I’m a big fan of two channel controllers. There’s something about the look/feel/symmetry/size which I feel a lot happier with than the four channel counterpart. However, as an Event DJ, the four channels aren’t really negotiable.
Last April, I found myself in the market for a new controller. I wanted Pioneer’s DDJ-1000, but I wasn’t willing to jump ship to rekordbox dj. Pioneer have quite clearly released the DDJ-1000 at a price point where a number of DJs are going to switch software. It’s the closest thing I’ve seen to CDJs in controller form.
Having made the decision to stick with Serato, my controller shortlist came down to the Denon DJ MC7000, the Roland DJ-808, and the Numark NS6II. All three controllers had their merits, but based on features I’d use, build quality and value for money, I plumped for the Numark controller.
Considering the success of the original NS6, the new incarnation seems to have gone under the radar somewhat. I think this is partly due to the fact that when the NS6 was released, it was breaking new ground and had a number of innovative features that hadn’t been seen before. There are so many DJ controllers available now that it becomes difficult to stand out from the crowd. I quite enjoy the fact that sightings of this unit are rare.
The Numark NS6ii is a lot better built than most controllers around this price point. It’s largely metal construction give this DJ controller a much more pro feel than its plasticky market rivals. The only reason I can think of for the NS6ii not being a more popular choice for digital DJs is quite simply branding. Pioneer are the Apple of DJ equipment, and some people just aren’t interested in an alternative.
During my six months of regular use for gigs, I’m yet to have any issues with the NS6ii. There were some initial reports on the Serato forum of problems with the jog wheels, but I understand the firmware updates have resolved these. I’ve seen no signs of these myself. Zero crashes, jog wheels and pads are ultra responsive, and it’s always powered up first time.
The Numark NS6II has two USB ports allowing two computers to be connected simultaneously. This isn’t something which I utilise personally, but would definitely be of use at a venue where DJs are on rotation, or for friends at home wanting to go back to back using their own laptop/music collection.
There is also the option to use the NS6ii as a standalone four channel mixer. Turntables can be connected and the unit is also Serato DVS compatible. I personally connect an iPad via one of the RCA line/phono inputs as a back up measure or if I need to make use of Spotify.
Displays built into the middle of the jog wheels allow you to monitor important track information such as BPM, time elapsed and time remaining. I was concerned this feature might be a little bit gimmicky initially, but it’s actually a very useful feature.
I need a long pitch fader. The ridiculously short ones you get on a lot of controllers these days are just awful. I know sometimes this is down to size constraints, but a sizeable pitch fader is far more satisfying. Measuring 100mm, the NS6ii wins in this department.
The 16 performance pads offer Hot Cue, Auto/Roll, Loop Roll, Sampler and Slicer. Plenty of opportunities to get creative with your mixes. The pads have a great feel and are very responsive. The frequency knobs within the mixer section can also be setup to be touch-capacitive giving further room for inventiveness during sets.
Dual mic inputs make the NS6II suitable for weddings, corporate functions and the like. I’m currently trialling Serato’s karaoke capabilities, and having two microphones available certainly makes life a lot easier.
Full List of Numark NS6II Features
Dual USB ports for DJ handoffs
2-inch color LCD display integrated into each jog wheel
Digital mixer with (2) phono/line inputs that can be mixed directly without software
Comes with Serato DJ (full version)
6-inch multi-function jog wheel with smart learning capacitive technology
4-channel USB Audio
Stereo XLR outputs, Master RCA outputs, Booth RCA Outputs
(2) 1/4” mic inputs
Stand-alone mixer 24-bit, 44.1K audio
4 in, 4 out with (2) phono preamp
Roll bar to protect front panel control knobs
The Numark NS6II is definitely my favourite DJ controller to date. Fantastic build quality, great jogwheels, and enough bells and whistles to keep the vast majority of DJs happy. There’s been a slight price drop with some retailers recently, and I’ve seen the NS6II available as low as £550. This is considerably cheaper than any of the other four channel Serato controllers of recent times. I’d highly recommend this unit to any mobile or event DJs looking for a reliable hardware option.