Last updated: August 11, 2021

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The DJ mixer is THE symbolic object of club culture. DJs are the rock stars of the 21st century and the mixing console is their instrument. So it's no wonder that the number of hobby DJs is steadily increasing. Are you a born entertainer and would like to try your hand at DJing? Then a mixing console is the perfect instrument for you!

Our big DJ mixer test 2021 will help you choose your perfect DJ deck. No matter if you have already played in big clubs or if you are still a beginner: We show you what to look for when buying a DJ mixer and explain the advantages and disadvantages of the different controllers.




Summary

  • The mixer is the most important tool of a DJ. It is not only the heart of your DJ set: a mixer functions as the control centre for all connected devices, such as your turntable or your laptop.
  • When buying a DJ mixer, you can distinguish between analogue and digital decks: While analogue mixers often convince with a high sound quality, digital mixers usually offer much more comfort.
  • Whether you are a professional DJ or a beginner, we have compared numerous DJ mixers and explain what YOU should look for when buying a DJ controller.

The Best DJ Mixer: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a DJ mixer

How does a DJ mixer work?

You want to play at your next party but don't know how a DJ mixer works or what you need it for? No problem! We explain the most important functions of a DJ mixer.

The main task of a DJ controller is to combine all incoming audio signals. What used to be the CD player is now done by a DJ deck.

DJ Mischpult-1

The DJ mixer is the heart of every DJ set.
(Image source: pixabay.com / planet fox)

A fader built into the DJ mixer helps you control your songs accordingly: with the fader, you can adjust the speed of your song or set cue points.

You want to know more about terms like fader, equalizer & co? Then take a look at the section on the construction of a DJ deck!

With the help of the equaliser, you can adjust the highs, mids and lows. This way you can give every song its own individual stamp.

What should you look for when buying a DJ mixer?

You want to become a DJ, but you don't know which DJ mixer is best for you?

In DJing, the preparation is work, the execution is play. (cit. Mr. Scruff)

We explain what you should look for when buying a DJ mixer. Before you buy a DJ deck, you should ask yourself 3 questions:

  • 1. What kind of DJ am I? You like listening to hip hop and J Dilla is like a god to you? Then you should go for a slim mixer with a robust crossfader. If you're a techno-loving mix DJ, you're much better off with a mixer with lots of effects and channels.
  • 2. How many channels do I need? The number of channels you need depends on how many audio sources you want to mix together. And even though you often see mixers with 4 channels in the EDM scene, in most cases 2 channels are quite enough.
  • 3. How much money do I want to spend? You need professional equipment? Then get ready to dig a little deeper into your pocket: As a professional DJ, you should spend around 500 € for your mixing console. But if you're just a hobbyist, you can expect a good mixer for as little as €50.

How much does a DJ mixer cost?

On Amazon, you can buy a DJ mixer for less than €50. In the professional sector, the upper price limit is around €5,000.

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As a hobby DJ, you can buy a good mixer for as little as €100.
(Image source: pixabay.com / Pexels)

You can already get a good mixer for around €100. Compared to more expensive devices, it only has a limited range of features, but this is perfectly adequate for a hobby DJ.

The number and type of audio outputs influence the purchase price.

As a professional DJ, however, you should be prepared to spend at least €500 for your equipment.

A high-quality DJ mixer has audio outputs that you can also connect to large club systems.

What types of DJ mixers are there and which is the right one for you?

DJ mixers can basically be divided into two different types:

  • Analogue DJ mixer
  • Digital DJ mixer

While with analogue mixers the signal is always an electrical image of the sound, with a digital mixer the sound is converted into a digital signal.

DJ Mischpult-3

In digital mixing consoles, the sound is converted into a digital signal and processed by processors (DSP).
(Image source: unsplash.com / Zac Bromell)

Both types of DJ mixers have advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your requirements and needs as a DJ, you should choose one or the other.

We explain to you which differences you should pay attention to and have made the ultimate comparison for you. The following section should make your purchase decision easier.

What distinguishes an analogue DJ mixer and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

With analogue DJ mixers, the audio signal is not converted into digital data: The signal is an electrical image of the sound and is processed as such.

If you only need a smaller mixer, then you should go for analogue technology: Because of the lower circuitry costs, these can be produced more cheaply.

Despite intuitive operation: The reproduction of certain settings is often time-consuming with analogue mixing consoles. The controls and switches must all be adjusted individually.

Not particularly practical: Analogue mixing consoles are often larger and heavier than their digital counterparts. This can make transporting them a little more cumbersome.

Advantages
  • Good sound quality
  • Intuitive operation
  • Plan B in case of sound failure
Disadvantages
  • Time-consuming settings
  • Large and heavy
  • Higher price for large models

Analogue mixing consoles work without latency (delay) and can convince with an excellent sound quality. And even if the sound fails, you can easily switch to one of the other channels.

What distinguishes a digital DJ mixer and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A digital mixer converts sound into a digital signal. This is processed by processors (DSP).

Large digital mixers are cheaper.

Despite expensive basic equipment: an extension is less expensive. Digital signals can be transmitted on a common data bus and do not have to run through separate electrical conductors.

Furthermore, a digital mixing console is usually quick to operate: settings can be saved in so-called scenes or snapshots and can be recalled when needed. However, since digital mixing consoles distinguish between different levels, operation requires some training time.

However, since the sound is not processed directly, this can lead to a slight delay: Often, digital mixers do not sound quite as good as their analogue counterparts.

Advantages
  • Good price/performance ratio
  • Easy to operate
  • Space-saving
Disadvantages
  • Delay in sound processing
  • Operation requires training period
  • Higher price for small models

However, digital mixers often have integrated effects units (e.g. compressors). This not only saves space for other devices, but is also easy on your wallet.

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate DJ mixers

In the following section, we will show you which criteria you should pay special attention to when buying a DJ mixer.

The criteria with which you can compare the large selection of DJ decks include:

Preamplifier

The preamp is the first "hurdle" the signal has to overcome on its way to the control centre. It brings the voltage up to the working level required by the electronics.

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The preamp has a big influence on your sound.
(Image source: pexels.com / Francesco Paggiaro)

Since the preamp is located at the beginning of the signal path and has a lasting influence on your sound, it plays an important role in the selection of your DJ mixer and should be of particularly high quality.

The quality of the pre-amp stage is essential for a good sound: you should pay attention to a pre-amp stage that is as sound-neutral and linear as possible.

Build quality

The build quality of your DJ deck is also a selection criterion that should not be neglected: Your mixer must not only sound good, but should also be as durable as possible.

Good workmanship Poor workmanship
Withstands every party Does not withstand constant stress
Stable knobs and faders Knobs and faders are poorly made
Good anchoring of the circuit board Circuit board is poorly anchored
Quality of workmanship comes first!

The housing and pots of your DJ mixer should not suffer too much from your supposedly rough handling: A durable housing will save you a lot of trouble.

Pay attention to the overall workmanship of your mixer: especially mounted parts such as pots, knobs and faders should withstand a stress test.

Connection options

DJ mixers have numerous connection options. From AUX to USB: When buying a DJ deck, check whether the connections meet your requirements.

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The more connections you have, the greater your technical possibilities.
(Image source: pexels.com / Isabella Mendes)

A USB interface in combination with an integrated AD/DA converter card are essential components of every DJ mixing console. In the meantime, there are different versions. From 2 × 2 channels to full-fledged multi-channel audio interface units: Here, everyone gets their money's worth.

Most USB systems do not require any additional driver software: So you should have no problem connecting to your PC.

Do you want to easily run audio recordings during your show via the mixer or digitally record your live mix from the console? Then you should definitely pay attention to the presence of a (2 In / 2 Out) audio interface unit when buying.

A headphone output and AUX connections are also fixed components of every high-quality DJ deck.

Sound card quality

The quality of your sound card determines the quality and dynamics of your music. But beware! Not every DJ mixer has an integrated sound card.

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Very good digital mixers can also work with higher sampling rates of 48- 96 kHz.
(Image source: pexels.com / malcolm garret)

You want to play in big clubs? Then you should make sure that the sound card of your DJ mixer has a minimum resolution of 24-bit. The sampling rate should be 44 kHz.

Large systems require a good sound card.

Your sound card, like your preamp, has a big impact on the sound of your music. Even if you can't hear the difference at home: The bigger and better your system, the more audible the difference.

Facts worth knowing about DJ mixing consoles

What accessories do I need for my DJ mixer?

You have already bought a DJ mixer, but don't know which accessories you need for your DJ set? We show you what you need!

Accessories like a rack or a stand for your DJ deck not only increase your comfort: they are an essential part of every DJ set.

A rack helps you transport your equipment from one gig to the next. A DJ set can be quite heavy and take up a lot of space: So make sure the rack is big enough.

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A good rack allows you to transport it quickly.
(Image source: pexels.com / Oleg)

No gig should be without a tripod. A DJ mixer is not cheap: that's why it should be stable and set up with the help of a tripod. As an inexpensive alternative to an expensive tripod, you can also use your office furniture.

Final pro tip: You don't want a tangle of cables? Then get yourself a multicore cable! This cable is extra thick and can therefore contain many other smaller cables.

Scratch DJ vs Mix DJ

If you listen to hip hop, then you probably know the typical scratch sound. Because of this characteristic sound, most DJs who are active in the hip hop genre are called scratch DJs.

Scratch DJs prefer narrow mixers and attach great importance to a robust crossfader. Furthermore, scratch DJs usually have two turntables.

Scratch DJ Mix DJ
Hip Hop EDM
Narrow mixer with robust crossfader Good effects and equaliser
Fast switching between songs Slow mixing of songs

Mix DJs mainly play techno or EDM. Unlike scratch DJs, they mix their songs slowly. Individual songs are put together to form a whole mix.

As a mix DJ, the crossfader does not play such an important role. Here you need effects and a good equaliser. More than two channels could also be useful. What type of DJ are you? Adapt your DJ mixer to your style.

Image source: davidoff205020/ 123rf.com)

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