Do You Need a 4 Channel Mixer? 2 Channel vs 4 Channel


You may in the process of purchasing a DJ mixer for your set, or possibly upgrading even. There’s always a factor that comes into mind and that’s related to quantity of channels on a DJ mixer. I’ve been there before, and it is a fairly important consideration.

A 4-Channel mixer is required if a DJ is looking to connect more than two audio sources, e.g. turntables (record vinyl, CDJ) or device (beat pad). A DJ can mix more creatively using a 4-Channel mixer, playing acapella vocals and quicker mixes. 4-Channel mixers are wide which plays a factor in a purchasing decision.

Knowing what’s best can be hard sometimes, learning from others’ experiences I know works. Hopefully my experience and bit of wisdom will be able to help you understand the ins and outs of a 4-Channel mixer (and compared to a 2-Channel mixer).

Check out my recommended gear page if you’re in the market for a new DJ mixer.

Multiple Sources

The great thing about a 4-channel mixer is that you can connect more than just your two standard DJ turntables, whether it be vinyl record turntables, CDJs or XDJs.

It’s possible to connect all sorts of devices such as:

  • 2 CDJs + 1 Vinyl Turntable (for DVS use)
  • 2CDJs + 2 Vinyl Turntable (for Non-DVS use)
  • 2 Vinyl Turntable + 1 CDJ
  • 3 CDJs + 1 Beatpad + Microphone

Note: when I’m talking about “Beatpad” I’m talking about a Native Instruments Maschine or a AKAI MPC.

The setup on a 4-channel mixer looks very different to a 2-channel mixer mainly because of the quantity of audio and DJ equipment attached to the mixer.

The possibilities are high in the options that you can choose from. It really comes down to the performance that you’re looking to put on as a DJ. Having more audio sources available gives you more option and room for creativity.

With a 2-channel mixer there’s no room for flexibility so therefore limits your ability to connect other sources of music to play. It limits your ability to be creative and experiment for when the time comes to step up your DJing game.

Thinking Ahead

I’d argue there’s a point to buying a 4-channel mixer and that’s highly relatable to the future.

A 4-channel mixer can give you options for the future.

Options to adapt to technology changes and higher levels of DJing ability / creativity.

A lot of DJs that have home setups, that I know of anyway, have a 4-channel mixer. This is due to the fact that they know that technology evolves and they might end up buying new DJ equipment to play music from.

Having a 4-channel mixer allows DJs to be adaptive to technology changes. A classic example of this is that when CDJs came out onto the market a lot of DJs seemed to still DJ with vinyls. So a 4-channel mixer really complimented a 2 x vinyl turntable + 2 or 1 CDJ setup.

Looking ahead in your future, you might be looking to push your career to the next level of DJing. Therefore connecting 4 x CDJs could be that, so having a 4-channel mixer can really help you out.

Nothing Wrong with 2-Channels

2-Channel mixers are like the gold standard DJ mixers that DJs can start off with.

Space saving on your DJ desk at home or in a studio, which is great if you are limited for space.

I think from a DJing perspective it makes DJing more focussed. Less channels to look at, less switches to control and more focus on the actual beat matching, EQ mixing and fading between tracks.

The price of 2-channel mixers is way cheaper in comparison, particularly great if you’re starting out as a DJ. Just be careful that you don’t opt for a DJ mixer that is too cheap that it’s actually worthless and wanting to break on you after a few DJ mixes.

The thing is with DJ mixers and equipment, you can always re-sell them on as second-hand to new beginner DJs, whether it be in person or online. Maintain and look after a DJ mixer and you’ll be able to re-sell it easily. Why do I say this, well you might upgrade to a 4-channel mixer or more in the future.

More than 4-Channels + Practical Advice

It’s possible to get hold of 5-channels or more on a mixer, check out 5-channel mixers here on Gear 4 Music.

I personally have a Behringer DJX750 DJ Pro Mixer which I’ve reviewed and detailed about in my recommend gear page here, plus check out the below video too which has got some great tips and advice on buying a DJ mixer.

Professional clubs usually have 4 channel mixers and above. This is so that they can connect 4 CDJs or more to help with the flow of their DJ shows. The key thing being when a DJ is finishing a DJ set the next DJ can get semi-ready to start DJing on a CDJ that’s free.

CDJs can break through heavy handed DJs or just wear and tear over time. Channels can break and so can present an issue if there are limited channels to use. This is not an ideal scenario to be in if there are limited channels on a DJ mixer and you’re a DJ in front of thousands of ravers expecting a show.

Finally, professional DJs like to DJ on more than 2 CDJs too as it gives creative freedom to add vocal acapella tracks in the mix easily while mixing two normal tracks together.

Final Thoughts

Starting out as a DJ? Then you only need 2-channels to mix music together and get really great at DJing.

Progressing as a DJ? Then consider getting a bigger 4-channel mixer or more, this will help you upgrade and connect more audio sources to the DJ mixer. This will give you the confidence to be more creative and not be stunned when you get to a club DJ mixer, therefore giving you more confidence to DJ in a club.

Some DJ mixers that are 2-channel or 4-channel (or more) can be reasonably priced, so it’s entirely up to you what you end up deciding upon, a 2 or a 4 channel mixer. Rather it would come down to budget also.

Either way, you need 2-channels minimum to be a DJ. Get practicing and see where you DJing journey takes you. Good luck! 😉

Related Questions

What does a 4 channel mixer do?

A 4-Channel mixer allows DJs to connect up to four audio sources, one source to each channel. Aux (RCA) cables are usually used to connect turntables and beat pads (plus other devices) to each channel. The DJ can then play music from each audio source while controlling the volumes and frequencies of each channel audio and blending audio together with a crossfader.

Do you need a mixer to DJ?

DJs require a DJ mixer to blend music together. Even DJ software has a built in virtual DJ mixer with two channels and a crossfader. DJ controllers come with a DJ mixer built-in so it’s not essential to purchase a separate DJ controller.

Why are DJ mixers so expensive?

DJ mixers are high priced due to the economies of scale and market. DJ mixers aren’t necessarily classed as mass market products, which in turn causes the price to stay high. The market in which consumers and businesses purchase DJ mixers is a high end value perception.

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