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Which 2 Channel DJ Controllers are the best?
For any DJ, whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned professional, a 2 channel DJ controller is an essential tool in your DJing arsenal.
Here at Consordini, we strive to clear up any confusion about the music world and provide you with easy-to-understand information. In this article, we’ll review some of the top 2 channel DJ controller models available right now and answer some common questions about using 2 channel DJ controllers.
View best 2-Channel DJ Controllers
1. Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 – The Best 2 Channel DJ Controller for Beginners – $249
Pioneer DJ is well known for making some fantastic DJ controllers for beginners, and the DDJ-SB3 is a very popular model. The DDJ-SB3 uses Serato DJ Lite, a popular DJing software that is compatible with many different DJ controllers and even HID controllers.
Once you’ve learned the ins and outs of it, you can upgrade to the full version, Serato DJ Pro. The DDJ-SB3 features an intuitive and professional layout, with the jog wheels, faders, and more, all in easy to reach places, making it perfect for beginners.
The low latency jog wheels are particularly large and give incredible response. If you haven’t mastered scratching yet, a Pad Scratch button allows you to add scratch effects and create different patterns over your music. The FX Fade button provides an easy way to blend tracks regardless of the genre. There are eight combinations of four different FX to choose from for mixing tracks seamlessly, giving a ton of flexibility. Also featured are a mic input and a USB input for connecting to your computer.
As for the design, the aluminum jog wheels and higher quality materials make it feel durable enough to tour with.
|Image credit: Sony Check Price on Amazon
The Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 is the best 2 channel DJ controller for beginners thanks to its distinct layout and integrated compatibility with Serato DJ software. It provides a good starting point for those who want to learn how to DJ and get comfortable with a controller. I highly recommend the DDJ-SB3 for any beginner who wants to start DJing, as well as those who don’t feel like they will need to upgrade to something bigger or more advanced.
2. Numark Mixtrack 3 – The Best 2 Channel DJ Controller for Any Software – $149
Numark is another big contender in the DJing world, and they offer many affordable DJ controllers that are powerhouses both under the hood and your fingertips. The Mixtrack 3 is one such product. With standard MIDI compatibility, the Mixtrack 3 is able to be used with multiple DJing softwares, making it yet another one of the best 2 channel DJ controllers out there with flexible support.
If you don’t prefer to use a different software, you can use the included Virtual DJ LE software to get started mixing right away. The Mixtrack 3 features 100mm pitch sliders for extreme precision tuning, surpassing many other popular brands. 16 backlit performance pads are also featured for controlling hot cues and launching clips and samples, while simultaneously adding a splash of color.
A touch strip allows you to control dynamic FX and search for tracks to load, and filter knobs for each channel give maximum control over your sound. The Mixtrack 3’s capacitive metal platters are dual-zone, so even just touching the top of them can scratch or stop a track.
The controller is pretty lightweight and on the smaller side, so it’s considerably portable and can definitely be used for live performances. For an added bonus, several sample packs and professional stems are preloaded onto the Mixtrack so you can get started mixing right away.
|Image credit: Numark Check Price on Amazon
The Mixtrack 3 from Numark is an awesome powerhouse of a DJ controller that gives the flexibility that you need with its MIDI compatibility among many popular softwares. With its capacitive controls, you have plenty of creative control for crafting your sound and performing. The Mixtrack 3 would be most suitable for intermediate users, but beginners and pros alike will have fun mixing with it.
3. Reloop Beatmix 2 Mk2 – The Best 2 Channel DJ Controller for Performing – $249
The Reloop Beatmix 2 Mk2 is a great 2 channel DJ controller to start performing on before you want to move up to something like the Reloop Terminal Mix controllers or try out another 2 channel controller like the Digital Jockey. The Beatmix 2 Mk2 is another controller that works with Serato DJ and comes with Serato DJ Lite, which you can then upgrade if you so desire.
The Beatmix 2 Mk2 is a little on the smaller side and has a layout that is optimized for the club, so it’s definitely ideal for performing shows or just playing at parties. Faders, knobs, and FX units are all available for your creative use and within easy reach. Each FX unit can be set to a different effect provided by iZotope within Serato DJ.
There are 16 color coded drum pads that provide multicolored feedback, which makes them really fun to play with. They can be used to trigger loops and samples, select loop lengths, and more. An especially neat feature of the Beatmix is the Serato sample control.
You can start and stop samples with the pad section and even employ Split Mode, triggering samples while searching for cue points. Super flat, sensitive jog wheels allow for an authentic vinyl feel while being extremely accurate.
Despite being on the smaller side, the Beatmix 2 Mk2 has an overall polished, durable build that will allow users to take it with them on the road or to the club.
|Image credit: Serato Check Price on Amazon
The Reloop Beatmix 2 Mk2 is a suitable choice for those who love to perform, with pads that allow for flexible sample editing and high quality FX from a renowned audio plugin company. The Beatmix 2 Mk2 is definitely worth checking out if the musician in you wants to try out making mixes.
4. Numark Mixtrack Pro FX – The Best 2 Channel DJ Controller for Compelling Mixes
The Mixdeck Pro FX is an incredible 2 channel DJ controller that offers a ton of value in a smaller package that will fit on your desk. A cousin to the similarly modeled Numark Mixtrack Platinum and the Numark Mixdeck Express, the Mixtrack Pro FX has an intuitive layout that exudes professionalism while making it easy for you to make your mixes sound just as professional.
The Mixtrack Pro FX comes mapped with Serato DJ and includes the Lite version so you can jump into mixing first and upgrade the software later. An introductory tutorial even helps you learn the basics of using Serato with the Mixtrack.
The biggest feature of the Pro FX are the paddle triggers. The paddle triggers can be connected to Serato’s effects, and effects buttons for reverb, echo, various filters, and more are also featured for making transitions, builds, and other creative mixing choices.
At 6 inches, the capacitive jog wheels on the Mixtrack Pro FX are quite large, so you get a fairly authentic vinyl feel while still being able to stay in control of your mix through the jog wheels and the textured platters. Another feature that will help you craft your mixes is the 16 backlit performance pads.
Pad mode buttons allow you to switch between functions, allowing you to access Hot Cues, employ the Auto Loop, and more. The Auto Loop function is especially useful when blending songs, and the Loop Multiplier buttons give you the ability to change the loop length to make compelling build-ups.
The overall design is sturdy and made from higher quality materials that will stand up against rugged use.
|Image credit: Numark Check Price on Amazon
The Numark Mixtrack Pro FX is an ideal 2 channel controller for those who like to use a lot of FX and want easy access to them. The extensive FX sections allow for easy creation of unique mixes. This DJ controller is versatile but made for performing, so both purist DJs and musicians alike will enjoy it.
5. Numark DJ2GO2 Touch – The Best Portable 2 Channel DJ Controller – $89
Yet another controller from Numark, the DJ2GO2 Touch is a 2 channel DJ controller that is perfect for on the go use. As its name suggests, portability is the focus here with an added advantage of having jog wheels with capacitive touch, making it a considerable upgrade from the previous model.
The DJ2GO2 is pre-mapped for and compatible with Serato DJ software and includes Serato DJ Lite with the ability to upgrade at a later time.
Fitting perfectly in your pocket, in front of your laptop, or in your bag, the DJ2GO2 Touch is perfect for taking with you wherever you go. Since this controller is so portable, it only makes sense that it is compatible with iOS and Android devices. The mini jog wheels work just like they do on big models – you can scratch the capacitive touch and nudge tracks with the side of the wheels.
Eight pads with four pad modes allow for editing of cue points, loop activation, and sample playback, so it doesn’t skimp on features even though it is pocket-sized. With a built-in soundcard, a crossfader, and pitch faders, it has everything that a traditional sized 2 channel DJ controller would have.
The DJ2GO2 Touch is powered by USB and is plug-and-play. A headphone output and the main output are available to help you stay connected when performing.
Because this controller is so small, it is portable, but it’s not super durable, so make sure to take extra care when transporting it.
|Image credit: Numark Check Price on Amazon
The Numark DJ2GO2 Touch is the perfect solution for on the go DJing. It’s also suitable as a backup or alternative controller, and would be great for small gigs or parties.
6. Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 – The Best DJ Controller for Advanced Use – $799
The Pioneer DDJ line has some powerful options, and the DDJ-800 is a 2 channel, 4 deck controller that’s good for more advanced use. The DDJ-800 features a more portable design while remaining very professional with some helpful features. The DDJ-800 is compatible with rekordbox dj and any operating system.
As per usual, the DDJ-800’s layout copies the layouts of more expensive models, giving a professional feel that makes upgrading easy. Featured on the large jog wheels are customizable Color LCD screens that show BPM, playback position, or Hot Cues and Loop points so you can keep track of your mix easily.
With rekordbox dj, a Feedback Reducer function is available, so if you’re mixing and get some microphone feedback, rekordbox will detect and reduce the resonant squealing or howling sound that feedback gives to ensure that your audio is clean.
Since the generous amount of inputs and outputs on the DDJ-800 allows you to connect various devices like turntables and media players, you can connect them to the DDJ-800 and tweak the EQ and faders to control them. You also have the ability to change sound from external sources when connected to the rekordbox dj software.
The overall design is very sleek and professional, and the unit itself is quite durable.
|Image credit: Pioneer Check Price on Amazon
While the price is a bit higher, if you’re experienced with DJ controllers already, the Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 is a great choice to go with if you want a more advanced controller with two channels. I would recommend the DDJ-800 to intermediate to advanced DJs.
What are the benefits of 2 channel DJ controllers?
Considering they are a more basic type of DJ controller with more limited functions than more advanced models, 2 channel DJ controllers have many benefits. Let’s take a look at those benefits.
- Great for any skill level: 2 channel DJ controllers make the perfect starter for learning how to DJ but are powerful enough for professionals to use. There are more limited controls for some models, while others are more advanced.
- Portable: Many 2 channel DJ controllers can be easily transported whether you’re performing a set as a touring DJ or going to jam with friends.
- The total package: For plenty of DJs, their 2 channel controller is all they need, as they find they don’t ever need to use more than 2 channels.
- Ideal for minimalistic DJs: If you’re not interested in using a lot of different pieces of gear like external tape decks or CDJs, a 2 channel DJ controller is perfect for keeping a very minimalistic DJ rig.
- Fairly cost effective: 2 channel DJ controllers are a lot cheaper than 4 channel DJ controllers, and since they’re good for beginners they’re pretty easy to sell if you end up wanting to get rid of yours. A lot of DJ and music retail websites offer free shipping, making it even more cost effective.
Can be used in music production too: 2 channel DJ controllers are very flexible and in many cases you can use them not only to make mixes of existing songs, but also actually produce music and use the knobs and buttons to trigger effects and samples.
What should you look for when buying a 2 channel DJ controller?
It’s important to know what you want and need before you actually start shopping for a 2 channel DJ controller. Being organized makes the process go a lot smoother, and it’s helpful to make a checklist of everything you want and need in a DJ controller before you start looking.
Here are some things you’ll want to look for and consider when buying a 2 channel DJ controller:
- Features: One of the most important things to look for when buying a 2 channel DJ controller are the features. Make sure that you’re picking a model that has all the capabilities and features that you want or need. While Bluetooth is slowly becoming a popular connectivity feature, most DJ controllers have physical inputs for microphones and other equipment, so don’t forget to make sure it’s compatible with your computer’s operating system and your other gear.
- Price: Of course, the price of a DJ controller will definitely play a big part in whether you buy it or find a different model. There are plenty of popular brands like Pioneer DJ and Reloop that have some budget models but also sell more expensive models. Don’t be fooled though; make sure to check out the list of features, because the price of a cheaper model may be all you need opposed to one that’s thousands of dollars.
- Size: The size of a controller is sometimes something that people forget to consider. When looking for a 2 channel DJ controller, make sure you either pick one that fits in your studio, on your desk, or in your DJ booth, in your bag, or be able to make space for whatever model you end up choosing. Naturally, smaller DJ controllers will be easier to transport and larger ones will be a bit more cumbersome, so take this in consideration if you like to play shows.
- Software: Certain models are more flexible, but for the most part, usually DJ controllers come preloaded with software, so you’ll want to make sure that the model you choose uses a DJing program that you’re okay with using if it doesn’t allow you to change the program you use.
- Additional MIDI-In Capabilities: If you’re also a musician or producer, you may want to use your own MIDI controller or keyboard to play along with the music or control other settings while you’re DJing. If this is the case, make sure to look for a 2 channel DJ controller that allows for external MIDI devices and controllers to be used with it.
- Portability: If you’re a performer, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a model that is portable. Smaller DJ controllers or controllers made out of especially durable material should be something you look for, as they’ll fit well in a bag and will stand up against getting bumped around. If you’re not planning on taking your 2 channel DJ controller with you to perform shows or make music outside of your home or studio, you won’t need to worry as much about portability, but it’s still extremely important to look for a model made with durable materials if you care about the longevity of your gear.
Is it harder to mix while using 2 channel DJ controllers?
Generally speaking, once you get the hang of things, it’s not difficult to mix while using 2 channel DJ controllers. The layout of the buttons and faders is made to be intuitive so that it’s easy for you to remember which buttons do what when you’re in the middle of a DJing set or a jam session without constantly having to look at the controller.
Most DJ controllers allow you to connect them to a computer where you can also mix from if you prefer to mix from a computer. Others can be used with MIDI devices, so you can use MIDI keyboards and other devices to control mixing functions while DJing too.
Are 2 channel DJ controllers better for beginners?
2 channel DJ controllers are great for beginners, and definitely better if you’re not especially tech savvy or familiar with how DJ controllers work. More advanced models can easily be overwhelming, especially to someone who is not yet experienced with how to use a DJ controller. However, 2 channel DJ controllers are simple enough to use if you’re just starting out but also provide a ton of tools for mixing and creating new music, so you won’t feel like it’s lacking. It’s likely that at some point you’ll want to upgrade from a 2 channel DJ controller once you’ve learned more, but until then, a 2 channel DJ controller is perfect for performing sets and DJing for fun.
2 channel DJ controllers are perfect for beginners but can also be a powerful tool for advanced users. They are usually pretty affordable and many DJs find they can use a 2 channel DJ controller for years without needing to upgrade. Whether you’re looking to create a minimalist setup or a large, advanced rig, there’s an option for you.
2 channel DJ controllers are very versatile and have many features that are great for both mixing existing songs and performing alongside music. With many benefits, they are a piece of DJing gear that rightfully belongs in your studio or DJ booth.
Right now, considering its price and features, the best 2 channel DJ controller on the market is definitely the Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3, but there are plenty of other fantastic models also available for purchase. If you’re in the market for a great 2 channel DJ controller, consider purchasing one of the models from this list or research the perfect one for you from one of the top brands featured here.
DJs, music producers, and even musicians looking to get into DJing will be more than satisfied with the 2 channel models available regardless of skill level.
For more of the latest information on the best DJing gear, be sure to check back soon with Consordini or take a look at our other articles.