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Learning how to DJ involves learning how to match your musical inclinations and expressions with those of the audience. It requires creativity, empathy, and great observational skills. As a distant observer, however, you might think that deejaying is an easy job in which you can quickly engage. Contrariwise, it requires hustle, time, and work. You will also need different DJ software as well as a DJ controller.
When it comes to choosing a DJ controller, you do not need to break your bank. You only need to know where to buy your DJ controller and which one to buy. You do not need to have a fancy setup to keep you on track to becoming a star DJ. All you need is to choose the best all-in-one DJ controller at hand.
What Is Good About All-in-one DJ Controller?
Compared to other DJ controllers, the all-in-one DJ controller is a standalone DJ controller. It carries different functions than the ordinary DJ controllers. Moreover, it has a built-in audio interface that allows you to engage in deejaying without needing a laptop. Thus, it is handy and perfect for itinerant and on-the-go DJs.
You do not need to connect it to your laptop or any software. This enables you to sidestep many issues associated with the use of a laptop. Thus, with its use, you can skirt the technical issues like that of MIDI mapping, allowing you to go ahead and play tracks. Moreover, you can choose a standalone DJ controller that works well with MIDI so that you can use DJ software. This makes it work like a typical MIDI DJ controller.
The good thing about the standalone controller is that it can work independently, without needing any software or audio interface. On the other hand, the common MIDI DJ controller needs to be connected to a laptop or an audio interface. And this is the major difference between the two.
What to Consider When Buying a Standalone and All-In-One DJ Controller
The best part of a standalone controller is that you don’t need to computer to make it work, but you still need something to display waveforms and track length. Standalone controllers feature a screen that includes all the information you need to see breaks and mix your songs just the way you want to. Screen size can help you see what you’re doing more clearly. You don’t want to be squinting at the screen in the middle of mixing trying to see what’s going on. Don’t forget that going from a full laptop screen to a smaller screen on the controller is going to be an adjustment. So, if you want to be able to see what you’re doing more clearly definitely look for a controller that has a bright, large screen.
Most controllers come with 2 or 4 channels. Channels are the number of inputs you can use to play music through your controller. Each channel will have its own controls. So, you will only be able to use as many inputs as you have channels. The amount of channels you need depends on what you want to do with your controller. Most DJs are okay with layering 2 inputs to achieve their mixes, but if you want to layer more than 2 inputs, then you’ll need 4 channels. Some DJs also use an extra input for a microphone or their phone while performing.
Having 4 channels is helpful for doing parties and weddings that require tracks outside of your own to play. For example, some DJs use one input for wedding-related songs, and the others are used for mixes when the dancing starts. Controllers with only 2 channels are great for beginners as you won’t need more than 2 inputs to put your mixes together, but depending on how far you go into DJing, you may need to upgrade to 4 channels eventually to fit your needs.
Standalone controllers are often used for the convenience of leaving your laptop at home and to take up less space when mixing. However, large controllers can use up any extra space you saved by leaving your laptop behind. So, consider a controller that is big enough to have all the features that you want without taking up as much space as your laptop would.
One of the best things about standalone controllers is their portability, but having a large controller can make it difficult to carry around. While you want to ensure you’re comfortable using the controller, make sure it isn’t too big to carry around if you need to. DJs need to be ready to go and move their show almost anywhere, and a large controller can make that difficult.
Best of Both
Many standalone controllers give you the option to connect to a computer but do not require it to run. This is a great option to have available, especially if you are more comfortable mixing and saving through your computer software. The point of standalone controllers is to leave your laptop at home, but if you still want to be able to use your computer at home, having the option can ease some of the difficult transition of going from a laptop screen to just the controller.
Some DJ controllers have the ability to work off of a battery for a few hours, meaning that you could DJ without having to worry about finding a place to plug in. Most batteries only last 3-4 hours. So you may still need to plug in for longer performances. However, having the option to go wireless can really come in handy.
Maybe you’re DJing a friend’s birthday party, and she wants you to set up outside where there are no electrical outlets. Sure you can hope she has an extension cord handy, or with a wireless controller, you can just unplug and go. Having a cordless option can really help you out during times like this. If you can see yourself utilizing this option, then it is definitely worth investing in.
Standalone controllers tend to be more expensive than traditional DJ controllers because they include everything you need to get started. If you’re looking for a standalone DJ controller, then you want to make sure you have plenty of money saved. A cheap controller can help get you started, but if you want a good quality standalone controller that will last, then you want to plan to spend a decent amount of money. With everything you need built into it, the standalone controller is easily worth the money you’ll spend.
Most Recommended All-in-one DJ Controller
The standalone DJ controllers, of course, come with some benefits. Foremost among these benefits is its portability. Since you no longer need to tag along with you your laptop anywhere you will deejay, your load is diminished. Moreover, it is an affordable DJing setup, and you will never be required to buy a laptop. You can also hook it up with a laptop. Plus, you can use it with any type of DJ software. Here are your top 5 best options if you would choose an all-in-one DJ controller:
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1) Denon DJ PRIME 4 | 4 Deck Standalone Smart DJ Console
The Denon DJ PRIME 4 is another outstanding option when it comes to the standalone DJ controller. It lets you spin, for example, up to 4 decks. It packs power and is remarkably mature. You will find this console greatly exciting to use, and it offers great value-for-money. Moreover, it features a highly responsive touchscreen and offers great controls. With its use, you can access different storage media like USB. It also comes with a huge 1TB SATA hard drive.
The Denon DJ PRIME 4 features a 10″ HD display that is highly adjustable. This HD display supports multi-touch and easy-to-navigate interface. Its construction is ruggedly durable, and it comes with six-inch jog wheels. It also features four assignable inputs for turntables or media players.
Plus, it comes with two XLR mic inputs, and each comes with its separate control. Besides, it has eight trigger pads on each side. Plus, it comes with myriads of effects from its X1800.
Thus, with this controller, you can play music from any of its USB inputs, two on top and two around its back. You can also play music from your SD card. It also comes with a 2.5″ SATA drive bay. Thus, you can store your music on its internal hard drive.
It also supports uncompressed music like those of ALAC, FLAC, or WAV files. You can also upgrade it and transform it into a highly desirable Serato Controller. You can also sync other music collections together with iTunes, Traktor, Serato DJ, and rekordbox using its ENGINE PRIME library software. This one is truly a great choice!
- You will find the DJ Prime 4 a versatile and well-rounded DJ controller. It is definitely an all-in-one DJ controller.
- It has remarkable quality and craftsmanship being constructed of premium materials.
- It is easy to use and very much responsive with its 10-inch touchscreen.
- It offers multiple input options, allowing you to add to the tracklists.
- It comes with a color-coded LED to keep you updated on the track inputs.
- The jog wheels are not that big enough.
- It doesn’t come with a sampler function.
- It is more expensive and less accessible to entry-level and intermediate-level DJs.
2) Pioneer DJ DJ System (XDJ-RX2)
The Pioneer XDJ-RX2 One great option if you want a standalone controller is the XDJ-RX2. It can provide you with a seamless deejaying experience sans the use of a laptop. It looks sturdy enough and weighs around 24.9 lbs. It gives you a digital feel in your mix and mashing up with its colored touch screen.
The XDJ-RX2 comes with channel faders and EQs that feature curves that are equal to those of the DJM-900NX52. It also inherited its Beat FX and Sound Color FX that expand your creativity. It has eight multi-colored Performance Pads on every deck for quick access to its professional performance features. These features include Hot Cues, Slip Loop, Beat Loop, and Beat Jump.
It also has a Link Export feature that lets you import to the rekordbox your tunes. Equipped with two mic inputs, you can choose between TRS/SXR connection, MIDI connection, and two-line inputs. You can also view the entire track in the waveform as you drop in hot cues, loops, and other effects. For a beginner, its only downside is its complex sync and quantize feature.
- Larger touch screen (7”) for better visibility.
- It also comes with four new performance pads on every side.
- It offers dual USB inputs for better connectivity.
- Provides access to Rekordbox DJ software for free.
- No need a laptop.
- It features responsive jog wheels.
- It does work (compatible) with Recordbox DVS.
- It shows no significant improvement from the previous XDJ-RX.
3) Denon DJ MCX8000
The Denon DJ MCX8000 has a larger size than that of the DJ DDJ-SX2. It has a very solid built, being made mostly of metal. It can survive a good shake without rattling or creaking. Moreover, you would like its symmetrical layout. Its pads are rubber, and all its buttons are made of hard plastic. Plus, it has may rubberized knobs.
The Denon DJ MCX8000 is a best-selling controller. Well, this is not surprising considering that it is a revolutionary technology. It comes with a four-channel mixer and two USB inputs. It also features two microphone inputs, dual XLR outputs, along with touch-sensitive performance pads.
It also features a Serato DVS upgrade. With it, you can do away with your computer or laptop when deejaying. This may be more expensive than other standalone controller options. Yet, being equipped with awesome features, it is worth buying. No doubt, this is a favorite among professional DJs.
- It comes with nice and highly visual screens for easy access to important information.
- It is durable with its solid metal build that ensures longevity.
- It provides standalone functionality without the use of your PC.
- It provides two front USB ports for better connectivity.
- It allows for easy switching from MIDI to USB.
- When standalone, you will find it impossible to record a mix directly to your USB.
- When used as a standalone, some pad functions aren’t working or available.
4) Pioneer DJ XDJ-RR all-in-one DJ system for Rekordbox
The Pioneer DJ DJ SYSTEM (XDJ-RR) is the latest thing in the block when it comes to entry-level standalone DJ system. It offers a full-color screen that lets you see the important information that you need. These pieces of information include the track waveforms, track library, effect selections, and many more.
You can pull off some awesome scratch tricks with its low-latency crossfader and its job wheel combo. With this console, you can deliver fine-tuned mixes aided by its EQs and its channel faders that have almost the same curves as those of the DJM-900NXS2.
The most significant advantage, of course, in buying this controller is that it has low cost as compared to other standalone controllers. It also comes with Rekordbox DJ that you can use for computer playback. Plus, it features a familiar style layout of the Pioneer DJ flagship. With this controller, you have everything that you need to perform.
- If you’re looking for a less expensive standalone DJ device in the market today, you should consider the Pioneer DJ XDJ-RR all-in-one DJ system for Rekordbox. It is, in fact, the cheapest when it comes to price.
- For computer playback, it is bundled with Rekordbox DJ.
- It offers a large high-resolution screen that shows all the important info.
- It appears to be expensive, considering its minimal features and less-than-sterling construction.
- It doesn’t come with booth output.
- It doesn’t come with a mixer control touchscreen.
5) Reloop 236534 Controller
The Reloop 236534 Controller is the first hybrid DJ audio setup that is manufactured and designed for two varied software programs. These two software programs are the djay Pro and Serato DJ. Serato and Reloop, the two well-known DJ software, merged their multi-platform concept to come up with this standalone DJ controller.
One outstanding feature of this DJ controller is its color-padded pads that can trigger awesome sounds and performance modes like those of slicer, hot cut, loop, and many more. You can use it with your laptop or PC and even with your iOS and Android device.
The Reloop 236534 Controller is a solid controller that comes with plenty of surprises. It works perfectly well, even if you use it for several hours. If you want to explode with creativity, you should consider buying this DJ controller. It can support multi-platforms and comes with multiple outputs and inputs. It houses excellent features that would surely engage you. Its smooth interface and controls make this standalone DJ controller a must for beginners as well as advanced level DJs.
- It is versatile to support different platforms like PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.
- It features a dedicated loop section.
- It is a typical hybrid equipment that lets you use Serato DJ or DJay PRO.
- Its build quality looks durable, though it is lightweight.
- Great jog wheels and sturdy buttons.
- Its crossfader seems to be predisposed to breaking.
- It does lack in hardware mixer.
- I hope it has something that could synchronize time.
If you are new in the Deejaying, you may find choosing a gear a bit confusing. The cost of a laptop along with a reliable DJ controller can deter you back from starting your career as a DJ. As such, a standalone DJ controller comes as a good alternative and a great option. Nevertheless, if you are a professional DJ, you will find hauling your laptop to your gigs burdensome. Hence, even for professionals, the standalone DJ controller is a great option. The abovementioned options, of course, are five of your best options if ever you decide to go standalone with your DJ controller.