What is The Difference Between a DJ Controller and Mixer?

We get asked every day: Are There Any Differences Between DJ Controllers and Mixers?

We answer keeping all endeavors in mind. 

We say DJ Controllers vs Mixers aren’t the same. Don’t let them tell you any different. However yes, they do have somewhat collaborating work to do for you. 

DJ controllers are all those fancy turntables, buttons, equalizing keys, joysticks kind of controls, and CDs if need be. In short, it’s the one package DJs can survive on whereas DJ mixers can be referred to as the new add-ons that make the Dj's job all the easier and undoubtedly better than traditional DJing methods. They can be called the ultimate dedicated mixing suite. What does that mean?

It means that mixers will only be taking inputs from record decks, CDJs or an external sound card attached to a laptop that runs the software to help with transitions, overlapping of songs, synchronization of voice-overs and sounds, and all that “mixing” brings to your mind. To run the best music mixer software, a unique combination of controllers and mixers is required. Despite being different, together the A-team of a DJ Mixer-Controller helps put up a hit show!

Different between a dj controllers vs mixers- hollywooddj

The prime difference between the DJ controller and the mixer is that the latter, mixer aids the interplay of all sounds, simultaneously. It mixes together varying genres to create a harmonized music mix for example if we play with musical instruments, they will be plugged into the mixer module and it will in turn act as the main controller. The sound levels will be set on the mixer which will eventually be controlled by the Dj controller via a connector. The mixer allows us to plug in various musical instruments and mix all of them together (e.g DJ, guitars, violin, drums, keyboard, Mic, etc).

On the contrary, a DJ controller serves to control the mixing of music from DJ software like Traktor, Serato, etc. The DJ controller activates various loops, tracks, FX, and various sounds and clips. There are some controllers available which mix music using thumb drives and CDs. 

Another major difference between a DJ controller and a Mixer is that a mixer is versatile and gives the opportunity to the DJ to mix music from various formats. The mixer receives the audio signal allowing the DJ to mix between tracks and the turntable allows to adjust the pitch of the track. By getting control of effects, EQ, and channel levels, the DJ can easily mix music together. The mixer also has channels into which DJ can connect CDJs, beat pads, drums, guitar FX units, vinyl turntables, and DJ samplers. 

Some basics that set them apart are:

Difference between DJ Controller vs Mixer

DJ Controller

DJ Mixer

A DJ controller serves as an all-in-one device that contains two turntables and a mixer built on purpose to connect with the laptop that contains DJ software.

DJ mixer is a hardware device that does not necessarily rely on a laptop and DJ software for playing music. It helps to mix all the sounds. It requires CDJ, speakers, music instruments, and turntables to plug into each channel which will help the DJ to mix the music.

DJ controller contains 2 turntable jog wheels, 2 to 4 channels, EQ knobs, Effects pad control, digital display, crossfader, and DJ software.

DJ mixer normally contains 2 or 4 channels, EQ knobs, crossfader, channel effects control buttons, master effects control buttons.

Contains turntable jog wheels

Do not contain turntable jog wheels and need a separate turntable device connection for mixing music.

A DJ controller has a USB connection, a phone/ line input, a master out, and a microphone input

A mixer has a USB connection, microphone input, phone/line input, master out, headphone output, MIDI output, AC mains, and earth ground terminals.

Now, the question arises, do DJs always need a mixer with a controller?

Well, together they both are a winning combination however it depends on the kind of DJ endeavor you have. To better understand which musical equipment is your best bet, you must understand the nature of the two products!

DJ Controller Vs. Mixer

The world of DJ equipment is evolving every passing day with tons of variations in equipment that it becomes difficult to make a choice.

The war between a DJ controller Vs DJ Mixer is a hard one, together nonetheless they both make a victorious team. It is always better to use a mixer with a controller for better sound control and quality. When we use a DJ controller together with the mixer, the mixer will mix all the sound levels together and then the DJ controller will become the master volume controller for all the sounds.

For example, in a concert, the drummer and DJ can pair up and use a mixer to blow the party away. How? By plugging the drums with the mixer to create necessary variations, implying a smooth transition. On each channel of the mixer, DJs can set the volumes, adjust pitch and see what seems to be a better fit for the kind of auditorium, number of audiences, and space that need to be covered. It won't feel appealing to the listener if the volume of the drums or guitars is rather overshadowing the other musical instruments being played or if someone narrating a story at an event is hard to hear over the background music.

difference between dj controllers and mixers- hollywooddj

To save everyone from the hassle, a mixer is always a good investment. Also because DJs can control the frequency of the sound in an occurrence using the master volume on the DJ controller. This way, both the song and the drums, or even the narration can be controlled individually yet play synchronously without disrupting either of the sounds or their flow.

Speaking of synchronization and harmony, the best kind of DJs can control all aspects of sounds at an event. Needless to say, this requires talent, However, talent is almost every time under-delivered or underexpressed when the right equipment isn’t paired with it. To translate DJ talent into flawless sound and haptics at an event, Djs need equipment to replicate the feel of traditional turntables, mixers, and CDJs, or a modern pad device designed for sample triggering and effects manipulation. New and improved controllers can do all of that. We have a list of the best DJ controllers available in the market at present, which you won't regret investing in this year!


Best DJ Controllers for 2021

Best DJ Mixers for 2021

We insist that you adhere to these key takeaways from us:

  1. A DJ Controller can function without the use of a mixer.
  2. A DJ controller can act as a mixer.
  3. A mixer can support extra music equipment such as microphones to function with a DJ Controller.

Independent yet a great team together, investing in them at the same time can help achieve music milestones.

What else?

Music transitions are making worldwide news. If you have a Tomorrowland kind of dream, we suggest you invest wisely.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published