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First ever DJ mixer called “Rosie” was created by the sound engineer Alex Rosner in 1971 for his friend Francis Grasso, who was a famous New York disco DJ at the time. Its design was improved upon over the years, and mixers eventually morphed into the complex machines we see today.
If you are in the market for the best DJ mixer, there are some features you need to look for before you buy one. These features include the number of channels, inputs, and outputs, as it’s always better to have more versatility when you are trying to create the perfect mix. The dimensions and the weight of the mixer are also critical, especially if you’re going to be taking it with you to various locations to DJ and if the area you’ll be using it on only has limited space. We looked at more than 40 different mixers and came up with the 7 top picks, where the BEHRINGER XENYX X1222USB just tops them all.
More features: comes with XENYX Mic Preamps Compressors, British EQs, 24-Bit Multi-FX Processor
This Behringer mixer is a premium quality high headroom analog mixer that is the perfect addition to any professional setup. It has tons of features to give you the sound quality you want for any type of function.
These features include four phantom-powered Xenyx Mic Preamps, four studio-grade compressors with an easy-to-use one-knob function, and a new-classic British three-band EQ.
A built-in USB interface allows you to connect this mixer right to your computer. Not only does this let you to play the music you have stored on there, but you can also record, edit, and create podcasts using the free software included with the mixer, though you need to download it from the Behringer website.
Another great feature is the 24-bit dual engine FX processor, which comes with 16 studio-grade presets, including reverb, delay, chorus, pitch shifter, and multi-effects, all of which you can alter to suit the music you’re playing or making. There are also time-based functions you can enter manually while recording, pressing the Tap button as you see fit.
For those who love karaoke, there is a voice canceller function to mute the voices on the track so you can sing it yourself. There is also an FBQ feedback Detection System, XPQ 3D stereo surround sound effect, and a seven-band stereo graphic EQ. This mixer also has rack mount brackets and is made of high-quality components so it will last for years.
What do we love it for?
FX processor with editable presets
Recording and editing software included
Decent sound quality
Easy to use, even for beginners
What were we disappointed with?
The multi-track output only works with the left and right outputs
More features: pan, aux, and eff controls on all channels; sealed rotary control knobs
The Audio2000’s AMX7303 is a professional audio mixer. It has four channels, all of which use three-band EQ for excellent, great musical sound quality. There is a built-in DSP (Digital Signal Proceeding) processor. This allows the mixer to take real-world signals, such as audio and voice, and convert them to a digital signal. These signals are processed, saved, and then sent back in analog form for playback.
This mixer has two microphone inputs and a stereo line input to be used with whatever music format needed. There is also a USB input that allows you to link the mixer to your laptop to play your set list, though there is no output for this. This means you can’t use the USB for recording, though you can achieve this using analog cables if recording is on the agenda.
All the channels have controls for peak, pan, auxiliary, and effect, so you can set each one separately for the best results. All the rotary knobs for these functions and everything else is sealed to keep out dust and dirt. There is also a separate button to turn on and off the phantom power as you need it.
Though it has a sturdy steel chassis that resists damage and keeps the internal components safe, this mixer is still quite light, so you won’t strain your back when carrying it to multiple gigs.
Outputs: 2 x stereo + phones + monitor + AUX (FX) SEND
USB computer connection: no
Dimensions: 9.6 x 2.8 x 11.6 inches
Weight: 4.1 lbs.
More features: studio-grade discrete class-A D-PRE preamps with inverted Darlington circuit
The Yamaha MG10 is a 10-channel standalone mixer that may lack some of the frills of other models but is still a great addition to any sound system. It has a durable metal exterior with a powder coating to keep it looking great, plus it resists impacts, which is essential for those who need it for travel engagements.
There is a D-Pre preamp that has an inverted Darlington circuit. This helps create those fat bass sounds and smooth highs that soar. The quality op-amp gives your mix the transparent and articulate sound every time.
On all three mono channels, there is three-band EQ to give you the maximum amount of control so you can create the perfect mix. Plus, there are high-pass filters to get rid of the nasty low-frequency noise, so your mix will be as smooth and clean as possible.
Another benefit of the MG10 mixer is the one-knob compressors. This lets you alter the dynamics of almost any audio signal quickly and easily. The result is cleaner vocals, lively guitars, and tighter snare sounds, all with the simple turn of a knob.
Other handy features worth noting are the pad switch on the mono inputs, the XLR balanced outputs, the switchable phantom power, and the LED metering. Whether doing your mixes at home or on the road, this compact and lightweight mixer has almost everything you need.
More features: onboard SPX digital effects; three-band EQ and high-pass filters; one-knob compressors
Even if your new mixer doesn’t cost you a whole lot, you are going to want it to last, especially if you’re taking it on the road with you. The MG06X from Yamaha is a mixer that lasts, with a metal chassis that is powder-coated and impact-resistant. It also has a contoured design that keeps the internal components away from the power supply to reduce noise and keep everything cool.
A Discrete Class-A Mic Preamp has a wide frequency range that can handle the signals of any audio source while still giving you natural sounds with almost no distortion.
There are three-band EQs on all of the mono channels, which gives you optimal control of your sound at all times. There is also a high-pass filter which allows you to get rid of that low-frequency noise, so instead, you have a cleaner mix with a smooth sound.
Other handy features include the one-knob compressors for easy control and a high-quality sound Op-amp to increase your sound quality. There are also built-in SPX digital effects to enhance your mix as needed. This means that no matter what type of engagement you’re booked for, you can create the right effects for the sound you need. It can add depth to your voice when speaking, or give your live performances a bit of color and atmosphere for a memorable show.
More features: scratch mixer; three-band EQ and gain on each channel
The Numark M2 Black mixer has a simple setup that beginners will have no trouble learning to use properly, but also has everything a pro DJ needs to keep everyone dancing all night long.
First, there are two channels, both of which have a three-band EQ, as well as a crossfader-reverse and some slope controls to allow adjustments to the gradient of the gain.
Two switchable phono/line outputs can be used with turntables or CD players, plus two more line outputs to hook up to multiple sound sources at the same time. There is also a mic input with its EQ and gain, so you can set it the way you need without interfering with any of your other settings.
There is a headphone output as well, so you can cue up the next song and have it all ready long before the current one is over. And the jack for it is located in the front, so you won’t have to stretch the cord around or risk it getting in your way. The RCA record output lets you make a copy of your mix as you create it while the Master output keeps everyone on the dance floor. For beginners, there is a Quickstart Guide included so that you can jump right in as soon as possible.
What makes it stand out?
Simple and easy to use layout
Extremely low price
Great for beginners
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Crossfader may leak the audio
The mixer has a slight hum when using medium to high output levels
More features: ultra-low noise, high headroom; phantom powered XENYX Mic Preamp
Not every DJ can afford a high-end mixer, especially if performing smaller gigs. The Behringer Xenyx 502 is excellent for these solo artists who need a simple mixer that won’t cost more than their gig is paying.
This little mixer is lightweight and compact, so you can take it with you anywhere you need to go. It has five inputs, one for a mic and two for stereo. There is also a two-track with CD/tape player inputs and both headphone and main mix outputs, so you can organize it as needed for your recording. The two-band British EQ adds warmth to your sound.
This little mixer also boasts phantom-powered Xenyx Mic Preamp, but this is a bit misleading. This is because it is only a 15V preamp, and standard phantom power uses 48V. So, this won’t support most condenser mics that need the higher voltage.
Another issue with this mixer is the power cord, which is a bit delicate and loose in the power receptacle. If you move the mixer while it’s plugged in, there is a chance that it could unplug. There is also no on/off switch on the mixer but plugging it into a power bar with one can fix this issue. Some users also find the LED lights a bit bright, though covering these lights with a piece of tape is also an easy remedy.
More features: ReadyFX effects engine with 16 effects including reverbs, delays, and choruses
Like many other Mackie products, this one has their “Built-Like-A-Tank” design, using steel for the chassis and adding some ABS side protection for extra durability. But how it’s built is only the beginning.
The ProFX4v2 has amazing components that give you professional sound, even in an amateur setting. It has two low-noise Mackie Vita mic preamps, which use dual feedback stabilization and bias current optimization to keep your sound free of static or unwanted humming.
There are five-band graphic EQs on the mains and monitors, plus two-band EQs on all the channels. All of the mic channels also have phantom power so that you can use condenser mics without any issue. This mixer also includes stereo RCA tape inputs and output, as well as a headphone output with its own level control.
For those who like unusual sounding, this mixer has Mackie’s brand new ReadyFX effects engine. This allows you to add in great sounds like reverbs, choruses, or delays to enhance your music.
Another handy feature included in this mixer is the Hi-Z input, which lets you hook up guitars and other instruments directly to the machine. This makes this a great addition to your band gear as well as your DJ equipment. Plus it is compact and lightweight, so it won’t take up too much space or weigh you down during your travels.
Why did it make our list?
Professional quality sound
48V phantom power on all mic channels
Steel chassis with ABS side protection
What is not ideal about it?
No USB for recording or playback
Things to Consider
There are a lot of great DJ mixers out there, as the reviews above have shown. If you’re in the market for one, there are a few things you should know about them before you spend your hard-earned money on one. This way, you’ll be able to choose the right mixer for your specific purpose.
What is a DJ mixer?
A DJ mixer is a type of console that allows a DJ to control multiple audio signals at once, manipulating them to meet their needs in the process. When used at a dance club, this means making a seamless transition from one song to the next on the playlist. For hip hop DJs, the mixer lets them use record players like it is a musical instrument, creating new sounds, such as loops, beats, or scratching effects.
Other types of DJs use a DJ mixer to create smooth transitions between different sound recordings while they are playing. These sources can include record turntables, CDs, compact cassettes, and even DJ software on a laptop that has been hooked up to the mixer. Many mixers include headphones, which allow the DJ to find the next song while the current one is still playing. Most mixers also have at least one mic input, so the DJ can talk to his audience or hand the mic over to a singer during karaoke. They also have a few inputs to hook up to turntables or CD players as needed.
Features to consider before buying a DJ mixer
When you buy a new DJ mixer, there a few features you’ll likely want to look for. The following details are a right place to start.
Number of channels
The purpose of the channels is to create a signal path between the mixer and whatever is being plugged into it. This can include microphones or line-level devices like preamps, amplifiers, or other types of signal processors. Some mixers, like the Numark M2 Black, have only two channels, while the Behringer Xenyx X1222USB has 16. For most DJs, two-four channels are acceptable, but the more you need to plug in, the more channels your mixer should have. If you need to add mics into the mix, you’ll need channels that work with them as well.
Inputs and outputs
The input on a mixer is where the sound source is connected. There are a couple types of inputs: some meant for mics while others are line inputs, which are used to connect the sound system, like a turntable, CD or tape player. If you’re using your mixer for a band rather than DJ gigs, you could also plug in guitars, keyboards, and other instruments in there for shows or recording purposes.
After connecting all of these devices through the input, you need somewhere for the music to go. This is where the outputs come in. They allow you to connect amplifiers or speakers to the mixer, so those in the audience can hear the music you’re playing.
There are a variety of controls on a mixer, which can look a bit confusing to those who are using a DJ mixer for the first time. Of course, once you know what all of these controls are for, using them will become like second nature.
The Gain controls how sensitive the channel is to the sound coming through it. For instance, a microphone with a low-level signal will likely need a high gain level. A signal with a higher input, like a CD player, will need minimal gain if any at all.
Equalization, or EQ, lets you adjust the sound’s tonal quality. These usually have three controls for high, middle, and low frequency, though some models, like the Yamaha MG06X use only low and high.
Auxiliaries are used for extra routing of sound to your external devices. One way to use this is to route a microphone signal to an external reverb unit or a recorder. The Auxiliary controls on the mixer let you create a separate mix without altering the main output.
A Fader controls the volume of sound coming out of the output. If you lower the fader to the bottom, there is no sound coming out, and as you raise it, the sound level increases. A crossfader is used with two external devices, so you can cue up a song, then use the crossfader to go from one channel to the other, all without a break in the music.
USB computer connection availability
Though not every DJ needs a USB connection, they can come in handy for those who like to store their music on a laptop. The USB connection allows you to plug your laptop into the mixer and play the music the same way you would with a turntable or CD player. You can also make playlists if you like, and just run the program if needed.
Some mixers also have a USB output as well, which is more for those using their mixers for recording purposes. These models, like the Behringer Xenyx X1222USB, let you send your mixes to your computer. Then, you can use editing software to alter or clean up the sound as you see fit.
Weight and dimensions
The weight and dimensions of your mixer are much more important than you may realize, for a few reasons. When it comes to the weight, the heavier the mixer is, the harder it will be to take it with you when you’re traveling. For instance, if you do varying gigs, like weddings, dances, parties, etc., you’ll need to carry that mixer inside and up onto the stage with you, and then back out again at the end of the night.
The weight also matters when it comes to the surface you’re placing it on. If you’re putting your mixer on a sturdy, heavy table, desk, or counter, they should be able to support the heavier models. Settings that aren’t as sturdy should be avoided, just in case, but if you have to use one, a lighter mixer is a better choice.
As for the dimensions, the mixer has to fit in the space you have for it, so measuring this area first is essential before you buy. The more channels a mixer has, the longer it will be, so you should also check out how many channels and inputs you need to choose the right one when it’s time to go shopping.
Some mixers, like the Mackie PROFX4V2, come with some special effects to enhance your sound. Some of the classic effects are the reverb, which is mostly used to make vocals sound better through a microphone, and delays or echoes for making those bass lines and vocals last a bit longer. A great DJ can work these into his mixes like magic.
Phantom power is another extra you can find on a few of the mixers we’ve reviewed above. The main purpose of phantom power is to support the use of a condenser mic, which requires a power supply of 48 volts.
Most DJ mixers have preamplifiers. The phono preamps are used to hook up turntables since the signal coming from a turntable is a bit weaker than that of other types of sound systems. The preamp boosts the signal from the turntable. There are also microphone preamps, which help increase the vocals of the person doing the singing or speaking through the mic.
The larger mixers usually run on AC power, so you can plug them directly into the wall. Some of the smaller mixers can also be powered using batteries if necessary, which makes it easier to use them in an outdoor setting. This would reduce the number of cables you need running across your stage.
DJ mixer or controller – which to choose?
A DJ mixer is a more traditional piece of equipment. It is used by DJs in the house, disco, electronic, and other dance-oriented genres to create smooth transitions between recordings while they are playing their music. Mixers are made of metal and built high enough to match the height of the turntable or CD player being used with it. Mixers have inputs to link them to those turntables, CDs, or laptops.
A DJ controller is more of a stand-alone unit. It has numerous knobs, jog wheels, faders, pads, and many other components that allow the DJ hands-on control over all the settings and functions of the software. Some controllers include two players and a mixer section, while others only have one player, and the mixer needs to be purchased separately. A controller does much of what a mixer will do, but it also has built-in playback tools, eliminating the need for other turntables, CDs, and players.
Some of the DJ mixers we’ve reviewed, like the Audio2000’s AMX7303, allow you to plug an electric guitar into the mixer directly. This way, you can play and sing at the same time for practicing, recording, or just putting on a show. Plus, you don’t need a bunch of extra equipment.
You don’t need to connect your mixer to a PC or laptop unless you want to. The USB input allows you to access your playlist on your computer so you can add it to the songs you’re playing for your audience. A USB output lets you record your mixes onto your computer so you can edit and save them. These are not features everyone needs, but they are handy to have.
Scratching is the term used by DJs, which refers to the technique of moving a vinyl record back and forth while it’s on the turntable. This creates certain percussive and rhythmic sounds. A DJ may also use a crossfader during this process to go between two records at the same time. The Numark M2 Black allows you to do this, so long as you are connected to one or two turntables.
With so many DJ mixers out there, it may be hard to figure out which one is the best one for your specific purposes. But we’ve found a few that could enhance any DJs performance, no matter what type music he’s planning on playing. Out of our seven best DJ mixers, we’ve even chosen the three top models to recommend to you.
Our number one mixer is the Behringer Xenyx X1222USB. This mixer has everything you could possibly want, including the Ready FX effects, the Hi-Z input for use with your favorite musical instruments, and the low-noise mic preamps, all in a durable frame.
The Audio2000s AMX7303 comes in second place. It has 4 channels, compressors with an easy-to-use one-knob function, a USB/Audio interface for both playback and recording, and a handy voice canceller for those who love a bit of karaoke.
In third place is the Yamaha MG10. This model also has a ton of great features, like the USB input for playback, phantom power with its own on/off switch, a built-in DSP processor, and those sealed rotary knobs to keep the whole mixer clean and in excellent working order.