If you are learning how to DJ, you are probably looking for a cheap DJ controller to start with. Besides, it wouldn’t make sense to start with premium DJ controllers if you don’t yet know how to use a simple Hercules DJ controller right? But, finding a budget Roland DJ controller or an affordable DJ Hero controller can be intimidating if you don’t know what to look for.

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Roland Dual Channel Four Deck Controller
  • Two-channel, four-deck controller for Serato DJ Lite (free Serato DJ Pro upgrade included with purchase in U. S. Only)
  • Large platters with the lowest available latency, optimized for scratching
  • Built-in drum kits from Roland legendary pattern-909, pattern-808, pattern-707, and pattern-606, realized with advanced ACB (analog circuit behavior) technology
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Hercules Control Compact
  • The most complete and portable DJ controller; "On the go" DJ companion; Measures only 13.4" x 3.9" and weighs less than 1.23 pounds
  • Ergonomics that adapt perfectly to your laptop; All of the essential Djing functionality in an ultra-portable design; Two-deck DJ controller
  • 4 modes (Loop, Fx, Samples, Cue) per deck; 4 pads per deck
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Numark Party Mix
  • Ultra-Portable, Feature Packed – Portable two-channel DJ Controller for Serato DJ Lite (Included) for Mac and PC
  • Electrifying Light Show – Built in light show with three room filling LED light arrays auto-sync to your music and guarantee to make your party utterly unforgettable!
  • Connectivity Covered – On-board 16-bit / 44.1 kHz audio interface with 1/8-inch headphone output and 1/8-inch main output for connection to mixers & PA systems
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DJ Hero Turntable Controller
  • The best soundtrack got even better: DJ Hero 2 one-ups its predecessor and mixes even hotter tracks from the biggest artists in pop, dance and hip hop including: Lady Gaga, Deadmau5, Kanye West, Chemical Brothers, Dr. Dre, Rihanna and more.
  • Play how you want: Change how the mix sounds each time you play with new Freestyle sections, which let you scratch, sample, and crossfade the way you want. Never play a mix the same way twice.
  • All-new Empire Mode sends players on a journey starting out as a lowly warehouse DJ on the road to becoming the head of a major music empire. Unlock new perks and rewards with each step in your career.
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Numark DJ2GO2 Pocket Controller
  • Ultra-Portable, Feature Packed – Portable two-channel DJ Controller for Serato DJ Intro (Included) for Mac and PC; standard MIDI mapping for use with other popular DJ Software applications and Serato DJ ready.
  • Connectivity Covered – On-board 16-bit / 44.1 kHz audio interface with 1/8-inch headphone output and 1/8-inch main output for connection to mixers & PA systems
  • Mix Control - Two channels outfitted with a crossfader, jog-wheels and pitch faders - access to critical, must-have tools for seamless blending are right at your fingertips!
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If you are on a tight budget, choosing the right cheap DJ controller is even harder. Even if you settle for a cheap DJ hero controller or any other brand, there are certain things like the quality you do not want to compromise.

After extensive research, we have a list of cheap DJ controllers every beginner will love. These will not give you the looks or all the bells and whistles of a premium DJ controller. However, for a beginner, these cheap controllers have more than enough to teach you the ropes on a budget.

Are Cheap Controllers Worth It?

For the price and if you are a beginner, a cheap DJ controller is totally worth it. However, the question you need to answer is what are your goals? If you are only starting out, then a cheap controller will have enough features for you. But, as you progress and get better at the craft, you will need a higher quality DJ controller with more features.

If you are shopping for a cheap DJ controller, the features to look out for include:

Appearance

Buying cheap doesn’t necessarily equal buying crap. Nonetheless, there is some truth to the statement “you get what you pay for”. Given the huge savings, you will make by buying one of the cheap Hercules DJ controller or Roland DJ controller below, you will have to compromise on the looks.

At this point, the appearance should not be a deterrent. The one thing you want is functionality above all else.

Durability

Another compromise you’ll have to make is on the durability. It will be hard to find overly durable cheap DJ controllers. However, the option you go for should still feel solid and sturdy. The Hercules DJ controller, Roland DJ controller, and the DJ Hero controllers we review in this post have this covered.

The reason you want a sturdy and solid build is that chances are you will need to carry and move your controller around. So, although cheap DJ controllers are not as durable as their pricier counterparts, there are a few that will still withstand light abuse.

Operation And Feel

Granted you are buying a cheap DJ controller, operation and feel are some of the most important factors. Even the cheapest DJ controller for a beginner needs to feel nice and smooth. It needs to be quick and responsive. If it doesn’t respond swiftly, you are better off looking elsewhere.

Without further ado, below are our picks for the best cheap DJ controller for beginners.

Roland Dual Channel Four Deck Controller

Roland Dual Channel Four Deck Controller

This Roland DJ controller might not be the cheapest DJ controller on this list. However, if you are serious about deejaying professionally, this is easily one of the most affordable, fully kitted controllers for a beginner. With this Roland DJ controller, you get features and a layout that is normally reserved for professional, full-size controllers. Although this controller is sturdy and rugged, it is also made with portability in mind.

Away from the looks, what are the actual features that will make this a worthy purchase for you? For starters, this is a dual-channel controller with four decks. Its large platters are scratching-optimized and boast the lowest possible latency. If you are looking to do more than light up a party, Roland is an ideal choice.

With a professional sound palette and TR sounds including Tom, Rim, Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Ride, and Clap, you can even make your own custom rhythm tracks. So, with the Roland, you can be a producer as much as you can be a DJ. The controller features the company’s patented Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) tech and built-in drum kits which allows it to produce the original sounds from the legendary TR-909 and TR-808.

The spectrum of sounds you can create with this controller spans the whole array of music genres from trap, hip-hop, house, techno, and even electro. To create beats on-the-fly, this Roland DJ controller allows you to control Serato DJ’s sampler through the onboard sequencer. It is UBS powered and is easily connectable to external speakers or an amplifier via its RCA stereo outputs.

Pros:

  • Comes with near-premium features
  • Versatile enough to DJ, remix on and even create beats
  • Low latency
  • Solid build quality

Cons:

  • Pricier than others on the list
  • Could be better if it had a booth output
Roland Dual Channel Four Deck Controller

Two-channel, four-deck controller for Serato DJ Lite (free Serato DJ Pro upgrade included with purchase in U. S. Only). Large platters with the lowest available latency, optimized for scratching.

 

Hercules DJ Control Compact

Hercules Compact

If you are looking for an intuitive, low latency, and affordable DJ controller, this Hercules DJ controller offers that and more. The Hercules DJControl Compact is super responsive and the pads have a good feel. It boasts a super mobile compact design that is built for travelers and weighs in at a light 1.2 pounds.

Because of its compact size, you do not need a dedicated power source to power this cheap Hercules DJ controller. Instead, you only need a USB cable to power the controller from your PC. The downside of this is that USB power is the only powering option you have with the Hercules controller. You can only run it from a PC.

The design is well laid out without feeling cluttered even though it is big on features. Some nifty features that come with this ultra-portable DJ controller include dual decks, two jog wheels, centralized mixer controls and individual controls for each deck on the right and the left.

The controller has four pads and four modes – Loop, Fx, Sample, and Cue on each deck. Each deck has two equalization potentiometers and one volume potentiometer. The Crossfader is 1.77” and overall, there are 10 control buttons for better operation. Of the ten, the SHIFT command allows users to double the pad controls.

Last, the controller comes with DJUCED 18 DJ software. However, the software is only compatible with certain operating systems. In our tests, the software was compatible with Apple and Windows PCs and INCOMPATIBLE with Google Chrome books! That might change so it’s always prudent to check compatibility before you buy.

Pros:

  • Four modes
  • Two jog wheels
  • Many effect options
  • Two pitch faders

Cons:

  • Needs a separate sound card to preview music through headphones
Hercules DJControl Compact

The most complete and portable DJ controller; "On the go" DJ companion; Measures only 13.4" x 3.9" and weighs less than 1.23 pounds; Fits very easily into a bag or laptop shoulder bag; USB bus-powered.

 

Numark Party Mix

Numark Party Mix

Like our second choice for the budget segment, the Numark Party Mix is ultra-portable despite packing nifty features. If you haul your equipment a lot, the Numark Party Mix is a formidable companion that is easy to carry, highly functional, and very practical.

It features a dual-deck design with each deck boasting a smooth jog wheel. There is also a gain control, color-coded pads for easy identification, a pitch slider, and a dual-band equalizer on each deck. Our only desire with this one was a three-band equalizer which would have made the Numark Party Mix our first choice.

The build quality is excellent given that it is a budget controller and aesthetically, it is one of the best attention grabbers out there. With three flashing and brightly colored LED lights on its rear, the Numark Mix Party literally lights the party in funky blue, pink, and green colors.

From the on-board audio interface, the mix control, and the dazzling light show, the Numark Mix Party is one of the best DJ controllers for budget buyers.

Pros:

  • Dazzling light show that syncs to your mix
  • Built-in audio and headphone outputs
  • Compact size

Cons:

  • The virtual DJ LE software is only free for a limited period and then you have to pay
Numark Party Mix

Ultra-Portable, Feature Packed – Portable two-channel DJ Controller for Serato DJ Lite (Included) for Mac and PC. Built in light show with three room filling LED light arrays auto-sync to your music.

 

DJ Hero Controller

DJ Hero

Okay, the DJ Hero controller might not be what you would be looking at if you are looking to be a professional DJ. However, if you are just out to have some fun and have an idea of what a DJ’s night would be like, a DJ Hero controller is probably something that might interest you. You will especially love it if you love musical games.

Made as a game DJ controller, this device is pretty minimalistic with a single turntable and three color-coded buttons. The green and blue buttons correspond to the two tracks that you as a player get to manipulate individually or simultaneously. Between these two buttons is a red one which you use to insert samples onto the tracks.

On the left of the controller are the mixer controls. These include a “Euphoria” 

button – used to activate star power just like in Guitar Hero games, a Crossfader for fading when switching tracks, and an equalizer. Ultimately, the aim of this game is to have fun.

Pros:

  • Highly portable
  • Simple to understand and use
  • Affordable
  • Engaging and fun to play

Cons:

  • Build could be sturdier
  • Outdated
DJ Hero Turntable Controller

DJ Hero 2 mixes the hottest tracks from the biggest artists. This might be an excellent gift for a DJ who also loves gaming!

 

Numark DJ2GO2 Pocket Controller

Numark DJ2GO2 Pocket Controller

Rounding off our list of best cheap controllers for beginning DJs is another Numark controller. The DJ2GO2 wears the moniker pocket DJ controller proudly. At just under 17” in length, this controller will easily fit into a backpack next to your laptop. This portability is one of the reasons it’s found its way into our list.

Unlike most other tiny DJ controllers, this one actually comes with a built-in audio card enabling you to connect your headphones cue them, and produce a perfect mix. It also features song navigation and enables you to control channel and master gain.

While its size can fool you into dismissing it, the pocket DJ controller packs surprisingly nifty features. It has two jog wheels, sync, cue, and play buttons, a Crossfader, and four performance pads. With the performance pads, you can control sample playback, automatic or manual looping, and cue-points

With color-coded buttons, although the pocket DJ controller is tiny, it is hard to miss a beat.

Pros:

  • Compact and ultra-portable
  • Highly functional
  • Built-in audio card allowing headphone cueing

Cons

  • Size might be too small for some
  • Lacks effects and EQ
Numark DJ2GO2 Pocket Controller

This device is extremely portable, but still packed with features! It offers standard MIDI mapping for use with other popular DJ Software applications and is Serato DJ ready.

 

While our list above is nowhere near exhaustive, at least you now have a starting point on your deejaying journey. There are more DJ controllers on the market, but you can start at these budget picks and work your way to the premium ones as you get better.

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Jacob Brown
Jacob is a devoted, passionate musician who has invested a big part of his life playing instruments and listening to different music styles. After time, Jacob would find that being a Disc Jockey is what he really wanted to do; the feeling of mixing rhythms, songs, and melodies in a unique, customizable way is what moves him.

Jacob acknowledged that even though he was an excellent musician, it wasn’t easy at all to try to be a Disc Jockey. It takes a lot of time and effort. That’s why he’s currently writing for DiscJockey.com. He wants you to know the best DJ products to mix songs effectively and don’t give up in the process. Not having helpful tools/equipment at hand is the best way to want to drop out. All his products’ reviews are honest and he considers different budgets carefully.