What equipment do you need to DJ? So you wanna be a DJ… here are all of the basics you’ll need to get started.
What is a DJ Controller?
A DJ Controller is a way to control DJ Software on a Laptop. Most modern DJ’s are using a controller with a laptop as it’s a much leaner setup and easier to transport. Not only that but it’s much more convenient to use. The DJ Controller can actually scratch like a record player, cue media and play music files and even add effects. It can also be used to create beats on the fly during a performance.
You can sync your controller to your lighting setup for a light show that moves with your music. The controls on a DJ Controller include: jog wheels, push buttons, faders all of which are generally configurable to the way you want to perform. It can also be used to “scratch” with the job wheels or by attaching a record player with a time code album.
The time code album can be used the cue tracks and scratch and you can use that with your favorite track, just like a physical record. This means you won’t have to bring your record collection to the show because you’ll be able to reference them digitally on your controller and timecode record setup.
There two most popular DJ software on the market are Serato and Rekordbox. You’ll want to make sure you get a controller that works with the software you prefer. The controller will typically only work with one type of software properly, the one it was designed for.
Pioneer DJ Controllers are by far the most popular on the market. The Pioneer DDJ 1000 and DDJ-1000SRT Serato Edition are top of the line in 2020. The Hercules DJ Controllers are entry-level and a good choice for beginners that want to experiment without too much commitment. Denon also makes a few DJ Controllers which are very high end including the Denon DJ Prime 4. Rane also has its Seventy Two and Two Premium System for professionals who want the best DJ Controller. Some of the popular and cheap Pioneer DJ Controllers are the SB3 and the DDJ-400.
What is a DJ Audio Source?
This is essentially your input devices. As a DJ you are bring the party with songs you love to creatively enhance the party or event where you are performing. DJ’s use anything from a CD Player or Record Player to a Laptop Computer or DJ Media Player that provides program for the dj to mix, scratch, cut and even remix creatively with effects. Digital devices like laptops enable DJ’s to have much more preset playlists and settings and have more control and consistency over their set.
What is a DJ Mixer?
A mixer is used to switch between two audio tracks playing simultaneously. For example when you want to transition from one song to the next. This is done using a crossfader and is the key component of the mixer. Mixers can have media players attached to them or built in or the old school DJ mixers can be used with record players for purists. The faders on a mixer can be used to create scratch effects by adjusting the volume during scratching on the record or digital job wheel.
What are DJ Headphones?
DJ Headphones can be any closed back design headphones but the sound quality will certainly vary. Open back design allows too much ambient noise in the ear and are not a good choice for live performing. If all you have are open back they will work for practicing your cuts at the lap but not a good choice for the club where the noise from the PA is going to overpower them and it will be hard to hear anything. If possible get some noise cancelling, those are the best, so you can focus clearly on your cue’s without noise interference from the club. Here are some examples of the best DJ Headphones we sell at the shop.
What are the best DJ Speakers? DJ Headphones?
DJ Monitors: There are two types of DJ speakers you may need. The first is DJ Monitors. These are studio monitors that have a clean and accurate sound to test your mixes on. If you are a remix DJ or recording artist these are essential. If you’ll mainly be performing at the club and you’re on a budget you might be able to skip these at first and just use headphones. It is however much more fun to mix and practice with studio monitors over headphones, it’s also easier to share your mix with other DJ’s at your lab, or practice spot.
DJ Loudspeakers - PA System: The other type of DJ Speakers are PA Speakers or Pro Audio Speakers. These are loudspeakers created for high power handling and typically include heavy subwoofers to get the crowd moving. If you’re playing house parties which is inevitable at first, you’ll want to look at some basic powered dj speakers. If you’re on a budget, some of the best dj speakers to choose are the Mackie Powered Speakers which are Bluetooth capable and easy to setup. Having speakers that are easy to setup and sound great make doing house parties much simpler and more fun.
If you’re looking to do weddings and larger events you’ll need to have some subwoofers of some kind. The price of high quality subwoofers has come down over the years and they even come with build in high powered class D amps that are clean and much lighter than the typical class A.
You may not need to get any loudspeakers if you’re only playing clubs, they will typically have their own sound setup.
Looking to save some cash and get everything you need in one package? There are many different packages available that can save you money and also get you everything you need. DJ Equipment Packages.
The package above has headphones, studio DJ speakers, cables simple controller and all you need is a decent laptop. Make sure if you want loudspeakers for performing with higher volume to get the appropriate loudspeakers instead of studio monitors as shown above.
Professional DJ Equipment Packages
Here's a more professional club-style package featuring a full speaker system for performing house parties or clubs. It comes with separate CDJ-3000 Media Players and all of the cables, stands, and speakers you'll need. This is some of the most popular equipment from top DJ brands like Pioneer DJ.
What is DJ Lighting?
When you’re on a stage performing your set, you’ll want to make sure to set the mood. That’s exactly what dj lighting systems do. These days modern dj’s are using LED Par Lights which are very light and portable. To increase the excitement of the show you can add effects like Scorpion Laser Effect Lights, Chauvet DJ Swarm or a traditional disco mirror ball. For high end DJ shows in larger venues the Moving Head Lights are very popular. They can be synchronized together and controlled by a special dj lighting controller. DJ’s also use DJ Video Panels which can present video content and are modular. This means you can configure these panels in huge arrays for large events like products launches, concerts and more.
Hollywood DJ Specializes in DJ Gear and Lighting Equipment online and in the Los Angeles Area. HDJ has the largest dedicated DJ Lighting Showroom in the United States. Call us anytime with questions about getting setup with DJ Gear at 1-800-700-4542, we’re happy to help.
Here's a very informative video on what equipment it takes to be a live DJ.
DJ Lighting Packages
Here's one of our most popular DJ Lighting Packages that includes everything you need for a high-quality DJ light show that's easy to use and looks awesome.
Checkout this link for Complete DJ Packages with Audio Source, Mixer and DJ Speaker Systems.