September 27, 2019
From basic units for your iPhone through analogue-specific rotary mixers all the way to high-tech four-channel consoles designed for the digital age, when it comes to DJ mixers the choice is vast.
This decade they seem to have set off in two different directions: down the pragmatic road where the products are functional and deliver high-fidelity sound or the more complicated, but visually stunning consoles that emphasise features like onboard effects, filters, digital connectivity, LCD displays, and BPM counters.
It appears that laptop set-ups can take precedence over CDJs in some clubs. Whatever choosing the correct mixer for you is definitely becoming increasingly more involved.
As you may have noticed DJ equipment tends to be expensive, but if you need to save, the mixer is the place to do it.
Entry-level mixers as long as they have the minimum of necessary features is good enough to master the basics and should keep you in operation for at least six to 12 months before you need to develop.
To make an educated stab at choosing the DJ mixer for you need to grasp the key features to consider. These include:
- The number of channels, which decides how many sound sources it’s possible to mix. The minimum is one channel for each of your decks.
- The number of inputs. It’s possible for a mixer to have just two channels but four inputs because each channel has a switch telling it from which of the inputs the signal should be grabbed. This means that with a 2-channel mixer, it is possible to have a turntable and a CD deck on the mixer’s either side and to switch between them as required.
- Channel EQs that let the DJ adjust the channel’s frequency band levels.
- Level meters which are LED strips that bounce to the track’s beat and shows the volume. It’s essential to have a level meter for the mixer’s main output and having separate meters for each channel is even better.
- Gain controls that set the mixer’s channels’ overall levels. It is a good idea to have a separate Gain knob for each channel.
- Mixer outputs which include a master output, a recording output, a monitor output as well as a headphone jack. Having just the master output and a headphone jack is the bare minimum and is present in all mixers.
- BPM counters that automatically detect a track’s tempo as it is played through a specific channel. This can be helpful when the DJ wants to beat match. There are mid- and high-range mixers that let a DJ transform the sound with numerous other effects. These frequently come with a built-in sampler.