As one of the cheapest ways to get into DJing, Numark’s mini controller is ideal for beginners.
One of the most positive side-effects of the digital DJing boom is that entry-level DJ technology has become more affordable than ever. Back in the days when vinyl was the only option, even a low-quality pair of turntables and a mixer was a sizable investment (and those of us who learned to mix on the cheap belt-drive turntables of the 1990s still bear the psychological scars to prove it). With the arrival of software DJing on computers, that all changed; assuming you already have a suitable computer on which to run the software and speakers, all you need is a pair of headphones and some kind of controller, which is where Numark’s new DJ2Go2 Touch comes in.
The slightly awkwardly-named DJ2Go2 Touch is the third generation of this compact controller format. It’s the successor to 2017’s DJ2Go2, which in turn replaced the original DJ2Go, released in 2011. You can tell Numark did a good job first time around by the fact that there haven’t been many major changes to the design over the course of nine years. The layout has changed a bit since the first generation, but it’s still the same basic formula: two small jog wheels, pitch controls, the standard combo of cue and play buttons, plus a central crossfader. Very much a simplified version of the standard setup you’d find on a pro DJ controller.
The DJ2Go2 is designed as a controller for the popular Serato DJ software, with a copy of Serato DJ Lite included – a basic version of the package designed for beginners. With the software installed, hooking the unit up to your computer is simple, with just a USB connection required. (Alternatively, the controller also works with the iOS app djay, although we’d suggest that Serato is the preferred option if you’re more serious about learning how to use pro software.) The DJ2Go acts as an audio interface, so you plug your headphones into one side (for cueing up tracks before mixing them in) and your speakers or amp into the other side of the unit, both via standard 3.5mm stereo minijacks.
With some tracks loaded into Serato, getting started mixing is straightforward (and there are hundreds of online tutorials for the software to help you learn if you’re a complete beginner). Although the controls are small, they have a nice feel to them, and the most important controls – jog wheels, pitch faders, cue, play and crossfader – are well laid out and intuitive. For obvious reasons, a compact controller like this has to dispense with a few features in order to pack the basics into a tiny, portable format. The pitch control faders are extremely short compared to what you’d find on a pro controller, but it’s still possible to beatmatch manually, without the need to rely on the sync button (which automatically synchronises tracks) all the time. The biggest issue is that there’s no real mixer section as such, with just a crossfader rather than channel faders and EQs you’d find on more expensive controllers. It’s a fair trade-off for the portability and low price of the DJ2Go2; if you want the same kind of setup with a mixer, Numark offer the more advanced Mixtrack Pro 3.
On a related issue, a huge part of the appeal of entry-level DJ controller is that they teach transferable skills which can then be applied to more professional equipment if you get the bug for mixing and want to step up to a more fully-featured controller. In that respect, the DJ2Go2 nails it: if you learn to mix with this basic setup, you’ll have absolutely no problem stepping up to a more pro Numark model like the NVII, or even switching brands to a high-end Serato option like Pioneer’s mighty DDJ-SZ2.
The DJ2Go2 Touch is one of the cheapest controllers on the market, but it’s a solution that fits the bill perfectly for beginners to digital DJing. Build quality is more than good enough to survive being thrown into a bag and taken to house parties, with all the use and abuse that usually entails. For newcomers to Serato, it offers everything you need in an affordable little package.