The new Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 is fresh out the gate and enters a crowded arena. Many DJ controllers are trying to get buyers attention in this price range, and one of my favorites is the Numark NS6II. The obvious difference when comparing them is the fact the NS6II has 4 channels while the DDJ-800 only has two.
Why still compare them? Because both are geared towards the professional mobile DJ and as such, would logically end up on their short list when looking for a pro-level DJ controller under USD 1000.
Pioneer DJ DDJ-800
The DDJ-800 is basically a 2 channel version of the DDJ-1000. The jog wheels are a bit smaller and touch capacitive, amongst other differences. But the LCD screens in the jog wheels and the full DJM-like mixer make this a very interesting offer.
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Under USD 200: $
|Inputs:||2 LINE (RCA), 2 PHONO/LINE (RCA), 2 MIC (XLR & 1/4 inch TRS Jack, 1/4 inch TRS Jack)|
|Outputs:||2 MASTER (XLR, RCA), 1 BOOTH (1/4 inch TRS Jack), 2 PHONES (1/4-inch stereo jack, 3.5-mm stereo mini-jack)|
|Supported DJ software:||Rekordbox DJ|
|Djtechzone Rating:||(4.9 / 5)|
|More information:||Full review coming soon|
The brand new Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 is a 2 channel DJ controller for Rekordbox DJ. It has full-color LCD screens in each jog wheel and a very well featured mixer. The mixer has 2 channels, 4 sound color effects and 14 beat effects with an integrated LCD screen to monitor the beat effects parameters. The DDJ-800 also has a hardware mixer with RCA inputs for each channel and supports Rekordbox DVS.
The DDJ-800 also has a professional array of inputs and outputs, including booth output, 3 master outputs and 2 mic inputs. Overall, the DDJ-800 is a very good choice for those DJ’s that want a compact but professional DJ controller, that can be easily transported from gig to gig.
|The Numark NS6II is just a fantastic controller for Serato DJ. The large jogs, built-in LCD screens, 4 channel hardware mixer, and rock-solid build make it hard to beat.|
$$$ check the price on Amazon
Under USD 200: $
|Inputs:||2 1/4” mic inputs, 2 x Dual RCA Stereo (line/phono)|
|Outputs:||Stereo XLR outputs, Master RCA outputs, Booth RCA Outputs|
|Supported DJ software:||Serato DJ Pro, Virtual DJ|
|Djtechzone Rating:||(4.7 / 5)|
|More information:||Numark NS6II review and video|
The NS6II is a very solid piece of kit, with a 4 channel, hardware mixer that supports DVS. It also has an LCD screen in each jog wheel, touch capacitive knobs, dual USB inputs for easy DJ changeovers, and a sturdy, professional look that looks like it can take a beating.
The NS6II has 8 qualitative performance pads that support many Serato DJ performance functions, such as hot cues, loops, rolls, slicer, and sampler. There is a high-resolution pitch fader as well, and a replaceable crossfader.
The NS6II is a very good option for any mobile DJ that needs a lot of DJ gear features in a compact and lightweight form factor.
The decks compared
The decks on the DDJ-800 are inspired heavily on the CDJ and XDJ media players, with the iconic yellow loop buttons on top. The jog wheels are about the size of that of the DDJ-SX3 but do have those big and colorful LCD screens in the middle that can display track data such as waveform, track time, bpm and more, or track artwork. Also, there is a tension adjustment knob that is very handy when performing different tricks on the jogs. The performance pads are velocity sensitive and very reactive. Finally, the pitch fader is a high-resolution one, which is good news for DJ the beat match manually.
The NS6II has a more traditional layout: the top of the decks have the effects section, which allows for the 3 effects to be used at the same time. Additionally, you can activate touch capacity on the effect knobs which turn the effects on just by touching the knobs. This sounds gimmicky but is actually pretty cool in use. The jog wheels are very nice to use, and also have an LCD screen in the middle. This screen is quite basic compared to the one in the DDJ-800, but it does display all the track data that is important to have at a glance when playing.
The performance pads are also high-quality and support most Serato DJ functions. The one big issue with the NS6II is that there is no dedicated looping section since all the looping features are integrated into the performance decks. If looping is a big part of your performances, then this could be a point to take into account.
|DDJ-800: The DDJ-800 wins this bit because of a few design choices. First of all, the dedicated looping section is a key feature in any professional DJ controller. Secondly, the LCD screens within each jog wheel are very detailed and a bit more useful than the ones on the NS6II.|
The mixers compared
Let’s move to the mixers then. The really big difference between the two mixers is the fact that the DDJ-800’s mixer has 2 channels and the NS6II’s has 4. Considering the target market of professional and mobile DJ’s, the more channels, the better, because it offers more options to connect external gear. Because of this difference, it also makes sense that that the DDJ-800 lacks the double USB input of the DDJ-1000, something the NS6II has, which again makes DJ changeovers much easier.
On the other hand, the DDJ-800 has both sound color and beat effects on the mixer, making it look and feel like a much more expensive unit. The downside is that this only works with Rekordbox DJ, so if you have external gear connected to the channels, the effects won’t work.
The NS6II has no effects unit built into the mixer, all the effects are located on the decks and only function with Serato DJ. This is a limitation but in my view not a dealbreaker. It does have, as said above, 4 channels and channels 3 and 4 have independent RCA inputs that allow you to connect external audio sources such as turntables and media players.
The addition of 2 USB inputs also make DJ changeovers easy or offer a way for a mobile DJ to have a backup laptop connected at all times, ready to go if the main laptop fails.
|TIE: I’m quite torn between these two mixers. I like the effects options of the DDJ-800’s and it’s DJM-like layout and design. On the other hand, the 4 channels and the 2 USB inputs of the NS6II’s mixer are a perfect fit for mobile DJ’s.|
The inputs and outputs
The NS6II has RCA and XLR balanced outputs. There is also an RCA booth output (balanced XLR would have been better). On the input side, there are two TRS mic inputs with the mic controls located on the front of the unit. Channels 3 and 4 have RCA inputs and there are also 2 USB inputs to connect 2 laptops at the same time.
The DDJ-800 also has 2 line inputs for the 2 channels, but that means that if you connect external audio sources you can’t at the same time run Serato DJ. There is an AUX input that can be used to connect said audio sources but then you miss out on all the channel audio controls such as the filter and the EQ. On the output side, the DDJ-800 has a TRS booth output, and RCA / XLR master out. Finally, there are two mic inputs, one XLR, and one TRS.
|NS6II: I have to give the win to the NS6II here because of the extra versatility with the extra USB input and the 4 channels. Being able to connect two laptops at once, or being able to add a turntable to your setup without sacrificing the main software channels is a must for most mobile DJs.|
Finally, a quick word on the software. The NS6II runs on Serato DJ Pro, while the DDJ-800 uses Rekordbox DJ. A few years ago, when Rekordbox DJ launched, I would have given the advantage to Serato DJ, but today, Rekordbox DJ has become as powerful and reliable as Serato DJ, and that is quite an achievement by Pioneer DJ.
Of course, every DJ has his or her preferences. Serato DJ is the more established package and if you plan to share your controller with other DJ’s during gigs, there is a bigger chance they will use Serato DJ as well. On the other hand, Rekordbox DJ is a part of Rekordbox, and that is the leading music preparation software for most professional DJ’s out there, so your music library will easily be exportable for use with Pioneer DJ CDJ players.
|TIE: These days, the choice between Serato DJ and Rekorbox DJ comes down to personal preference, as both are solid and stable DJ software packages.|
In the end, both the Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 and the Numark NS6II have very appealing features to mobile and professional DJ’s. The DDJ-800 stands out because of its jog wheels and DJM-like mixer. The NS6II has 4 channels, 2 USB inputs and even if the LCD screens in the jog wheels are more modest than on the ones on the DDJ-800, they still show all the important track data.
So which one should you choose if you are torn between the two? In my opinion, if you like the advanced features of the DDJ-800 such as the high-resolution LCD screen in the jogs and the DJM-like sound color and beat effects options, and don’t need 4 channels, then go with the DDJ-800. On the other hand, if 4 channels and 2 USB inputs are key features you need, then the NS6II is the obvious choice.
|TIE: It’s hard to choose between these two controllers, and as far as this comparison goes, they end up toe to toe. In the end, both are excellent pieces of kit and will do their job more than just fine. The DDJ-800 is newer and therefore has more advanced tech onboard such as the high-res LCD screens, but the NS6II still remains a very modern controller with more channels and two USB inputs. The choice is ultimately yours.|
|MORE HEAD TO HEAD COMPARISIONS|