The 7 Best Mid-Tier DJ Controllers in 2022 ($500-$1000 range)

7 of The Best Mid-Tier DJ Controllers in 2022 (under $1000)

LAST UPDATED: 5th November 2022

Overview

In this buyer’s guide, we’ll provide a simple overview of the 7 best mid-tier DJ controllers in 2022, along with everything you need to make a buying decision!

As some of the leading contenders in this category, these are the best mid-range DJ controllers on the market right now. They’re all priced under $1000 (US).

Not what you’re looking for? Check out other price brackets here.


Partner offer:

Want to become a club DJ? Check out this FREE DJ Mini Course from our friends at Club Ready DJ School. When you sign up you’ll get immediate access to 16 high-quality HD video lessons!


Who are these DJ controllers for?

Assuming you’re currently in the market for a DJ controller, these controllers will be most applicable if you fall into one of these 3 categories:

  1. You’re a passionate bedroom or party DJ that wants some professional-looking kit.
  2. You’re a working DJ of some sort looking for a ‘budget backup’ controller to add to their existing home or studio setup.
  3. You’re a mobile DJ looking for a more portable (and capable) controller for certain gigs that won’t break the bank.

How to choose?

As all of the DJ controllers on this list are in the same price bracket (we’ve already done that bit for you), their specs are going to be fairly similar by comparison.

So, once you have a rough idea of which DJ software you’ll be using, what’s MOST important is to consider their unique-selling-points and what that means to YOU and your situation. If you need more help before we start, also check out these posts below:

Post #1: A quick introduction to DJ controllers (this is mostly for beginners).

Post #2: A quick introduction to DJ software (this post breaks down the 6 main players in DJ software).

Now then, let’s jump into the 7 best mid-tier DJ controllers in 2022!


1: Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 - one of the best intermediate DJ controllers on the market

Description:

The DDJ-800 is a middle-market (or mid-tier) DJ controller from Pioneer DJ. It’s designed to be used with their proprietary music management and DJ software, rekordbox, which it comes with.

Released in 2019, it’s one of Pioneer’s flagship rekordbox DJ controllers which also includes the DDJ-1000 in the higher price bracket to this one.

Best suited to:

Mobile/event and bedroom DJs that use (or want to use) rekordbox, but only need two channels. Also aspiring club DJs looking for something professional without spending an excessive amount.

Approximate price:

$800 US | £975 GB | $1,650 AU (see buy links below).

Power supply:

Powered by an AC Adapter (mains) and connected via a USB connection to your laptop, the DDJ-800 has a built-in 24-bit soundcard so you can directly plug in headphones, microphones and speakers. In other words, it’s ready to go out-of-the-box for PC or Mac.

Product slide show:

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 (birds-eye view)

Birds-eye view

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 (birds-eye angle #1)

Birds-eye angle #1

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 (birds-eye angle #2)

Birds-eye angle #2

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 (rear view)

Rear view

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 (laptop setup)

Laptop setup

Key features/specs:

  • 2-channel mixer, 4-deck capability within rekordbox.
  • Layout designed to emulate Pioneer’s CDJ media players and DJM (mixer) club setup.
  • 3-band EQ as standard, with filter and gain knobs on each channel.
  • Large 8-inch aluminium jog wheels.
  • High-definition LCD screens built into jog wheel displays (settings are customizable within rekordbox to show preferred data).
  • 8 multi-colour rubber performance pads for each channel to trigger hot cues, Pad FX, Beat Jump, Sampler, Keyboard Mode, Beat Loop and Key Shift.
  • ‘Jog adjust’ knob to customize the jog wheel resistance, for preference and optimized scratching.
  • Built-in ‘Beat FX’ taken from Pioneer’s DJM (pro) club mixers.
  • Microphone feedback reducer.
  • ¼-inch and 1/8-inch headphone output jacks on the front.
  • External output to connect turntables or CDJs; includes all professional inputs & outputs that you wouldn’t get from a lower price bracket.
  • rekordbox DVS, upgrade-ready.
  • Size: Width 632mm x Depth 334mm x Height 70mm.
  • Weight: 4.7kg.

At first glance:

The high-quality aluminium jog wheels have built-in LCD screens, minimizing the need to constantly look at your laptop. There are also ‘jog adjust’ knobs that allow you to customize the resistance on each jog wheel –- same as you’d get on CDJs.

The DDJ-800 also has a ‘microphone feedback reducer’ that activates within rekordbox, which is handy if you have two microphones plugged in at once, or if you have MCs walking in front of the speakers, for example.

Key takeaways/conclusion:

The DDJ-800 is basically a more lightweight and compact version of the DDJ-1000 (in the upper price bracket to this one). As with the other rekordbox controllers in the series, it’s designed to mimic a club-style layout, thus providing a smoother learning curve if and when you use pro gear in a venue.

Affiliate Offer: Want to become a Club DJ? Sign up to this FREE DJ Mini Course to get 16 high-quality HD videos plus other free bonus materials! It’s from our friends over at Club Ready DJ School.

Whilst it’s the most expensive controller in our top 5, it has some of the best specs in this price bracket, so it’s a great option for aspiring mobile DJs looking for some ‘gigging-ready’ capable kit. Priced at around $800, it’s also a much more attainable price-point compared to the DDJ-1000, which is another $400.

Additionally, as the DDJ-800 is one of Pioneer’s ‘hardware unlock’ devices, unless you choose to upgrade your plan, you won’t need to pay a monthly subscription for the software!

If you need more resources, check out Pioneer’s intro video or visit the product page.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Best places to buy:

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


2: Roland DJ-505 

Roland DJ-505 - intermediate DJ controller

Description:

Released in 2017, the DJ-505 is the best mid-tier offering from Roland. It’s targeted at DJ/producers and comes bundled with Serato DJ Pro.

Other controllers in this series include their entry-level DJ-202 and the flagship DJ-808 in the higher price bracket.

Best suited to:

Aspiring electronic music DJ/producers and musicians that currently use (or want to use) Serato.

Approximate price:

$500 – 700 US (see buy links below).

Power supply:

External power supply, AC adapter, comes with all necessary connectors and cables – ready to go out of the box for PC or Mac.

Product slide show:

Roland DJ-505 (birds-eye view)

Birds-eye view

Roland DJ-505 (birds-eye angle #1)

Birds-eye angle #1

Roland DJ-505 (birds-eye angle #2)

Birds-eye angle #2

Roland DJ-505 (front view)

Front view

Roland DJ-505 (rear view)

Rear view

Roland DJ-505 (corner view)

Corner view

Roland DJ-505 (jog wheel view)

Jog wheel view

Roland DJ-505 (performance pads)

Performance pads

Roland DJ-505 (mixer)

Mixer close-up

Roland DJ-505 (top view)

Top view

Key features/specs:

  • 2-channel mixer, 4-deck capability with Serato DJ Pro.
  • Comes with a Serato Tool Kit license (includes Serato Flip, Pitch ‘N Time plugin plus Serato DJ FX packs).
  • 3-band EQ as standard, with filter and gain knobs on each channel.
  • Large low-latency jog wheels optimized for scratching.
  • 8 multi-function performance pads for each channel with Hot Cue, Roll, Slicer, TR, Pattern and Sampler modes.
  • Comes with built-in drum machine, includes samples from Roland’s classic TR-606, TR707, TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines models as popularized in the 80s with acid house.
  • TR kits contain eight sounds–Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Closed Hat, Open Hat, Tom, Rim, Clap, and Ride–that can be played on the performance pads and triggered from the sequencer.
  • Classic 16-step sequencer that can trigger either TR drum sounds or the Serato Sampler; new features include nudge (TR-S), step-roll, and instrument/sample mute.
  • ¼-inch and 1/8-inch headphone output jacks on the front.
  • External output to connect turntables or CDJs – plus all professional inputs & outputs that you wouldn’t get from a lower price bracket.
  • Serato DVS, upgrade-ready.
  • Size: Width 530mm x Depth 402mm x Height 73mm.
  • Weight: 3.5kg.

Key takeaways/conclusion:

At under $700, the DJ-505 is a fantastic option for any aspiring electronic music DJ/producer with a preference for using Serato, and would perhaps also suit a musician that fancies getting a capable DJ controller. It’s the perfect step up from the DJ-202 in the beginner price bracket if you want something more substantial and professional-looking.

Also, it’s nearly half the price of Roland’s flagship DJ-808 in the upper price bracket, yet still has a lot of the same functionality.

With help from its built-in drum machine and 16-step sequencer, the DJ-505 is arguably the best in this price bracket with regards to performance / ‘on the fly’ remixing capabilities.

And as with all three of the Roland controllers in the series, the inclusion of the classic drum machine samples from the acid house era is a great selling point. In short, it’s on this list for good reason! For more resources, check out Roland’s demo video or visit the manufacturer’s product page.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Best places to buy:

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


3: Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2

Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2 - mid-tier DJ controller

Description:

Released in 2017, the DDJ-SR2 is a mid-tier controller from Pioneer DJ that works with Serato DJ Pro (the upgrade from the DDJ-SR that came out back in 2013). It comes bundled with Serato DJ Pro software as standard.

Best suited to:

Mobile & event DJs on a budget with no need for four channels (…that also use Serato).

Approximate price:

$700 – 800 US (see buy links below).

Power supply:

Powered by an AC Adapter/mains and connected via USB connection to your laptop, it has a built-in 24-bit soundcard so you can directly plug in headphones, microphones, and speakers. It’s ready to go out-of-the-box for PC or Mac.

Product slide show:

Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2 (birds-eye view)

Birds-eye view

Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2 (birds-eye angle #1)

birds-eye angle #1

Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2 (birds-eye angle #2)

Birds-eye angle #2

Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2 (rear view)

Rear view

Key features/specs:

  • 2-channel mixer, 4-deck capability within Serato DJ Pro.
  • Comes with a Serato Tool Kit license (includes Serato Flip, Pitch ‘N Time plugin plus Serato DJ FX packs).
  • 3-band EQ as standard, with filter and gain knobs on each channel.
  • Large aluminium low-latency jog wheels with adjustable torque (optimized for scratching).
  • 8 multi-colour performance pads for each channel for Hot Cues, Roll, Slicer and sampling.
  • Touch strip needle search above each jog wheel to quickly search through a track.
  • Dedicated key sync button makes harmonic mixing easier than ever.
  • External output to connect turntables or CDJs – plus all professional inputs & outputs that you wouldn’t get from a lower price bracket.
  • ¼-inch and 1/8-inch headphone output jacks on the front.
  • Serato DVS, upgrade-ready.
  • Size: Width 553mm x Depth 334mm x Height 65mm.
  • Weight: 3.7kg.

Key takeaways/conclusion:

The SR2 has a nice solid build quality, plus lovely aluminium jog wheels with adjustable torque. It’s is definitely the mid-tier pick for Serato users if you’re an advocate of Pioneer’s hardware, and a great portable option for mobile & wedding DJs ….or just as a backup in the home/studio.

It’s an extremely popular controller this one – and you can see why! For more resources, check out Pioneer’s intro video or visit the manufacturer’s product page.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Best places to buy:

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


4: Numark NS4FX

Numark NS4FX - Mid-range Serato DJ Controller

Description:

Released in April 2022, the NS4FX is a mid-range 4-channel Serato DJ controller from Numark. Challenging nicely in this price bracket, it comes with Serato DJ Lite (with the option to upgrade to Serato DJ Pro) and also works with Virtual DJ and djay by Algoriddim.

Best suited to:

Mobile & event DJs looking for a capable backup controller for their gigs. Also for party DJs that don’t want to go ‘’too cheap’’.

Approximate price:

Upon release: $500 US | €500 Euro | £415 GB | $700 AU (see buy links below).

Power supply:

Powered by an AC mains Adapter and connected via a USB connection to your laptop, it has a built-in 24-bit soundcard so you can directly plug in your headphones, microphones, and speakers. In other words, it’s also ready to go out-of-the-box for PC or Mac!

Product slide show:

Numark NS4FX - main view

Main view

Numark NS4FX - angle left

Angle left

Numark NS4FX - angle right

Angle right

Numark NS4FX - front angle

Front angle

Numark NS4FX - side back

Side back

Key features/specs:

  • 4-channel mixer.
  • Layer buttons on each hardware deck to control up to 4 software decks.
  • Comes with Serato DJ Lite and also works with Virtual DJ and djay by Algoriddim.
  • 3-band EQ as standard, with filter and gain knobs on each channel.
  • 6-inch touch-capacitive jog wheels with multicolour display; details essential track data such as BPM, Pitch, and time remaining.
  • Dedicated Sync, Cue/Stop, and Play/Pause buttons.
  • FX section with 6 selection buttons, parameter controls and 2 toggle switches.
  • 8 x performance pads on each deck with pad mode selection buttons (Serato DJ Pro required for full functionality).
  • Dedicated loop control area next to performance pads.
  • Long pitch faders with pitch bend buttons.
  • Balanced XLR Main output / RCA Booth output (connects to professional sound systems).
  • ¼-inch microphone input with volume and tone controls on the front (also has one at the back of the unit).
  • ¼-inch and 1/8-inch headphone output jacks on the front.
  • High-quality 24-bit audio.
  • Serato DJ Pro upgrade ready.
  • Size: Width 23.5’’ x Depth 10.8’’ x Height 2.4’’.
  • Weight: 3kg.

Key takeaways/conclusion:

The Numark NS4FX is similar in many ways to the 2-channel Numark Platinum FX in the beginner range – basically a more-capable 4-channel version of it.

As well as the 4-channels, you’re also getting professional connectivity specs, plus a dedicated Mic area on the front — so it makes a suitable ‘budget backup’ controller for a mobile DJ/professional use.

Whilst there’s no doubt its excellent value for money, just don’t forget to factor in the upgrade to Serato DJ Pro, which is another $200 USD if you buy it outright or $10 per month on a subscription. So you’re really looking at $700 USD!

Weighing only 3 kilograms, the NS4FX is also the lightest mid-range DJ controller on the market, and would make a great portable option for a party DJ looking for something more substantial than a beginner controller.

Whilst the build is all plastic, the jog wheels, knobs and performance pads are all good quality. With its brushed dark grey finish, it also looks the part as well. The only real downside is that the crossfader feels a bit flimsy, although it’s certainly not a deal-breaker!

For more resources, watch Numark’s intro video or the full feature overview. Also visit the product page.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Best places to buy:

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


5: Mixars Primo 

Mixars Primo, mid-tier DJ controller

Description:

Released in 2019, the Mixars Primo is a mid-tier controller that comes bundled with Serato DJ Pro.

Approximate price:

$500 – 600 US (see buy links below).

Power supply:

Powered via a USB connection to your laptop with the option of a dedicated power supply, it has a built-in 24-bit soundcard so you can directly plug in headphones, microphones and speakers. In other words, it’s ready to go out-of-the-box for PC or Mac.

Product slide show:

Mixars Primo (birds-eye view)

Birds-eye view

Mixars Primo (angle view)

Angled view

Mixars Primo (front view)

Front view

Key features/specs:

  • 2-channel mixer, 4-deck capability with Serato DJ Pro.
  • Full control and assignment of Serato FX with familiar Serato layout.
  • 3-band EQ as standard, with filter and gain knobs on each channel.
  • Large aluminium jog wheels with on-jog display and LED ring.
  • 8 multi-colour performance pads for each channel for Hot Cues, Roll, Slicer and sampling.
  • Touch strip needle search conveniently positioned below each jog wheel to quickly search through a track.
  • Adjustable crossfader curve.
  • Dedicated key sync button, making harmonic mixing easier than ever.
  • External output to connect turntables or CDJs – plus all professional inputs & outputs that you wouldn’t get from a lower price bracket.
  • Works as a standalone mixer with filter effects.
  • Auxiliary RCA input with dedicated volume.
  • Pro Combo Mic Input with Independent Volume, Tone Control, and Echo.
  • Serato DVS, upgrade-ready.
  • Size: Width 635mm x Depth 406mm x Height 114mm.
  • Weight: 5kg.

Conclusion:

The Mixars Primo is in direct competition with the DDJ-SR2 (no.3 on this list), and it’s about $150 cheaper. With a sturdy, mostly metal build, it’s worth considering if you’re not fussed about going with a popular controller brand like Pioneer …and if you prefer using Serato. Also visit the manufacturer’s product page.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Where to buy?

There are only a few places you can still get this. Try these:

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


6: Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX6

Pioneer DDJ-FLX6 - mid-tier DJ controller

Description:

Released to the market in late 2020, the DDJ-FLX6 is a 4-channel rekordbox-compatible DJ controller from Pioneer DJ. It comes with the software as standard and also works with Serato DJ.

Approximate price:

$500-700 US.

Key takeaways/conclusion:

The best thing about the Pioneer DDJ-FLX6 is its full-sized, touch-capacitive jog wheels with their backlit screen in the centre. That, and the fact you’re getting 4-channels for around $600.

Note: you can’t connect other sources to it such as turntables or CDJs – the use of 4-channels is ‘in-software’ only.

Whilst it might have 4-channels and great jog wheels, the connectivity specs are lacking, and it’s definitely not a complete solution for a working DJ. And based on the workflow of the unit, it’s definitely best to use it with rekordbox (not Serato)!

The DDJ-FLX6 is also very ‘gimmicky’ and has the characteristics of a beginner controller in many ways. For example, the ‘Merge FX’ (the circular backlit controls at the top right of each deck) would at best only appeal to a beginner who wants an easy way to switch between genres/BPMs, or perhaps an EDM DJ. Also, the build quality is similar to that of a beginner controller.

Whilst it’s far from perfect, if you’re looking for a cost-effective 4-channel rekordbox controller to use in your bedroom (that also looks great), then this is it. Although, as you’ve probably gathered, we wouldn’t recommend it to play out with.

Visit the product page or buy it on Amazon here.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

7: Traktor Kontrol S3

Traktor Kontrol S3, mid-tier DJ controller

Key takeaways/conclusion:

Based on a number of factors, we decided not to include the Traktor Kontrol S3 in our top 5. Whilst it’s a perfectly capable controller (and nothing against Traktor necessarily), it received an overwhelmingly lukewarm response across the board when it came out.

In short, for the price point of around $600, whilst you do get 4 channels and good connectivity specs, there seems to be a trade-off with regards to build quality.

If you use Traktor, then we’d recommend either the 2-channel entry-level S2 MK3 (for about half the price) – or, if you want a 4-channel pro option, just get the top-end S4 MK3 for around $1,000 US!

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

More buyer’s guides:

Affiliate Disclosure: To help fund the website, some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you choose to make a purchase we’ll make a small commission from it. This comes at NO extra cost to you!

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