Roland DJ-202 Review: Ultimate Serato DJ Controller

Roland DJ-202 DJ controller review

Here, we’ll delve deeply into a comprehensive Roland DJ-202 review, disclosing the intricacies of this remarkable DJ controller. Crafted to meet the needs of veteran mix-masters and those new to the scene, the Roland DJ-202 presents a budget-conscious yet feature-rich solution for anyone aspiring to elevate their mixing prowess. As a 4-deck Serato-compatible controller equipped with a built-in drum machine, this unit offers an unparalleled blending of functionality and affordability.

Roland DJ-202

  • 2-channel performance DJ controller

  • FX Paddles

  • Controller Level: Beginner to Intermediate

  • Compatible Software: Serato DJ Lite (upgradeable to Serato DJ Pro)

  • Supported DJ Applications: Serato DJ, Algoriddim djay, Virtual DJ

From ‎$299

Pros and Cons

When it comes to DJ controllers, especially those that cater to a range of users from beginners to semi-pros, understanding the pros and cons can be crucial for making an informed purchase. Below, we’ve compiled a concise list of the advantages and disadvantages of the Roland DJ-202 to give you a balanced perspective.


  • Affordable Price: At $399, the Roland DJ-202 offers a lot of bang for your buck, making it accessible to DJs on a budget.
  • Feature-Rich: Despite its budget-friendly tag, this controller doesn’t skimp on features. It boasts a built-in sequencer, performance pads, and FX controls, among others.
  • Compact and Portable: Its compact design makes it ideal for mobile DJs and those with limited space.
  • Easy to Use: The user-friendly interface ensures that even DJs with minimal experience can get up and running quickly.
  • Serato DJ Lite Integration: Bundled with Serato DJ Lite, it’s an excellent springboard for those looking to eventually upgrade to Serato DJ Pro.
  • Quality Build: Built with durable materials, it’s robust enough to ensure both home use and gigging.


  • Limited Input/Output: The Roland DJ-202 only offers basic I/O options, lacking features like XLR outputs, which may be a drawback for more advanced setups.
  • No Standalone Mixer Capability: The controller doesn’t function as a standalone mixer, requiring a computer or external hardware to enable full functionality.
  • Software Limitations: While it comes with Serato DJ Lite, some users may find this software somewhat limiting and wish to upgrade, seeking a fuller feature set, which would be an additional expense.
Roland DJ-202 DJ controller layout

Unboxing the Roland DJ-202

Upon cutting through the tape and lifting the box’s flaps, you’re instantly greeted by the eye-catching, streamlined look of the Roland DJ-202—a true gem in today’s DJ equipment market. Its compact size and lightweight build, weighing just over 2 kg, offer portability and durability. The controller’s casing, meticulously crafted from robust plastic materials, promises long-lasting reliability without sacrificing its modern, stylish flair.

Inside the meticulously packaged box, you’ll discover not just the DJ-202 controller but also an array of essential accessories designed to make your DJing experience as seamless as possible. A USB cable is included for straightforward computer connectivity, eliminating any last-minute runs to an electronics store. Furthermore, a comprehensive user manual is provided to guide you through the features and operation of the device, which is particularly helpful for those new to the world of DJing.

A notable addition to the package is the bundled software suite. The device comes ready to be integrated with Serato DJ Lite, a reputable DJ software that needs to be downloaded. This paves the way for an almost instantaneous setup, enabling you to dive into your mixing adventure right out of the box. Roland has clearly prioritized user convenience, ensuring that every crucial component is readily available to you from the moment you unwrap your brand-new DJ equipment.

Dimensions18.9 x 11.8 x 2.3 in
Weight2.1 kg
Inputs1 x 1/4-inch Mic Input
USB1 x USB Type-B (for computer connection)
Soundcard24-bit/48 kHz
Frequency Range20 Hz – 20 kHz
Signal-to-Noise Ratio> 95 dB
Distortion< 0.005%

The Core Features of the Roland DJ-202

Before diving into this versatile gadget’s performance, let’s take a closer look at the core features that set the Roland DJ-202 apart from its competitors.

Performance Pads

Featuring a set of eight multi-functional performance pads for each deck, the Roland DJ-202 sets the stage for an interactive DJing experience that goes beyond the ordinary. These pads serve as your creative playground, enabling you to explore hot cues, trigger loops, and launch sequences with dynamic responsiveness. What’s more, they are velocity-sensitive, meaning the intensity of your touch translates into the expressiveness of your performance—offering a new layer of tactile interactivity as you DJ.

But the innovative design doesn’t stop there. Each pad is accentuated with RGB backlighting, a feature that proves invaluable when you’re lost in the groove under dim stage lighting. This not only adds to the aesthetic allure but also provides practical utility, making it easier to distinguish between different pad functions during your live DJing sessions.

Roland DJ-202 DJ controller performance pads

Jog Wheels

The expansive, low-latency jog wheels stand out as one of the most compelling features of the DJ-202, serving as a hallmark of the unit’s high-quality design. Measuring an impressive 5.2 inches in diameter, these jog wheels give you an abundant surface area for intricate control. The tactile responsiveness they offer is second to none, providing the touch sensitivity essential for intricate scratch performances, precise beatmatching, and subtle track adjustments.

Designed with acute attention to detail, the jog wheels feel incredibly intuitive under your fingertips, allowing for both broad strokes and minute tweaks with an equal degree of precision. Whether syncing up beats for a seamless transition or executing an intricate scratch routine, these jog wheels make it a breeze. The lowered latency ensures that your physical movements translate almost instantaneously into audible output, critical for live performances where timing is everything.

Roland DJ-202 DJ controller jog wheel

Mixer Section and Effects

Regarding DJ mixing, the Roland DJ-202 is an undisputed champion in its class. This compact powerhouse is chock-full of features designed to elevate your mix, allowing for an expansive spectrum of audio manipulations that can truly mesmerize your listeners. Here’s a snapshot of what the mixer section offers:

  • 3-Band EQ: With a dedicated EQ for each channel, you can easily tweak the highs, mids, and lows, sculpting your sound for optimal impact.
  • Filter Knobs: Basic yet effective, these knobs enable real-time filtering, allowing you to sweep frequencies or create dramatic build-ups and breakdowns.
  • FX Paddles: A range of on-the-fly FX controls are at your fingertips, offering the flexibility to add professional-sounding effects, transitions, and flourishes to your mix.

What makes these features exceptional is how intuitively they are laid out on the console, making real-time adjustments a breeze even in the heat of a performance. You’ll find that these controls are not merely supplementary but integral to mastering the art of DJ mixing, giving you the creative freedom to tailor your mix with precision and flair. With the DJ-202, the possibilities are as broad as your imagination, making it an essential tool for DJs aiming to captivate their audience.

Roland DJ-202 DJ controller mixer section

Setting Up and Using the Roland DJ-202

The Roland DJ-202 is built with ease of use in mind, making the setup and operation phases a breeze even for the most tech-challenged DJs out there.

Setup and Software Integration

Roland has simplified the process of DJ software integration to an astonishing degree. A mere controller connection to your laptop via the provided USB cable initiates an automated sync with the pre-included Serato DJ Lite software. This effortless alignment spares you the cumbersome, time-consuming setup procedures often associated with other controllers, enabling you to delve into your mixing session almost instantaneously.

This seamless software integration prioritizes not only speed but also overall user experience. By eliminating barriers that could disrupt creative flow, the system is accessible to newbies and veteran DJs alike. For beginners, it acts as an instant portal to musical creativity, free from technical complications. Seasoned mixers will find it a dependable and efficient asset that streamlines their workflow, enabling greater focus on crafting an enthralling mix. In sum, the Roland DJ-202’s harmonious blend of hardware and software qualifies it as an invaluable resource for DJs, regardless of their skill level.

Roland DJ-202 Serato integration


Thanks to its user-centric interface design, streamlined shape, and no-nonsense controls, the DJ-202 offers a seamless operation experience. This piece of equipment removes the hassle of navigating through complex menus and configurations, freeing you up to concentrate on what’s most important—your mix. Its well-thought-out control layout and diminutive size make it not only intuitive but also incredibly space-efficient, an ideal choice for the mobile DJ or those working within tight spatial confines. Essentially, the DJ-202 is engineered to reduce operational friction, delivering an undistracted and highly focused mixing journey suitable for both beginners and experienced DJs.

Roland DJ-202 DJ controller knobs

How Much Is Roland DJ-202?

Priced at an attractive $399, the Roland DJ-202 delivers unparalleled value for the array of features it brings to the table. While the cost may fluctuate slightly based on the retailer you choose, the device’s capabilities consistently outshine those of other controllers in a similar price bracket. Whether you’re a newcomer to the DJ scene or a seasoned veteran, the DJ-202 presents a cost-effective yet feature-rich option, making it a savvy investment for anyone looking to elevate their mixing game without breaking the bank.

Roland DJ-202 v.s. Alternatives

There are several alternatives to consider if you’re shopping around. Here’s a quick table to help you compare:

AlternativeMain Features
Pioneer DJ DDJ-4002-channel controller
Rekordbox compatible
Beat FX
Numark Mixtrack Platinum-FX4-deck layering
6-inch jog wheels
FX paddles
Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3Native Instruments software
iOS compatibility
8 hot cue buttons

Final Thoughts

The Roland DJ-202 stands as an accessible yet feature-rich DJ controller that’s perfect for those who are just stepping into the world of DJing or those looking for a portable, reliable option. With a balance of intuitive design and powerful features, it delivers exceptional value for its price point.


Is the Roland DJ-202 Portable?

Yes, the Roland DJ-202 is highly portable. Weighing just over 2 kg and featuring a compact design, it’s easy to carry and set up, making it ideal for mobile DJs or those with limited space.

What Software Is Compatible With the Roland DJ-202?

The Roland DJ-202 is designed to seamlessly integrate with Serato DJ Lite, which is included in the package. However, it’s also compatible with other DJ software platforms that support MIDI mapping.

Is the Roland DJ-202 Suitable for Beginners?

Absolutely, the DJ-202 is beginner-friendly, thanks to its intuitive layout and straightforward controls. Its features are expansive enough to grow with you as you become more proficient, making it an excellent long-term investment.

What Is the Price of the Roland DJ-202?

The Roland DJ-202 is priced at $399, although prices may vary slightly depending on the retailer. Considering its features, it offers exceptional value for the price.

Is the Roland DJ-202 Worth It?

Yes, given its robust feature set, user-friendly interface, and competitive pricing, the Roland DJ-202 offers an outstanding value proposition, making it a worthwhile investment for both beginners and seasoned DJs.


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