A decent mixer is a vital piece of equipment if you’re a DJ. Although not exclusive to the genre, DJ mixers are used essentially with electronic music. If you love techno, hip-hop, house, or EDM, harmonious mixing is key to the DJ’s set.
If you are just beginning your DJing journey, a 2-channel mixer is the best choice. Understandably, you may feel it’s better to purchase a budget-friendly mixer initially. However, if you are certain DJing is not a fad, investing in a quality model like the Allen & Heath XONE:23 is wise.
It’s a great entry-level choice, thanks to its superior build and audio quality, despite its comparatively low price. Experienced DJs who want to cut out the extras and focus on the fundamentals while still having access to features that go beyond the basics will also appreciate this solid mixer.
It has a very useful 3-band total-kill EQ for removing unwanted frequencies from your mixes. And there are two more channels for connecting external effects processors when you want to get more creative.
Allen & Heath XONE:23
$401 $449 Save $48
The Allen & Heath XONE:23 mixer is a good choice for entry- to advanced-level DJs. Beginners can learn the basics, while there are enough features to experiment with more advanced techniques, especially if you start getting creative and add external effects processors. Sound and build quality are of the standards expected by Allen & Heath, while the price is also rather eye-catching for such a fantastic mixer.
- Mini Innofader crossfader compatible
- Small but rugged build can take plenty of abuse
- Versatile features
- Excellent value
- Superior sound quality
- Not the best choice for scratch DJs as the line faders are a little far apart
- No curves or reverses on line faders
- On the heavy side
The Gemini Sound MM1 is a solid and affordable start for newbies. Its 2-channel interface and crossfader allow you to master the necessary basics without the distractions of advanced settings and features.
The audio quality is good, and each channel has a 2-band equalizer to experiment with high and low sound adjustments during your mixes. Its dedicated cue function lets you preview your mixes, so you can ensure beats and basslines aren’t clashing.
The MM1 also features a crossfader reverse switch and adjustable curves, giving you a platform to venture into basic scratching if you have any turntablist aspirations.
Gemini Sound MM1
A great option that is affordable and suitable for beginners is the Gemini Sound MM1. It’s a simple, 2-channel mixer you can use with vinyl and CDJs to master the art of mixing. With its 2-band EQ on each channel, gain control, a sturdy crossfader, and a 1/4-inch mic input, you have everything you need to kickstart your new hobby.
- Lightweight and portable
- Reverse switch and adjustable curve
- Great learning platform
- Good sound quality
- Sturdy metal build
- 2-band equalizer
- No Built-in MIDI for DJ software
The Behringer DDM4000 has fantastic features for such a reasonably-priced machine. At first glance, the layout may be overwhelming for novices, and absolute beginners will feel comfortable with something more basic. However, given time, everything becomes apparent and easy to use.
The mixer has four phono/line channels and two mic inputs. It also boasts many advanced features, including a beat-synchronized sampler, four multi-FX sections, two BPM counters, a digital crossfader, and a MIDI controller.
You also get a 3-band EQ kill button on each side of the mixer and adjustable curve sensitivity on the crossfader, among countless other features that DJs can use to unlock creative possibilities.
A quality mid-range option is the DDM4000 from Behringer. This mixer is feature-packed and easy to use for one at such a good price point. You’ll have endless fun with beat-synchronized sampling and multi-FX sections, while you can also kill frequencies for smooth mixing. Beginners won’t struggle, either, and it’s easy to get the hang of.
- EQ kill switches
- Curve controls on faders
- Excellent crossfader features
- Can store settings for up to eight DJs
- Beat-synchronized samplers and multi-FX sections
Best DJ Mixer for Beginners: Numark M2
With over fifty years of experience, you can be sure that purchasing Numark equipment is a sound choice. If you’re a beginner seeking a reliable, robust, and simple mixer that doesn’t cost a small fortune, the Numark M2 is a safe bet.
Numark markets it as a 2-channel scratch mixer, but you can use this simple mixer for any style and genre. It’s an ideal choice for newbies as it pretty much does what it says; there is no steep learning curve, and you can basically plug and play.
Alternatively, if you are an old-school, two-turntables-and-a-microphone type, you can’t go wrong with this mixer, and 3-channel and 4-channel models are also available for the more experienced DJ.
Best for Beginners
$78 $119 Save $41
Beginners need a simple 2-channel mixer to start their DJ journey, and the Numark M2 is among the best. It’s a sturdy and reliable yet easy-to-use mixer that any budding mixmaster can quickly get to grips with. However, it’s also a good option for old-school DJs with a vinyl collection and a pair of turntables.
- Crossfader-reverse and slope controls
- Affordable and easy to use for novices
- 3-band EQ on each channel
- 1/4-inch mic input
- Needs a separate MIDI controller for DJ software
For professionals and advanced hobbyists looking to take things to the next level, the Allen & Heath XONE:96 is the one to get. This beast is a six-plus-two-channel mixer with two four-band return channels for connecting external effects processors and two return channels with gain and cue for monitoring them.
The mixer’s built-in audio interface is cutting-edge. It is Traktor Scratch-certified, and you can use it with most computers or laptops without the need for additional drivers. Additionally, the high-gain phono preamps and soft-switching analog circuitry boosts the signal and reduces noise and distortion from analog sources. You can also manipulate the audio output using the dual VCFs with crunch distortion for extra grit and texture.
Allen & Heath XONE:96
Best for Pros
If you’re a professional DJ, you’re sure to know about the Allen & Heath XONE:96. This mixer is also an excellent choice for advanced bedroom DJs or even confident intermediates who have patience and enjoy a learning curve. It’s a feature-packed, premium-priced piece of machinery that will have you pushing boundaries with digital and analog audio sources.
- Ideal for DJing duos using multiple audio sources
- Dual USB ports allow the connection of two laptops
- 4-Band EQ
- Innofader crossfader
- Vinyl audio quality is pristine
- No onboard FX
- Overwhelming for beginners
Q: What do mixers do for DJs?
A mixer is a tool for DJs to mix music. They can range from basic 2-channel mixers to advanced multi-channel feature-laden monsters for experienced DJs. A basic mixer allows the DJ to hear two tunes together in their headphones. Additionally, simple cue functions help them to sample what their layered tunes sound like before mixing it live.
When mixing electronic music, a mixer helps the DJ blend tunes harmoniously. This is achieved through physical controls like volume adjustment, EQ control, and crossfaders, creating cohesive and energetic mixes. All the while, the DJ can adjust the tempos of individual tracks at the source for synchronized mixing.
DJs using advanced mixers with digital audio sources can synchronize beats at the touch of a button, set loops, and add effects and samples.
Q: What’s the difference between a DJ mixer and a DJ controller?
A DJ mixer is a piece of hardware that DJs use for mixing music from different audio sources. These sources can include DJ turntables, CDJs, synthesizers, keyboards, external effects processors, and microphones.
DJ controllers are designed to control DJ software on a laptop or PC. They offer features such as jog wheels for scratching and cueing and performance pads for triggering hot cues, samples, and loops, among many other features.
You can also integrate a DJ controller with a DJ mixer. However, if you are a beginner, you should choose either a DJ mixer or a controller first. Your decision will likely hinge on whether you have a music collection in analog or digital formats. If you have a lot of vinyl records and CDs, you should opt for the DJ mixer. If it’s thousands of MP3s you own, your best option is a DJ controller.
Q: Do I need a mixer to start DJing?
If your music collection is in digital format, you can mix tunes on your laptop or PC with basic DJ software. The truth is, you can mix your MP3s using software without even needing a DJ controller. You can even download apps for basic DJing on your smartphone. However, a controller is way more fun, and you can open the door to so many creative possibilities with one.
If your music collection consists of vinyl and CDs, you’ll need a mixer to get going. You also shouldn’t forget a quality set of DJ headphones for the best start to your DJing adventure.
Q: Can a DJ play and mix any song?
In theory, a DJ can play and mix any song. However, in practice, it’s not as simple as that. For one, trying to mix music created from traditional instruments can take some practice. Bands that use guitars, keyboards, and drum kits can have variations in tempo. Digital music genres like house, hip-hop, and techno usually feature a consistent, precise rhythm, which can be synchronized and layered together much more easily. Therefore, the mixing styles between genres using traditional instruments and electronic music can vary considerably.
However, when mixing electronic music, you also need to consider the BPM (beats per minute). Tunes that play at 160BPM, such as drum and bass, won’t mix easily with a 120BPM house tune. However, it’s fun to experiment, and sometimes, you can come up with something that works well, such as playing a 160BPM drum and bass track on top of an 80BPM hip-hop tune.