Nowadays, DJ controllers – dedicated pieces of hardware that allow hands-on control of DJing software are the preferred tools of DJs. Especially if you are new to DJing, a choice of the right DJ controller might often be pretty challenging, considering the vast number of different controllers available on today’s market.

This guide will thus help you with identification of features you should pay particular attention to and present you some of the best DJ controllers in their price range. Price doesn’t necessarily equal quality of the product. Even reasonably priced DJ controllers can allow you to produce great-quality music. If you are new in the DJ business or you just don’t want to spend a large amount of money on DJ equipment, $500 dollar price limit still offers some very respectable DJ controllers.

What to look for in a $500 DJ controller?

  • Connectivity and Ports: DJ controllers come with different connectivity options. Check which outputs do you intend to use and whether they are included in the controller of your choice. From speakers, club PA system, or booth output, they might not all be always at disposal.
  • Types of gigs: taking into account the fact that you are probably a beginner DJ, you presumably won’t perform in front of an audience from the beginning. Nevertheless, your priorities should always be considered. For instance, if you want to learn how to scratch, you should look for a controller with a large and responsive jog wheels and crossfader. Your DJ controller should have plenty of knobs, pads, inputs, and other features that allow you to use it for different occasions.
  • Software platform: although DJ controllers are more or less customizable, they are at the same time designed with many software dependent features. Some features will thus work only if used with the right software. When you are buying your own DJ controller make therefore sure to buy the one that is compatible with the software you intend to use.

Best DJ Controllers Under $500

Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3: the best beginner DJ controller under 500$

The DDJ-SB3 is a compact and durable DJ controller with an intuitive layout and premium quality. This beginner DJ controller has combined all popular features of its predecessor with leading Serato DJ controllers in order to make learning to DJ easier and more accessible than ever.

DDJ-SB3 is a 2-channel easy to navigate controller with professionally looking layout inspired by top range DJ controllers.

FX Fade feature enables you to transition between tracks with ease and the new Pad Scratch function allows you to add scratch effects without a turntable.

On-board Serato sound card enables you to connect your computer via USB and no external sound card is needed for this purpose.

All in all, DDJ-SB3 is made from premium materials, that coupled with variety of functions deliver you a professional feel.

  • Level: beginner
  • Power: USB only
  • Inputs: 1 x microphone
  • Outputs: 1 x RCA master, 1x headphone output
  • Supported DJ software: Serato DJ Lite

PROS

CONS

·         Excellent jog wheels

·         Pad Scratch

·         Premium build quality

·         Only two outputs

·         Small pitch fader

·         Jogs center could be more creative

 

Pioneer DDJ-RB controller

DDJ-RB is a compact entry-level DJ controller packed with some advanced features.

DDJ-RB is a 2-channel, USB-powered controller inspired by professional controllers, such as DDJ-RZ an DD-RX.

It has some of the advanced features like Slicer and Sampler, Pad FX, Performance Pads that let you trigger Hot Cues, responsive jog wheels, and a button to call up sample sequences.

Due to its lightweight and compact design, it is perfect controller to use on the road. What is more, when you purchase DDJ-RB, you also get an adjustable laptop stand, polishing cloth, and headphones bundled with it.

  • Level: beginner
  • Power: USB only
  • Inputs: 1 x microphone
  • Outputs: 1 x RCA master, 1x headphone output
  • Supported DJ software: Rekordbox DJ

PROS

CONS

·         Compact and light

·         Excellent jog wheels

·         Great price to quality ratio

·         No AUX input

·         Small pitch fader

·         Full plastic body

 

Denon DJ MC 4000 controller: The right controller for the mobile DJ

The Denon DJ MC 4000 is a premium and a good-looking controller that provides you a professional feeling.

With great looking appearance and new design, Denon DJ MC 4000 continues its reputation for innovative features, sound quality, and dependability. A premium 24-bit audio output path provides great sound quality.

Jog wheels are touch-activated in order to achieve an accurate scratching and track cueing. Some other noticeable features include Hot Cue and sample trigger pads with illuminated feedback, and long pitch faders.

Its robust steel chassis enable you to transport your controller everywhere you would like. Together with professional-like features, MC 4000 could quite easily be used by a professional DJ as well.

  • Level: beginner
  • Power: USB / external
  • Inputs: 2 x MIC
  • Outputs: 2 x headphone, 3 x audio, 2 x booth
  • Supported DJ software: Serato DJ Intro

PROS

CONS

·         Number of outputs

·         Large pitch fader

·         Premium build

·         Great sound

·         VU meters

·         Limited support for performance-oriented features

Pioneer DJ DDJ-WeGO4-K controller

The Pioneer DDJ-WeGO4-K is a compact, easy to use DJ controller with some professional features.

DDJ-WeGO4-K is the 4th generation of the WeGO entry-level series that is compatible with WeDJ Pioneers DJ performance app and can be easily connected with PC, Mac, or any other device with USB cable or lightning cable.

This controller offers a simple layout with advanced features like Pad FX, Hot Cues, loops, and ampler packed in a lightweight and compact design.

  • Level: beginner
  • Power: USB only
  • Inputs: 1 x MIC
  • Outputs: 2 x headphone, 1 x RCA master
  • Supported DJ software: Rekordbox DJ

PROS

CONS

·         The mixer has a filter knob

·         Free license key for Rekordbox DJ

·         Quality built

·         Small pitch fader

·         Unnecessary disco lights

 

Numark Mixtrack Platinum controller

The Numark Mixtrack Platinum is a fantastic DJ controller with great sound quality and displays on the jog wheels.

Numark Mixtrack Platinum is a 4-channel DJ controller with 4-deck layering and high-resolution display.

Mixtrack Platinum has shown its innovative pedigree by offering never before seen LCD displays on the jog wheels that show many useful information like BPM, key lock, remaining time, and many more that can be used without even having to look away from the controller.

A wide range of 16 multi-function performance pads enable you to control cues, launch samples and add loops. Coupled with 24-bit audio output and large pitch sliders, MIxtrack Platinum provides a premium experience.

  • Level: beginner
  • Power: USB only
  • Inputs: 1 x MIC
  • Outputs: 1 x RCA master
  • Supported DJ software: Serato DJ Intro

PROS

CONS

·         Jog wheels with built-in screens

·         Smooth pitch fader

·         Great sound quality

·         No aux input

·         Unresponsive touch strip

 

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