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Virtual DJ is an extremely powerful piece of software. It’s no surprise that it’s so popular, considering its rich feature set. What is surprising is its longevity - it’s been around for two decades.
That’s an age in computer software - 20 years ago, Internet Explorer was practically cutting edge software! Of course, Virtual DJ is far better than Internet Explorer - it’s one of the most used and loved DJ programs.
Considering how popular it is, it’s again no surprise that there are plenty of great controllers for it. A controller is one of the most important things for anybody using Virtual DJ, so getting the right one for your needs is important.
Whether you’re a grizzled, seasoned pro, or someone just getting into DJing, there’s a controller for you. Here’s a handy guide to some of the best!
Best Virtual DJ Controller
All of these controllers are listed as compatible with Virtual DJ on the Virtual DJ website.
OUR TOP PICK
If you’re looking for a controller with a ridiculous amount of features, and budget isn’t an issue, then the Denon DJ Prime 4 is one of the best choices available on the market.
It’s an absolutely enormous controller, with a colossal set of features, and is possibly the ultimate controller for Virtual DJ on the market!
Aside from the features you’d expect out of a controller of this size - including large touch capacitive jog wheels, drum pads, dedicated XLR mic inputs and outputs - it has a huge 10 inch multi-touch flip-up screen sitting on top of it.
This is not just great for obvious things like viewing waveforms, but is also one of the features that lets the Denon DJ Prime 4 be used as a full featured standalone controller too. Backing this up is the powerful effects section.
It also has built in Wi-Fi, can stream wirelessly, and has an internal HDD bay - so you won’t have to worry about losing your portable drive!
However, this all comes at a cost, as this is one of the highest priced controllers for Virtual DJ on the market. It’s also a very big and heavy unit compared to other controllers.
These factors combined may be prohibitive for the beginner or intermediate DJ - but seasoned professionals will love the huge feature set and total control that the Denon DJ Prime 4 gives.
- Massive 10 inch screen with multi-touch
- Works as a standalone unit
- Massive amount of controls
- Built in Wi-Fi and wireless streaming capabilities
- One of the more expensive controllers on the market
- It’s big and heavy - portability is an issue
If you’re looking for a controller with an extremely rich feature set, but at a more competitive price, then the Reloop Touch DJ Controller could be a great choice!
Again, there are all of the features you’d expect here - jog wheels, drum pads, a 4 channel mixer layout - but the Reloop Touch has a few cool extras too.
First of all is the integrated 7 inch touchscreen. This lets you have waveform visualization, detailed playback information, and fingertip control over XY effects - as well as giving you great control over browsing and selecting media.
Secondly, the Reloop Touch also has a fader-based approach to its effects unit. The drum/sample pads are RGB, and have multiple modes of customization.
However, some users have reported difficulties with installing software and drivers when connecting the Reloop Touch to their PC. There are also reports of some build quality issues.
For those looking to buy a mid-level controller, the Reloop Touch combines a rich feature set with a more attractive price than more expensive units.
- 7 inch touchscreen
- Faders for FX is a novel touch
- Cool RGB pads
- Installation issues
- Build quality
The Gemini Sound GMX is yet another unit with a large set of features - a feature set which could be considered surprising, owing to the extremely competitive price of the controller. As well as the requisite jog wheels, drum pads, and filters, it features XLR and RCA outputs, and two screens above the drum pads.
The controller works with Virtual DJ, and also accepts WAV, MP3, and AAC files from a USB drive. This means that it can also be used as a standalone unit, which is pretty impressive considering the price!
However, considering the reasonable price, it’s clear that you can’t have it all. The Gemini Sound GMX is ambitious, but it can’t reach the quality of more expensive units. That’s to be expected - and for some buyers, the breadth of features available for the price will make it an attractive proposition.
- Nicely priced
- Great feature set, considering the price
- Also works as a standalone unit
- Ambitious, but can’t reach the quality of higher priced units
For beginners looking to get a controller for Virtual DJ that will give them a good set of features, but also help them learn along the way, the Hercules DJ Control Inpulse 300 is a great option.
Not only does it come with jog wheels, drum pads, a cross-fader and filter sections, it also does so at an attractive price - and there’s more.
This is a controller that could well be perfect for a beginner looking to learn how to DJ, as it comes with useful teaching features.
It has a beatmatch guide, which can help you learn how to properly match beats. It also comes with software that aims to help users learn how to DJ, providing video tutorials and interactive help.
However, despite the feature set, this might not be the right controller for a more advanced user. Those looking for an advanced tool might be better off looking elsewhere for their Virtual DJ controller.
- Great price
- Designed for teaching beginners
- Well-featured for the price
- Despite the features, it’s still a beginner’s controller
The Hercules DJ Control Starlight is an undeniably cool looking piece of gear - and part of that is down to how much it packs into a tiny package. It’s a tiny unit in comparison to other devices on this list, but it still has a lot of useful features.
There’s the pressure sensitive jog wheels and drum pads, of course, and the cross fader, and hot cue modes, loop function, filters, sampler, built-in sound card with headphone and speaker outputs - all of this in such a tiny box? Not to mention the customizable RGB lighting effects!
And, of course, given the size, this is easily the most portable controller on the list. You could slip this and a laptop into a backpack with ease, and have a lot of fun with it.
However, its size means that it’s obviously not going to be able to take the place of a more traditional controller.
That might not be such a problem for someone looking for an inexpensive way to supplement the gear they already have, or for a beginner looking for a controller that won’t take up too much room or break the bank!
- It’s ultra-small, which makes it cool - and extremely portable
- Has real speaker outputs, despite its size
- It’s a real controller, but in a small form factor
- Smaller feature set due to size
- Cool, but it isn’t going to replace a full controller
Pricing is always one of the most important factors when buying anything. There are a wide range of controllers for Virtual DJ, at many different price points. When looking for one, it’s important to make sure that you’re always keeping a budget in mind - as well as your needs.
High end equipment undeniably has its benefits, but unless you’re absolutely positive you’ll get the most out of it - maybe looking down the lower end of the price range.
However, it’s also important that you don’t needlessly underspend - and end up regretting a weak purchase, or having to buy again after quickly outgrowing a piece of gear.
Unless you’re just looking for something to tinker around with, you should consider the controller you’re buying as a tool - and budget accordingly for how much use you’ll get out of the tool, and what you expect from it.
No matter whether that means you’re aiming for the high-end products, or setting your sights on something more modest, you’ll want to get the most bang for your buck - so finding exactly the right controller for your budget that meets your needs is something you should spend a good amount of time considering.
Portability is a key factor in a lot of purchasing decisions when it comes to DJ controllers.
If you know you’re going to be on the move a lot, and want a controller that you can easily take with you, you’re unlikely to want to be burdened by a big heavy monster of a controller - unless you’ve got help carrying it!
In this case, you might well be more interested in a smaller, or even a tiny controller, due to their portability!
Depending on the size of the controller, you might have to make compromises in functionality - but if being able to pick something up and get moving is key to you, then that might not be so much of a worry.
However, if moving your controller isn’t an issue - or you’re going to be using your controller a lot in one place - then weight and size become less of an issue, except for finding places that your controller will fit!
A touchscreen on a DJ controller isn’t by any means essential - most controllers won’t have them, and if you’re using Virtual DJ you’ll be working with a laptop or a monitor anyway, meaning you already have a bigger and more useful screen than you’ll find on any controller.
Also, depending on the controller’s integration with the Virtual DJ software, you might well not be able to display absolutely everything you need on the controller.
However, they are definitely useful tools, and if you’re intending to use your controller as a stand-alone unit too, a good screen with good integration into the rest of the system could well be the thing that makes the purchasing decision for you.
Depending on your workflow, and how well the touchscreen integrates with Virtual DJ Software to meet your needs, a screen could well mean you don’t need to look at the laptop or monitor very much at all - which means all of your attention can be on your controller, giving you better control over your music.
When it comes to screen size, a larger screen is going to be more easily readable, will be able to hold more information, and will be easier to use.
If you’re 100% sure that you’ll always be working with your computer when you DJ, then this isn’t something that you’ll worry about - Virtual DJ is good enough on its own for you not to need this feature.
However, depending on your use case, you might well want to think about whether the ability of a controller to be used as a standalone unit is important to you.
Even if you never end up having to use it, it could be a great way to ensure that you’ll never be at the mercy of a computer crash.
Let’s say the worst comes to the worst, and you’re due onstage but your laptop has gone into a mood and just won’t respond - and neither will your backup laptop.
If your controller can work on its own as a standalone unit, then you don’t have to worry - you can just get on with your performance, and worry about fixing your computer later on!
Having a controller that works as a standalone device comes at a price, of course - but if being able to do a set no matter what is important to you, then the cost might be worth it.
Your experience and skill as a DJ should be something to consider when choosing a controller.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with going straight for the most expensive and complex controller you can if that’s how you like to roll - but if it’s your first ever controller, some of the higher end models might leave you feeling overwhelmed, and perhaps a little buyer's remorse!
However, you might also feel that having something that’s perhaps intended for more experienced DJs gives you something to grow into.
A controller that’s beyond your needs might well give you the room to grow into a better DJ purely because it has capabilities beyond your skills.
However, you might consider that to be wasted money - and also might be the sort of person whose learning process thrives with some limitations. If you don’t have all the tools, you have to get creative with the tools you have - and that process can really turn a beginner into an expert.
Likewise, you might be a seasoned pro already, and looking for a controller that really lets you stretch your legs. Or, you’re looking for something with more limits, precisely because you’re looking for some other way than raw firepower to enhance your creativity.
No matter what, a realistic assessment of your skill level and needs is a must when looking for a new Virtual DJ controller!
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can I Use My Controller?
If your controller is small enough to throw into a backpack, you could potentially use it anywhere. A park bench, a bus, a library - as long as you’re wearing headphones!
Larger controllers require more space, and will be heavier, so less portable - so, a train seat might be out, but a large desk will do fine.
Can I Use Them Without A Computer?
Some - but not all - of these can be used without a computer. Most of them, however, do require a computer and compatible software such as Virtual DJ.
Can These Controllers Be Used With Other Software?
Yes, they can! Some of them come with variants of Virtual DJ itself, and they can all be used as controllers for other DJ software. Some of them even come with the Serato branding.
Should I Buy A Controller If I'm A Beginner?
Well, of course, that’s up to you - but if you want to learn to DJ on a computer, then a controller of some sort, along with software such as Virtual DJ is an essential piece of gear.
No matter what your budget or skill-set, it’s possible to find a controller that meets your needs - and some are specifically designed to be good for newcomers to learn on.
Others are more advanced units, but their power can give you room to grow and learn.
If you’ve got experience as a DJ on traditional decks and vinyl, but are looking to try out computer-based DJing, then you’ll again need a controller.
How Many Channels Do I Need?
Most DJ controllers will have either 2 or 4 channels. Those new to DJing will be able to get by with either 2 or 4 channels - but you’ll likely have to spend more to get a 4 channel device. You might well not need 4 channels anyway - but it’s always nice to have the option.
If you’re very serious about DJing, you’ll very likely find 2 channels too restrictive - in which case you’ll be looking for a 4 channel model. Having more channels will let you be more creative when mixing.