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The 5 Best DJ Mixers

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DJ Using The Best DJ Mixer

If you’re in a hurry and want to find out what the best DJ mixer is, we recommend the Pioneer DJ DJM-S9.

DJ mixers are the centerpiece of DJ set-ups.

Without one, DJs can’t mix and manipulate tracks.

So, since they’re so important, we thought we’d assemble a list of the best DJ mixers on the market, in no particular order, based on thousands of reviews, user feedback, and our own unbiased opinion.

We’ve included the biggest brands in the game, like Pioneer, Native Instruments, Rane, and Allen & Heath, and presented you with our favorites.

So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

The DJ mixers we’ll be reviewing are:

  1. Pioneer DJ DJM-S9
  2. Pioneer DJ DJM-900NXS2
  3. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2
  4. Rane Seventy-Two MKII
  5. Allen & Heath Xone:23

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The 5 Best DJ Mixers In 2021

1. Pioneer DJ DJM-S9

Pioneer DJ DJM-S9 DJ Mixer

(Image Credit: Pioneer)

Why Buy This?

Pioneer DJ is one of, if not, the leading manufacturer of professional DJ equipment.

The DJM-S9 is Pioneer DJ’s first two-channel battle mixer for Serato DJ Pro.

For example, the magnetic Magvel crossfader is like butter and comes with three shock-absorbing bumpers in three different materials to choose your preferred level of rebound.

The 16 multi-color touchpads provide fingertip access to hot cues, loops, rolls, and slices, and you can map out functions from Serato DJ Pro and designate specific colors to them across all 16 pads.

On top of the improvements to the crossfader and touchpads, Pioneer DJ also included six customizable FX buttons on each side of the mixer, plus two style levers in the middle.

This means that you can map all your favorite effects from Serato DJ Pro straight from the mixer and turn them on and off easily within the blink of an eye.

Aside from that, the DJM-S9 also acts as a separate MIDI controller and includes two built-in sound cards and DVS support, allowing you to play with other DJs seamlessly.

Why We Like It

It’s easy to set-up from get-go, and the multi-color performance pads are perfectly positioned to add FX.

Aesthetically, it’s the best-looking mixer on the market right now, in our opinion, and when you combine all the filters, pads, and FX, you can pretty much do whatever you want with it.

Highlights

  • Magvel Fader Pro
  • 16 Customizable Multi-Color Touchpads
  • Fully Assignable MIDI Controls
  • 2-Built-In USB Sound Cards
  • 8 Customizable FX Buttons

Watch It In Action

 

 

2. Pioneer DJ DJM-900NXS2

Pioneer DJ DJM-900NXS2 DJ Mixer

(Image Credit: Pioneer)

Why Buy This?

The DJM-900NXS2 features a 64-bit mixing processor that uses enhanced dithering technology and a low-jitter clock to produce a high-quality, warm, nuanced sound.

Its pre-amp and output circuits reduce analog noise dramatically. The six studio-quality sound FX – Sweep, Filter Crush, Dub Echo, Noise and Space, are accessible on every channel and fine-tuned using the parameter knob.

Pioneer DJ has also included 14 different types of Beat FX, which can be accessed by using the large X-Pad, and included a high-resolution digital OLED display to show you precisely what FX you’re using at the time.

And, if you’ve got some external FX that you’d like to use in conjunction with the built-in ones in the mixer, then thanks to independent send/return auxiliary inputs, you can connect external FX units as well.

The mixer features two USB ports and a top-loaded A/B switcher, meaning you can hook up two laptops simultaneously, and the built-in USB sound card allows you to connect the mixer to your computer with ease.

Once connected, you’re greeted with the settings utility tool, which lets you configure the mixer and soundcard to your specifications.

Why We Like It

The sound quality is a lot better than the old 900NXS, and the mixer feels like it’s built to last.

It works well with Serato DJ Pro, and if you’re going to be using it alongside another DJ, the dual USB inputs make setting up and swapping over simple for both.

It’s also easy to see why it’s often referred to as the “club standard.”

Highlights

  • 64-Bit Digital Signal Processor
  • 6 Studio-Quality Sound Color FX
  • 14 Beat FX – High-Res OLED Display
  • Built-In USB Sound Card
  • Fully Assignable MIDI Controller

Watch It In Action

 

 

3. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2 DJ Mixer

Why Buy This?

Native Instruments have drawn inspiration from their line of TRAKTOR DJ controllers and created the world’s first 2+2 DJ control mixer.

The Traktor Kontrol Z2 has been built with versatility in mind. It can be used as a state-of-the-art club mixer with CDJs or turntables or as the centerpiece of an advanced set-up of remix decks and controllers.

Macro FX and Flux Mode, included in the latest Traktor Scratch Pro 2 software, expand creative opportunity and offer an extensive FX amount to use in your DJ sets.

The mixer is set in an air-craft grade heavy-aluminum chassis, which houses eight backlit RGB control buttons, innofaders, knobs, filters, and that all-important crossfader.

The control surface is spacious and comes with a dedicated 3-band EQ section. Its intuitive, ergonomic layout offers familiarity for DJs, as it’s designed around industry-standard DJ mixers.

Why We Like It

The Z2 is arguably one of the most straightforward-looking mixers on the market. However, it’s far from simple in terms of functionality and performance.

The crossfader is as smooth as it gets, and the mixer gives you all the features you need to DJ professionally or in your bedroom if you’re starting.

If you’re looking for an affordable DVS solution, then the Z2 is the best DJ mixer for the job.

Highlights

  • 2 Stand-Alone Channels & 2 Full Remix Channels
  • Strong Aircraft-Grade Aluminum Chassis With Inn Faders
  • Intuitive Control Macro FX & Flux Mode
  • 24-Bit Soundcard
  • Premium Backlit RGB Buttons

Watch It In Action

 

 

4. Rane Seventy-Two MKII

Rane Seventy-Two MKII

(Image Credit: Rane)

Why Buy This?

Rane is an industry-leading brand in DJ equipment and has come up trumps with their latest mixer.

The Seventy-Two MKII DJ mixer is built from solid steel, has dual-die cast FX paddles with 180-degree rotation, and features Ranes superior, class-leading audio quality.

The 4.3″ multi-touch digital display allows you to keep an eye on your tracks, FX, menu settings, and moving waveforms while you mix, and the dual USB connections make working with different DJs easy as pie.

The 16 RGB back-lit Akai performance pads are another cool addition to the mixer. They come with separate independent mode controls per deck and utilize Serato control and unique modes for pitch n’time, FX, silent cue, transport, and MIDI maps.

Lastly, the 3 MAG-FOUR faders allow you to do some pretty cool things with FX. You can hook the mixer up to Serato DJ Pro and make use of up to six software FX, with internal FLEX FX, and customize touch FX via the X/Y grid.

Why We Like It

Visualizing your mix is always a good thing in our book, so the addition of a multi-touch display is fantastic.

We also really like the performance pads as they’re super responsive and not too hard.

Besides that, the build quality is second to none, the faders are smooth, and it sounds incredible!

Highlights

  • 4.3″ Multi-Touch Screen & Dual USB Connections
  • Dual FLEX FX Engines
  • 16 RGB Back-Lit Akai Pro MPC Performance Pads
  • Dual DVS Inputs – 3 MAG-FOUR Faders
  • Full On-Board Serato DJ Pro Transport/Pad Control

Watch It In Action

 

 

5. Allen & Heath Xone:23

Allen & Heath Xone:23 DJ Mixer

(Image Credit: Allen & Heath)

Why Buy This?

The Xone:23 DJ Mixer from Allen & Heath is packed full of exciting features.

For example, you’ll get an enhanced version of the legendary Xone filter, with resonance control, as well as VCA faders, three-band total kill EQ, illuminated switches, and a crossfader curve selector.

It pays homage to the flagship Xone: DB4 in terms of its design, and even though it only has two faders, each of the four inputs has independent controls, which means that you’ll be able to play up to four sources simultaneously in the mix.

And, if you’ve got some external FX units that you’d like to bring into the mix, then the dedicated send and return channels mean you can integrate whatever you want.

You can also connect a microphone directly into the mixer, thanks to a balanced XLR input, control high-frequency/low-frequency equalizer controls and hook up some DJ headphones using the 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch headphone connectors.

To gauge the four inputs coming into either side of the mixer, Allen & Heath has included a 9-segment LED meter on each side.

On top of that, they’ve also added separate high, mid, and low-frequency total kill EQ knobs, an illuminated cue button, and another illuminated queue button to engage the filter on that side.

Why We Like It

Out of all the mixers on the list, the Xone:23 feels the most robust, almost tank-like, to be honest.

The analog filter is excellent, and the knobs are rubber-tipped and super responsive.

It’s a great mixer if you’re looking for something that offers professional quality without breaking the bank.

Highlights

  • 2+2 Channels With Phono Line Inputs
  • VCF Filter System
  • 3-Band True Total Kill EQ
  • External FX Loop
  • 9-Segment LED Meters

Watch It In Action

 

FAQs About DJ Mixers

DJ Using Filters On The Best DJ Mixer

1. What Is A DJ Mixer?

A DJ mixer is a piece of equipment that DJs use to control and manipulate various incoming audio signals.

Most DJ mixers come with two to four channels, allowing DJs to plug in up to four pieces of equipment at any one time.

However, premium mixers also allow you to plug in more than one input per channel, but you’ll still only able to use one piece of equipment per channel at any given time.

2. What Does A DJ Mixer Do?

A DJ mixer is the centerpiece of any DJ set-up and a vital piece of DJ equipment.

It allows you to tweak all incoming audio signals, like turntables, microphones, instruments, and software, using EQ and FX before outputting the finished product as a single sound source through a PA system or speakers.

Because audio sources are coming into the mixer separately, this gives you the ability to adjust specific parameters before the audience hears it, like volume, for example.

Perhaps one turntable is slightly louder than the other, or your mic is a bit on the quiet side; well, you can level it all out with the mixer using your headphones and play it back to the audience when balanced.

3. Do You Need A DJ Mixer?

Well, that depends on what equipment you already have.

If you’re using a premium all-in-one DJ controller, then you don’t need a separate mixer.

This is because the best DJ controllers usually come with two to four channels, plus a whole host of other features, which should be more than enough depending on your situation.

But, if you’re not using a controller, then yes, you’re going to need to get yourself a mixer; otherwise, you won’t be able to control your audio sources easily and create a good mix.

4. How To Use A DJ Mixer?

To use a DJ mixer, you’re going to need some CDJs/turntables, speakers, and any other pieces of equipment you’d like to use, like a microphone or headphones.

After that, you’ll need to plug your equipment into the separate channels in the mixer, following the correct inputs.

For example, plug your CDJs into the phono/line inputs and your speakers into the master 1/2 outputs.

Once you’ve connected everything correctly, you can plug your mixer power cable in.

However, to avoid damaging your equipment, you need to turn things on in the following order; otherwise, you run the risk of something going pop!: Decks, sound cards, mixers, amplifiers, and speakers.

5. How To Connect DJ Mixer To Speakers?

This depends if you’re connecting using a powered mixer and which type of speakers you’re connecting to.

For this example, we’re going to assume you’re connecting an unpowered mixer to active speakers.

If you’re unsure what the difference between active and passive speakers is, you can read about it in our roundup of the best DJ speakers.

Presuming you already know, begin by powering off the mixer and speakers.

Next, position the speakers where you want them, and coil the excess speaker cable at the base of the speaker stand.

From there, plug the left speaker cable into the “L” jack on the mixer’s back and the right speaker cable into the “R” jack.

If your mixer also has a monitoring system, you’ll likely see “L/Monitor” and “R/Monitor.”

Ignore it, as you can easily switch between the two using the mixer.

Next, plug the speaker end of the cables into the jacks on the back of your speakers and connect the power cords.

Finally, make sure the volume is turned down or muted on the mixer, to be on the safe side.

Now you’re ready to power on!

Summary

We hope you enjoyed our list of the best DJ mixers.

They’re all great mixers in fairness, which is why we included them in this roundup.

But, if you’re still unsure which one to go for, then based on thousands of reviews, testimonials, and user feedback, we recommend the Pioneer DJ DJM-S9. It’s an absolute workhorse!

Here’s a quick recap of the best DJ mixers:

  1. Pioneer DJ DJM-S9
  2. Pioneer DJ DJM-900NXS2
  3. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2
  4. Rane Seventy-Two MKII
  5. Allen & Heath Xone:23

What’s your favorite DJ mixer? Leave a comment below.

Matt's the guy behind Audio Captain. He's a qualified sound engineer and self-confessed music nut who's passionate about electronic dance music. When he's not writing about all things audio, you'll find him in the gym or working on his next EDM track.