- Virtual DJ is one of the world’s most popular DJ apps with over 100,000,000 downloads
- You can use virtually any DJ controller with Virtual DJ’s advanced mapping features
- Discover our picks for the best controllers for Virtual DJ in 2022
- Also, check out our post on the best DJ controllers for beginners!
Recent innovations in the latest version of Virtual DJ mean it can easily compete with other professional DJ software like Traktor, Serato Pro, and Rekordbox.
Unlike its competitors mentioned above, Virtual DJ isn’t tied to any particular hardware. One of the biggest selling points is that you can use Virtual DJ on just about anything available on the market.
What Is The Best Controller For Virtual DJ?
It’s no surprise that Pioneer controllers feature quite heavily in our list, including our top pick the Pioneer Pro DDJ-1000. As one of the highest-rated DJ controllers on the market, the DDJ-1000 is a good fit for both Rekordbox and Virtual DJ systems.
For the best budget DJ controller, we have included the Numark DJ2GO2 in our list. At just over $50.00, this small but full-featured controller is ideal for throwing in your backpack in case of emergency renegade parties or as a backup when traveling.
Lastly, the best Virtual DJ controller for beginners goes to the Numark Mixtrack Pro II USB. This 2-channel controller with a built-in audio interface has been rated the world’s number 1 DJ controller.
While not as premium or feature-heavy as many of its competitors, it still holds its own with a small form factor and extremely attractive price tag.
Check out our top 5 below:
- Pioneer Pro DDJ-1000 (Our Pick)
- Pioneer DDJ-FLX6
- Numark Mixtrack Pro II USB (Best Beginners Controller)
- Numark DJ2GO2 (Best Budget/Portable Controller)
- Denon DJ Prime 4
1. Pioneer Pro DDJ-1000 (Our Top Pick)
The Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000 has everything you need to perform at events and parties, including two full-size jog wheels, 14 Beat FX, and 16 multicolored performance pads.
- Full-size jog wheels
- Large LCD displays
- Quality soundcard
- Compatable with Virtual DJ and RekordBox.
- Full-size jog wheels with adjustable LCD display on each
- Flawless Pioneer build quality
The DDJ-1000 has been many a DJ’s favorite Pioneer DDJ controller for a long time. There’s even a Serato-compatible version available if you like to keep a choice of two DJ apps at all times.
The DDJ-1000 was one of the first controllers to forgo the typical midi controller setup and instead favors the feel of a pro club set up of CDJs and a mixer.
When paired with Virtual DJ, not only are you getting the feel of a club set up but also the many extra features of VDJ which Rekordbox simply doesn’t offer.
The well-lit jog wheels and usual Pioneer performance pads are a great bonus if working primarily in nightclubs as they are bright enough for even the darkest spaces.
Other than the quality onboard soundcard, one of the best features is the large LCD displays in the center of the jog wheels which means you only pull up on the screen what you need for each deck.
Combined with Magvel faders that are incredibly responsive yet smooth, the DDJ-1000 is the ideal setup for seamless mixing.
Overall, in my opinion, a Virtual DJ user won’t find a better, full-featured DJ controller than the Pioneer DDJ-1000.
2. Pioneer DDJ-FLX6
Packing a host of brand-new features, this 4-channel unit makes it easy to mix tracks from totally different musical genres and spice up your sets with pro-sounding scratch effects.
- Merge FX function
- Performance pads
- Support for Serato, Rekordbox, and official integration for Virtual DJ.
- 4-deck ability when used with 4-deck software.
- 7-inch capacitive jog wheels with center-on needle display similar to CDJs.
For the bedroom or intermediate DJ who is looking for a professional, feature-rich setup but is on a more limited budget, the Pioneer DDJ-FLX6 bridges the gap between budget models like the DDJ-400 and the industry-standard Pro DDJ-1000.
Build quality and connectivity are not the same as the DDJ-1000, but the full-sized jog wheels and 4 channels mean you aren’t missing out on much.
Pioneer has taken the time to ensure this works with most of the popular software on the market, and official integration with Virtual DJ means the many features are already mapped out of the box with no extra licenses to pay for.
The omission of a built-in audio interface and more limited connectivity options for this controller (like the lack of balanced XLR outputs) will undoubtedly put off some more professional DJs.
This, of course, can be remedied with the use of a basic sound card, but still may deter those looking for an all-in-one DJ solution.
If you’re in the market for an audio interface you can check out our post on the best portable audio interfaces for all budgets.
3. Numark Mixtrack PRO II USB (Best Beginners Controller)
Numark's comprehensive Mixtrack II Pro digital DJ controller comes packed with everything you need to get creative with your favorite tunes.
- Ideal for beginners
- 3-band EQs
- 16 performance pads
- 16 Performance Pads
- Touch-sensitive control wheels
- Comes complete with Serato DJ Intro and Numark Remix toolkit
Although sold with Serato DJ Intro included, the Numark Mixtrack Pro II is just as at home with Virtual DJ once mapped correctly.
What makes it an ideal choice for the beginner to intermediate DJ is the built-in audio interface, a welcome addition for anyone looking to test the waters, or just save some dollars.
For those wanting to use some of Virtual DJs’ beat-matching add-ons or stem separation tools for remixing on the go, the 100mm faders allow for finer adjustments to be made. The full 3-band EQ also allows for blending of the sounds created when mixing in harmonic key.
Although I’m not a big fan of touch-sensitive control wheels over the standard jog wheels, all the other knobs, sliders, and faders feel solid and are a joy to use.
While the Numark Mixtrack Pro II is an ideal choice for the beginner DJ to learn beatmatching, its relative lack of features (like the lack of any dedicated FX) may make it less suitable for all ’round or professional DJ.
4. Numark DJ2GO2 (Best Budget/Portable DJ Controller)
With its compact size and lightweight, the Numark DJ2GO2 Touch is a featherweight DJ controller.
- Super portable
- Compatible with iOS DJ apps
- Four trigger pads for performance cues
- Browsing knob for easier track selection
- 16 bit/44khz audio interface
Not only is the Numark DJ2GO2 the least expensive controller I looked at, but it is also the most portable controller for Virtual DJ.
It’s a great entry-level option that will easily slip into your backpack – but there’s one catch, you have to pay an extra $50 for a Virtual DJ license if you want to keep using it past the 6-day free trial period.
PC and Mac compatibility is a breeze with the built-in sound card. You can either replicate turntables for beatmatching or digital for controlling the likes of karaoke or video. The sensitive jog wheels even allow for bending the pitch of the music in performance mode.
I immediately assumed blending tracks together would be a train wreck waiting to happen with a controller this small, but I found the opposite to be true.
With four available cue points, an excellent headphone cueing system, and a small but precise pitch control I managed to get some pretty decent results with ease.
5. Denon DJ Prime 4
Equipped with a large 10" multi-touch display for visual feedback and track navigation, and a SATA drive bay to load your music library, Prime 4 allows you to ditch your laptop and focus on your performance.
- Boatload of features
- DAW quality time-stretching capabilities
- 10.1-inch touch screen
- Standalone, Serato DJ Pro, and Virtual DJ integration
- A vivid 10” display for browsing your library
- Dedicated XLR Zone outputs
Although marketed as a standalone DJ controller, once plugged into your laptop and Virtual DJ, you have a potent controller with 4 assignable channels, each with 24-bit sound output.
As more and more DJs are moving towards Virtual DJ, especially since the 2021 update, the partnership of Denon and Virtual DJ is an obvious choice.
With a large, clear 10” screen, professional outputs with 4 zones, microphone inputs, and standalone mixer capability, the Denon DJ Prime 4 is the perfect choice for both your mobile DJ and home DJ alike.
Although not cheap, the Denon Prime 4 offers one of the most feature-heavy professional setups on the market today. The inclusion of the full version of Serato DJ Pro is also a nice little bit of sugar on top.
Ever wondered why DJs use MacBooks? Here’s the answer!
One of the features of Virtual DJ I like most is just how compatible it is with everything! File types, video codecs, and even controllers – everything feels like a breeze.
Although virtually (pun not intended) any controller will work with Virtual DJ (the Native Instruments S4 being one of the biggest exceptions – see FAQ below), above we have looked at 5 of the best controllers which feature full integration with Virtual DJ.
Mainly due to the familiar feel, and outstanding Pioneer build quality, my favorite controller and one of the highest-rated on the market is the Pioneer DDJ-1000.
Rekordbox compatibility is an ideal library management tool and the files can even be imported into Virtual Dj for a better-organized collection.
If you’re on the fence about which to buy and are looking to dip your toes in, I would recommend the Numar Mixtrack Pro II USB due to its excellent bang-for-buck feature/price ratio. You honestly get a great deal for a relatively low price.
Lastly, if you’re looking for ways to better manage your music library, you can check out our detailed post on how to organize music in Rekordbox (the smart way).
Does Virtual DJ need a Controller?
You still see many DJs rock up to a gig with a laptop and no controller when using Virtual DJ, especially when playing a karaoke set.
Although the software will run without any controller attached, you will lose the benefit of external cueing and rely heavily on a decent soundcard on your laptop.
The tactile feel of jog wheels and performance pads can enhance your beatmatching when using the best controller and finally, nobody wants to look like they’re checking their emails when DJing hunched over a laptop screen.
What Controller do Most DJs Use?
Competitors like RekordBox, Traktor, Serato, and even Djay Pro AI all tend to be tied to certain hardware manufacturers. Although Serato is now in partnership with a wide selection of top hardware makers, it still doesn’t match the range of hardware available to Virtual DJ users.
Pioneer controllers are favored by many DJs, especially those who grew up in clubs and other venues using Pioneer pro DJ gear such as CDJs and battle mixers.
The wide range of Pioneer DDJ controllers are now compatible with RekordBox, Serato, and many fully integrated with Virtual DJ and the advanced features such as stem separation VDJ 2021 now offers.
Which Controllers are not compatible with Virtual DJ?
Although many controllers work straight out of the box with Virtual DJ there have been problems with the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol range of controllers in particular the flagship S4.
The Virtual DJ forum states the MIDI mapping of the jog wheels on the S4 is poor and it is the only NI controller which doesn’t use the HID protocol needed by Virtual DJ.
Although MIDI mapping files can be found elsewhere on the forum be warned it will take a fair bit of manual setup.
How do you Get a Free License for Virtual DJ?
With over 100,000,000 downloads Virtual DJ is one of the most downloaded pieces of software on the web.
Although you have to pay to access many of the features, including controller support, a free license version can be downloaded from the Virtual DJ website.
If you want to use a controller with Virtual DJ you will need to buy a license as after a trial period of 7 days you will only get controller support in the first 10 minutes of opening Virtual DJ every time you wish to perform.
Other limitations of the free license Virtual DJ include a watermark on the video output screen and the inability to customize the video skins.
Can You Use Spotify with Virtual DJ?
Unfortunately, no. A couple of years ago Virtual DJ made the decision to remove the license which enabled users to play Spotify tunes in the Virtual DJ app.
Even tunes that have been downloaded with a premium account cannot be played offline in Virtual DJ due to licensing issues (gone are the glory days).
While there are some workarounds that can be found with a quick Google, these will involve extra purchase costs and the legality of some are questionable.
Virtual DJ however does support streaming from Tidal, Beatport, Soundcloud, and Deezer which should support most DJ needs.
Before you go, check out our article on the best USBs for DJs!