So you always wanted to become a DJ…
The view of the almighty, almost god-like DJ playing in front of a huge crowd and making it go crazy always appealed to you…
And deep down you always knew THIS was what you’ve always wanted.
But where do you start?
A DJ is not a regular musician in that they only rely on electronic equipment…
And do you even know if you want to be a scratch DJ, a club DJ?…
Because depending on the music you’ll want to play and the places you’ll want to gig in…
The equipment you’ll need will vary GREATLY.
Luckily, nowadays you can even DJ with as little as your smartphone.
So in order to make your decisions easier I created this guide to help you choose your gear step by step.
Sounds good? Then let’s start.
Before we get started, I want to stress that I ordered this list in a more or less logical order.
I started with what every beginner DJ would need and use, and proceeded with more advanced gear.
So, first off…
What many aspiring DJs don’t know is…
There are many ways to mix music. Some more complex, others way simpler.
And a DJ Controller is the obvious choice for beginners, as it’s the simplest to use. A quick glance at it and you’ll instantly recognize what looks like two turntables with a mixer in the middle…
And you’d be right — as this is the purpose of a controller: reproducing a classical DJ setup in a more compact, condensed device.
However, a Dj controller is NOT a standalone device: you need to plug it to your laptop running a DJ software for it to work — after all, it is only a controller, meaning it does need something to take control of.
SO… if you’re looking for the simplest solution to get started quickly, get a DJ Controller, a DJ software and JUST START.
To learn more about DJ Controllers and see which one to get, check out this article:
As I said, a DJ controller controls a DJ software, usually running on your laptop.
The software is what allows you to visualize your tracks, create and manage your libraries, and much more.
A pretty innovation for example is the colored waveform, very useful if you don’t the tracks too well an need to identify certain frequencies.
However there’s A LOT of different DJ Software out there, many of them compatible with only a handful of controllers, so you’ll want to know exactly what you’re buying.
And so to learn more about DJ software check out this article:
3. DJ Headphones
Unless you’re lucky enough to have your own booth with your own monitors, you will most likely have to use headphones.
But you shouldn’t use just any heapdhones. Why? While some may argue it’s all marketing, there is undoubtedly some feature that you absolutely need if you’re going to use headphone when DJing.
And to make sure you understand what features these are, I have just the right article for you:
It’s funny that the first thing we picture when thinking of a DJ is very often…
A scratch DJ. And that is a very specific type of DJ that requires very specific skills. However, scratch DJs are not the only DJs that use turntables.
Some DJs simply prefer the sound of good old vinyl records, or are just used to switching record before each new tune.
Whatever your reason to use vinyl records, there is definitely one thing you will need in order to play them, and that is: turntables.
And so to learn more about turntables’ construction and features, check out this article:
Now on to the…
Unless you are solely looking to practice or mix for yourself, you will probably want others to enjoy your music.
And for that you will need speakers. Now, you can of course use your old speakers as long as you can plug them to your mixer, BUT…
Nowadays there are so many innovations such as:
- Battery powered full-size speakers
- Bluetooth connection widely available
- All-in-one (integrated subwoofer)…
That it doesn’t make any sense to not get some sort of DJ speaker.
On top of all these advantages, the main point of getting DJ specific speakers is portability. Indeed, being able to go full-nomad as a DJ will open you an insane amount of doors.
But even once you’ve decided you need new speakers, features such as:
- Form factor
- with or without integrated mixer…
Will be a deterrent for many. Well, good things I have written an article on DJ speakers then! Check it out so you can understand how to choose the best speakers:
If you’ve been DJing for some time, or if you’ve looked at clubs’ and pro DJs’ settings, you might have noticed that in 99% of the cases they DON’T use controllers.
In fact, one of the most common setup would be a pair of Pioneer CDJ2000 NXS and a DJM 900 mixer.
The reason why experienced DJs switch to using a mixer is because it removes the need for a computer, thus simplifying the setup…
But also because it opens a lot of routing possibilities, such as adding external effects, adding more CDJs, or simply combining a bunch of different devices and linking them all to one mixer to control them all.
To learn more about the power of mixers and discover which one is the best for you, check out this article:
And That’s It
So there you have it, the 7 essentials for DJ. This guide should get you going at least through your first years of DJing nicely.
‘Til next time!