In this article, we will discuss 7 essential DJ equipment needed for beginners. If you don’t want to invest your money on craps and to become a successful DJ then you should read this article till the end.
Nowadays, the “DJ” is no-doubt a popular word among youths. When we listen to the word “DJ” the picture draws in our mind is, the “heavy processed kick” coming out of speakers, higher in volume level than main vocals of the song, and people are dancing on the beats. Songs changing without any cut and tempo change and people carry on dancing.
We can easily guess the popularity of DJ by that, “many songs release with its DJ version on the same day of original release”.
But, like all other forms of music, DJ is not just an art. You need some technical skills to become a successful DJ artist. As well as, you need some special gear to produce your DJ songs and perform live.
In this article, we won’t discuss the skills you need to become a DJ, but the equipment you should have to produce and perform as a DJ artist.
Maybe, in future articles, I will discuss the skills too. But. for today, let’s discuss the 7 essential DJ equipment for beginners.
Essential DJ Equipment For Beginners
DJing is a little similar to recording engineering but not exactly the same. You need some extra skills and gear to become a DJ. Skills like sound editing, mixing, etc are very common in both DJing and audio recording but beat-making, etc are some extra skills you need here.
The hardware used in the DJ is also very very different than an audio recording. Equipment like Turntable, DJ controllers are specially designed for DJ operation. So before going to buy any of then, you need some core knowledge of them otherwise one mistake will end you up of loss of thousands of dollars.
Now you know how DJ equipment is different from the audio recording equipment.
Well, let us discuss those essential DJ equipment one by one that you need to grow your carrier as a DJ artist.
1. DJ Mixer
Don’t be fooled of thinking these mixers as audio recording and live sound mixers. DJ mixers are very different than other mixers and mixing consoles.
DJ mixers are mainly used for smooth transitions from one song to another. But a DJ mixer doesn’t stop here. You can use it for quite a few ‘tweaks’ when working on the soundtracks.
Such as, you can use the mixer slider to inject scratch in the tracks properly. As well as, you can also use this mixer to control volume levels, panning, FX, tone, and more.
Not just that, DJ mixers go one step ahead then you think of. You can plug in your headphones to them and preview the upcoming track and your edits before punching it on the main outs. Some high-end DJ mixer are equipped with a high-quality inbuilt audio interface, you can use to record your audio on your laptop.
There are several DJ mixers available in the market, though you should go for good ones.
Without a turntable, a DJ is not actually a DJ. When we talk about DJ gear, a turntable is the oldest invented equipment for DJs. Do you remember those oldies discos where records were used to create a scratch effect?
However, the technology is changed and today DJs are using DJ software and laptop to create such effects and transitions, the very first image comes into our mind regarding DJ is records and turntables.
Though the technology of turntables is also changed and today we have an electronic version of turntables which produce a way higher quality sound than traditional records.
If you are a DJ or wanna be one, you must have a turntable or DJ controller which we discuss in the next section.
With turntables, you can create scratch, switch songs and albums, slow down tempos, change the pitch, and more. Without a turntable, you will be just a playlist player, not a DJ so I strongly recommend having a DJ turntable in your DJ equipment list.
3. DJ Controller
DJ controllers are no other than a combined gear of turntable and DJ mixer. Its a midi device that can be synced with your DJ software to easily add effects used in DJing. Effects like scratch, transition, slow down, fast, looping, etc can be added easily with this amazing DJ gear.
DJ controller is an all in one equipment for DJing.
When you search for a DJ controller in the market, there are tons of choices available there. They are of many different shapes, sizes, functions, feels, personalities and more.
A DJ controller features 2 jog wheels/platters in the DJ controller which can be used to add scratch, slowdown and fast the tracks.
4. Laptop with DJ Software
In this technological era, you can’t imagine music production without a computer and software. In music recording, generally, desktop computers are used due to long working hours. But when it comes to DJ, laptops are the first choice due to easy mobility.
However, apart from the official laptop, you need a high-end laptop for DJing. Software used for DJ needs high configuration computers to run smoothly so choosing a high-end laptop is a wise decision for us.
The other thing is, you need some special software for DJing. This software is the backbone of any hybrid DJ setup. With the help of DJ controllers and the software, you can mix, edit, copy, cut, paste, scratch using MP3’s, add FX, organize files and playlists, mashup, change the tempo, and assign sounds to your MIDI controller.
My favorite DJ software for beginners is Fruity Loops which is quite easy to learn, with useful features for DJs.
5. DJ Speakers
There are two types of speakers used for DJing.
- PA speaker
- Studio monitor
These two types of speakers are built for different tasks so before choosing you should first take care of your need.
PA speakers are useful for live DJ artists traveling with their DJ gear, playing gigs at weddings, bars, clubs, house parties, etc. To play DJ in the above situations, you need some amplification of your sound so here PA speakers are used.
However, you don’t need high wattage speakers somewhere from 1000-2000 Watt is great for beginners.
If you are a DJ producer who produces and distribute DJ songs then you need these type of speakers.
Studio monitors are used by recording engineers in their studios, however, you too can use them in producing DJ music.
Studio monitors are not just used for monitoring the edit but also for mixing and post-production. So when it comes to producing DJ songs from the corner of your bedroom, it’s great to choose studio monitors instead of PA speakers.
Eager to buy one?
- Check out my article on 10 Best Studio Monitors Under 1000
6. DJ Headphone
Probably you’ve seen, DJs holding one side of their headphones to one ear and the other half hanging by their neck. That image looks really cool and creates the feel of a ‘real DJ’, but there’s a purpose.
Actually, by holding one side of headphones on one ear they listen to the next upcoming track and sounds. DJ mixer has 2 outputs, one for the live sound that the audience hears on the PA speakers and the other output for the headphone DJs wear on their neck.
When the slider of the mixer is down, only DJ can hear the upcoming track on the headphone while the audience hears the present track. This setting allows a smooth transition from song to song as well as applying the cool DJ effects on the tracks.
Well, without a headphone this setting can’t be possible. However, DJ headphones are different from typical headphones. They are of high wattage drivers so that DJs could hear the sound in the crowd and in-between PA speakers.
7. Cases and Mounts
Te last but not least is cases and mounts. We can’t just perform, wrap our DJ equipment with a towel and leave. For the safe transport of your DJ gear, you need suitable cases.
We don’t recommend you to simply wrap your DJ equipment, place on your car’s backseat and leave. This approach would cost you thousands of dollars of loss. DJ gear like turntables and DJ controllers are very fragile so special cases built for them should be used for their safe transportation.
Mounts are also important for the proper mounting of DJ gear during the session. Proper mounting can help protect your equipment during the session.
However, here you can check out some good DJ cases and mounts, I would suggest you first buy your DJ equipment and then go for cases and mounts.
What’s Next: DJ Equipment
Well, here were the 7 essential DJ equipment for beginners, now it’s your turn to buy them and start your career as a DJ artist. However, you can skip one or two of them but rest 5 can not be skipped.
If you want to be a successful DJ artist then all of them are the supplement of each other and you can skip any of them but if you just want to gain some knowledge about DJing before diving into the DJ field, you can skip one or two of them.
In my opinion, if you are just starting out your career and want to learn before dive into, DJ controller, Laptop with DJ software, Headphone and speakers are essential equipment for you. Once you will get the knowledge of DJing, you can buy other equipment.
I wish you a successful career in DJ. Drop your comments below about this article and help others to choose the best. Also, share this article on social media and spread this knowledge to other DJ enthusiasts.
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Gautam Roy is a recording engineer and a blogger from India. He loves music, writing and travelling. He is also an active investor and a successful entrepreneur.