If you want the best scratch mixer you can get for your money, you should go with a simpler, 2-channel model. Most likely, you’d rarely use the extra channels, anyway, especially if you get a model with multiple inputs per channel. All of the mixers below are great for scratching—and they cost a lot less than you might think.
These are our recommendations for the 4 best cheap scratch mixers on the market:
Numark M2Black Professional Two-Channel Scratch Mixer
The Numark M2 is exactly what you want out of a cheap DJ mixer. It makes sacrifices in the extra features so it can bring you a solid, rugged mixer for a great value. It’s a 2-channel, 2-input mixing board with independent channel controls and a sturdy casing—exactly what you need, without paying for anything you don’t.
There are a couple of things you’ll sacrifice at this low price, even compared to other mixers. It doesn’t have an adjustable curve on the fader, which some users might find limiting. While it’s durably built, the control knobs are plastic. They’ll stand up to a lot of use, but they don’t feel as sturdy as some of the other options on the list.
Having said that, it’s still hard to beat the Numark M2 for the price. If you do need more channels or inputs, it’s also available in a 3-channel and 4-channel version, both of which won’t take a large chunk out of your budget. In short, this is the ultimate value in scratch mixing equipment.
Roland DJ-99 2-Channel DJ Scratch Mixer
Roland audio equipment can be described as reliable and classic, and that’s exactly what you’ll get from their DJ-99 2-channel mixer. It’s custom-designed for blending tracks on the fly, and the wide, smooth faders make it ideal for scratch DJs. It would be a great choice at any price, honestly, but the value definitely makes it even more appealing.
The first thing you’ll notice is it has surprisingly robust controls (see full specs). The crossfader is professional grade, smooth with a good curve, and you’ll get a trim and reverse control along with the dedicated 3-band EQ for each channel.
As a basic scratching mixer, it has everything you need and then some. Hands down, it’s one of the best cheap scratch mixers around.
Epsilon INNO-Mix2 DJ Scratch Mixer
You might not be as familiar with the name Epsilon, but you’ll be glad they’re on your radar when you check out this two-channel INNO-Mix2. Its streamlined interface and heavy-duty faders make it arguably the best scratch mixer on a budget.
The tone-shaping controls on this mixer aren’t as extensive as you might find on other models, but it gives you all the options you need, including curve adjustment. It also has instant kill buttons for all three frequency ranges. The layout is clean and intuitive, too, another benefit of the streamlined controls.
The feel of the INNO-Mix2 is definitely worth noting, too. It’s a solid little mixer, and definitely doesn’t feel cheap. The faders are smooth and the knobs are metal, so you don’t have to worry about them coming off in your hands. This is a mixer you can feel confident taking to a gig, and you’ll love how easy it is to use.
Akai Professional AMX Scratch Mixer
If you’ve ever used the Serato DJ Pro software, you know how valuable of a tool it can be for your performances. The Akai Professional AMX is designed to integrate perfectly with the software, with built-in noise mapping capability and other features that are perfect if you do both scratching and digital mixing.
This is a two-channel, two-input mixer (see full specs) that’s designed to fit well into pretty much any DJ’s set-up. Each channel has dedicated faders and gain controls, with color-coded LED lights on the display that make it a lot easier to use in a dark club. The faders are hefty, too. Even though it’s relatively slim and compact, you can tell that the build on this little guy is solid.
You’ll get the most out of this mixer if you use Serrato DJ, but even if you don’t it gives you all of the controls you need. The crossfader is curve-adjustable and each channel has an on-board EQ. If you’re looking for maximum versatility for the money, the Akai is the way to go.
The Best Cheap Scratch Mixer: What Else Do I Need?
The mixer is only one piece of a complete scratch mixing set-up. When you’re considering what mixer you can afford, you should first take some time to consider your total budget, so you know what level of equipment you can afford to buy.
The largest portion of your budget will likely go to your turntables. You need at least one, although two is preferred (read our turntable articles). This isn’t something you’ll want to skimp on, either. The turntables need to use a direct drive system, with the highest torque you can afford. Don’t forget about accessories like the cartridge and needle, either. Unless you buy a turntable that’s specifically marketed for scratching, you’ll most likely need to upgrade one or both to get the best sound.
If you have limited resources and are debating how to split your funds, the best rule of thumb is to get the best turntables you can afford, and save money with a cheaper mixer like the ones above. While added features like an adjustable curve are nice to have if you can afford them, you’d do better to use good turntables with a basic mixer. A mixer can only work with the signal it’s given, and a cheap turntable won’t have the same sound.
As you can see above, you don’t have to spend a lot to get the best cheap scratch mixer that will suit the needs of any artist. Good luck!