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Gone are the days where DJs needed to use turntables and mixers that are bulky, heavy, and difficult to travel with.
If you’re looking to streamline your DJ equipment, a smaller DJ controller can make DJing much more convenient and easy, particularly when it comes to traveling for gigs.
In this article, I will cover the best DJ controllers under $300, to give you a better idea of what’s on the market.
So, let’s get into it.
Best DJ Controller Under $300
OUR TOP PICK
The Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX DJ Controller has all the essentials you need for pro DJ performance!
This controller features 6-inch capacitive-touch jog wheels that are designed to emulate an authentic turntable feel and have high-resolution color displays that show beats per minute (BPM), platter position, time remaining and pitch adjustment.
Boasting quick-launch FX with dual paddle triggers, dedicated instant loop controls, eight performance pads per deck to access cues, loops, fader cuts and samples, this DJ controller is good for beginners and experienced DJs alike!
- Versatile - This DJ controller is perfect for playing at a variety of different occasions, including small events, parties and developing your DJ Skills.
- Serato access - The Mixtrack Platinum FX comes with Serato DJ Lite, giving you access to stream millions of songs via WIFI from TIDAL or SoundCloud.
- Ready to connect - This controller boasts a microphone input, headphone output and RCA output to connect to DJ speakers, as well as a mixer with 3-band EQ, filter knobs, channel faders and crossfader.
- DJ software — Unfortunately, the Platinum FX only arrives with the watered-down Serato Lite software. It’s not bad, but it is pretty basic, so you may have to factor an upgrade into your budget.
The Hercules DJControl Inpulse 200 Compact DJ Controller is designed for the learning DJ and professional alike.
This controller has a two-channel mixer that is located in between decks with an integrated crossfader for mixing two tracks.
This controller features dual-deck layout with touch-sensitive, and capacitive jog wheels allowing for vinyl-style cueing, track browsing, and pitch bend functions.
- Intelligent Music Assistant - This controller comes with Intelligent Music Assistant that suggests the most suitable tracks to play and match the event energy level.
- Performance pads - Eight multi-colored performance pads light up and indicate four control modes: rolls, FX, hot-cues, and sampler so you can always clearly see the controller.
- Beatmatch guides - This controller features beatmatch guides that include onboard light guides for less computer glancing, tempo guide to show where to move the tempo fader, and beat align offers the best direction to turn jog wheels
- Headphone jack - It’s not exactly the highest quality jack, but have a pro switch it out with something better, and you’re sorted!
The Pioneer DJ DJ Controller (DDJ-SB3-N) is designed for traveling musicians, and the controller has a compact body with grab handles for quick portability.
This DJ Controller features an intuitively designed layout with the jog wheels, independent auto loop buttons, performance pad and play and cue buttons displayed in a user-friendly design making it the perfect tool for users of all skill levels.
The FX Fade allows for smooth transitions for incoming tracks, even when playing different genres of music.
- Easy-to-transport - Wherever you’re DJing, this light controller is convenient and easy to travel with.
- Excellent design - The intuitive design of this controller features make this DJ controller perfect for beginning DJs and professionals alike.
- Pad scratch - This controller features a pad scratcher that allows DJs to imitate eight different scratch techniques.
- Serato Lite - Serato Lite is essentially just a small taste of what Serato Pro has to offer. It’s very limited, so you may want to factor the cost of a software upgrade into your budget.
The PIONEER PRO DJ DDJ200 PIONEER SMART DJ CONTROLLER is user friendly, with simple jog wheels, buttons and knobs that are user friendly.
This controller is compatible with WeDJ for iPhone, allowing you to quickly develop your mixing skills with the help of the tutorials and pop-hint features.
If you’re just starting out DJing, you can easily get on your feet with transition FX to help you match phrases and smoothly transition between songs.
- Lightweight and portable - This compact controller is super convenient to travel with, so you can DJ at any occasion without the hassle of lugging heavy turn tables around.
- Compatible with your smartphone - This allows you to play tracks via your smartphone or PC/Mac using a variety of DJ apps and software including our dedicated, free app WeDJ for iPhone.
- Split output - This DJ controller features a split output to help you cue the next track seamlessly through your headphones.
- Durability - The DDJ200 does have kind of a plasticky feel to it, so you’ll need to store it appropriately and keep it safe during transport and your sets.
The Roland DJ Controller is a two-channel, four deck controller that allows you to play like a pro for under $300!
The Roland DJ Controller features a variety of features, such as large, low-latency platters, dedicated pad and transport controls, onboard sequencer, and mic input with professional vocal FX.
Additional vocal effects include low-cut EQ to refine the sound and a noise gate to automatically clean up sound issues and unwanted background noise.
- Portable - The compact, rugged, and lightweight design of this controller alongside makes it highly portable.
- Low-latency platters - Allows you to scratch and cue with confidence.
- Midi output - Ideal for synchronizing external devices with tracks in Serato DJ.
- Performance pads - The pads could be more responsive.
Full plastic build - A bit of metal here and there would be appreciated.
There are a few things to consider when purchasing a DJ controller under $300, but it primarily comes down to software and system requirements, build quality, and price.
You will also want to make sure that you are investing in a DJ controller that is designed for your skill level. DJ controllers are a big investment, so if you’re a beginner, there is no point in investing in a controller that you are going to struggle to learn how to play with.
You will always want to make sure that you are buying the right DJ controller for your skill level, otherwise you won’t get the use out of it and it will sit gathering dust.
Read the following factors before making your purchase.
Software And System
When looking for a DJ controller, you will need to consider the software and system requirements.
DJ controllers come with a variety of software packages, as they are designed to control the software to play the audio. Which software a controller comes with varies from brand to brand. That being said, a popular choice is either the lite or pro version of Serato DJ.
You will likely find that the more experienced you become as a DJ, you will develop a preference for which software that you use.
This comes down to the fact that every software has its positives and negatives, and you won’t know how you get on with something until you have a personal experience of working with it.
You should always research the software package to ensure that you are happy and that it is going to suit your DJing preferences.
Another important factor to bear in mind when purchasing a DJ controller is the build quality.
While you might think that you won’t know until you try, carrying out your research is important to establish the kind of build quality.
DJing takes a lot of practise, and you’re going to be using your DJ controller on a regular basis.
From adjusting the dials, flicking the wheels, turning the switches over and over again, the equipment needs to be able to withstand frequent use. Under all this pressure, weak and poorly made DJ controllers can break easily, so build quality is super important.
A good indication of whether a product is of good quality is to check the products review section. Here, customers can leave feedback, good or bad, that gives you a better understanding of the product and how others have found using it.
If a customer doesn’t believe that the product is of good build quality or they have experienced quality issues, they are likely to tell you so in the product reviews section.
In addition to this, the product reviews section also reveals a lot about a brand’s customer service. Problems occur in business everyday that are outside of a company’s control, such as a product being lost or damaged in transit.
That being said, the way a company’s customer service department works to rectify this issue is testament to their values as a company.
If there are consistent customer reviews that state the customer service for a company is non-existent, then you might decide to invest your money in a more reliable manufacturer.
Another factor you will need to consider when searching for a DJ controller is the price. In this case, you are searching for a DJ controller under $300.
If you have spent any time researching and browsing through DJ controllers on the market today, you’ll quickly see that the prices often range from expensive to outrageously high.
This means that many young and aspiring DJs can often struggle to break into DJing and the music industry due to the high costs of the typical controller.
While investing in a good quality dj controller is important for you to develop your skills as a DJ, you don’t need to spend a fortune when you’re first starting out.
A DJ controller under $300 is more than enough for beginners and more skilled DJs alike, simply because this price range generally offers all of the features you’d expect and need to learn the basics and develop your skills as a DJ.
$300 is relatively inexpensive for a DJ controller as they can cost an absolute fortune. A controller that is under $300 is ideal for young DJs and those who want to get into DJing who don’t have a huge budget to blow.
Not only are they more user-friendly for beginners who want to play around with a controller, but they also don’t require an upfront cost that could set you back thousands of dollars.
For a DJ controller under $300, you can expect
- To learn the basics of DJing and get a feel for it and whether you enjoy it enough without spending a fortune
- The opportunity to be able to progress and develop your mixing skills further
- Value for money
When you’re first starting out, investing in a DJ controller over $300 can be unnecessary.
While you might think that a more expensive DJ controller equals better performance, this isn’t always the case. If you spend more than $300, you could find that:
- It’s harder to learn and therefore progress if it’s overly complicated
- It’s bad value for money if it’s expensive and then too challenging to use
Taking this into consideration, it’s always best to get a DJ controller that is suited to your skill level and is within your budget.
When searching for a DJ controller, you will also need to consider the controls. This is crucial for any DJ, as the controls are how you are going to mix your tracks.
The controls can vary from controller to controller, however, they usually come in various sizes and forms. From jog wheels to switches, sliders, and dials of all kinds, there are often a large variety of controls.
However, if you’re just starting out, I recommend that you opt for a DJ controller with simple controls that are user-friendly to make the process as easy as possible for you.
Another important factor to consider when searching for a DJ controller is the channels.
Generally speaking, controllers tend to be broken up into two main categories: 2 channel and 4 channel.
The number of channels that your controller has determines how many audio sources or tracks you can have running at any one time. The more channels, the more audio sources you can have. However, if you’re just starting out, 2 channels is plenty.
Always make sure you check out how many channels your DJ controller has before going ahead with your purchase.
Dimensions And Weight
When choosing your next DJ controller under $300, an important factor to bear in mind is the dimensions.
A great reason to update your traditional turntables to a controller is that they are more compact and convenient to use. That being said, they can still range in size depending on the model you buy.
Bearing this in mind, if you’re choosing to downsize from turntables to a controller, you will need to make sure that you check the dimensions and weight of the DJ controller in question.
When choosing the kind of controller you want, you will want to consider factors such as how often you’re going to be traveling with the equipment and where you’re going to be playing.
For instance, if you know you’re going to be traveling a lot to DJ at different events, you might benefit from a more compact size DJ controller that is easier to travel with.
Last but not least, when making an investment as large as a DJ controller, you will need to consider the warranty.
The warranty will provide you with peace of mind and covers you should anything happen to your DJ controller, or you experience technical issues with it. The warranty is important, as it saves you from having to fork out a small fortune to fix your DJ controller.
The warranty of a product generally tends to vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, a standard warranty is generally a year long. However, this can be longer depending on the manufacturer you opt for.
It is also important to note that the condition of warranties can change depending on where you purchase the product from.
Bearing this in mind, you will want to make sure that you check the manufacturer’s website for the conditions of the warranty and ensure that you are purchasing the DJ controller from an official seller.
Frequently Asked Question
Can You Teach Yourself To DJ?
Yes, it is possible for you to teach yourself to DJ with a helping hand from tutorials and a user-friendly DJ controller. It’s also important to note that how long it takes you to learn will depend on you as an individual.
That being said, you should always opt for equipment that is designed for a beginner level, as you won’t be able to run before you can walk. It’s also important to recognize that learning to DJ takes hard work, time, and dedication.
It’s unrealistic to think that you’re going to be able to DJ well straight away, and you can’t expect to be an overnight success.
However, DJing is a great way for musicians to express themselves, and if you’re willing to put in the effort and work hard, then you can teach yourself.