Buy a DJ Mixer – Complete Buyer's Guide to Mixers
Helpful Buying Tips
Whether you are just learning the art of music mixing or you are planning to take it to the next level and advance from being an "average" DJ to one that is well-known for delivering a top-notch party or club experience, you must have the right equipment to do the job. One of the most important pieces of equipment you can invest in is a good DJ Mixer. Buying the wrong one can not only cost you a lot of money, it can really make it difficult to do your job.
There are a ton of different mixers out there and selecting the right one might be a bit overwhelming if you don't know what to look for. Depending on how serious you are, there are some great products out there to fit several different price ranges starting at around $100 for beginners and going as high as several thousand dollars for a professional studio-quality device. This article will serve as a buyer's guide and will introduce you to some of the most popular products on the market.
Different Brands of DJ Mixers
While there are probably dozens if not hundreds of brands available from around the world, there are really five major players that are known for producing the best mixers. The ones you will want to pay the most attention to are Pioneer, Numark, Hercules, Behringer, and Gemeni. There really isn't a single brand here that stands out above the rest, they all make very good products and deciding which one to buy will come down to finding one with the features you want that best fits in your budget range.
Mixers are one area where you will pretty much get what you pay for (at least for the most part). The lower priced equipment starts at around $100 and will usually have 2 or 3 channels. Be aware that the crossfaders on these units usually aren't good enough to use on a large sound system. They will tend to lead to fuzzy sound or even clicking and buzzing noises. These entry level products are just fine if you are using them to learn or plan to use them for small parties and such. Another advantage to owning an entry-level mixer is that they are small and portable, making them easy to transport between locations without much hassle.
In my opinion, it makes good sense to take at least one step up from the very basic units as you can get many more features and a better built device for just a little more money. You might be surprised to find that you can get a higher quality unit for as little as $50 to $100 more than the cheapest ones. If you are looking to do a little more with your equipment, it will be worthwhile for you to spend the extra money to at least upgrade to a mid range device.
By investing in a model that falls in the $400 to $500 range, you will get smooth and reliable crossfaders that sound great over a professional sound system in a night club or at a larger outdoor event. If you really want to step up to a professional quality DJ mixer, consider going with a 5 channel mixer with built-in effects and a full function sampler. These do come at a price with most units carrying a suggested retail price of well over $500. If you are a smart shopper, you can find them online in the $300 to $400 range with a little looking.
As an entry-level product, I like the Numark iDJ iPod 2 Channel Mixer for several reasons. While the list price on this device is around $400, they can readily be found online for around $150 to $200 making it an excellent value play. The device has 2 universal iPod docking stations allowing you to mix tracks from two different iPods, CD players, or turntables. You can also combine sources such as one iPod and a CD for example which I thought was a cool feature. The product has a 3 band EQ and gain control for each channel that is consistent with the quality Numark has built a great reputation on.
What are the drawbacks of this device? Well, you can't have every feature at a bargain price so you do sacrifice pitch control with this unit but in my opinion, it's still an excellent choice for amateur mixing. All in all, a great product that just isn't quite at the level of professional equipment.
A Great Full-Featured Digital Mixer
If you are looking to step it up a little, I love the Hercules DJ Console RMX. This device is great for mixing digital music and connects directly to a PC or MAC laptop through a USB port. Features include a rugged metal casing, playback control, a 3 band EQ with kill button, and Virtual DJ software.
It even comes with a padded carrying case which makes it easy to transport between events. This one of the best entry to mid-level mixers you can buy! This unit is durable and full of features to help you master your art and deliver excellent quality sound for the price.
High End Products
Need a professional piece of equipment? If you need the full functionality of a professional 32-bit digital model, the Behringer DDM4000 Digital Pro 5 channel mixer is a good choice. This device has almost every creative tool you could want at a price that won't break the bank. Some of the highlights include precision BPM counters and digital crossfader with curve adjustment.
It has a range of built-in effects including reverb, delay, and pitch shift and the ability to set multiple user accounts to instantly load individual user settings on demand. You will quickly see how much value this device has to offer as it allows you to take advantage of features you would normally expect from something over $1000.
These certainly aren't the only choices out there and the ones mentioned above just manage to scratch the surface. Deciding which unit is right for you will ultimately depend on what features you value most and the budget you have to work with. Below you will find several of the best-selling products and top rated devices that other users have recommended. This will give you a good overview of what's out there and make it a little easier to narrow down the choices when you are ready to buy. Don't forget to think about accessories such as headphones and cables so are ready to get started as soon as your new mixer arrives!