Finding the right mixer to match your skill level as a novice DJ may seem like a challenge in the beginning. There are so many complicated, tech heavy mixers on the market these days, each of which boasts a beginner-friendly interface complete with intuitive controls that can allow beginners to get a feel for mixing without being overwhelmed. While there’s no doubt that finding the best DJ mixer for beginners can be a time-consuming process, considering the market is saturated with models available at a variety of price points, I’ve done all the research for you and found a model that’s equipped with the essential features the DJ of every skill level will need in order to mix a killer set. But before we dive into my review, let’s first learn about some of the mixer basics, so you can better understand why I chose the model I did.
What’s the best DJ mixer for beginners? I recommend the SI Soundcraft mixer, which comes loaded with some great features, customization options, processing speed, and a color coding system that gives the layout a more intuitive feel, one that makes it easy for the DJ to access important controls, even in a dimly lit room. This is a great mixer for DJs of all skill levels, but if you’re new to the DJing world and you want a mixer that you won’t quickly outgrow, then you definitely can’t go wrong with this Soundcraft model.
Read on to learn what features make a mixer beginner-friendly and find out why the Soundcraft mixer earned a top rating from beginners and pros.
Mixing it Up in the Beginning
For most beginners, the mixer is usually the first piece of gear they buy since it’s one of the most widely used and recognizable pieces of DJ gear. But if you’re not familiar with the variety of features and control options that even the most basic mixer can offer, then choosing the right mixer based on application and your skill level can be a somewhat overwhelming process.
When you’re shopping for mixers, you’ll run into complicated mixers that are loaded with a wide variety of controls.
But what exactly does a mixer do? The mixer’s main job is to blend two or more audio signals into one, in addition to the ability to control frequency ranges, in order to achieve a smooth transition between tracks.
These devices are easily recognizable by the channel faders, volume control, headphone cue with volume control, and booth and master outputs. It also has some other basic functions including low and high pass filter, EQ and line and phone outs, as well as mic inputs.
These days, mixers are now equipped with more external functions than ever before. These functions help the DJ to achieve a seamless transition between songs.
The basic controls on a mixer include:
- Faders-A fader controls the level of output for each channel
- Gain-This control adjusts the input level of a signal
- EQ-Controls the frequency of each track
- Isolators-Also referred to as kill switches, the isolator allows the user to cut the frequency completely.
- Mic input-With the mic input you can directly connect a mic
- Cue buttons-With cue buttons, you can send a specific channel signal to the headphone monitor
- Return and send effects-This control gives you the ability to send a signal to an external effects processor
Buying Tips for Leading Mixers
The first thing to check out on a prospective new mixer is the number of channels it has. The number of channels you need will be based on how many audio sources you’ll be using at the same time. For most beginner DJs, a two-channel mixer should be sufficient. Most pro DJs will use a four or six channel mixer, which allows them to play with a minimum of four sound devices. Once you’ve earned some experience DJing, then you’ll be ready to use more than a couple of sound sources. So, if you’re planning on DJing full-time, you may want to go ahead and invest in a four channel model. Fortunately, there are many affordable four channel mixers on the market these days.
Design quality will also be important. Because you’ll heavily rely on the mixer for a set, it’s one of the pieces of equipment that can take plenty of use and abuse. Its many knobs, faders, and buttons are often the first to become damaged. Fortunately, there are many brands that offer mixers that have nearly indestructible components. These are usually the models that are built for daily use.
Other features to look for include USB inputs, built-in audio interface, and Midi connectivity. For live DJing performances, USB and Midi connectivity are essential.
Once you’ve chosen your mixer, you’ll be ready to buy your new turntables. This involves a choice between the digital media players also known as CD players, or the standard vinyl turntables that were so popular in the DJ work in the 1980s.
Now that you know what features to look for in a DJ mixer that’s beginner-friendly, we can now hop on over to my pick for a mixer that’s perfect for beginners and one that will also allow you to grow as an artist and take advantage of the many features the mixer has to offer. While this mixer is definitely a pro-quality model, its layout is perfect for the beginner. The manufacturer has done a great job of making it easy for DJs of all skill levels to expertly mix a couple of tracks, as opposed to the overloaded mixers that feature controls that can even stump an experienced DJ.
Now, let’s dive in and learn more about this popular model.
My Top Pick
Soundcraft is a major player in the DJ equipment game. In fact, their name is synonymous with quality and they’re often a brand that many experienced DJs turn to when they want to upgrade their gear. But surprisingly, they have also produced some of the most beginner-friendly mixers on the market, making it easier for the newbie to get the hang of the mixing process in a matter of hours instead of a matter of days.
In terms of design, the touchscreen is very small and the faders are made out of a thick plastic, yet the mixer has a very pro feel to it.
The mixer’s Fader Glow technology adds to the look, but it’s also what makes it so beginner-friendly. The color coding lights are assigned to each fader, allowing the user to clearly see what each fader is designed for. Aside from being a very beginner-friendly feature, the color coding also allows for faster use, which is a big deal for any DJ. The controls are well-lit and the scribble strip helps to further enhance the mixer’s look, so the console can easily be used in a dark club environment.
The layout of the mixer allows you to easily operate the controls on a channel by channel basis using the assigned buttons. The design itself has become a standard in the industry, making it easier for DJs to become familiar with a mixer’s layout quickly. However, the model has more of an in-depth channel strip, which offers one encoder per parameter in order to avoid page or menu scrolling. As an example, the four band EQ comes with a complete set of encoders for each band instead of using a few tabbing and knobs between the bands. This helps to improve the tactile feel, just like with a traditional analog desk, which is also very quick to use.
The mixer’s fader layers are totally customizable, unlike other mixers, such as the Pioneer DDJ-SZ2 Mixer. Every fader on each layer can be anything from an effect return, effect send, matrix, VCA, mix bus or input channel. This type of versatility allows users to create custom configurations, so you can definitely get the most out of each of the twenty-four faders.
This model also features thirty-one output busses and offers a pool of possible inputs from each of the included thirty-two preamps. The mixer also offers easy connectivity with any of the Stageboxes by Soundcraft, thanks to the installed USB option card. While not all of the channels can be simultaneously mixed, it does offer a very extensive range in terms of connectivity configurations. All of the output busses and input channels support parametric EQ processing and full dynamics, with a total of thirty-one band graphic EQ on each of the outputs.
The mixer’s touchscreen is very small and compact, which is the standard for all mixers produced by Soundcraft. The touchscreen display is where you’ll find all of the mixer’s settings. In terms of the software, it’s not exactly the most impressive, in regard to the quality of the graphics, however, it does function well. The combination of touch and two push buttons for another rotary encoder provides seamless operation. The range of configuration opportunities is where this software really shines. However, some DJs feel that the user interface has a dated feel to it. Yet, it’s clear to see that the manufacturer decided to throw more money at the mixer’s capabilities in terms of mixing power and customizations as opposed to equipping it with a top of the line display. For most DJs, this will be a plus.
The more you use this mixer, the more you’ll grow to appreciate the features it has to offer. With a comprehensive channel strip and the beginner-friendly color coding system that makes it easy to access important controls in a dimly lit room, the mixer has a very tactile feel to it, which is what most DJs love. Since you won’t have your eyes glued to the screen during use, you’ll keep your focus on where it matters, which is the crowd, allowing you to pay attention to the vibe on the dancefloor so you can switch up the tracks and land a killer set.
To learn more about this popular model from Soundcraft and the other features it has to offer, click the button bellow:
Can I use this Mixer with a Couple of External Turntables?
Yes, you can. Just like with all mixers, you can easily plug in your CDJ setup or your turntables for a little old school scratching. If you’re not familiar with how mixers work and exactly what they can do for your set, click here to read my DJ mixer buyer’s guide, where you’ll learn everything you need to know about how mixers work, while also getting an in-depth look at the top models on the market.
Is the DJ Controller and the DJ Mixer Basically the same Thing?
No. The DJ controller allows you to use DJ software so you can edit tracks, add effects, and perfectly transition one song to the next, while the mixer allows you to also cue up songs, but you can also use it to hook up other external DJing gear such as CDJs and turntables. If you’d like to learn more about the differences between both of these essential pieces of DJ gear, click here to read my article on what is a DJ controller vs a mixer?
What’s the best DJ mixer for beginners? Hands down, it’s the SI impact by Soundcraft. The Soundcraft Si Impact 40-Channel Digital Mixer Console will give the DJ more control over a set, thanks to the wide variety of output busses, faders, and the color coding that allows the DJ to quickly access controls even in a dark room. As you know by now, choosing a mixer that’s powerful, equipped with important features that all DJs will need to rely on and a model that’s beginner-friendly, isn’t easy. But I’m confident that this model is one that the beginner will be able to grow with, and not a mixer that you’ll want to upgrade after using it for just three to six months. Perfect for the full-time DJ in need of an intuitive mixer that’s designed to last, I gave this model a rating of four and a half stars out of five stars.