Whether you are looking to purchase your first mixer, or make an upgrade, with so many options, deciding on a mixer can be a daunting task. Everyone is a bit different and will value certain aspects of a mixer over others. Also with new hardware and software coming out a rapid pace, you want to make a purchase that will give you reliability and longevity so you don’t feel the need to constantly upgrade.
Are you a battle DJ? If so, then you would want a two-channel mixer, free of buttons near the cross and up faders. It would also be important to have strong, reliable faders to endure the wear and tear of battle practice. If you are having trouble with faders breaking, give Infinity Faders a try as an alternative to the stock faders.
Are you a live remixer? If so, consider investing in a three or four channel mixer to give yourself the extra flexibility to drop in vocals, instrumentals, and samples dedicated to their own channels. Use channels one and two for a live mash-up of your favorite vocals over a cool instrumental, then seamlessly blend your live remix into the next track on channel three or four. You can also use the additional channel as a dedicated back beat, making sure your dance floor always has a beat even if a track your playing tapers off.
Are you a radio DJ? If so, it may make sense to purchase a mixer that has an audio interface built in so you can record at the click of your mouse. There are many tools that allow a DJ to record their mixes, but why not have it all-in-one for easy and quick access. It will also require less pieces of gear to think about when traveling.
What are you music mediums? Many mixers are built to work with specific software, such as Serato, Tracktor, and Reckordbox. Now with some tweaking, you can make any mixer work with any software, but let us keep things simple and clean if we can. If a mixer is already fitted for Serato, and you currently use Serato, then you have a match made in heaven and will be able to optimize the capabilities of the mixer!
Do FXs affect you? Some DJs sets rely a lot on FXs and many mixers have some very impressive in-house FXs. If you are not sure how the in-house sound FXs sound, ask your nearest dealer of the mixer to demo them for you. Your local Guitar Center will typically have gear out for display and representatives should be happy to let you hear how it sounds (they are trying to make a sale, after all).
These are just some guidelines to follow when trying to determine which mixer is right for you. Some DJs will want the best of the best and spend top dollar while others will have a more modest budget. When purchasing, pay attention to the manufactures warranty. This is an investment after all and if anything goes down, you want the confidence that you will receive the replacements you need. Mixers have a lot of moving parts and those will experience malfunctions at some point. Take care of your new gear with dust proof lids and proper cases for transport. Be proud and show of your new mixer with custom stickers and faceplates!