Best DJ Mixers

Updated December 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

12 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
144 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Shopping guide for best DJ mixers

Last Updated December 2019

The world has changed. DJs don't just curate a playlist of songs that are appropriate for a specific event and hit play. Instead, they have become the focal point of the music industry. DJs are the new rock stars. With enough practice and creativity, anyone can become a DJ — that is, if they have the right equipment. The keystone in a DJ's musical arsenal? A mixer.

A mixer allows the DJ to take sounds from a wide variety of sources, such as a computer, a microphone, a keyboard, or even a cell phone, and blend them into the soundtrack of an unforgettable event. The best DJ mixer will have a sufficient number of inputs for the task at hand, offer a variety of ways to route the audio, and feature intuitive and responsive controls.

If you'd like to learn more about how a DJ mixer works and what it takes to be a professional DJ, keep reading. When you're ready to purchase a DJ mixer, consider one of the highly rated options we've spotlighted in this article.

When you get good, you can quickly turn DJing into a profitable side hustle. Some DJs can make $100 per hour doing weddings.

Nine features to consider

Although each DJ mixer performs the same basic task — blending sounds from two or more sources — each has a slightly different focus. The best way to choose the right DJ mixer for you is to understand the controls and features so you know exactly what you need. The following is a list of controls and features that the best DJ mixers have:

Channels

Each sound you want to mix needs its own channel. If you have two music players and a microphone, your DJ mixer will need a minimum of three channels. The more sound sources that you have, the more channels you will need.

Inputs

Inputs are how you physically connect your sound source to your mixer. DJ mixers should have at least two stereo RCA inputs. You may also have an XLR, quarter-inch, mini, and USB inputs. Because some channels may have multiple inputs, the number of inputs and the number of channels are not usually the same.

Gain

Gain is how you adjust the volume on the way into your mixer. You have to be careful with gain because turning it up too high will distort the sound before it even goes into your mixer, and no matter how much you turn down the volume, the sound will remain distorted. Your DJ mixer should have a gain control for each channel.

Volume

Volume is how loud the sound is when it leaves your mixer. Your mixer should have a volume control for each channel as well as a master volume slider.

Outputs

Outputs are where you connect to hear the mix. The output jack can go to a headphone, it can go to a sound system, a stage monitor, or it can even go to a recorder. The more output options that are available to you, the greater the flexibility you will have with your mixer.

Just the essentials

Numark's M2BLACK is a sleek two-channel mixer that features exactly what you need to mix and nothing more. There are no extra knobs and sliders to clutter up your board, and you have a three-band EQ for each channel, a crossfader, RCA inputs and outputs, a headphone jack, and more. This compact console is perfect for both beginners and professionals who are looking for a standalone mixer.

EQ

The EQ increases or decreases the volume of a specific band of frequencies. Most people are familiar with the two-band EQ on your radio: treble and bass. Some mixers have two-band, others have three-band EQ. The more bands your mixer has, the greater control you will have over the sound. Some mixers include a "full kill" option, which allows the DJ to completely silence a desired band of frequencies for a dramatic effect.

Meter

Your DJ mixer needs to have some type of meter. This is usually a series of lights that move from green to yellow to red that alert you when the volume is too loud. Running your mixer in the red can damage your sound system.

Crossfader

Like it sounds, a crossfader allows you to fade one sound source out while fading another one in, thus creating a seamless changing of sounds. The best DJ mixers feature crossfaders with additional controls that allow you to fine-tune their functionality.

Durability

If you think your mixer is not going to take a beating, you're wrong. Even if you're using it for weddings instead of clubs, you’ll want the most durable unit you can find, otherwise you'll be buying a new mixer every few gigs.

DID YOU KNOW?

If you want to take your mixing skills to a club and you are the best, it’s possible to make more than $1,000 per night.

DJ mixer prices

Inexpensive: You could get a very basic DJ mixer for as low as $45. At this level, however, you need to be careful that the unit is decent and that it doesn't add extraneous noise to the mix due to inferior elements.

Mid-range: For around $80 to $150, you will likely be able to find what you need. In this range, a DJ mixer can not only be a high-quality item, but it might also start to include some of the additional features that will make you sound even better.

Expensive: Once you move beyond $150, you are getting additional channels and components that move you into the realm of a DJ controller. (See the FAQ section below for more information on this.) This is fine and may be desirable depending on your situation, but it's important to know that at this higher price range, you'll be getting something a little different than a mixer.

EXPERT TIP

You do not need a degree, license, or any other certification if you want to be a DJ — just do it.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Being an in-demand DJ requires far more than simply pressing play. Besides understanding the gear and being creative, you also will benefit from an outgoing, larger-than-life personality.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

In many ways, learning to use a DJ mixer is like learning to play a musical instrument — it may look easy when you see someone else doing it, but it can take a while before you understand how to make it sound good. The following are a few important tips to keep in mind as you venture into the world of sound mixing:

  • Start at zero: For most controls, "zero" is actually the 12 o'clock position of the knob. Starting here gives you an unaffected sound, which is a very good place to begin.
  • Practice: Just like a musical instrument, you want to spend hours and hours with your DJ mixer so you understand what everything does and are confident and fluid with the controls.
  • Experiment: The best way to learn what a knob or slider does is to play with it and listen to how it affects the sound.
  • Use your ears: Learn to pay attention to and trust your ears, not the position of the knobs. It is very easy to fall into the trap of using your eyes to mix the music — and that is not a good approach.
  • Cut don't boost: If something doesn't sound right, it is often better to cut than boost. For instance, if you want more bass, first try pulling back the highs and the mids so you don't boost your signal too much and cause clipping. (See the FAQ section below for more information on this.)
  • Develop your own style: When you find something that you like, remember how you did it. As you gather more and more of these "tricks," you will develop a style that is uniquely your own.
  • Remember your crowd: You are an entertainer. If the crowd is not into what you are doing, you will need to modify your set.

Compact and affordable

It's only as big as a sheet of notebook paper, but it can do the trick. Rockville's two-channel DJ mixer keeps everything you need at your fingertips. The unit features a variety of inputs, including USB and Bluetooth, along with a crossfader, two-band EQ, and more. Best of all, it's attractively priced so it can fit within almost any budget.

Other products we considered

Gemini's MM1 is a compact two-channel stereo mixer with two-band EQ, a crossfader, and individual gain control. The unit is small enough to fit in your pocket. BEHRINGER's NOX101 is a sturdy two-channel DJ mixer with three-band EQ featuring kill filters for dramatic effects. If you'd like to step your game up a tiny bit more, Behringer has the DX626 Pro Mixer, which is a three-channel mixer that includes bells and whistles, such as VCA control and a dual BPM counter for seamless musical transitions.

Do not measure yourself against other top DJs. Measure yourself against where you were when you first started as that is what will reveal your actual growth.

FAQ

Q. What is the difference between a DJ mixer and a DJ controller?
A.
In the most basic sense, a mixer accepts the input from two or more audio sources, blends them together, then sends all those signals out as a new composite. A controller, on the other hand, is like a mixer on steroids. It is an all-in-one unit that doesn't just mix the sound coming in, but it can control what is coming in as well, triggering new sounds and slowing down or speeding up tracks so they blend better. The line can get a little blurry because controllers have a built-in mixer and some mixers have features that are usually reserved for controllers.

Q. Why are mixers with less knobs and sliders sometimes more expensive?
A.
A car isn't fast because it looks fast; a car is fast because of what is under the hood, the part you don’t see. The same is true for mixers. Yes, you need knobs and sliders that turn and glide effortlessly, but the quality of sound is ultimately determined by the electronics that are not visible. Sometimes, the most expensive DJ mixer is very basic looking. Other times, the outer design reflects what’s beneath. It takes a little research to know what you are really getting.

Q. What is clipping?
A.
There are many ways to increase the volume of an audio signal besides the volume control. Effects, EQ, gain, and even simply mixing multiple audio signals can all increase the overall volume. When the level gets to be too much for your system to handle, the signal is clipped (distorted) — you will know this because the meter on your DJ mixer is in the red and it will sound kind of crunchy. Playing a clipped signal isn't just unpleasant for your ears, it also makes your speakers behave abnormally and it can permanently damage them.

The team that worked on this review
  • Allen
    Allen
    Writer
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey