DJ Controller Review: Korg KAOSS DJ

Is this the multi-purpose DJ hardware you need?

Korg KAOSS DJ review

Whether you’re the type of DJ who runs out and buys all of the newest DJ equipment on the market because you can or you are genuinely in the market for new hardware, you’ll want to know about the Korg KAOSS DJ. It is a lightweight DJ controller that doesn’t look like much but it does have a lot to offer.

This is a multi-purpose unit that works as a controller, standalone mixer or FX unit. Whatever you need as a professional DJ you might find this is the perfect budget friendly device for those on the go.

Keep reading to find out of the Korg KAOSS DJ is right for you.

First Things First

As DJs we rarely judge any book solely by its cover and I want you to remember that as you look at this machine. It’s small and made mostly of black plastic, which means it isn’t the prettiest girl at the dance but it is functional. The knobs and buttons are pretty much everywhere you’d expect on your basic DJ controller, with the exception of the KAOSS FX pad dead center. This is great for mobile DJs because you don’t need a computer to use the FX.

If you look closely at those jogwheels you’ll find that they aren’t those mechanical ones but rather touchpads.

Other than the FX pad and touchpad jogwheels you’ll find the other unique aspect of this controller is the two channel standalone mixer. You’ll find twin inputs for MP3 players, CDJs and all other devices plus a socket for a mic.

The Korg KAOSS comes with Serato DJ Intro but you can—and should—upgrade to regular Serato DJ as soon as you can to maximize your options.

How It Works

After setup is complete you’ll find everything you’re used to if you are familiar with Serato DJ controller. The library, hot cues, loops and all that is all there. All the controls you need are there and where they should be. If you’re not familiar with the layout just take a few minutes to walk through it all and you’ll be fine.

The folks at Korg have also added a gain on each channel plus LEDs on the controls. The bad news is that it isn’t nearly enough for dark smoky clubs, hotel rooms and bars, but if you know your DJ hardware then it won’t be a problem.

DJ equipment review_KAOSS DJ

I want you to manage your expectations when you think about the KAOSS DJ because this is not for big deal power users or those who favor turntables. Nope, this is for your basic DJing and perfect as a portable machine and a second DJ controller. Don’t expect a lot but if you know what to expect you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Using the KAOSS DJ as a standalone mixer is as simple as plugging the cable in to a power source. But what will appeal to many new DJs is the ability to use it as a FX unit. You can use it with software or other inputs, all you need to do is use the FX pad. There are plenty of options so cycle through them a few times so you’re not working on the fly during gigs or practice sessions.

A bit of advice from me; don’t go overboard and make your DJ sets sound like science fiction movie.

Is It Worth It?

This is the part of the DJ equipment review where I would typically tell you yes this is awesome, get it! Or, nope, its crap, leave it on the shelf. But with the Korg KAOSS DJ I am truly torn. It does a lot, I mean like a tremendous amount of stuff. It is a FX unit, a two-channel standalone mixer and a Serato DJ controller. You can use it as a backup unit solely for FX as an easy way to make your set stand apart.

If your goal is portability then this is a definite possibility for you. Since we know Serato DJ requires a controller to work, the KAOSS DJ is perfect for easy setup. You need a laptop, the KAOSS DJ and your skills. But it is a great backup controller because it doesn’t add a lot to your load in terms of travel and setup.

But for your main machine this is…seriously lacking. The touchpad jogwheels will take more than a minute to get used to if this is your go to hardware. You’ll keep waiting for it to feel like “real” jogwheels but they never will. Then there’s the whole switch on/off problem if you want to change modes. Going from standalone mixer to Serato? Then you’ll need to power off and turn it back on.

It’s not a deal breaker but it is damned inconvenient.

So for $299 this is a pretty good deal…as a backup machine. It is definitely worth a try but not worthy of main DJ equipment status.

I hope I taught you what you need to know about the Korg KAOSS DJ. Email in the box below to get access to Free video DJ lessons that will answer all of your questions on how to become a disk jockey!

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