During the last decade digital DJing software has become so feature rich that it can completely replace a traditional setup. The range is also pretty diverse, so it’s important to be aware of all the pros and cons. Here, we present some useful information on how to set up a beginner digital DJ setup.
The Concept and Scheme
A digital DJ setup is based on virtual software. It can be used as a standalone solution or can be hooked up with an external DJ controller to simulate the workflow and overall feeling of a traditional setup.
Most DJs prefer to work with the second option, as they can scratch, mix, control effects, press performance pads and tweak other parameters simultaneously. Advanced controllers also come with hi-resolution displays, giving you full access to beatmatching.
A personal computer will always be the core technology of a Digital DJ setup. The specifications of your machine will determine the technical opportunities as well as performance smoothness of your live sets.
Nowadays it is recommended to have a sleek machine with premium CPU and RAM. An absolute minimum for entry level DJs would be the Intel i5 combined with 4GB DDR4 Kit. Upgrade your HDD to SSD drive to get the most out of your system.
For entry level DJs the most appropriate software solution is Virtual DJ. The UI is easy to understand as all the features are based on a basic layout you would find in any other virtual DJ software.
Another great alternative to get you in the game is Serato DJ. Although a bit more complex, this is still a popular choice for beginners due to its wide functionality and modern design.
If you are looking for an all-around solution for producing and performing live, the most appropriate option is Ableton Live. The workflow is based on session and arrangement modes, which make your creative possibilities almost endless.
Numark Mixtrack II is a perfect DJ controller for those who want style and quality. With 16 rubberized pads, sample and hot cue modes, and library navigation you will always enjoy your time behind the decks. On top of that there is a responsive cross-fader and 3-band EQ, along with 16 effects controls to extend your creativity even more.
Pioneer DDJ-SB is a performance DJ controller with four illuminated performance pads per deck for hot cue, auto loop and sampler. You will also find four illuminated rubber pads per deck for play, cue, sync and shift, and two large jog wheels for precise scratching.
Gemini G4V is a four-channel controller that comes with four-deck control performance pads, 24-bit audio interface, extra-large jog wheels, multiple audio in/out ports and extra quality pro-grade design. It has a solid and sturdy all-metal body.
The Advantages of Digital DJ Setups
Most virtual DJ software comes with a detailed manual that explains everything from set-up preferences to features and opportunities. Read your software manual and you will get around the learning curve so much quicker.
DJ controllers and laptops are specifically designed to increase portability options, so you won’t have to rent a bus to carry CDJ cases, mixers, external soundcards, cables and other hardware equipment for a traditional setup.
DJ controllers can be up to five times cheaper than similar CDJs and mixer solutions. That’s why digital DJ setups are the top recommendation for budding DJs on a limited budget.