Choosing the right DJ equipment can be quite a challenge for beginners, especially if you don’t have any idea what the essentials are for starting.
There are so many brands and platforms to choose from– between quality and price, for a beginner, you want to vouch for your money’s worth so you can focus on your controllerism techniques with the features that your equipment offers and what equipment that is.
So, save up, do your research, and get your skills sharpened. We are going to shop.
List of Basic DJ Equipment Every DJing Beginner Must Have
Let’s go back to the basics before actually spending. We have to make that one smart buy that will help you pave the way from the beginner DJ to being a pro. Of course, the bare essentials consist of what you already might have, your laptop, and a DJ software. The rest are monitor speakers, headphones, mixer, turntable, and vinyl records. Take this one step at a time since you still have to work on what you have to finally get your music style and match.
With many brands and models out there, you can’t afford to waste your hard-earned money for what you don’t need, and it doesn’t guarantee that it will suit your style and musical taste. Luckily, here are some suggestions for the hardware a serious beginner needs to develop their mix to get the crowd going.
1) Input Devices/Turntables
As a DJ, even a music enthusiast or an audiophile, you already have a collection or library of your music which you have downloaded and also made casually with a DJ software. You’ll need for starters input devices, hardware that has data or information (in this case, music or audio files) that are handy to access with a laptop or computer whenever or wherever. These are preferably your smartphone, USB, mp3 players like iPod and microphones.
Aside from this, what pops up when you hear the word ‘DJ’? Yes, it’s that piece of equipment that serves as the main player of your whole ensemble, where DJing’s thoughts and ideas are. A turntable is a record player with a circular platter used for playing vinyl records, also called a ‘Lazy Susan.’
Usually, turntables are seen at home with old school phonographs, but today, it has been innovated and widely used in DJ performances, parties, clubs, etc. Without this device, you are not considered or seen in essence as a DJ, even with all the innovations made for DJing. Though for some clubs, people have seen some popular EDM DJs simply use a laptop, this doesn’t compare to the tactile needs of a DJ to mix, switch records, play with songs by scratching them, and altering the pitch, tone, and tempos. Having a turntable at your behest gives you the feel and sense of being a DJ rather than just having a laptop.
The mixer is the piece de resistance of DJing—where all the magic is at work, displaying your controllerism techniques using effects at your touch. some mixers are independent of turntables now since these also included platters for playing records, and even for some, you’ll only need a mixer and a laptop with a DJ software.
Mixers enable you to make smooth transitions by playing two tracks at the same time or even play records. Depending on the brand and model, mixers can have two or four channels, faders, EQ buttons, pads, volume analogs, trim control, FX buttons and CUE button for you to listen to your next track at the ready via your headphones.
The sound effects that you will find in a mixer are Roll, Reverse Roll, Filter, Phase, Multi-tap Delay and Delay to add spice to your mixes and you’ll even want to experiment with these in creating your music.
3) DJ Software
Starting or pro, you need this on your laptop. This is the backbone of your setup.
Hook your laptop to your controller, and with the software, you can make tracks with mp3s by editing, cutting, copying and pasting, mixing, adding FX, making mashups, and even applying the changes that can be made from your turntable by changing tempos on the tracks. Besides, if you have a MIDI (Musical instrument digital interface) feature, you can alter sounds to your mixer.
Make sure you have a decent DJ software that is also compatible with your mixer or it’ll hold you back in actually displaying your skills and honing them with your gadget. Examples of Dj software include Rekordbox, Seratoplay, Virtual DJ, Ableton, and Mixvibes. Some DJ software can be downloaded for free online, and some DJ mixers throw their supported DJ software with it, and of course, if you want the full control of DJ software, if you still don’t have one, you’ll need to purchase its premium version. We know a lot of DJs out there make use of just apps on their phones, but it’s not suggestible for starters.
DJs need to listen to their tracks and mixes to know what track should be cued to play at the right time into the rhythm. Aside from simple earphones that are good for casual listening, investing in a headphone also offers noise protection, especially in a rowdy environment such as clubs or live performances which keeps you focused on your mixes and even lets you listen and browse for the next track while already playing for your audiences.
For headphones, comfort is one of the weighing factors for choosing one since you’ll be wearing it throughout the whole performance and even unconsciously wear it beyond hours. Not only should the sound be delivered accurately by your headphone but comfort speaks volumes.
5) Sound System / Studio Monitors
Your sound system should not only deliver what you want to produce but gives the same feel to the audience and without a hitch. Investing in studio monitor speakers help DJs to hear certain details that they don’t notice with just their headphones, and listen to what they’re playing to their audiences. If you want to setup a simple DJ station on your own home, a pair of studio monitors is all you will need.
No matter how important this tool is, it is supplementary compared to the needs you have to purchase first. Besides, for some venues and gigs, you’re going, they have pretty decent sound systems. If you’re still getting the ropes of your music, investing in one should help you a lot.
6) DJ Controller
Most DJs nowadays believe in the simplicity of the DJ ensemble needed in digital setups, which only limits to a controller and laptop (if you’re not going to use vinyl records anymore).
Controllers have the function of both turntable and mixer in a minimalistic approach to DJing. These are simply paired with the DJ software to manipulate your music, allowing you to do the same features from a traditional DJ setup with jog wheels, faders, knobs, backlit buttons, encoder, touch strips, etc.
7) Cases and Mounts
With all your gadget and more, you’ll need a place to set up your DJ gear in a convenient place that safekeeps your tech, at the same time, quite functional. If you’re traveling with fragile, well-spent equipment, making do with makeshift protectors won’t do, and you need to properly care for your DJ gear. Purchasing cases and mounts vary on how much equipment you’ll be carrying, so having a variety wouldn’t hurt. The DJ controller cases and mounts are very helpful if you are going to carrying your portable DJ controller and equipment everywhere you go.
Guidelines in Choosing your DJ Equipment
Besides the advertisements and reviews you’ve probably scanned in searching for the best and affordable equipment you can obtain, here are a few tips for arranging your DJ gears and choose those that will suit your style.
Classical or Digital?
What type of setup are you going for?
Is it classic? This composes of two turntables, a mixer, and supporting tools to work with. This is quite traditional in approach, but with all the advancement and innovation made on turntables and mixers. In this day and age, setting up a DJ ensemble old-school style is also expensive; you’ll undoubtedly stand out as a rarity.
This is where the digital DJ setup comes in. Honestly, as a beginning DJ in the modern world, it is best to keep the essential equipment digital like controllers, which will help you a lot in learning about this skill, and once you get really into it, a profession.
You’ll also look forward to hybrid setups, with both the classic and digital coming along nicely and all its possibilities in your performance. But of course, that’ll be in the future since it’ll cost you more. It all depends on what you want and what you’re capable of, even if you’re starting with a controller and a laptop, your path awaits.