DJ Controllers – What Are They And Do You Want One?


DJ Controllers offer DJs hands-on tactile control over DJ Software, often completely eliminating the need for a keyboard or mouse while DJing.  

Much of the time professional grade DJ Controllers come fully-equipped with an Audio I/O (Sound Card) interface built right in as well.  Simply connect your DJ controller via USB to your computer and via that one connection interface you get both control over your DJ Software, and your 2 channel audio output.   This certainly keeps things tidy, one connection to the DJ machine for your DJ controller and you're basically ready to get into the mix.  Of course, your DJ controller will almost always come with drivers which you'll need to install before connecting to your DJ mxing software (although I recommend always checking the manufacturer’s website for the latest DJ controller drivers for your device)

DJ Midi Controllers come in all shapes and sizes, and use various methods of communication, most notably MIDI.   Although most of the DJ controllers on the market now use HID too, usually a combination of protocols to achieve the best performance possible.

When selecting a DJ controller that best suites your requirements there are a few things to consider.   DJ controllers often include full-on DJ mixers today, so they are all-in-one units with both the controller capabilities and mixer.   You plug your headphones directly into the device and cue from there directly.   These DJ controllers are often table-top, and only a few support mounting in a standard 19" rack.   These are usually best for club installations or even bedroom use - although lately creative case design has lead to some DJ's taking out larger DJ controllers on mobile DJ gigs.   

There are still a handful of DJ controllers on the market now, such as the Denon DN-HC4500, that are rack-mountable and allow you to use your own physical DJ mixer of choice.  However, they seem to be going the way of the caveman - with less and less "mixer-less" designs hitting the market from the major DJ equipment manufacturers. 

PCDJ and Numark created the very first commercially sold DJ controller to ever hit the market in the Numark DMC-1 controller (which actually used serial communication) back in 2002.   Now, it's now the cornerstone of every major DJ gear manufacturer’s line.   It's pretty amazing the rate at which new DJ controllers hit the market, and how much DJ controllers have evolved since then.   More and more buttons, which offer better and more efficient direct control over the plethora of features found in today's DJ mixing software products like PCDJ DEX 2. 

Currently PCDJ DEX 2 and RED Mobile 2 both support over 60 of the Best DJ controllers, with more being added all the time (although it would help if the manufacturers would slow down just a tad!).   We have 3 new Pioneer DJ controllers coming in the next update planned to launch in a few weeks.  

So what's the Best DJ Controller for you? 

Click here for a full list of all the great DJ controllers from all the major players that our DJ software currently supports

Want to learn more about DJ controllers? Click here for the DJ Controllers Wiki

If you have questions about DJ controllers please feel free to post in the comments section below!  Thanks, and keep spinnin!  



PCDJ DEX 2.6.5 Upgrade Includes 3 Hercules DJ Controllers

DEX 2.6.5 Updated To Included 3 Hercules DJ Controllers

November 5th, 2013 Clearwater Florida: PCDJ DEX 2.6.5 Update Released for MAC and Windows: Includes Performance Upgrades And 3 New Hercules DJ Controllers

PCDJ DEX 2 was just upgraded today to include new performance upgrades including improved Beat Sync (BPM Matching), media file tag support and an array of new video file formats. Three new DJ Controllers we're also added:

  • Hercules DJ Console 4Mx
  • Hercules DJ Control Air+
  • Hercules DJ4set

All DJ Controller features are supported, including Scratching, Looping, Key/Pitch Control, BPM Sync, playlist scrolling and loading and more.

You can download a new free DJ software demo of PCDJ DEX 2.6.5 here:

55 DJ Controllers Now Supported


PCDJ DEX 2 now supports 55 DJ controllers from various DJ hardware manufacturers.

We’ve just released our new PCDJ DEX 2.6.3 and have upped our supported DJ controllers count to 55 DJ controllers from the top manufacturers in the business.   Numark, Denon DJ, Pioneer, American Audio, Hercules, Vestax, Stanton, Zomo, Reloop, Novation, Behringer and more.   

New DJ Controllers are released almost weekly it seems lately, and one lucky PCDJ employee’s full time job here at PCDJ to midi map, and test each controller thoroughly before we include support in a public release of PCDJ DEX 2.   

What’s unique and all-new in PCDJ DEX 2.6.3 is auto-detection of the DJ controller on startup.    Just have your DJ controller plugged in and powered up when opening up PCDJ DEX 2 and the software will automatically find the controller, so you’re ready to mix.   You only have to configure the multichannel sound card built into your controller, which is made easy by DEX 2’s intuitive audio setup panel in options.

Here is our full list of currently support DJ controllersfor PCDJ DEX 2 (and shortly RED mobile 2 will be updated to support all the new DJ controllers recently implemented)


  • American Audio 10MXR,  14MXR,  19MXR,  DP-2,  Versadeck,  VMS2,  VMS 4.1
  • DENON MC6000, MC3000, DN-HC4500
  • PCDJ DAC-3
  • Numark MixTrack, Mixtrack Pro, Mixtrack Pro 2, N4, DJ2Go, Total Control, NS6, Mixdeck Express, Mixdeck Quad
  • Pioneer DDJ_Ergo, DDJ WeGO, XDJ Aero
  • Reloop Contour_CE, Contour IE, Mixage CE, Digital Jockey 2, Digital Jockey 2 CE
  • Zomo MC1000
  • Stanton SCS.4DJ
  • Beamz DJ
  • Behringer BCD-2000/3000
  • Hercules DJ Console MK2, MK4, RMX, RMX2
  • Hercules DJ Control MP3, MP3e2, Steel, Instinct, Air
  • Vestax VCI-100 / VCM-100, VCI-100mk2, VCI-400, Typhoon
  • Novation Twitch
  • DJ-IE2
  • Akai LPD8
  • Faderfox DJ3
  • Beyond Music Abma 1, 3, 4, MIDI 8
  • Additional MIDI-IN with easy to use MIDI-LEARN (map your own MIDI controller)

Where Did All These DJ Controllers Come From?


Where Did All These DJ Controllers Come From? 

It's been over 10 years.  Wow, I'm old.

The first DJ controller on the market ever, meaning sold commercially in stores as a true professional DJ software controller, was the Numark DMC-1.

This simple, yet very efficient and effective DJ controller at the time, was created by one of our PCDJ team members who oversaw production in China.  I still remember the first prototype, with clunky hard plastic buttons and a chrome faceplate that drove you absolutely bonkers trying to keep free of finger smudges (which wasn't changed, but still remains iconic in it's own smugetastic way).

In those early days of DJing with a computer new technology like this was met with ample trepidation from professional DJ's.

"Computers Crash!"   "No way I would ever rely on Windows for live performances!" etc etc...

Subsequently, the Numark DMC-1 controller sales were slow for almost a year, even in mega-chain stores like Guitar Center - then something changed.  Namely, Windows XP was released and computers were becoming a more trusted technology - especially among the younger and trend setting DJ's.

Fast forward to today: DJ Midi Controllers are now the bulk of what all the major DJ hardware manufacturers produce.  Pioneer DJ, Numark, Gemini, Denon, Hercules, Stanton, and many others all have multiple and technologically advanced DJ controllers that work with various DJ software applications - including PCDJ.

It seems like new DJ controllers are being created at an amazing pace, with new units shipping every month - I'll admit it's tough for us as a software developer to keep up!

We have to have the manufacturer ship us the controller and then spend many hours mapping and testing each function to ensure stable and quality use.  It's tedious, but well worth the effort for our users.

It's amazing to think it all started with that little 2U 19" rackmountable controller - the Numark DMC-1.

Here is a current list of what DJ controllers we natively support in PCDJ DEX 2 and RED Mobile 2 (meaning we built-in support and you do not have to user our MIDI LEARN feature to map the controller yourself)  Many more to come, and this months update for our line will include 4 new much requested DJ controllers:

  • American Audio DP-2
  • DENON DN-HC4500
  • PCDJ DAC-3
  • American Audio VM4 and VMS4.1
  • Numark MixTrack Pro, DJ2Go, Total Control
  • Pioneer DDJ_Ergo
  • Reloop Contour_CE
  • Zomo MC1000
  • Stanton SCS.4DJ
  • Beamz
  • Behringer BCD-2000/3000
  • Hercules DJ Console Mk1
  • Hercules DJ Console Mk2
  • Hercules DJ Console RMX
  • Hercules DJ Console MK4
  • Hercules DJ Control Steel
  • Hercules DJ Control MP3
  • Hercules DJ Control MP3 e2
  • M-Audio Xponent
  • Vestax VCI-100 / VCM-100, VCI-100mk2, VCI-400, Typhoon
  • Reloop Digital Jockey 2
  • DJ-IE2
  • Akai, LPD8
Where Did All These DJ Controllers Come From?