Becoming a DJ might seem really fun and exciting, but the first step of choosing gear can sometimes be overwhelming. To help manage your expectations and make sure you have a good experience, we have prepared a handy article with all the Essential DJ Equipment for Beginners: Top Picks Categorized.
When it comes to standalone playback devices the most common options are CD players. Modern CD players are compatible with a wide variety of digital audio formats and support different input sources like USB sticks and SD cards.
Our top pick:Pioneer CDJ-350
An alternative to playback solutions is classic vinyl players. There are no tech competitors when it comes to the real feel of scratch and the crispiness of vinyl records.
Our top pick: Technics SL-1200 (of course!)
In order to mix, every playback deck needs to be connected to a mixer. The options are many, starting from entry level mixers with two mixing channels, a cross-fader switch and a couple of gains, to advanced four-channel mixers with feature-rich FX tabs, EQ filters and in-depth input modulation options.
Our top pick: Pioneer DJM-350
If you are looking for more compact, portable and cheaper solutions, there are so called hybrid solutions where decks and a mixer are built into a single chassis. Although these cannot function as standalone devices and need to be paired with a PC, the mixing opportunities are still limitless.
Our top pick: Numark Mixtrack II
If your mixer or DJ controller does not come with a built-in audio card, it’s a good idea to use an external audio interface. This way you will increase the audio signal quality as well as get some additional input and output controls.
Our top pick: Focusrite Scarlett Solo
Sound monitoring devices
The most common output devices are studio monitors and PA systems. Studio monitors are recommended for small parties or bedroom practice sessions, while a PA system is more appropriate for large gigs in club settings.
Our top pick: KRK Rookit 5 G3
The best way to pre-listen to an upcoming track in solo is to use headphones. Isolating DJ headphones are ideal as they provide control over the whole spectrum of sound. It’s best if headphones offer high quality playback within a 20Hz to 20kHz range.
Our top pick: Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
Where to buy your equipment
Visit your local DJ retail stores or shop online. Visiting a shopfront allows you to see and feel the physical products, while online shopping lets you compare prices to get the best deal. Only trust sellers with decent customer ratings and feedback.
If you can’t afford some of the equipment, or simply want to save on it, think about buying secondhand gear. Check the condition of the product to make sure there are no major issues. It’s best if you can meet the seller and test it yourself before handing over any money.