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
- Numark M2 BLACK | Professional Two-Channel Scratch Mixer with 3-band EQ per Channel
- Price: $99.00
- Price as of 10/26/2020 19:41 PDT(more info about ad)
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 DJ-99 2-Channel DJ Mixer
- Price: $249.99
- Price as of 10/26/2020 23:47 PDT(more info about ad)
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.
DJ Tech DIF-1W DJ Mixer
DJ Tech makes simple, straightforward equipment for the modern DJ on a budget. It might not look as impressive as more expensive scratch mixers, but it has all the controls and features that you need for a price any DJ can afford.
You can use this DJ tech mixer with either a traditional turntable or a digital system like Traktor or Serato. It even lets you switch seamlessly between the two without changing the wires. It has an array of inputs, too, including line, mic, booth, and dual headphone jacks. The controls are a step above the standard, too, including an adjustable cross-fader for each channel.
The build quality is very high on this DJ tech mixer, as well. You don’t have to worry about the knobs or faders breaking on you—they’re tested in the factory to over 4 million cycles. The compact and lightweight build makes this an easy mixer to take with you to gigs, and the high durability means you can take it on the road without worrying that it’ll break. All told, this mixer is a great choice for pros looking for a great value.
Akai Professional AMX Scratch Mixer
- Akai Professional AMX | Ultra-Portable USB Powered DVS-Enabled 2-Deck Mix Controller Including Serato DJ
- Price as of 10/26/2020 23:47 PDT(more info about ad)
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!
Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel. Email him