If you are passionate about the world of DJing, whether for work or for pleasure, it is important to know what equipment you need to be a DJ, to start you don’t need to buy everything right away, but there is still an initial investment.
It is an investment that will allow you to better cultivate your passion for electronic music.
Only by having the right tools at your disposal will you be able to amaze the audience, to mix, to propose music with special effects in the most natural way possible.
Starting to DJ it is not recommended to spend a fortune to get yourself a proper kit right away, but it is more convenient to start by spending the right amount in order to choose equipment that allows you to contain costs while offering good music.
The market offers several components whose quality-price ratio is really optimal and, in case, you can also take a look at the used market.
But you need to know what you are buying and what that particular component is for.
There are some pieces that weigh more than others in terms of final yield.
As you can guess, a mixer or CDJ is more important than a top-quality cable or an excellent headphone.
Anyway, here is what equipment you need to start DJing:
- DJ Controller
- DJ disc platter
- DJ headphones
If you are just starting out, you do not have the convenience to invest a lot of money, while it is different if you want to upgrade your equipment and improve.
If it is true that the main difference between a beginner DJ and a professional is the equipment, it is also true that sooner or later in one way or another you have to start the business anyway.
So here are the fundamental elements that make up DJ equipment.
The Controller: The Basis For Being A DJ
For a DJ, the controller identifies the engine, the heart, the true soul of music and activity.
Without this tool it is not possible to accomplish anything, it is not possible to make music.
A DJ without a controller is like a driver without his car.
This element of the master DJ kit can be in an all-in-one or separate configuration, depending on whether mixer and CDJ are included or not.
All In One Controller
The DJ controller is defined as an all in one if it is sold ready to use, including the mixer and the CDJ.
In jargon, it is possible to define the All in One with the term controller.
The sector offers interesting choices that lie between the amateur and the professional, with the possibility of having the support of computer software.
Mixer and CDJ are both gathered in the same cabinet and the specific PC program allows you to virtually control the music, effects, and whatever is necessary.
The quality with which the controller is produced is certainly important for the final result, but it is the software that is even more important.
From an economic point of view, the prices for a basic model or in any case capable of offering the possibility of managing the entire system fairly well can cost $300, but there are much cheaper models.
On the other hand, you could find even more expensive proposals, around $400-500, for controllers equipped with monitors with integrated software, avoiding you to show up to the evening with the computer.
Controller To Dial
The station consists of a mixer and separately with the CDJ.
This second hypothesis is more dedicated to experts, while for those who start, eager to pursue a career as a DJ, the All in One solution is certainly better, both from an economic and practical point of view.
For you who start, you have more convenience to buy an all-in-one product, focusing on the simplicity of management and practicality.
Later, acquiring more and more experience, you will be able to choose a different mixer, a different CDJ, and build your own station.
In reality, the controller can be identified with the DJ station, including the indicated equipment in the concept.
A DJ mixer usually consists of a variable number of channels, but usually no more than 6.
Each channel can manage a music track to be mixed.
This means that you will need to think that you have at least 2 distinct channels.
The more possibilities there are, the easier it is to sample and record, as well as having the ability to mix multiple tracks together.
For a DJ, the mixer is an instrument of fundamental importance more for the possible effects than for the adjustments.
A music track arrives at the mixer thanks to the cable connection, is then processed, and then sent to the speakers for diffusion.
The mixer is the instrument that processes the audio track, making it come out different from how it received it.
Gain, drop, fader are technical terms typical of mixer and sound processing and you also have the opportunity to go pre-listening, that is to hear how the processed piece will come out without actually broadcasting it at the moment.
The fader is undoubtedly an important connotation for a DJ mixer, to the point that there are also crossfaders, useful for giving the sounds a fading effect, easily generating subsequent effects.
Also from the mixer, you can adjust the bass, mid and high, individually for each channel and for your listening headphones.
The general volume is called master and by acting on that lever you change the overall audio output level.
In a mixer, fader and gain are undoubtedly the two main functions, able to favor the choice of one model rather than another, since they have a decisive influence on sound quality.
The CDJ has the task of reproducing the soundtracks in the form of both cd room and mp3 and it is possible to use music loaded on the USB key or different memory supports.
A CDJ provides all the typical audio controls, as well as some other typical DJ functions, such as the variation of the playback speed, the change of musical key, the loop repetition of certain beats of the track, and others similar.
The CDJ has great importance in the audio quality that will come out of your speakers and for this reason, the choice must be thought out, thought out, and reasoned.
Dwell on your choice of mixers and CDJs, and also evaluate all-in-one controllers based on these two key elements.
To make the idea even better, consider that the mixer is essential for improving a sound, but if this is already good from the start your action on the equalization and effects will be less, simplified and you will get as close as possible to the perfect sound.
The sound comes right from the CDJ.
If this is of quality, then you will be able to receive applause even with a used mixer, cheaper or less performing than others, but if the CDJ is of low level, there is no mixer capable of making the sound perfectly render.
If you decide to involve your own control station, better go for a great CDJ and save some money on the mixer, rather than the other way around.
Indicating the percentages, more than anything else to make you understand the importance of this tool, we could say that on the final audio quality, the incidence of the CDJ is equal to about 70%, while the mixer is indicatively a maximum of 25%.
The DJ Disc Platter
The turntable still exists despite the evolution of time has led to other types of support for listening to music, but for a DJ the classic disc platter is essential.
If you aspire to be an established and appreciated DJ, the controller is not enough for you and you must have a turntable to be able to enrich your equipment.
Let it be clear that you can also do without and there are many DJs who avoid buying, but the additions always allow you to find new ideas and new ideas.
That’s why having a platter is also important, as well as setting you apart from other DJs.
In case you decide to buy you will have to choose a DJ turntable and not just anyone.
The specific ones are in fact built in a different way than the traditional ones, given the different use that is made of them.
The motor needs to be sturdy to withstand the stress of DJing, the same goes for traction and cartridges.
For this reason, it is preferable to choose a Direct Drive type turntable, i.e. without the transmission belt, to have better traction and greater strength.
Also, when the record is handled by the DJ, direct transmission offers great responsiveness and therefore shorter transition times from the modified pitch to the original.
In addition, there are products that have additional functions, such as Bluetooth connectivity and other concepts capable of improving the quality of sound performance.
As the paragraph title suggests, there are DJ-specific headphones.
Now let’s see why.
First of all, headphones are a fundamental accessory for practicing DJing.
You assume that the first to listen to your music must be yourself and you must do it in the best possible way, under ideal conditions.
Unfortunately, the latter is almost never there, unless you are in an engraving studio.
If you are a DJ you will operate in noisy environments and headphones are very important to be able to isolate you from the rest of the world.
A quality headset is important to wear to be able to perceive all the possible nuances of sounds, mixes and you don’t have to think that the part relating to listening is secondary to controllers, mixers or CDJs.
When you are in the station, thanks to the headphones you can go pre-listening to the song that you will broadcast, you will catch the times, the entrances, the cuts.
In addition, the DJ headphones must be comfortable to wear, taking into account that you will keep it on your head not for 10 minutes, but for at least a couple of hours.
Try it then, before buying it if you can!
There are products that cost $50, others that cost $350: if you are starting out you can decide to invest in a mid-level model, the cost of which could be around $150.
Feeling, comfort, performance, are often subjective elements since you have different needs.
You can appreciate more a music made of pumping bass, another DJ may prefer special effects and have a different sensitivity regarding the tones and sound frequencies.
The Audio Speakers
The boxes are those elements from which the product of your action comes out.
You don’t want your work to be ruined by loudspeakers not up to par, do you?
You can choose between active speakers and passive speakers: the former is equipped with an amplifier and therefore require their own power supply, while the latter simply transmit the sound as it comes out of the mixer without being amplified.
The amplification is already present in the mixer or DJ controller and the sound is sent to the speakers for emission.
The ideal would be to have the ability to control the output sound as well and therefore an active speaker guarantees a finer adjustment, but it is true that a passive speaker, if of medium-high range, offers a more faithful sound, being able to adjust the parameters. directly from the DJ controller or control mixer.
In addition to the speakers, you will also need to purchase stands. If you perform in both venues, you will need to have at least 4 speakers.
In addition to headphones, which are actually mandatory, there are a number of other accessories that can come in handy in the practice of DJing.
Cables, for example, are a component that can add value to music.
Having a high-performance controller connected with low-end cables is like having a sports car and equipping it with cheap tires of dubious origin: performance can never be the best.
Therefore, use cables with the respective adapters to match the situation.
This trick will allow you to have the ideal conditions for making music, eliminating interference and dispersions, all to the advantage of a clean sound.
Choose, if possible, the contacts coated in gold, certainly more performing and aimed at quality music.
A self-respecting DJ, as he manages to gain experience, can equip himself with external sound cards to recreate particular effects, to transform the sound signal into digital.
You can also equip yourself with a small midi controller to manage specific tracks, or connect sequencers, synthesizers, samplers, and microphones capable of recreating techno, electric and deep environments.
Another important aspect concerns the enclosures.
The instruments that you carry with you and that make up your personal DJ equipment must be covered, protected from blows, and at the same time practical in transport.
Covers with handles and wheels are functional and above all useful, especially if made of aluminum or rigid plastic, both very light and impact-resistant materials.
A controller case, a mixer holder, padded bags for CDJs and turntables, a bag to insert cables in an orderly manner, covers for the audio speakers and stands, a case for headphones.
Don’t forget a height-adjustable stool, microphones, and support rods.
And if you also have a computer, you have to take a special bag.
The tidier you are in the repositioning of the instrumentation and accessories, the easier it will be subsequently to re-propose the station.
Questions And Answers
Whoever approaches the DJ world inevitably has some uncertainties, some obscure points that deserve to be clarified. Sometimes the question arises spontaneously, while the answer is late in coming. Let’s try to satisfy some curiosity below.
I Am A Beginner, I Would Like To Approach The DJ Activity But How Do I Know If I Am Good?
If you are about to start DJing or would like to do so, it is natural that it will ask you whether or not you are good at it.
So wait to buy all the equipment, because it is true that the second-hand market is full of offers, but investing a certain amount for something that you will already want to sell after 2-3 months is certainly not an investment from the Milan Stock Exchange.
In these cases, the advice is to rely on one of the many virtual programs that you can install on your computer.
You can buy it or you can download some demo versions of the most popular software from the internet and try to mix the sounds and perform some DJ action.
Your pc turns into a virtual console.
If you like it, if the job comes out well, then you can proceed to take the step.
I’m Just Starting Out And I’m On A Tight Budget. How Do I Manage It Correctly?
Many are in the same situation as you. First, you have to get the bones and you certainly cannot invest everything right away.
There are components that you can buy immediately, others that you can wait for later.
You could start with an all-in-one entry-level DJ controller, where you already find the mixer and the CDJ included at a minimum price of just under $100.
For example, the Hercules DJ Control Instinct S Series Party Pack controller has an incredibly advantageous value for money, is quite complete and is ideal for beginners, allowing them to appreciate the art of DJing and grow in experience.
Then choose a pair of good specific headphones for DJs () investing around $60-70, medium-level audio speakers (around $150 per pair), medium-quality cables carrying bags for another $150 in total.
With about $500 investment, you already know you are able to exercise by providing an appreciable performance.
Is There A Controller That Allows Me To Learn But Also To Continue The Activity Discreetly Without Having To Change Equipment Immediately?
Yes of course.
If you are a beginner but have a clear intention to continue mixing in public as a DJ, you can immediately choose a complete medium-high level DJ controllerthat you will keep even later.
Keep in mind that you will then have to invest in accessories to improve your musical performance.
A good level DJ controller is certainly the Pioneer DDJ-400
Versatile, flexible, it is configured as the best solution to be able to quickly learn the mixing techniques typical of the DJ and then have the continuity to continue in the activity.
Also complete with software, it is ideal for practicing in the studio or at home as well as during parties.
Elegant and complete, it is also very light and therefore suitable for transport.
The price is certainly not that of an entry-level, but not even that of a professional controller.
This product winks at those who want to learn and start a path of growth up to semi-professionalism.
When Can I Understand To Take The Step In Buying Separate Mixers And CDJs From The All In One DJ Controller?
Given that it is not a rule at all, in the sense that it is possible to play well even with an all in one, there will be a moment when what you do is no longer enough for you.
You hear it, you feel it (thanks also to the beautiful headphones that you will have on your head during your performances), the music comes out but it does not fully satisfy you and you will want to add that extra something that is missing.
Like the classic touch that the chef gives to complete a risotto that, although banal, actually becomes a rich, full-bodied, and tasteful dish.
When you feel this feeling, maybe it’s time to look around.
In these cases, choose a high-performance, beautiful mixer, complete with effects that can give you that extra touch that you miss.
You can decide to sell the controller or keep it for emergency and use it on special occasions (option 2 highly recommended).
Is There A Difference Between DJ And Music Producer?
Although the two figures tend to overlap, the difference exists.
The DJ is the one who mixes existing songs, the Music Producer is the one who generates the song, creates it.
Usually, the latter is also capable of DJing, but the reverse is not always true.
Having two different tasks, the equipment is also different.
That of the producer is richer in functions precisely because it must generate a piece of music.
The work is also on the computer, with a sampler, and with sequencers, so we can say that the equipment of a DJ is simpler than that of a music producer.
The latter can still work with the controller, mixer, and everything else, but the components must have a more complete package of functions and it is therefore not possible to settle for simplistic and entry-level models.
Furthermore, the music producer works more frequently in the recording studio and less in public, and consequently, the equipment is different.
If you also intend to create music of your own composition in the future, opt for a semi-professional DJ controller accompanied by software that allows you the desired action.
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