Whether you want to mix tracks and become the next Tiesto or you wish to throw out some beats at a wedding, we’ve gathered together the essential items every aspiring DJ needs. Love for music would want you to start experimenting with mixing tracks and for that, you’ve come to the right place. DJ gear has evolved since Kevin & Perry took to the clubs of Ibiza with their records on a chunky deck.
Like most things today, DJ equipment has taken steps towards the digital age, but this doesn’t mean you can’t pay homage to traditional record spinning. If you’re starting out and need to practice, the cheapest setup is using a laptop and a DJ controller. Although the gear can look complex, it’s straightforward once you start breaking it down.
9 Items Every Aspiring DJ Needs | Make People Groove
1# Laptop Or Desktop
If you wish, you can swap out the entire DJ setup for software on a quality laptop or desktop. Therefore, you will need to invest in one that’s packed full of RAM and processing power. Further, if you’re looking to be booked in clubs involving travel, you will need to ensure that your laptop has a solid design. If you need help deciding on a laptop, you can find the best choices for DJs here. Specs are important, but you should also keep in mind the operating system. We recommend avoiding Apple products because their system is elitist, which means the software availability is limited.
With your laptop in hand, you will need to decide on DJ software. Finding the correct software is difficult because there are many options. You will find paid and free software that all have different mechanics. For help making this choice, we suggest reading through Pirate’s DJ tips on how to DJ on a laptop. Further, if you need space to practice your craft, Pirate provides state-of-the-art rehearsal spaces across the US, UK, Germany, and Ireland. No matter what your musical style, Pirate will have your back.
3# DJ Controller
If you’re looking to test the waters without spending a fortune, the best choice is to use a DJ controller. They vary in quality from beginner to expert but all work in the same way. They work by connecting to your laptop via USB and communicating with DJ software like RekordBox. Your computer software will do all of the work, but the DJ controller will make your life easier and leave you free to control other vital components of the software. Typically, the larger the DJ controller, the more power you will have over the software.
For those of you getting serious, you can invest in a DJ controller with a dedicated audio card. This premium option allows the output to transfer through the USB and onto the card. Then, from the DJ controller, you can choose the channel and convert the output from digital to analog.
4# CDJ & Mixer
For people looking to break into the professional sphere, you need to master the CDJ & mixer setup. These kits allow you to rock up to venues with your USB stick and begin spinning tracks for revelers. This option will cost more than using laptop software but allows you to upgrade parts easily. Ironically, the leading manufacturer of CDJs is Pioneer, which blows their competition out of the water. This gear won’t come cheap, especially if you’re looking to buy your own for practice at home. However, you will have the industry-standard gear right at your fingertips. You can learn how to set up your CDJ & Mixer here.
Although you won’t need to carry around heavy gear, you will need some software to manage your music library. Fortunately, Pioneer has its own software – the aforementioned RekordBox – which is used by professional DJs all over the world. Luckily, you can save some money as a novice by making the most of their free plan.
For some people, there’s no escaping the classic use of records on a turntable. If you’re looking to get into spinning records, you will need to have a few other items including cartridges, needles, and slipmats. You’re going to need your records as well, which you need to look after. As a rookie, you need to keep in mind that this isn’t the cheapest option because records are susceptible to damage with heavy usage. However, there is showmanship to spinning real records, which lends it perfectly to performing at festivals.
Luckily, you don’t need to pull a box of records around with you and care for delicate needles on your travels. We suggest using a Digital Vinyl System (DVS) when you’re starting your vinyl journey. This lets you use digital “turntables” through software, which will give you the feel of using real records. Alongside a DVS, you will need your quality laptop, DVS soundcard, and formatted records.
For serious rookies looking to take their gear to events or make some serious noise at home, you’re going to need top-tier speakers. If you’re looking for an entry set, you should invest in a pair of Pioneer SDJ speakers, which will set you back around $350. However, we suggest the KRK RP6 DJ speakers because of the top-quality bass that guarantees to raise the roof.
When you’ve got the music blaring out in a club and people screaming over your tracks, you need to concentrate on your craft. Therefore, investing in a powerful set of headphones is essential. To get the most out of the experience, you should choose headphones that offer comfort and cancel out noise. Although you can get cheap headphones, you should look at spending around $200. However, as a beginner, you can find an admirable set for around $100.
8# USB Stick
A USB stick is your best friend in the modern world of DJing. You should invest in a couple of sticks to back up your work in case anything goes wrong. Even if you’re running your set off a laptop with internal memory, it pays to have a backup on site. The last thing you want is a system failure mindset and nowhere to turn. To ensure you can store all your tracks, you should have one that runs on USB-3 with around 32GB of storage.
9# Ear Plugs
With all that sound, it’s easy to forget about looking after your ears. After all, you’ll struggle to master your craft without them. In a pinch, you can invest in budget earplugs because anything is better than nothing. However, if you want to make it professional, it’s worth paying out for quality molded earplugs like ACS. They offer superb comfort and come with a valve to let you hear sounds. The only downside for an aspiring DJ is that you’re looking at paying around $250 for the pleasure.
Learning how to spin tracks and starting to DJ is an exciting experience. Technology has made the process easier by letting you compact decks into the software. For practicing in the bedroom, all you technically need is a high-quality laptop and a set of headphones. However, if you’re pushing to the next level, you will need a DJ controller to make life easier. Eventually, when you’re ready to play at venues, you need to learn how to master a CDJ & mixer setup that will allow you to turn up with nothing but a USB stick prepared on software like RekordBox. If you’re serious about being a DJ, it’s worth investing in the top-end gear.