This is a buying guide for anyone interested in a dj controller for Serato.
In this guide I’ll talk about the the two levels of Serato software, then the different hardware options. First let’s look at the two types of Serato software you can get and the differences between them.
Serato DJ Lite VS Pro
Serato DJ Lite, formerly known as Serato DJ Intro, is the beginner version of the software. DJ Lite is free and offers a
limited simplified layout that makes it easy to learn. Only designated Serato DJ Lite controllers work with lite as there are no midi mapping options.
If you have Pro you can get the following expansion packs for an additional fee:
- Serato Flip
- Serato Video
- Serato DVS
- Serato P’NT DJ
- Serato FX
- Serato Remote
Serato DJ Lite Controllers
Now let’s dive into the actual controllers and what features to look for.
DJ Lite controllers are great mid market controllers and good for learning the basics of djing. If you’re interested in cheap controllers you’ll be sacrificing essential components like the audio interface.
All Serato controllers come with a built in audio interface. This allow you to plug headphones in and hear the second deck without playing it on the main audio output. You can also connect speakers directly to the controller.
Numark DJ2GO2 – Compact
This is the least expensive Serato Lite controller. It is a compact controller with an emphasis on portability. A con of the small layout is you give up equalizers, effects, and channel volume sliders.
Numark Party Mix
Around the same price is the Numark Party Mix. This comes in around $100 and checks off most of the features you need to dj. There’s even an LED light show on the back. Don’t expect too much and you won’t be let down by the lighting. Missing are mid level eq knob and effects knob.
Pioneer DDJ SB3 – Editor’s Choice
The previous two dropped some hardware functionality for their low price. The recently released Pioneer DDJ SB3 fills that gap by adding:
- Effect controls
- High/Low pass filter
- 3 band equalizer
- Scratch effects and transitions
There are some additional controllers to consider in this category which I’ll briefly mention:
Numark Mixtrack Platinum has a really nice display in the jog wheels.
Gemini Slate 4 – Has 4 channel sliders
Serato DJ Pro Controllers
These controllers are more expensive and geared towards DJ professionals. The most obvious advantage of getting a Serato Pro DJ controller is you unlock the full version of Serato Pro.
You’ll also be getting more more capable hardware. These features will vary by model, but here’s a quick list of what to look for:
- Input and output options (xlr, ¼, booth, Dual USB Ports)
- Better hardware control of effects parameters
- Expansion packs may be included
So let’s dive into our top picks in this category!
Numark NVII – Best Value
The Numark is the best value Serato DJ Pro controller. You get a really cool dual display, 4 channel mixer at an attractive price point.
I’m still fond of this controller as the ns7 first generation was my first dj controller! This is the ONLY controller with motorized jog wheels which simulate real turntables. Be warned, to make all of this happen you pay a price in weight. Hauling this to gigs in a case can be 80 pounds for the controller (31 lbs) and case (50 lbs).
Pioneer DDJ SX3 – Editor’s Choice
This is the newest version of the popular SX series. It features pressure sensitive performance pads, 3 mic inputs, and effects on top of the mic channel. It also includes two Serato expansion packs (Serato Flip and Serato Pitch ‘n Time) adding $58 of value.
Still need help deciding?
Visit the DJ Controller page of DJ Sort.com and sort by 30 different features!