Should I buy decks or controller? Should I take one or two Mic ? How much power I need for 100 folks? Which sound system is the best?
I know, all this question were in my mind when I started, I didn’t really know where to go. So many shiny objects, so many brands and possibility.
No worries, I’m gonna help you. If you wonder what is the best DJ equipment for beginner, you’ll find the answer here.
Before we start, I want you to know there is no bad decision about which equipment you are going to start. Every decks + mixer and controller are doing the same thing “PLAYING MUSIC ON THE CHANNEL YOU WANT”, so you’ll have to learn the basics before using all the shiny buttons.
DJ Controller : Easiest way to start
If you never heard about a DJ Controller, is a (in most cases MIDI-) device which can be used to “control” a certain software. The software adds the different sources (with eq, volume, fx, etc) and returns the result.
I’ve personally started with this, my controller had the size of two iPad, so pretty small and easy for me to bring it everywhere I wanted. It was a controller Audiophony SKILL and I’m pretty sure I’ve paid this less than £80!
I know what you are thinking. So I just need to buy a DJ controller for £150 and I’m good to go? NO you are not.
A DJ controller “control” a software, so to use a software you must have a laptop. Try to have a clean laptop because if you’ve got a big music library, you want your PC to load the tune instantly.
You’ve got the laptop and the DJ controller but you might need the software
Most of the DJ Controller got the software included but always double check. Most famous are Traktor, Serato and Virtual DJ.
You’ll find all the free tutorial on YouTube for these softwares, I am not an expert in DJ software as I jump into USB-CD after I sold my DJ controller, so I’m not the best to ask technical question.
I’m not going to advise you to buy a specific controller because we all got different taste.
Best DJ controller : Pioneer DJ, Denon DJ and Native Instrument
Cheapest DJ controller : Hercules, Numark and Behringer
Cheapest doesn’t mean bad, it means after a couple of months you’ll reach the capacity of the controller and you are gonna need a new and better one to explore new effect and technical skills.
With a DJ controller mixing and beatmatching are very easy, even automatic, so very hard to failed. You’ve got the magic “SYNC” button who does the beatmatching for you.
If it’s your first DJ experience, you need to learn with something so it all depend on your budget. I’ve started with something at £80 and then I invest in something better. You can start with a £700 DJ controller and you might never change it,
IT’S UP TO YOU I!
DJ Decks & Mixers : Like a Superstar
If you want to invest for the long term, this is for you. The Rolls Royce’s DJ
Yes it’s massive, yes it can be heavy, yes there is a lot of shiny thing on it and yes it’s not cheap. So WTF should I buy this???
You can easily find now on Gumtree or website like this, very good quality product for reasonable price. My first decks was two CDJ400 Pioneer (yes you need two decks and both identical would be better) and a Numark M4 for the mixer.
I bought the mixer new for £100 something like this and 2*CDJ400 second hand for £500, and I’ve used the same decks during 5 YEARS.
So yes there is cost but it was the best investment I made so far.
Take your time when choosing your first mixer and decks. Read and watch review. Go into a DJ, music store and try them.
Most of the decks can as well use some DJ software but not only, let me tell you my quick story
So I bought my two decks and mixer and I’m going to perform at a friend’s birthday and, during the middle of the night, PAAM no music. I was using a software (Virtual DJ PRO) because I had all the music on my computer and at one point NOTHING was responding. Did I panic ? YES OF COURSE, but in the same time I had some USB Key with some music on it just in case, and my Decks could read that without any laptop. So guess what I did? I mixed the all night on my USB key and since this day I’ve never used any software or laptop.
So yes you can use CD, USB and Software on your decks. So if one day you forget to bring your charger for laptop or you forget to update the software but you got your music on an external device: NO PROBLEM. This is why I would choose this option.
The mixer can be any brand, it doesn’t have to match the deck’s one. If you’re just starting out and thinking all this is overwhelming then I suggest you just start with a simple setup. There’s no need to over complicate things when when you’re a beginner.
How to choose your mixer ?
- Don’t worry if your mixer doesn’t have all the features others have. Whats important is that you learn to mix seamlessly
- Don’t go to crazy, if you pick the expensive one with all the FX and beautiful flashing buttons, you’ll get lost.
- Remember you need to learn how to mix, so 2 channels for 2 decks and you good to go!
Plan your budget and then go for it, you can find anything at any price: START SIMPLE
Tip: I recommend buying a mixer with MIC or LINE Input
Headphone : The Must Have
Have you ever wonder why every DJ use half of their headphone or even why they using it.
To beatmatch two tunes you need to listen at two songs at the same time.
- First song: listening by your crowd and yourself with one ear
- Second song: listening in your headphone by your other ear
And then you need to match the music in your headphone at the same tempo and speed as the one your crowd is listening. Sounds hard I know but this is why DJ software do pretty much all the work now.
You probably already own one or more headphone, but for a DJ a good headphone is very important. You want a proper sound, where you can listen to your song without listening to the folks shouting.
There are so many brands out there, see the picture over here. I’ve used my Sennheiser HD25 for 5 years and I still have it, Pioneer ans Shure got some decent headphone as well.
You want a Headphone with a mini-Jack plug and big-Jack plug adaptor, once again “JUST IN CASE” to be ready at every situation possible.
A good price range to start is £40-£120
Tip: Buy a cover for your headphone if not furnish to avoid all the dust when you don’t use it.
The Mic : Clearly Not Noisy
There is nothing more annoying than someone who’s shouting in a Mic. You want people to hear you nice and clearly with the music still playing.
There are on the market a lot of microphones and guess what: you don’t need to spend a fortune.
I don’t recommend you to buy a wireless if you just start because it’s more expensive, longer to set-up and you need battery.
I’ve always used Sure, the SM58 been on market more than 30 years but there are many more. Sennheiser, AKG, Numark or Audix are excellent brand.
Buy it new and avoid the second hand Microphone
How Much For All This ?
I know I’ve been through a lot of equipment and brand and you might feel overwhelming but don’t.
I’m going to take an example of budget for the cheapest BUT NOT THE BEST
- DJ controller : Behringer CMD Studio 2A => £60
- I don’t recommend this product, yes it’ cheap but after a month or less of practice you’ll be bored
- DJ Software : FREE
- Headphone : Behringer HPX4000 => £12
- Microphone : Don’t even need one if you buy this controller
- Total: £72 and I suppose you’ve got a laptop
Pretty cheap no?
Second example, a bit more expensive but for better quality
- DJ controller : Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 => £165
- DJ Softaware : Serato lite => FREE
- Headphone : Numark Red Wave Carbon => £56
- Microphone : Still no, learn how to mix FIRST
- Total: £221, yes more expensive but you might keep it a year or Two and it looks so much better!!
If you really want to learn how to beatmatch and how to mix, I recommend avoiding the DJ software. Work with you ear, listen and practice. The satisfaction when you can mix two songs with just your ability to listen, it’s just an amazing feeling.
First: You will impress people and specially the others DJ who only mix with their software
Second: You’ll become more creative instead to be focus on your laptop’s screen
Third: Well if you don’t have a laptop, you don’t need to invest in one!
Feel free to write a comment below if you have question or ideas