What Equipment Will You Need to Become a Top DJ?
We all have to start somewhere!
19:00 15 September 2020
Even the biggest names in superstar DJing had to invest in their first pieces of equipment, whether for their bedrooms or for their garages! Not everyone has access to flashy technology from the word go. However, we’re living in a time where there have never been more DJing tools and hardware available to help you get on the road to superstardom.
But if you’re just starting out as a DJ with designs on getting yourself a headline slot in Ibiza, there are a few pieces of equipment you’re going to need to invest in to make your journey that little bit easier.
Yes – it makes sense to have a turntable and some speakers – but there’s more to modern DJing than that. If you’re not sure what you’ll need to get yourself up on the road to becoming a great DJ, keep reading our guide and we’ll take you through more than just the basics.
First Things First – Your Inputs
As a DJ, you’re going to need some form of music to work with if you stand to create any kind of mix. This might be music you make through a production suite or DAW, or it might stem from old tapes and records you might have lying around.
Essentially, you need to think about whether or not you need to invest in input players and hardware, or if you’re going fully digital. Old school DJs, of course, will rely on turntables and vinyl. However, many will still depend on CD players and cassette decks, too.
There are plenty of modern decks and turntables out there which will allow you to connect old media up to newer hardware, meaning that one of the best things you can look for right away is a way for you to play and blend your existing media into the mix.
DAWs or music production suites really have become necessary in the modern age. Years ago, DJs had to manage everything without the help of a laptop, PC, or tablet. This might be impossible to imagine, but DAWs are still a pretty recent invention.
However, in the modern age, they are more powerful and more useful than ever before. There are also more different DAWs and suites out there to choose from than ever, meaning you should certainly do best looking into free or trial versions of leading brands before putting any money behind them. This is pretty easy to do, and you can of course download these suites completely digitally online.
Therefore, make sure to look at different DAWs such as FL Studio and Ableton Live, which will give you a broad spectrum of production insight. Believe us – the right DAW is going to work wonders for you both when mixing at home and performing on stage.
Naturally – it goes without saying that you’re going to need a solid laptop to mix and perform on. Look for a unit with plenty of RAM and a speedy processor!
Mixers and Controllers
You’re going to need some form of mixing unit if you stand any chance of creating your own unique tunes. However, there is often a bit of crossover between mixers and DJ controllers, meaning you’re going to need to look carefully at the main differences between these devices.
A mixer is pretty much your central hub where you’re going to line up your inputs and also plug in your speakers. It’s this part of the operation where you actively do the mixing. They tend to offer you a lot of control and scope, meaning it’s worth trying before you buy wherever you can.
A DJ controller is going to give you a bit of an enhanced mixing experience. These controllers let you work with inputs, outputs and DAWs in tandem. This means you have full control over the mix at any given time.
It’s worth shopping around for the best controllers and mixers, as each model is likely to do something much different from the last. Therefore, don’t be afraid to look out for models under brands such as Numark and Pioneer, which really tend to lead the way.
Where would any budding DJ be without a good set of speakers? Yes – there are going to be venues where you can use speakers on the night – but it makes sense to invest in your own tech if you really want to push a particular sound out to the crowds. It also means that there’s no risk of third-party speakers creating any kind of issue with your mixes.
You can buy speakers in various sizes and styles, meaning that, again, you’re going to need to do a bit of shopping around. These tend to be a little tricky to buy between at first, but a good PA system or set of monitors will likely do the trick if you’re just starting out.
All DJs need reliable headphones. Making changes to your mixes mid-performance really isn’t possible when you have all that bass and those wider acoustics getting in the way.
You’re going to need a solid, dependable pair of headphones that you can use to edit and change things up as you go. There are some great brands out there which specifically develop headphones for DJing – we think Sony tend to offer some of the best!
You should look for headphones which, of course, offer great flexibility across studio use and performance alike. Therefore, be sure to compare and contrast as you go.
What Makes the Best Setup?
There are all kinds of hardware and software you’ll need to get started as a DJ. The advice you receive might differ from person to person. However, just make sure you shop for the basics at least – as listed above – and see if you can try before you buy with as much as you possibly can.
Otherwise – becoming a superstar DJ is a journey full of trial and error – be ready to embrace it!