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How to use a DJ Controller

By Ferdi Vol
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One of the most revolutionary inventions when it comes to the DJing world is the DJ controller. If you didn't read this article, let me tell you that DJ controllers work by transmitting modified sound signals to a computer or laptop software, which in turn combine the sounds to create a completely new mix. In essence, controllers do not work by mixing the passages, instead, the controller sends said passages to a DJ software, where the final sound modification is done. DJ controllers are definitely one of the greatest things that have happened in the djing world because many DJs have been able to start mixing without a steep investment.

In this article, I will talk about how to use a DJ controller. This article will be perfect for people that are just getting into this and need a concise but complete guide on how to use one of these wonderful machines. Reading this guide often will really improve your djing skills using a controller. Combine this with constant practice and you will be a DJ controller master in no time! anyways, I hope you find this article useful!

Most Important Parts of a DJ Controller

While high-end controllers will have all kinds of buttons to press, many of these aren't things that will be used on a constant basis. Because of this, it's important to mention what are the most important parts of the average controller. These are the things that you must focus on to really learn how to become a good DJ. Everything else is secondary really.

Line faders

The line faders are the sliders used to control the two channels found on the average controller. If you want to increase or decrease the volume of a song, you move the slider up and down, simple as that. While there are other ways to increase or decrease the volume, this is the way 99% of DJs do it. Typically, there are only two line faders, one at the left and at the right, but 4 channel controllers will obviously have 4 line faders.

It's important that you focus on buying controllers that have decent quality line faders. This is because they tend to be the controller parts that are most used, and so they tend to be the things that most suffer from wear and tear. Generally, the more expensive the controller or player, the better the line faders are going to be.


One of the most distinguishing parts of a DJ controller is the jogwheel. This jogwheel has different uses, for example, if you touch the top part of the jogwheel and rotate it, you get to rewind or fast forward a song, while you can modify the BPM while moving the edges of it. Aside from the line faders, jogwheels are one of the most used parts of a controller, and so you really need to familiarize yourself with it to become a good DJ.

When it comes to jogwheels, there are several types of them that you must know about. There are 3 main ones used on the market right now: capacitive, mechanical, and motorized jogwheels. Capacitive jogwheels are the most common one, but they aren't as precise as you would like.

Mechanical jog wheels tend to be much better made and precise, but they are also more expensive. Last but not least, motorized jogwheels are the ones that most resemble a real turntable, but they are also the hardest to find.


The crossfader does something very similar to the line faders: they affect the volume of the channel, but unlike the line faders, the crossfaders affects both channels at the same time. In other words, the crossfader adjusts the blend of the tracks.

When compared to the line fader, the crossfader isn't as popular. The average DJ rarely uses it to actually change the volume of the tracks, instead of using it to scratch and make sudden cuts while DJing live. If scratching is something that interests you, then learning how to use the crossfader will be of great importance.

EQ Knobs

Another important part of a DJ controller that you must familiarize yourself with are the EQ knobs. As you probably know already, EQ knobs will change the balance of the sound frequency being outputted. 99% of controllers out there will have 3 knobs for each channel, one for bass, mids, and treble, and they are primarily used to "spice up" the mix being played. Properly using the EQ knobs is something that takes some practice and experience, so don't be discouraged if you are having a hard time with it at first.

Learning how to use EQ knobs are perhaps one of the main parts of becoming a good DJ, and you really can transform how a song sounds with the proper use of them. I'd recommend that you check out some youtube tutorials on the proper use of the EQ, especially for some more specific song genres.

Cue/play buttons

Next are the cue and play buttons. First of all, the cue button is the button that is used to play a song in your headphones to know how it sounds mixed with the other channel before actually playing it on the PA. Learning how to use it is a critical part of learning how to introduce songs to a mix.

The play button explains itself. You press it and you introduce the sound to the PA's, which is the mix that the crowd is listening too. The combination of these two buttons will manage the mix being outputted to the PA and the one being outputted to the headphones.

By Ferdi Vol
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About DJ Pro Tips
DJ Pro Tips is a website that has the goal to make you a better DJ by providing useful and accurate information.
About the Author
Ferdi Vol is a DJ for several years and is here to share his passion with you.
About Ferdi Vol
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