The Best DJ Equipment for Beginners – The ultimate guide for a complete DJ Setup!
A beginner DJ looking for new gear will come across dozens of options of DJ controllers, CD players, turntables, DJ mixers, headphones, softwares, and speakers to make a complete DJ setup and start mixing. Today we review all the best DJ equipment for beginners in four different DJ setups to choose the one fitting your budget, desires, and skill level.
You can always head to the nearest music equipment store and find available DJ equipment for rent. However, owning your own DJ setup is preferable for many reasons. Incidentally, some of the best DJ equipment in the market is now more affordable than ever. There are a variety of tools to approach, review and find the best suitable choice for everyone.
A basic DJ setup for a beginner should last at least two to three years of DJing, but it mostly depends on your budget. If you can afford premium equipment by the top brands such as Pioneer DJ, or Allen & Heath, then you will end up with a setup for a decade.
What equipment does a DJ need?
- Sound Source (Turntables)
- Mixing Device – (DJ Mixer)
- Two Sound Outputs – (Headphones / Speakers)
Which is the basic DJ equipment setup?
- Pair of CD media players or Turntables
- DJ Mixer
- DJ Headphones
- Pair of DJ Speakers
This is the setup that most beginner DJs usually start with. All the essentials and perfect to learn the fundamentals of DJing, mixing, and beat-matching. On the other hand, there is the attractive option of a DJ controller and a DJ software. A budget-friendly option with tremendous potentials, as we will see below.
The best budget DJ setup for beginners:
- DJ software
- DJ Controller
- Pair of DJ Speakers or Studio Monitors
Also known as “Mobile DJ setup” or “Digital DJ setup” it is used by some of the most famous DJs and producers in the world. Kygo, Richie Hawtin, Deadmau5, Marco Carola, Seth Troxler, Laidback Luke, to name just a few. If pros use it, so can you.
If you are a beginner DJ with a limited budget, visit the best DJ setup for beginners to perform like pros.
There are plenty of options out there, for every available budget, and personal preference on brands and characteristics. Since the market for DJ equipment is huge, and new models come out often, I made significant 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 the best-of gear to choose from.
The best DJ equipment for beginners – Guide 2020
First DJ tools to buy:
There are two obvious tools you will need as a beginner DJ – (1)Headphones and (2)Speakers.
1. DJ HEADPHONES
One of the most useful tools in a booth is good quality DJ headphones. It mostly depends on your personal preference on frequency response, comfort, and brand-name. Small on-ear headphones might work for some, but for DJs with a big head, like me, we prefer big and round ear-pads.
Some useful features to check when buying DJ headphones
- Headphone type: A closed-back type that offers good isolation from external sounds and background noises will be ideally.
- Sound quality: A pair that offers deep and punchy bass, as well as clear mids and crispy highs, will help you master your beat-matching skills easier and faster. But in the end, the sound quality is a personal preference.
- Durability: No matter how much you will take care of your headphones, they will take a lot of abuse, so pick wisely.
- Comfort: As a beginner DJ who is about to practice day and night, you will need a comfortable pair with soft ear-pads, rotatable cups, and adjustable headband.
As this is an article for the best DJ equipment for beginners, we should have picked some affordable pairs. However, we suggest you invest a bit more for a pair that guarantee years of premium quality sound.
6 best DJ headphones for over $100:
- SENNHEISER HD 25
- Pioneer HDJ-2000
- V-MODA Crossfade M-100
- Beyerdynamic DT 1350
- Sennheiser HD8 DJ
- Denon DJ HP 800
SENNHEISER HD25: Top DJ headphones for beginners and pros!
Our top recommendation for every beginner DJ out there is the Sennheiser HD 25. This pair is solid, light, extremely comfortable and with high-quality sound. The bass response is punchy and deep, the mids are smooth, and the highs are crisp. HD 25 offers everything you want from your DJ headphones at a reasonable price. There is also a light version for those with a tight budget who cannot afford to lose on quality.
There is a large list of professional DJs such as Above & Beyond, Carl Cox, Skrillex, Tale of Us, that use this pair of headphones and so should you. With the HD25 you will make an investment for many years of DJing.
For more info, check the best DJ headphones in the market and the best DJ headphones under $100.
2. DJ Speakers / Studio monitors
Studio monitors are not only perfect for recording studios but home DJ booths as well. There are popular brand-names that offer excellent sound quality at very affordable prices.
What to look when buying DJ speakers
- 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 a personal preference.
TOP 6 best DJ speakers for home DJ setups
- Yamaha HS 5
- KRK Rokit G4 Rokit 5
- JBL LSR 305
- PreSonus Eris 4.5
- FOCAL Alpha 50
- Pioneer Pro DJ DM40
PreSonus Eris 4.5: The best monitor speaker for a home DJ setup
The Eris 4.5 by PreSonus is a small monitor speaker, mostly seen in home recording studios. It offers a nice flat sound response with highly detailed and smooth mids and highs. The low frequencies are not its favorite part but in a home setup, it will deliver the job. Eris speakers are a very affordable choice for every beginner on a tight budget.
Pioneer Pro DJ DM40: The best speaker to match your DJ equipment
Pioneer DJ is one of the best and most recognizable brands for DJ equipment. The compact DM-40 monitors provide excellent audio quality to your home DJ setup. A front loaded bass reflex system offers a rich and tight bass while keeping the mids and highs balanced.
These monitor speakers are good for small setups and home practice. For live events, you will need much bigger speakers with significantly larger sound output.
For more info and comparison of the submissions, check out the best DJ speakers for home. If you want bigger and more powerful speakers, take a look at the best powered speakers for DJs.
DJ headphones and speakers do not change in any setup, but sound sources and tools for beat-matching and mixing are various:
Four most common DJ setups:
To round-up, here is a list of the most popular DJ setups used by professional and bedroom DJs:
SETUP-A: Pair of CD media players and a DJ mixer
SETUP-B: Pair of Turntables and a DJ mixer
SETUP-C: DJ Controller, DJ Software, and a powerful Laptop.
SETUP-D: DJ Controller, Turntables, DJ Software, and a Laptop.
PAIR OF CD PLAYERS + DJ MIXER
“The standard DJ equipment setup for beginners”
1. CD PLAYERS
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 its features. The 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 also have a USB port.
Some useful features to check when buying a digital media 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 handy to have a screen for track browsing, cue point display, and waveform display.
- Cue points: With cue points, you can save a particular spot of the song and then access 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.
TOP 5 best media players for beginners:
- Pioneer XDJ 700
- Pioneer CDJ 350
- GEMINI MDJ 1000
- RELOOP RMP
- AMERICAN AUDIO RADIUS 3000
- DENON DJ SC2900
Pioneer XDJ 700: Because no one is using CDs anymore!
The Pioneer CDJ 2000 Nexus 2 is the ultimate best DJ CD digital player in the world right now. However, this professional player is only an unreachable dream for most beginner DJs out there. Pioneer DJ came up with a much more affordable player while keeping the most essential features from the CDJ2000NX2.
The XDJ 700 is lacking on CD input, but who needs it in 2020, when most DJs have their music on a digital form in a USB memory stick. The large full-color LCD touch screen for easy track selection and all the Pro-DJ features inherited from topline media players makes it an excellent choice for beginners.
Take a look at the best cd players for beginners, or if you can spend more check the best DJ media players in the market.
2. DJ MIXER:
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 all the basic features such as the ability to control equalizers (low/middle/high), sound effects, microphone input, “record out” etc.
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 drum pads, or 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 tough quality and durable construction are essential for all DJ equipment, but your mixers faders and knobs 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 see yourself using DJ software in the future.
- Sound Quality: The sound quality is an essential part of every DJ equipment. Pioneer, Denon, and Allen & Heath are well-known in the DJ world for high-quality products.
TOP 5 of the best DJ mixers for beginners:
- ALLEN&HEATH XONE:23
- Pioneer DJM S3
- NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR KONTROL Z2
- RELOOP RMX-22I
- DJ TECH DIF1S
Pioneer DJM S3: A DJ mixer to match every setup
The most popular DJ mixer, seen in most DJ event, festival and party booths, is the DJM 900 Nexus 2. Together with the CDJ2000 make the ultimate DJ setup, but it comes with a cost – a big one.
The Pioneer DJM S3 is a two-channel mixer dedicated to the Serato DJ Pro software. However, you can connect it to turntables or players and fit in any DJ equipment and setup. It offers high-quality sound, a scratch-friendly layout, dedicated filter knobs, and a highly durable Magvel crossfader, inherited from the topline DJM-900NXS2. Premium features that are mostly seen on more expensive gear.
For more info, check the best DJ mixers for beginners, and the best DJ mixer in the world.
PAIR OF TURNTABLES + DJ MIXER
“The old-school DJ equipment for beginners is alive and keeps rise in popularity”
There is a significant and constant enhanced production of vinyl turntables. When the output of the Technics 1200 turntable stopped in 2010, we had to recheck our list for new models; thankfully, we found some pretty good options for every available budget.
Features to consider when buying a turntable for DJing:
- 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.
TOP 6 of the best DJ turntables for beginners:
- TECHNICS SL-1210MK2 Professional Turntable
- STANTON STR8-150
- RELOOP RP 8000
- AUDIO TECHNICA AT-LP120
- PIONEER PLX 500
- NUMARK TT 250
Setup A and B are probably the most expensive DJ equipment setups to start with!
DJ CONTROLLER + PC/LAPTOP with DJ SOFTWARE
“The most affordable, common and best choice for beginner DJs.”
1. DJ SOFTWARE
Even cd and vinyl junkies at some point in their career tried djing with 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, DJ software is more flexible and budget-friendly. The first 3 (Traktor Pro, Virtual DJ, Serato DJ) are the most popular DJ software used by professional DJs and musicians around the globe. Most of these softwares offer a free trial version to “try before you buy”. Followed by two free DJ software in case you have a tight budget.
TOP 5 of the best DJ software:
- NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR PRO
- SERATO DJ
- VIRTUAL DJ
- REKORDBOX PIONEER DJ
We cannot pick just one DJ software for you to buy and start DJing. Traktor Pro, Virtual DJ, and Serato DJ are the most popular and best-featured DJ softwares on the market. We suggest you download and try each software and pick the one that matches your style and skill level. here is a Youtube video with a deep comparison of Traktor Pro, Virtual DJ, and Serato.
We have reviewed all these as well. Here at the best DJ software and best free DJ software for beginners.
2. DJ CONTROLLER
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.
This is the most futuristic DJ equipment you will find in 2020!
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 need one that can “take it”.
- Other functions: Except for 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 DJ DDJ-SB3
- NUMARK MIXTRACK PRO III
- DENON DJ MC4000
- BEHRINGER CMD STUDIO 4A
Pioneer DDJ SB3: The best budget DJ controller for beginners
The Pioneer DJ DDJ SB3 is a two-channel Serato dedicated DJ controller, suitable for every budget. Even if it is a combact and light tool, Pioneer still managed to include big knobs and fades with nice feel, dedicated per channel filter knob, drum pads and two large, low-latency jog wheels for great scratch response and accuracy.
With the DDJ SB3, mixing, beat-matching and smooth transition between tracks will become an easy task even for the beginner DJs. Except for Serato, SB3 will also map with all major DJ software such as Virtual DJ, and Traktor Pro. Do your online resourch but here is where to find Traktor mapping for SB3.
For more information, take a look at the best DJ controllers under $400 and best DJ controllers in the world.
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 proper to start and upgrade later with an external disc.
- OS (Operating System): Between MAC and WINDOWS, there is no right or wrong choice. On the one hand, a bit pricey but with exceptional built quality, features, and the only OS that supports Logic Pro. On the other hand, the 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, but for DJing, portability is essential.
TOP 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 laptop for DJing.
DJ CONTROLLER + TURNTABLE + AUDIO INTERFACE + PC/LAPTOP with DJ SOFTWARE
The most popular and with endless functionalities DJ setup used by the majority of professional DJs.
1. AUDIO INTERFACE
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.
In case, your DJ controller or DJ mixer 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 or outputs.
5 of the best audio interfaces for DJing:
- NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KOMPLETE AUDIO 6
- FOCUSRITE SCARLETT 2I2
- FOCUSRITE SAFFIRE 6
- NOVATION AUDIO HUB
- M-AUDIO FAST TRACK PRO
For more info and comparison of the submissions, check The best audio interfaces under $200.
And of course, the best Digital Vinyl System to make all that possible.
A DVS is a system that allows DJs to use turntables to control the media stored on the computer or hard drive.
These were our top choices for the best DJ equipment for beginners in 2020!
We hoped to answer your questions about what equipment does a DJ need. Thanks to the fact that more brands are producing equipment, you can build your DJ setup with the most essential gear, while on a tight budget.
The proper DJ equipment for beginners is more than just a CD player and a DJ mixer. DJ quality headphones, DJ controllers, turntables, DJ software, and many new and unique gear to pick the one that fits your needs.
Once you get all your DJ equipment setup, you are ready to start mixing and practicing. You will probably be unfamiliar at first, but there are plenty of tutorials to educate yourself online and without spending a penny.
There are many options out there to built and create your own unique DJ setup. Add a midi controller, effect processor, or drum machine for more unique and personalized performances. As a beginner, it’s typical to count every penny and go for an affordable setup with the DJ controller. If, however, you can invest more, then you will end up with a topnotch professional DJ setup. When you are ready to learn how to become a DJ, you must know how to do it properly.
If you are a beginner, it may worth renting DJ equipment and test it. Of course, this option is not available to most of you out there. There is no right or wrong option, but it is good to perform with DJ equipment that you are familiar with. Otherwise, you will end up transferring your tools everywhere you go.
If you are already familiar with beatmatching and basic mixing, read how to master your mixing skills and How to become a professional DJ.
Feel free to drop your comments, questions, or personal experience with the above.