The Mixtrack Pro 3 is a budget 2-channel USB MIDI DJ controller which is much more capable than would be expected for its price. It has all the necessary features for DJs, with more than enough tools to deliver a solid mixing performance.
It is USB powered and has stereo audio outputs on the back of the controller to connect to a sound system; as well as large and small headphone sockets on the front for monitoring and cueing up tracks. This 3rd generation of Mixtrack Pro is very well designed, in a sleek, shallow and wide shape, with a logical layout of the controls. It is made of a high-impact polymer composite which provides strength and durability, as well as making it lightweight.
Much of the design of the Mixtrack Pro 3 is very influenced by the design of Numark’s more costly NV series, with its decks being of the same material and size to the NVs.
Serato Intro is supplied with the Mixtrack Pro 3, the cut-down free version of Serato DJ, which is more than adequate for mixing with. However there are alternatives, more fully featured, DJing software packages also compatible with the controller. We’ll discuss some of those software options in detail as part of this article.
The Deck Section
Arranged in the familiar layout preferred by the majority of DJs, of 2 decks on either side of a mixer console.
Numark have provided 12.5cm (5 inch) diameter decks, and 10cm (4 inch) pitch adjustment slider controls. The pitch sliders, both positioned on the outside edge of the Mixtrack Pro 3, control the speed of the music. Moving the slider down, towards the plus percentage symbols (labelled as +% on the controller) will speed up the music, while moving towards the minus percentage (-%) symbols will slow the music down.
For each deck there is a Start & Stop button, a Cue button (to set cue points in the software), a Sync button, a Shift button and a Wheel button. The Shift enables extra functions from the buttons – for example Shift+Cue will return to the beginning of the track – and the Wheel buttons changes the function of the deck wheel, from scratch mode to pitch mode (allowing you to manually synchronize the track, by slightly speeding it up or slowing it down suing your fingers). There are also 2 pitch bend buttons for each deck which similarly can be used to speed up and slow slow down the music, to perform manual syncing.
The Mixer Section
All the standard DJ mixer controls are here. We have a volume slide fader for each deck and a cross-fader to go quickly between them without changing their overall volume level.
Twin LED volume meters show the output level of each deck. Moving up the mixer section, we then have headphone monitor select buttons, to listen to either or both tracks on the headphones before raising the output volumes for them. The monitor buttons light up to indicate when they are selected. There are high-pass/low-pass filter dials for each deck, and EQ dials, with Bass, Mid and Treble reduction and boosting.
In the middle of the mixer is the Cue Gain dial to adjust the volume of the headphone monitor output. The Cue Mix control, determines how much of the monitor output and the master output is sent to the headphones, so that you can perform a preview mix in headphones. There is the Master Gain dial to control the output volume from the mixer software.
You choose the tracks to be loaded using the Browse dial, by searching through your music library. The dial is clickable to select folders, then you load tracks onto a deck using either the Load 1 or Load 2 buttons.
Something missing from the mixer section is a volume gain dial for each channel; which could be considered a bit of an oversight in the design of the controller. DJ software nowadays has Audio Limiters which manage the maximum volume of the tracks, so Gain dials may not be entirely necessary. But this function can be implemented if you wish, since all controls are re-assignable, by re-purposing the Filter dials for example, as filtering is possible using the Effects strips.
The Pads Section
The 16 multi-function backlit performance pads – 8 per deck – add loops, launch samples, and set cues points during performances.
The upper row of pads have different modes: Manual Loop Mode, Auto Loop Mode, and Sample Mode. You hold down the Pad Mode button and press one of the upper pads to select their mode. The pads are illuminated to indicate their current function. Manual Loop Mode allows you to set you own Loop In and Out points, and adjust the length of loops. Auto Loop Mode – the software will set the loop time; you can choose between a 1 beat, 2 beat, 4 beat, or 8 beat loop.
In Sampler Mode, hitting the top buttons will trigger the samples loaded in positions 1 to 4 in your DJing software.
You can use the 4 cue buttons to set points that you can immediately jump to in your tracks. Cue points will be saved in the software for future use.
The Effects Section
3 effects can be assigned at the same time per deck with Mixtrack Pro 3 and Serato Intro. Moving your finger along the touch strip from left to right will increase the intensity of the active effects. Turning the dial next to the touch strip increases the effects’ time lengths. When the Shift button is held, the touch strip can be used to search through the loaded song. The available effects in Serato Intro are High-Pass Filter, Low-Pass Filter, Flanger, Phaser, Echo, and Reverb. A Touch Strip can often be faster to use with accuracy than a dial, as you can tap it at different positions, such as 25% or 75%, to immediately jump between intensity settings.
The Tap BPM button – tap this 4 or more times to manually enter a new speed for your music. The software will ignore the track’s original BPM and play at your manually entered tempo.
The Inputs and Outputs
The Mixtrack Pro’s built-in sound card has twin stereo outputs on the back of the controller and a pair of headphone sockets on the front. The controller connects to a Mac or Windows computer via a standard large USB socket. When connected, the soundcard of the Mixtrack Pro will be recognised by any software as an audio device, you can keep any stereo equipment connected to it all the time and use it for other purposes apart from DJing, which comes in handy.
Numark have kindly included the 2 sizes of headphone socket (6.35mm and 3.5mm), so that a headphone size adapter is not necessary. The same sound output goes to both headphone sockets – allowing 2 people to monitor the mix with headphones for team mixing.
There is also a microphone input socket and volume gain dial for it on the front. Sound from this input is not sent to the computer, it directly outputs to the rear phono sockets.
Mixtrack Pro 3 is pre-assigned as a Serato controller and supplied with Serato Intro. What is gained by upgrading to the paid version of Serato DJ is as follows:
- Being able to record your mixes from within the software
- Re-configuring of controller functions
- The ability to use more than one controller at once
- Additional effects
- Additional cue points
- A more fully-featured built-in sampler
- Smart sorting of music library
- Quantizing of beats
- MIDI output, to control other software or music equipment
- 4 deck mixing
- Advanced Looping, Slicer and Slip mode
- Harmonic key analysis
None of these is absolutely necessary to create good mixes. The Intro version of Serato, included with the Mixtrack Pro 3, has everything needed to mix with – much more in fact than a DJ using vinyl turntables and an hardware mixer would typically have had in the past.
The paid version of Serato DJ is sold at $99 (at time of writing). There is a link in Serato Intro to a 14 day trial of it, to decide for yourself whether these additional features are worth paying extra for.
Another recommended piece of DJ software worth looking at is Algoriddim’s Djay Pro, which is half of the price of the full Serato DJ. Djay Pro has a really nice-looking, powerful user-interface which more closely resembles a traditional vinyl setup, and is simple enough that it doesn’t require much time to learn how to use it. Djay Pro has automatic layout mapping for Mixtrack Pro 3, it will work immediately as a controller whenever plugged in with the software running – no need for any configuration.
Algoriddim offers a 14 day free trial of Djay Pro from https://www.algoriddim.com/apps
Traktor Pro is another popular DJing package, and although Mixtrack Pro 3 is not natively supported in Traktor, there are layout mappings which have been created by users that can be downloaded and installed. Traktor by it’s nature is the most highly configurable of the DJ software and hence has a steeper learning curve, but that also makes it more flexible if you’re willing to put in some extra learning time with it. A trial version which runs for 30 minutes can be downloaded from https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/traktor/dj-software/traktor-pro-2/demo-and-downloads/
Mixx is quality DJ software which is free, and has a well-established user base. There are downloadable Mixx layout mappings for the Mixtrack Pro and for most other controllers. Its website address for downloads is https://www.mixxx.org
The Prime Loops Remix Tool Kit, containing 380 samples, is free to download for owners of the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3. It includes drum sounds, loops, instrument samples and sound effects; all organised into convenient categories.
MixTrack Pro 3 Main Features
- Twin 5-inch / 12.5cm metal deck wheels
- Standard DJ Mixer controls – 2 Slider Faders plus Cross-Fader
- Filter dials for each channel
- Multi-function Touch Strips for dynamic effects control and track searching
- 100mm pitch sliders for fine pitch adjustments
- 16 multi-function backlit performance pads
- Digital Music Library track browsing section
- An integrated USB class compliant 24-bit, 44.1k audio interface with standard phono output sockets
- A ¼ inch (6.35 mm) and a 1/8 inch (3.5 mm) headphone sockets
- A 1/4 inch (6.35 mm) Microphone Input socket with gain controller
- Serato DJ Intro & Prime Loops Remix Tool Kit included in the price
- Works with any DJ software
- Product dimensions: 54.9 x 23.4 x 3 cm / 21.7 x 9.1 x 1.2 inches
- Weight: 1.8 Kg / 4.1 lbs
The Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 has been a best seller on Amazon.com continually since it was introduced in 2015.
It is great fun, feels very natural in use, and ideal to practise with and to perform as a DJ. It gives a very similar experience and feeling as using vinyl turntables, but with many more onboard elements that can be included in the mix. This controller offers a wealth of professional features, while retaining an introductory price and lightweight portability. As long as you have Mixtrack Pro 3 and a laptop with you, and you’ll have everything you need to start mixing music.
Numark Industries is a manufacturer of audio equipment for DJs founded in 1971, in New Jersey, USA. The company is currently the world’s largest manufacturer of DJ equipment. With the introduction of the NS7 motorized DJ controller in 2007, Numark combined the company’s technological knowledge with decades of DJ product development. NS7 brought a level of powerful professional performance with digital media that had not previously been achieved; accurately reproducing the look, feel and sound of vinyl, blending the different eras of DJing so completely to make them virtually indistinguishable from one another.