This is my first post related to DJing and I hope to do more in the future. There are many beginner DJ controllers on the market. Frankly, I think most of them are insufficient. If you want to DJ from scratch and are willing to upgrade once you have the basics nailed then go for any controller, but if your like me you want one to learn on and then continue DJing with. This is why I chose the Numark Mixtrack 2.
This is an insanely good controller, especially for it's price. It is all plastic which many people may be wary about but let me tell you, this controller will take a lot of shit without breaking. Also the fact that it's not metal reduces the weight significantly and it is easy to fit into a medium bag or case to get to clubs and gigs. To demonstrate the strength of this controller, the Youtube DJ tutor ellaskins did a three part video series demonstrating how hard it is to destroy and how much it will take.
Don't try this at home!
Time to look at the features. There are lot's. I'll admit that I've only ever tried this controller with Serato DJ so the review will focus on how it works with that particular software. It does come with Serato Intro, the cut down version of Serato DJ. That is ample for learning to DJ on but very quickly I decided to upgrade which was certainly worth it (a cost to factor in when buying the controller). The controller itself features two decks including 8 performance pads on each and a two deck mixer. It should be noted that the mixer is not a hardware mixer which you can plug external sources into however if you are a beginner controller DJ this will be no issue and if you have other hardware you want to mix, you may as well just route them and this controller into an external mixer.
The jogwheels are fairly small but are very responsive. They have a capacitive touch top surface where touching will stop the music. Nudging the silver sides "nudges" the track pitch without scratching. The scratch function can also be entirely turned off so the whole jogwheel is a pitch nudge.
The performance pads are good, they aren't velocity sensitive however that won't be an issue for most people. The top rows are for turning on the effects (which can be controlled by the rotary encoders above). The lower pads have multiple functions including loops, cue points and the sample player.
The controller also utilises a well labelled shift function so by hitting shift and performance pads, you can alter their function. For example hitting shift and the top pads, auto-loop is activated, different buttons set the loop length.
Serato DJ has brilliant effects powered by iZotope and with both free and cheap expansion packs, the effects portfolio can become larger than any DJ will ever need.
I'm not done yet but let's just compare the Mixtrack Pro 2 with a Pioneer CDJ2000 Nexus setup. Already there are perks, for example performance pads, portability, cost and, effects. Obviously one could argue that the CDJ 2000 Nexus is insanely more powerful but the benefits, in my opinion do not outweigh the price unless you are a successful DJ or a club owner.
The mixer section is basic but strong. The cross-fader is nice and loose and the volume faders are smooth and have a bit of resistance (which is good). There are no channel input gains but that is all dealt with internally in the software and can be manually adjusted. The EQs are great, with full kills for each band.
An important feature (one to research if you are still looking for a controller) is that the Mixtrack Pro 2 has a built in sound card. THIS IS UNLIKE THE MIXTRACK 2 WHICH DOESN'T. An internal soundcard is important as you are able to plug your headphones and output into the controller. If you get a controller without a soundcard you need to buy a separate one.
Overall, this controller is very worth looking up and will suit you beyond your beginner stages. I still perform with the Mixtrack Pro 2, even when I have top level CDJs next to me because I am able to perform more intricate mixes with 3 effects per deck, instant loop, cue and sample control and I am not limited to CDs or USB sticks.