DJ MIDI, HID, and mixer controllers are very diverse in today’s market. Before purchasing, it’s important to compare DJ controllers so you know which one would be ideal for your style, are of the highest quality and best value for your budget.
Some of the most revered manufacturers are Akai, Novation, and Native Instruments. The Native Instruments Kontrol series has been on the rise in the last few years, and Serato Itch has accompanied different models of deck-based controllers produced by Numark, Vestax and Pioneer. Akai was once vastly reputed for their drum machines in the 90’s and 2000’s, and now boasts very high quality controllers, which can be used with almost any audio software.
Many controllers come bundled with LE programs: primarily Traktor LE and Virtual DJ LE. This is a modified and simplified version of the program designed to accommodate specially designed controllers.
One may notice that such controllers as those by Hercules, Reloop, and Vestax feature two JOG wheels, an integrated mixer, and an audio-thru panel on the back. These are usually the kinds of controllers that will come packaged with an LE program. The Native Instruments Kontrol S4 is perhaps the most successful in the last two years, which comes equipped with Traktor.
Otherwise, any kind of software will likely specify which devices are compatible with it. Multiple Rane mixers were designed to be used with Serato, and many more brands have produced mixers that function as digital controllers for Traktor (such as Ecler, Pioneer, and Allen & Heath).
Digital vinyl systems are also a popular option. Virtual DJ, Torq, Traktor and Serato all accommodate. Serato is widely considered the finest vinyl system, however, whereas Traktor is often denoted for its versatility. A test by DJ Qbert once confirmed that the mixing quality between Serato timecodes and Traktor timecodes is actually indecipherable. Any timecode vinyl can be used on any software, whereas audio interfaces are sometimes more specific. Native Instruments often designs for Traktor; the same for Serato. Timecode CDs may also be used in CD players, which would allow for more control overall.
However, timecode is designed specifically (but not exclusively) for turntablists overall. Serato and Traktor Scratch might appeal to hip hop, rap and dubstep DJs, whereas Traktor Duo or Pro might appeal to house or techno DJs.There are many brands, models, and names in the DJ market today. Diversity like this simply can’t be met with disappointment.