are undoubtedly a handful of favoured manufacturers, but they all have their own pros and cons.

When we talk about what really makes for an outstanding DJ mixer, we are mainly talking about sound quality, build quality, range and precision of functions and effects, as well as usability.

Do not overlook build quality. DJ mixers take a fair old hammering during the course of their lifetime and a poorly built one will be lucky to see its first birthday. 

As this guide is all about entry level DJ mixers, we have tended to consider 2-channel DJ mixers as they tend to be the preferred option when starting out...and in fact a lot of experienced DJ's use 2-channel DJ mixers for home practice.

When compiling our shortlist of what we consider to be some of the best DJ mixers for beginners available right now, it's the areas of build quality, range and precision of functions and effects, as well as usability, that we have mainly focused on.

We believe our top five picks are all perfect for new DJs as well as those with more experience who want a simple DJ mixer for home practice. 

Best DJ Mixer for Beginners Buying Guide: Brands

For pretty much every product out there, you'll tend to find a few big names dominating the marketplace. The DJ mixer market is no different. Every time you do an online search for the best DJ mixer, regardless of how much you adjust the wording of your search terms, a handful of names just keep appearing.

The core technology underlying each brand of DJ mixer is pretty similar. But that isn't to say there isn't very significant difference in performance, because there absolutely is.

Quality of manufacture and build are key drivers in what makes one DJ mixer deliver an altogether different user experience to another.

Here's a few of our current favourite DJ mixer brands: 

Pioneer: A well known name that has huge brand trust across the music industry. Their name is readily associated with high quality sound equipment for home, studio and live performance. With decades of manufacture experience they showcase their technical skills through a meticulous attention to detail. A big favourite with DJ's and music venues around the globe, and a hugely dominant force in the industry. 

Allen & Heath: If you've not been into DJing until now, you may never have heard of these guys. That's because they're specialists in the design and manufacturer of mixing desks for live sound, permanent installation, DJs, broadcast and recording studios. They've been going for fifty years now and the quality of their already outstanding equipment just seems to keep getting better and better.

Numark: The largest manufacturer of DJ equipment in the world, with twice the global distribution and sales of its closest competitor. They must be doing something right! Numark have always been at the forefront of innovation and they are known for producing products with solid build quality and intuitive layout. My first DJ mixer was a Numark and I loved it. 

Behringer: For more than fifty years Behringer have been manufacturing high quality electronic musical equipment. Their founder had constructed a synthesizer by the age of 16, if that doesn't evidence a deep passion for the industry, I don't know what does. Their DJ mixers are a popular choice of dance music venues around the world.

club dj using dj mixer

Best DJ Mixer for Beginners Buying Guide: Key Spec's

There's a lot to take in for the newer DJ who is starting to browse the market or the best DJ mixer for their needs and budget.  

Below you'll find a brief rundown of all the main bits and pieces that you will find on a DJ mixer. I've tried to cover all of the standard stuff as well as a few of the additional features that tend to now be popping up, even on DJ mixers aimed at beginners. 

Channel Faders: Control the volume of their corresponding channel source. 

Cross-Fader (X-Fader): Fully over to one side and you'll hear the corresponding channel. Fully over to the other side and you'll hear the other channel. Put it in the middle and you will hear both channels.

Cue Buttons: These are used to select which channel you hear in your headphones. 

Master Volume: How much volume you are sending to your amplifier.

Headphone Volume: How much volume you are sending to your headphones.

Gain: This adjusts the input level of a channels signal. Since tracks are recorded at differing levels of volume, the gain lets you give the quiet ones a boost. 

Level Indicators: Shows the volume of the track that you're cueing so that it can be matched to the one that is playing.

Line/Phono Switch: Each channel will have one of these. It simply lets you switch between different sound sources plugged in to the same channel. 

EQ Controls: Equalisation is about adjusting the balance between frequency components within an electronic signal. Or to use my favourite definition...frequency-specific volume knobs.

Kill Switches/Isolators: Completely turns off either the bass, mids or treble.   

Mic Input: Pretty self-explanatory, this allows you to plug a microphone directly into your mixer so that you can speak to the crowd...should you feel the need. 

Booth Output: Adjusts the volume of your monitor speaker.

Effects (FX) Send & Return: Enables you to send signal out to an external FX unit. The FX unit then makes whatever change to the signal it's programmed to make (reverb, echo, delay, sample etc.), and returns it back to the master channel. 

Built-in Sound Card: Some mixers have them, and some don't. 

As you'll be starting to gather, DJ mixers are like any other bit of techie electrical kit, in that the  specifications can get complicated and pretty involved.

Hopefully the information above, along with the product specific information directly below, should be enough to help you make a better informed decision when buying your new DJ mixer. That's the intention anyway.

Because we've aimed this article at beginner DJ's looking to buy their first DJ mixer, all of those on our list are 2-channel mixers. If you've already decided that you want more than two music sources, all of those on our list also have a bigger brother or sister, offering 3-channels or more.

We've also tried to keep the price points at reasonably affordable levels. Not easy to do, as you tend to get what you pay for in this market, but there are a couple on our list that offer outstanding quality for the price. 

Anyway, this has been great but it's probably time to nail our colours to the mast and tell you which DJ mixers are our personal favourites for aspiring new DJ's, and why.


Best DJ Mixer for Beginners Buying Guide: Top Models

Pioneer DJM-250MK2 

  • Beautiful high-quality sound regardless of whether it's analogue or digital sources that you're playing from.  
  • High-precision channel faders along with 3-band EQ/Isolation give perfect full-range control across the highs, mids and lows. 
  • Outstanding usability through the clear layout of the lower half that gives the freedom to perform demanding skills. 
  • Built-in sound card lets you connect your PC/Mac and use either rekordbox dj with CDJs, or  rekordbox dvs with control vinyl.
  • Excellent build quality made for many hours of heavy use.
best dj mixer for beginners pioneer djm-250mk2

  • Warm and crystal clear sound with great depth and ultra low distortion that is ideal for electronic dance music.
  • 2+2 Channels - meaning that while it has two faders, it also has four inputs each with independent level control to enable playing up to four simultaneous sources in the mix.
  • Three-band total kill EQ perfect for full-range control across the highs, mids and lows. 
  • Touring grade build quality ideal for extended periods of heavy use. 
best dj mixer for beginners allen&heath xone23

  • Good sound quality, not quite offering the warmth and depth of the two previous mixers on this list but good, solid and punchy. 
  • Three-band EQ on each channel along with crossfader-reverse and slope offer all the control any new DJ should need.
  • Simple, clean layout of the lower-half make this an attractive option for aspiring scratch DJ's.
  • Decent build quality that will hold up to many hours of serious use. Note: The crossfader is not great but can be replaced/upgraded without too much difficulty.  
dj mixer for beginners numark m2

  • Great sound quality that is both deep and clear. Not quite as perfect as the Pioneer or Allen&Heath mixers but not too far off.
  • Precise three-band EQs with total kill filters, giving full control across the highs, mids and lows.  
  • Super-smooth Ultraglide VCA crossfader and channel faders, with up to a 500,000 cycle lifespan.
  • Build quality - it is  made in Germany, nothing more to say that that really.
dj mixer behringer nox101

  • Sound quality is good.
  • Three-band rotary EQ on each channel, allowing you to adjust the mids, lows and highs of your sound sources. 
  • Even with it's slim design this mixer still has a simple and un-cluttered layout which lets you mix and scratch easily. 
  • Super-slim which makes it perfect for anyone short on space.
  • Tiny and light but built like a tank.
dj mixer gemini mxr-01

Conclusion

I've got to say, we're pretty happy with the five entry level DJ mixers that made it through to the final list.

All of these mixers offer excellent quality regardless of the price point.

The higher priced options have extra functions and gadgetry, so it's a straight decision whether you want more techie stuff to play with, or more cash in your pocket.

When I started out I went for a basic 2-Channel Numark and it was a good couple of years until I outgrew it and wanted something with a few more tricks up its sleeve. I went for an Allen&Heath at that point, and it was an absolute beast.

Looking back, the basic starter option was a good choice. Having a fairly simple setup kept me focused on learning the core DJ skills properly, and stopped me getting tempted into trying more advanced skills too soon.

We really hope this article all about the best DJ mixer for beginners has been useful and has helped you in selecting the right mixer for you. 

Got Something To Add?

We'd love to hear from you.

If you've used any of the DJ mixers mentioned in this article, please drop a comment in the box below and let us know what your experience has been like.

Or, if you own a DJ mixer that you think is just about perfect for a new DJ just starting out, share your thoughts and experience.