DJ technologies have become insanely diverse. Same goes for the costs. This article will present the price ranges from beginner to professional solutions. We will start with the list of equipment needed for DJing and give some recommendations in both levels. At the end of the article there will be approximate final calculations.
Traditional DJ set-up
CDJs – CD players to playback the music. Usually come with large jog wheels, pitch sliders, play/pause, cue and loop buttons. Track information is shown on a display (see featured image above).
Beginner- 2 X Gemini CDJ300 (280$ for both)
Professional- 2 X Pioneer CDJ 2000 Nexus ($4000 for both)
Mixer – central navigation block to control the mixing process. Usually comes with 2 or 4 channels, including filter block, cross-fader slider and master gains.
Beginner – Denon DN-X120 (100$)
Professional – Pioneer DJM-900 Nexus ($2000)
Digital DJ set-up
Laptop - the core of any digital DJing setup is a DJ laptop. The technical specifications will determine the complexity of projects as well as the smoothness of performance.
Beginner – Lenovo G50 (15.6-inch, 2.0 GHz AMD A8 Quad-Core Processor, 6 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD) ($400)
Professional – Apple MacBook Pro 2015 (15-inch Retina, 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7 Processor, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SDD) ($3400)
DJ controller – hardware solution to emulate the traditional mixer/turntable/CD turntable set up. The main aim is to control the parameters of the mixing software.
Beginner – Numark Mixtrack 2 ($125)
Professional – Pioneer DDJ-SZ ($2000)
Mixing software – virtual DJ console installed on the computer. Software can be used as a standalone solution or paired with a DJ controller.
Beginner – MIXXX (Free)
Professional – Traktor Pro 2 (130$)
Outputs and Interfaces
Studio monitors – high fidelity audio output devices (studio monitors), designed specifically for the monitoring of sound. Perfect solution for sound engineering, mixing and mastering.
Beginner – 2 X KRK Rookit 5 G3 ($300 for both)
Professional – 2 X Mackie HR824 MK2 ($1400 for both)
Studio headphones – alternative option of audio output devices for those who prefer to work differently. These are also a great way to test and reference the final mixes.
Beginner – Audio-Technica ATH-M30X ($70)
Professional – SennHeiser HD800 ($1200)
Audio interface – external audio card to increase the audio signal quality in case if mixer of DJ controller is not already equipped with built in solution.
Beginner – Focusrite Scarlett Solo ($100)
Professional – RME Fireface 400 ($1400)
Traditional set-up costs were calculated as a sum of 2 CDJs, mixer, 2 monitors, headphones and audio interface. Digital set-up costs were calculated as a sum of laptop, DJ controller, mixing software, 2 monitors, headphones and audio interface. The total costs were calculated as a sum of both minus monitors, headphones and audio interface as those three would be purchased once.
Traditional DJ Set Up. Beginner – 850$, Professional - 10000$
Digital DJ Set Up. Beginner - 995$, Professional - 9530$
Both DJ Set Ups. Beginner – 1365$, Professional - 15530$
The valuable lesson from this article is that you have to be very careful when choosing the right gear. It is highly recommended to do careful research and select the gear based on your budget and skillset.
Calculations shown that if not oriented in the tech, you are risking spending 10 or more times the money you could save instead. So if you are not competent, it’s best to contact some objective expert, who will help you to make the right decision.