Most successful DJs today use a computer for their DJ sets. Although some old school purists still use an all-vinyl or CDJ set up, many use a combination of laptops, midi controllers and mixing or DAW software to help create pumping club and festival mixes. This gives the DJ more options and can help them to create a really dynamic and entertaining mix.
In this article we will look at a beginner, intermediate and advanced computer DJ set up.
DJ Master Course recommends getting a computer with enough processing power and RAM to be able to power the software required. Typically, an up to date processor is needed and Acon i5 minimum with multiple cores is highly recommended. At least 4GB of RAM is also a must, but 8GB is preferred. If a brand new laptop is not affordable, and we understand that this isn't always the case, sometimes refurbished second-hand models are available online or at a computer store.
As far as operating systems go, that is a decision that rests with the individual. However, keep in mind that Mac OS X boots quicker than Windows, and it tends to crash less, which may be handy in a gig environment where a fast reboot and stability is a must.
A beginner might simply opt for a laptop computer and some DJ mixing software like Virtual DJ or Mixxx. A simple audio interface might be a good choice here too. This will be enough to practice basic mixing skills and become familiar with the fundamentals of DJ mixing.
The next step up would be acquiring a DJ controller and perhaps upgrading to some more advanced software, like Traktor or Serato. These two competing programs each have their own integrated DJ controllers and sometimes third party controllers can be used with them. This gives users a more hands on experience and allows the DJ to quickly cue, loop and add effects to the sounds.
The next level would be to purchase a pair of Studio Monitor Speakers and a digital audio workstation (DAW) such as Ableton Live or Cubase. This will allow the DJ to make their own bootlegs, mash-ups, edits and re-mixes of songs they like. Eventually, they might even consider creating their own original beats and becoming an EDM producer.