If you’re looking to create your beginner DJ setup, you need a collection of essential DJ equipment to get started. Fortunately, you can do it on a fairly low budget!
Thanks to the fact more brands are producing gear for the bedroom producers and mobile DJ’s out there, you can get hold of the most essential DJ equipment on a budget. If you’re a beginner DJ and you don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place as we’ve put a guide together on the best beginner DJ gear and essential DJ equipment you need to start your career.
We’ve included options such as headphones, monitor speakers for when you’re practicing/mixing at home, turntables CDJ’s, mixers and more.
First of all, can you please explain the different types of DJ equipment for me?
We sure can! You’re going to need a selection of gear to get your career started in the world of DJ, but you might not need it all. So, here’s a list of what we’re going to be talking about in this blog and the stuff you need to be a DJ.
In summary this is the equipment you need for a DJ:
- DJ Turntables – both vinyl and CD
- DJ Accessories
Whether you want to use vinyl or CD (MP3 users are covered in the Controllers section) you’ll need a set of turntables to play your tracks. Any DJ worth their salt should have at least one turntable in their arsenal – are you even a DJ if you don’t have one? It’s an essential piece of DJ gear if you want to scratch, physically cue albums, LP’s or single tracks up, so you should look into getting one.
If you’re using separate turntables, you’ll need another essential piece of the DJ puzzle – the mixer.
Shop a full range of DJ Turntables HERE.
The mixer is probably the most important part of any DJ’s arsenal, especially when you’re using CD or vinyl turntables as it allows you to tie your sound together. A mixer lets you make transitions between tracks, but can also add a host of different features to your sound depending on which mixer you choose.
You can use it to scratch properly via the slider, you use it to make mashups with your tracks, control levels, panning and FX. You also use it to plug your headphones into, connect via line out to speakers or even hook up to your laptop, Mac or PC for recording and mixing. This is an essential piece of equipment for analogue DJs.
Shop a full range of DJ Mixers HERE.
If you’re using a CD setup or entirely digital setup then a DJ controller is the best option for you. A DJ controller combines turntables and mixers into one convenient piece of equipment. Best of all, they’re usually pretty portable too, so you can take them to gigs with no more fuss than a guitarist would have.
DJ controllers allow you to use computer software as part of your set up and basically have everything you need to bust out a complete set complete with MIDI controls, trigger pads, drum pads, mic connections for MC’s and more.
We’ve looked at a range of the best cheap DJ controllers in a previous blog, all of which are ideal for beginners and those on a budget.
Again, you can use a DJ controller to “scratch” MP3’s as they will have built in jog wheels, which effectively replicate the feel and features of a turntable. You can import sounds from your computer into the trigger pads just like you would with a MIDI controller and even customise settings in your computer software via the unit itself.
If you’re just starting out and you don’t want to carry around a load of vinyl or CD’s then get a DJ controller.
Shop a full range of DJ Controllers HERE.
Whether you’re using a completely digital set up or you’re interested in using a mixture of CDs/Vinyl alongside MP3s, you’ll need some decent software to operate your controller and make use of your music library.
DJ software helps you mashup tracks, add effects, assign sounds to your trigger pads, organise files and playlists and so much more. You can’t operate your DJ controller correctly without it.
Often, DJ controllers include an array of software, or at the very least they include a stripped-down version of popular DJ software programs that will help you get started and learn how to use your controller, start mixing and create your own music fairly quickly.
The likes of Serato, Traktor and Virtual DJ are some of the industry standard options out there. Again, most DJ controllers will come with a version of the ideal software, so you don’t need to worry about buying it separately. Upgrade paths are usually the best way to go as your controller will be ideally suited to a specific program and come bundled with it.
PA Speakers for DJs
If you’re looking to start gigging or taking your show public, whether at parties, small clubs, pubs or even venues, then you’ll probably need a set of PA speakers. We’ve actually covered the best PA speakers for DJ’s in a previous blog, so it’ll make it easier to garner a portable setup. Speakers are an essential part of your kit if you’re playing parties, weddings, bars, clubs and events that might not have a decent PA setup. So, it’s worth investing in a decent PA if you want to be taken seriously and get more gigs.
However, if you’re just starting out in the world of DJ, you don’t need to worry about speakers just yet as you’ll only need them when you want to start gigging. one thing to keep in mind is the size of the system you need. You’ll need a larger setup for weddings and outdoor events, but if you’re just using them to play with a friend or doing house parties, then you won’t need anything massive.
If you don’t intend on gigging and just want to create music at home then we recommend studio monitors.
Monitors Speakers For Home Studios
When you’re creating music at home you need a decent set of monitor speakers. Headphones are a fantastic way to mix without anyone else hearing you, but there’s simply no substitute for hearing your music through a set of monitor speakers.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good set of monitor speakers that you can use to listen back to mixes and jam at home. We’ve covered some of the best cheap monitor speakers for home studios here, and you’ll be surprised how little you have to spend to enjoy quality audio.
Of course, you don’t have to use monitor speakers, you could just use your computer speakers of course! But its worth keeping in mind that you’re not getting the best sound possible and thus not making informed decisions on your music.
They may seem unimportant at first, but DJ headphones are an essential piece of equipment for a variety of reasons. They allow you to hear both decks independently so you can mix and transition with ease.
A good set of headphones allow you to practice at home and make decisions before you go out into the live arena, allow you to produce music without disturbing anyone else and even let you mix on a train, in a hotel room or on the toilet in silence!
You’ve probably seen a picture of DJs holding one headphone on their ear. Well, this is because they are cueing up the next track. You use the slider on the mixer to dictate which side of the sound source is playing to the crowd, often DJ’s are listening to the source that you CAN’T hear on their headphones. This means they’re about to mix in a new track or sound with what you’re hearing.
Headphones are essential and you can’t really DJ effectively without them!
We've actually covered the best headphones for DJs in a blog too!
Shop all headphones HERE.
There are a few essential accessories that make our lives as DJs a lot easier. Whether it’s a stand, case or essential cables to connect everything.
If you’re a bedroom producer or simply creating music at home, we recommend the likes of a laptop and controller stand as it keeps everything neat and tidy on your desk, but also reduces the chance of spilling drinks onto your expensive gear.
If you’re travelling to and from gigs, we recommend a sturdy case. A flight-case or soft-case will ensure your gear is kept safe whilst you’re travelling to and from gigs and reduce the chance of damaging your equipment. There’s a lot of options out there, but quite often, depending on which controller or laptop you’re using there will be a custom-made case available.
Shop a full range of DJ equipment over at PMT Online today or call in to your local PMT store to speak to our DJ and production experts. We can help you put together a complete beginners DJ set or even guide you in the right direction when it comes to essential DJ equipment.