In the world of DJ equipment, things can change very quickly.
During the last few decades, we have gone from turntables, to CDJs, to Traktor and Serato peripherals that turn your computer into a DJ rig. Recently, we have entered a new era with the exciting world of ‘standalone’ controllers.
A standalone or ‘all-in-one’ (AIO) DJ controller does away with the need for a computer or any peripherals at all. This allows DJs to minimize the footprint of their setup without sacrificing any features that are offered by both controllers and “traditional” DJ setups.
In this article, we will look at the current offerings from Native Instruments, Pioneer, Denon, and Gemini and help you identify the most important features and benefits to consider when diving into the new world of standalone DJ controllers.
What Are The Best All In One DJ Controllers?
Our current pick for the best standalone DJ controller right now is easily the Pioneer XDJ XZ, winning first place for having the highest audio quality, functionality, and overall accessibility.
The best value all in one controller also goes to Pioneer for their XDJ RX2 controller, combining the best design features of Pioneer’s well-known CDJ’s and mixers with some of the more important features that have been introduced in Pioneer’s top tier range of AIO’s.
The controller that offers the most features for money is the Denon Prime 4, which gives you tons of value and capabilities packed in for the price, all with a sparkly and forward-thinking design.
Overall, here are our top 5 standalone/all in one DJ controllers:
The Pioneer XDJ XZ is easily the most premium option on this list, weighing in with a hefty price tag. The XDJ XZ has all the features and functionality of a full Pioneer CDJ setup including support for Serato and Rekordbox.
This iteration of the Pioneer XDJ XZ primarily functions as a standalone device, meaning you can plug your track-filled USBs directly into the console inputs and send sound straight to your speakers or PA system without the need for a laptop.
The inclusion of 3 USB ports on the Pioneer XDJ XZ allows for easy handovers when playing ‘back to back’ (B2B) sets with other DJs. There are also ample aux inputs for turntables and CD players.
The large color screens on the center of the jog wheels also make a great addition to the overall design, meaning you can focus on your mix without distractions.
The Pioneer XDJ XZ offers 6 different audio effects; Space, Dub Echo, Sweep, Noise, Crush, and Filter – giving you plenty of ways to make your song selections pop. You can also combine these with 16 beat effects including Ping Pong, Slip Roll, Spiral, Pitch and Helix to name just a few.
The added functionality of the 16 sample pads (8 per deck) gives you a huge amount of flexibility in the way you loop, sample, cut, and flip your songs.
For the audiophiles out there, the XDJ XZ plays a huge range of audio formats including lossless FLAC and AAC files, giving you the edge over your competition with high quality audio.
When combined with the 64-bit audio processor, this all-in-one controller delivers the highest quality audio signals out of anything else currently on the market.
Deftly combining the intuitive workflow of dedicated hardware with the precision and flexibility you'd expect from a software DJ system, the Pioneer Pro DJ XDJ-RX2 digital DJ system is the no-compromises, all-in-one rig you need.
Weighing in as the best value for money in this list is the Pioneer XDJ RX2. Modeled on the infamous CDJ2000 NXS2 and the DJM9000 NXS2, this all-in-one DJ controller will make any Pioneer fan very happy.
Jumping on the XDJ RX2 makes you feel right at home with the incorporation of the same jog wheel, buttons, faders, and functionality as Pioneer’s most well-known DJ equipment, but with a sleek and stripped back design.
Differentiating itself from Pioneer’s standard range of DJ equipment, the 16 RGB pads allow you to color-code your cues, drops, and FX settings for ‘on the fly’ creativity and unparalleled flexibility when controlling the dancefloor.
The XDJ RX2 also plays lossless AAC and FLAC audio files and has the ability to link directly to Rekordbox for access to Pioneer’s premium ‘digital crate-digging experience’.
When combined with the QWERTY keyboard (accessible via the 7-inch touchscreen on the center of the mixer) this device makes searching for your favorite tracks a quick and easy process and won’t ruin your flow in a live setting.
The addition of 2x line/phono inputs adds flexibility and allows the user to link one or both channels to external turntables (for the vinyl heads) or just about any other CDJ, which is an extremely useful feature.
Two separate microphone inputs also help when performing at functions and will allow you to MC your own set as well as feature a guest vocalist. Overall, the XDJ RX2 is an excellent pick for those on a budget who still want a fully featured DJ rig.
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.
2 ‘zone outputs’ for use across multiple sound systems/rooms.
4x USB inputs plus SD card input.
Stream directly from Beatport, Dropbox, SoundcloudGO+, and TIDAL (with built-in Wi-Fi)
Dual microphone inputs with separate controls
10.1″ touchscreen with gesture control.
The Denon DJ Prime 4 is a solid third place in this list, and though it sports a hefty price tag, this particular unit has a boatload of features that are absolutely bonkers when compared to traditional DJ controllers.
The Prime 4 has 4 individual USB inputs – plus the added convenience of an SD card slot and a SATA drive connection, meaning you can connect almost any external media source to the Prime 4.
This controller also has DAW quality time-stretching capabilities, allowing the user to match the key of one song to another, or lock the pitch of a mix in order to have more freedom and flow when mixing tracks.
This level of device connectivity combined with the built-in WiFi functionality allows you to source your tunes from streaming services such as TIDAL, SoundcloudGO+, Dropbox, and a whole bunch of other apps, leaving you free to be inspired, take requests and drop new tracks into your mix at a moments notice.
The extra ‘zone outputs’ essentially allow you to run two separate mixes, letting you run your main room mix from the controller while also allowing you to swap over to a second mix or output device and provide music to another location. This can be handy for when you want to control a chillout room or outdoor area while simultaneously destroying on the dancefloor.
The zone outputs also have their own dedicated EQs and can be fully tweaked to your liking.
The 10.1-inch touch screen (situated in the middle of the mixer panel) can be tilted to suit the angle you are viewing from and also supports gesture and touch controls. This allows the user to quickly and effectively switch FX, tracks, build new playlists, and maintain total control over beatmatching and mixing.
Dual microphone control on the Prime 4 allows for two separate mics to be used at the same time. Independent EQ settings give the user the ability to have mix-ready dedicated microphones for performing artists and MCs at a whim.
The S8 boasts some of the crispiest looking displays on any DJ controller right now. Rather than sporting a single screen in the middle of the unit like the others on this list, the S8 has a dedicated screen on each side of the faceplate, offering the user all the info they need at a glance.
Native Instruments has made a ballsy move and done away with the jog wheel on the Traktor S8, replacing it with a linear touch-sensitive stip that allows you to jump straight to any point in a track with speed and precision.
The touch-sensitive knobs are also a fantastic addition. Simply by touching the knob, you bring all the relevant information for that control to the front of the display, meaning you don’t need to worry about menu-diving or fiddling around with user interface parameters in the middle of your mix.
The S8 also introduces a new feature called ‘stem mixing‘ which allows the user to load in not just master tracks, but multichannel audio in the form of individual stems.
These stems can be remixed, sampled, and have effects applied to them independently of each other, giving you the ability to use the S8 like an instrument rather than just a DJ controller.
The Traktor S8 also features the ability to connect to computers running Ableton Live on a wireless network with the ‘Ableton Link’ feature, which is a great added bonus for those DJs out there who perform their own tracks. With this feature, you can connect to your DAW and add your own sounds, samples, and one-shots to your mix for extra flavor.
A nice added bonus of the Traktor S8 is its portability. The S8 has an official flight case that can be purchased separately for a reasonable sum, but it’s rugged and tough enough for any gigging musician.
With its highly durable and wear-resistant knobs, the S8 is less likely to be affected negatively by heavy or long-term use.
This device is the cheapest competitor on this list and comes in at just below $1000. However, it contains all the necessary and essential features you would expect to find in a standalone DJ controller.
The Gemini SDJ 4000 has a full-color 7-inch touch screen just like some of the other standalone controllers on this list and features everything you would expect to see on a top tier ‘all in one’ DJ setup, with full waveform display, BPM, track numbers, and all the other nitty-gritty stuff you need to be able to control your mix at a glance.
The faceplate of the SDJ 4000 features an open-plan design with features and functions clearly labeled with minimal menu diving necessary.
This controller can also connect up to 2 separate media players via the ethernet link and has the ability to select tunes from 2 separate USB’s, which is perfect for B2B sets and performances where you might either take over from or hand over to another DJ in the middle of the mix.
Gemini’s SDJ 4000 also sports 2x separate microphone inputs with individual EQ and volume controls, which is perfect for dealing with multiple MCs or when performing in a corporate scenario or wedding where a guest speaker (or speakers) might want to address the crowd.
The jog wheel design is also worth a mention, being touch-capacitive on top of the plates for vinyl scratching, while jogging and more subtle and precise beatmatching can be achieved by touching the sides of the jog wheels when moving them.
All in all, the Gemini SDJ 4000 is a big contender in terms of value for money and features under the hood. Although as a lesser-known brand they don’t tend to get enough time in the spotlight, this controller is a great AOI DJ solution.
Overall, the Gemini SDJ 4000 is a really solid all-in-one controller that should not be overlooked, especially considering the price.