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Best DJ Controller Under $500

Updated on May 3, 2013

Best DJ Controllers Under $500 Revealed HERE

You want to know the best DJ Controller under $500 is? Well this is exactly what this lens is for. Usually at this point, you have learned the basics of DJ'ing and are ready for a step. You are looking for a controller with more features but still working under a budget.

Well this was my scenario when I decided to upgrade from my trusty Mixtack Pro ( I still have it as back-up!). I spent hours researching looking on forums reading reviews and ended up more confused then when I began with. In fact my initial gut feeling choice was the one I eventually picked -

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2

Updated Nov 2012 (due to the lucky position of my part time job, I get to fiddle around with other DJ controller and present you with two other worthy controllers to consider)

Cheaper Alternatives

Since I first did this lens I've played around with two more alternatives which are cheaper than the Kontrol S2 and are well worthy of getting.

The Novation Twitch

Denon MC2000 (Brand new!)

The Popular Kid - Traktor Kontrol S2

Native Instruments released the Traktor Kontrol S4 in late 2010 and was heavily anticipated. Luckily the S4 lived up to the hype and many loved its tight controls, 4 decks, loop decks and recording and the tweaked Traktor software. However it was at a very high end price (it still costs around $800) but was really focused on professional DJs.

Many people wanted this excellent midi controller but were simply scared off by the price. NI listened and released the S2 in late 2011. The main difference between the S2 and the S4 was the number of decks. S2 only comes with 2, but for many DJs this is a moot point. The same quality tight controls, the excellent sound quality and the all round professionalism is still present.

In fact many actually prefer the S2 due to it being more compact! At just under $500 you are getting a high end DJ controller at a mid-level price.

Traktor Kontrol S2 setup

Why The Traktor S2 Is Very Popular

Why you should get yourself the Traktor S2:

  • The jogwheels are terrific. They are a joy to use and the precision and sensitivity is out of this world. It has been highly praised for it's scratching ability (not my thing!)
  • The sound quality is to the highest standard.
  • The controller is very easy to use, so ideal for beginners. Has advanced sync controls for those struggling to beat match
  • But in the right hands the S2 can be a very powerful tool, so a perfect choice for any club DJ.
  • Compact and pretty light, so great for a mobile DJ
  • Has a third channel so you can add an effect deck such as Traktor Kontrols X1. So allows for any DJ to be highly innovative.
  • Four hot cue buttons allow for easy on the fly re-mixers and re-edits
  • Plenty of pro effects which you can effortless incorporate into the music, taking your mixing to another level
  • You can mix with the 8 sample decks slots provided offering further innovation in the right hands
  • Comes with a full version of Traktor Pro 2.5 which works flawlessly with the DJ controller. This is cutting edge DJ software and really makes this the best DJ controller for under $500.

The Multifeatured Experimental Novation Twitch

Novation in collabaration with DJ software produces Serato decided to go a different direction with a DJ Controller.

They decided to eliminate the space consuming jogwheels and implement touchstrips instead. This is quite controversial as many people will be used to the jogwheels. But perhaps Novation have got it right and are ahead of their time as there is no practical need for the jogwheels.

Along with these touchstrips, they have added tons of features including a terrific slicer mode, full DJ software in Serato Itch which along with the controller gives endless possibilities in the right hands. .

The Twitch Lit Up!

Why You Should Get The Novation Twitch

Twitch the perfect controller for under 500..?:

  • Totally unique controller, so if you want to stand out from the crowd this is the controller for you.
  • Professional feel and look, the LED lights light up beautifully
  • Compact and lightweight. This a perfect solution for Mobile DJs.
  • Lots and lots of features and functions. 16 triggerpads, sexy faders, 8 cue points, lots of everything can be remapped
  • Software included is fantastic. Serato Itch integrates wonderfully with the Twitch. Already got a favorite software? Not a problem as mappings are out there for you!
  • Encourages innovation with the touchstrips. You 'swipe' the music (like doing with your touchscreen phone. It is also really easy to do small adjustments due to this control method
  • The brilliant slicer mode.Even $1000 DJ controllers don't have this. You have total control on how a loop is chopped up, the size of it, the order. Whatever your heart or fans desire! Easy to use, difficult to master ,this really is a unique selling point
  • It is FUN to use, you can mess around and experiment away. Just be creative and see what happens!
  • Terrific value . You get quality DJ software, a terrific DJ controller (which sounds great) with built in soundcard for under $350

Novation Twitch

Novation Twitch Touchstrip Hardware Controller for the Digital DJ
Novation Twitch Touchstrip Hardware Controller for the Digital DJ

Goodbye jogwheels, hello touchstirps.

This totally unique DJ controller courtesy from Novation really does tick all the right boxes for any creative DJ out there. If you are a DJ that wants to experiment and make totally unique remixes, loops, mash ups with their tunes then the twitch might be the perfect DJ controller for you! From beginners to pro, the twitch really has everything you'd want.

This ultra light DJ controller has all the features you expect and more. Why not create some mind blowing on the fly remixes with much loved slicer mode? Don't have a full DJ software? Then do not worry the Twitch comes with a FULL version of Serato Itch. The Twitch has been designed in mind with the Itch and then sing on the same songsheet.

Simply put with the Twitch the only limitation with this controller is...YOU!


The New Kid On The Block - Denon MC2000 review

Denon have always been renowned for producing quality DJ equipment and this trend continued when they entered into the DJ controller market. However, most of their products were for the high end range, until this very new controller the Denon MC2000.

This controller was released in October 2012 and has so far received very positive feedback, this is due to the terrific high end build quality coupled with a good feature set, the all in one easy set-up for a terrific price

Denon MC2000

Why You Should Get The Denon MC2000

Why you should consider the Denon MC2000:

  • All in one box DJ pack .Internal soundcard ( which does produce a terrific sound as you'd expect from Denon). Check. Full DJ software. Check. The software is Serato Intro which is a good software (integrates really well with the controller). You can of course use Virtual DJ/ Traktor.

  • Very easy to setup. Quite possibly the easiest piece of DJ equipment to set up ever. With a mac it is pretty much plug and play, with a normal PC just need to install the drivers.
  • This Denon MC2000 feels like a pro kit, and it acts like one too. Jogwheels are terrfically responsive and sensitive, smooooth faders and you can make them all important little changes very easily. Everything is there in the right place.
  • Lots of great features such sample buttons x4, hot cue x4, 3 effects per deck, you get the sync button plus easy to use manual and auto loops. The vinyl mode works really well, so you turn off if you want to nudge, turn on for scratching
  • This looks the business, even more expensive controllers do not look this professional!
  • The build quality is also top notch, most is metal and it feels sturdy and solid. AND it is still compact enough for bedroom/mobile DJs


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    • DJRebelstar1 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @anonymous: I've heard good things about the vci 400, never used it myself as yet (though I might ask my friend shop if I can have a go!). I'll look forward to your lens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      The s2 is an awesome controller, it appears to have limitations, but it really doesn't and for the money, there's nothing comparable out there. I'll be doing a lense shortly on the vci 400, it costs twice as much as the s2 and isn't bundled with pro software but it makes me as excited as the s4 made me when that first came out.


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