DJ Equipment For Beginners – 4 DJ Setups
The proper DJ equipment for beginners is more than just a cd player and a mixer. Dj quality headphones, DJ controllers, turntables, software and many interesting and unique setups to try and pick the one that fits your needs.
What you probably already know is what you need to start djing.
- PAIR OF CD-PLAYERS OR TURNTABLES
- DJ MIXER
- PAIR OF MONITOR SPEAKERS
This is the setup I suggest you start with, basic and perfect to learn the fundamentals of djing, mixing and beat-matching. On the other hand, there is the tempting option of a DJ controller and a DJ software. A very budget-friendly option with tremendous potentials.
DJ headphones and monitor speakers do not change in any situation, but sound sources and tools for beat-matching and mixing are various.
Some of the most common DJ setups in the electronic music scene
SETUP-A: PAIR OF CD PLAYERS + DJ MIXER
SETUP-B: PAIR OF TURNTABLES + DJ MIXER
SETUP-C: DJ CONTROLLER + PC/LAPTOP with DJ SOFTWARE
SETUP-D: DJ CONTROLLER/TURNTABLE/CD PLAYER + AUDIO INTERFACE + PC/LAPTOP with DJ SOFTWARE
There are plenty of options out there on DJ equipment for beginners. For every available budget and a variety of brands and characteristics. Since the market of DJ equipment is huge and new models come out often, I made big research and ask professionals who currently use this equipment. We will examine each DJ setup separately and suggest the right tools for you. As well, you will find detailed reviews of each model in referral articles with 5 best to choose.
One of the most useful tools in a DJ booth is good quality DJ headphones. It mostly depends on your personal preference on frequency response, comfort, and brand-name. Small headphones might work for some but for DJs like me with a big head, we prefer big and round ear-pads.
Some useful features to check when buying DJ headphones
- Headphone type: Closed-back type to offer superb isolation from external sounds and background noises.
- Sound quality: A pair that offers deep and punchy bass, as well as clear mids and highs, will help you master your beat-matching skills. But in the end, the sound quality is personal preference.
- Durability: No matter how much you will take care of your headphones they will take a lot of abuse, so pick wisely.
As this is an article for the best DJ equipment for beginners we could have picked some more affordable choices. But in my opinion, you can invest a bit more for a pair like those below those guarantee years of premium quality.
5best DJ headphones
- PIONEER HDJ-2000
- SENNHEISER HD 25-1 MKII
- V-MODA CROSSFADE M-100
- BEYERDYNAMIC DT 1350
- SENNHEISER HD8 DJ
For more info check the best DJ headphones
Studio monitors are not only perfect for recording studios but home DJ booths as well. Popular brand-names offer great sound quality at very affordable prices.
What to look when buying studio monitors
- Woofer size: Pick a model with woofer size relatively big with your room size. A big size monitor won’t perform well in a tiny room.
- Output power: Do not expect much here. Anything above 40-50 Watts will do the job.
- Frequency response: Sound quality is subjective, what you might like somebody else might hates. In the end, the choice here is personal preference.
5best studio monitors
- YAMAHA HS 5/7/8
- KRK ROKIT G3 RP 5/6/8/10
- JBL LSR 305/308
- FOCAL ALPHA 50/65/80
- GENELEC 8010A
For more info and comparison of the submissions check The best studio monitors.
DJ SETUP A
PAIR OF CD PLAYERS + DJ MIXER
The standard DJ equipment for beginners around the globe.
Thankfully the cd players that exist in the market now offer extremely useful features. Even a beginner can take full advantage of a player and it’s features. Budget varies from $500 for a decent semi-pro player to $2000 for the best player in the market. For a starter a semi-pro solution is perfect and prices don’t get higher than $500. All the latest cd players in the market support all audio formats and have also a USB port.
Some useful features to check when buying a digital player
- Audio formats: Does it support the audio format you want? (MP3, WAV, AIFF etc.)
- USB port: Most new cd players have a USB port.
- Display function: It is very useful to have a screen for track browsing, cue point display and waveform display.
- Cue points: With cue points, you can save a certain spot of the song and then access to it by pushing a single button.
- Loop Buttons: With a loop button you can select a start and an endpoint (e.g. 4beats) of a track and repeat it.
- Beat Sync: Some players even offer a wireless connection between them and automatic beat-matching.
5 best digital cd players for beginners:
- PIONEER CDJ 350
- GEMINI MDJ 1000
- RELOOP RMP
- AMERICAN AUDIO RADIUS 3000
- DENON DJ SC2900
In case you want to spend big you might want to take a look for the best cd players on the market.
Regardless of your DJ mixer, there are many available options in the market. Since we are looking for a starter tool, the list has mainly 2-channel mixers but also budget friendly 4-channel. All mixers offer the ability to control equalizers (low/middle/high), with sound effects, microphone input, “record out” etc.
Extra features to check when buying a DJ mixer
- The number of channels: 2-channel mixers are good to start, when you will improve yourself and mix more tracks or add acapella’s or play pro in a club then a 4-channel mixer is necessary.
- Equalizers: You can adjust the high, middle and low frequencies and some mixers even offer full range cut.
- Build quality: A quality and durable construction are important for all DJ equipment, but your mixer will probably get the most abuse than any other tool of your setup.
- Additional features: MIDI connectivity, USB inputs, and built-in audio interface are necessary if you are seeing yourself using DJ software in the future.
5 of the best DJ mixers for beginners:
- ALLEN&HEATH XONE:23
- PIONEER DJM 350
- NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR KONTROL Z2
- RELOOP RMX-22I
- DJ TECH DIF1S
For more info check the best DJ mixers for beginners.
DJ SETUP B
PAIR OF TURNTABLES + DJ MIXER
The original DJ equipment for beginners that is alive and well.
There is a big and constant enhanced production of vinyl turntables. When the output of the Technics 1200 turntable stopped in 2010, we had to check our list again for new models, thankfully we found some pretty good options for every available budget.
Features to consider when buying a DJ vinyl turntable
- Drive motor type: You can choose between direct or belt type, but for djing, we recommend direct type over the historical belt type.
- Tonearm: between S-shaped and straight arm there is no right or wrong choice. But the overall tonearm nature is essential for sound quality and tracking ability.
- Pitch control: Same with cd players, pitch control is one of the basic controls for beat-matching. Make sure that you can adjust the slider smoothly.
- Additional features: Digital outputs, master output, reverse, BPM counter, etc.
5 of the best DJ turntables for beginners:
- STANTON STR8-150
- RELOOP RP 8000
- AUDIO TECHNICA AT-LP120
- PIONEER PLX 500
- NUMARK TT 250
Regarding your mixer, applies the same with the above.
DJ SETUP C
DJ CONTROLLER + PC/LAPTOP with DJ SOFTWARE
The most affordable and common choice of DJ equipment for beginners.
The big difference between setup C and D is the need or not of an external audio interface. Some DJ controllers include one, letting you with a simple USB connection to your PC/Laptop. Otherwise, the purchase of an audio interface is a must. There are a few factors to consider when buying a DJ controller, but the most important is the DJ software that you are planning to use with it. Many controllers offer perfect integration with the major DJ software like Serato or Traktor pro. Although you can still manually map every controller to every software, why to get into that trouble when the package also offers free lite or even full version of it’s supported DJ software.
Features to consider when buying a DJ controller
- Software integration: Serato DJ, Traktor PRO etc.
- Audio interface built-in: All models in our list have a built-in audio interface.
- Build quality: For a tool that you will transfer it everywhere and will get abuse daily you definitely need one that can “take it”.
- Other functions: Except the desks and mixer what other functions you find necessary? effects, performance pads, MIDI, and more…
5 of the best DJ controllers for beginners:
- NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR KONTROL S2 MK2
- PIONEER DDJ-SB2
- NUMARK MIXTRACK PRO III
- DENON DJ MC4000
- BEHRINGER CMD STUDIO 4A
For more info read here The best DJ controllers.
You probably already own at least one PC or laptop, but I recommend to have one just for your music. DJ software and DAW’s use lots of CPU and memory and you don’t want your laptop to freeze or “crack” during a live performance.
There are two major questions to ask yourself before your purchase except for characteristics
- Characteristics: Except for your graphics card, all the features of your pc/laptop must be pro. Ram, CPU, and display get the best possible. RAM over 8GB, CPU at I5 2.2GHz or higher and display bigger than 13 inches. Hard disc storage of 1TB is good to start and upgrade later with an external disc.
- OS (Operating System): Between MAC and WINDOWS there is no right or wrong choice. On one hand, a bit pricey but with an extremely well build quality, features and the only OS that supports Logic Pro. From the other hand a most budget-friendly PC or laptop with equally well characteristics and reliability. Professional DJ’s and producers happen to use both, with a small preference for MAC products, but still, the choice is yours.
- Desktop or Laptop: If you ever imagine yourself playing outside of your bedroom then you have no option but to go for a laptop. Desktops are more powerful and are ideal for music production studios.
5 of the best Laptops for DJing:
- APPLE MACBOOK PRO
- ACER ASPIRE V15 NITRO
- ASUS ZENBOOK PRO UX501VW
- DELL XPS 15
- ASUS ROG GL551
For more info and comparison of the submissions check the best computer for djing and music production.
Even cd and vinyl junkies at some point of their career tried djing with a software and many loved it. In 2016, with the right tools, you can achieve a live performance impossible to perform years ago with a standard setup. Plus a DJ software is more flexible and budget friendly. The first 3 (Traktor, Ableton, Serato) are the most common DJ software’s used by professional DJ’s and musicians around the globe and these software’s offer a free trial version to try before you buy. Followed by two free DJ software in case you have a tight budget.
5 of the best DJ software:
- NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR PRO
- SERATO DJ
- ABLETON LIVE
- VIRTUAL DJ
DJ SETUP D
DJ CONTROLLER/TURNTABLE/CD PLAYER + AUDIO INTERFACE + PC/LAPTOP with DJ SOFTWARE
The most popular and with endless functionalities DJ setup used by the majority of professional DJs around the globe.
In a case, your DJ controller doesn’t have a built-in audio interface or you want to connect your turntable to your DJ software and have a mixing experience at it’s finest, then you need an external audio interface to do the job. For your live performances, you need a small and light-weight tool with no need for numerous inputs/outputs
5 of the best audio interfaces for djing:
- NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KOMPLETE AUDIO 6
- FOCUSRITE SCARLETT 2I2
- FOCUSRITE SAFFIRE 6
- NOVATION AUDIOHUB
- M-AUDIO FAST TRACK PRO
For more info and comparison of the submissions check The best audio interfaces under $200.
Countless options out there to built and create your own DJ setup. As a beginner its normal to count every penny and go for an affordable setup with DJ controller. If, however, you can invest more then you will end up with a topnotch professional DJ setup.
If you are ready to learn How to become a DJ read here to do it properly.
There is no right or wrong option but is good to perform with DJ equipment that you are familiar with. Otherwise, you will end up transferring your own tools everywhere you go.
If you are already familiar with beatmatching and basic mixing, read how to master you mixing skills and How to become a professional DJ.
Feel free to drop your comments, questions or disagreements of the above.