Best DJ equipment for beginners
We surveyed experienced DJs about the best, most reliable equipment for DJs who are getting started. These eight essential pieces of DJ equipment will help set you up and grow your business!
So you want to become a DJ. There’s definitely an allure to being the person who selects the tunes that make an occasion memorable—whether it’s a wedding, retirement party, or a late-night warehouse rave. Yet you’ll need more than great taste in music to become a successful DJ.
As you travel between venues, you’ll encounter a variety of situations—from small rooms with bad acoustics to remote venues without a Wi-Fi signal to be found. That means having a playlist on your smartphone won’t quite cut it.
So what do you actually need? We surveyed experienced DJs about the best, most reliable equipment for DJs who are getting started. These eight essential pieces of DJ equipment for beginners will help set you up.
Let’s be real: sometimes, people only book a DJ because they expect you to come with a better sound system than they have on their laptop.
While some clients may be willing to rent high-end speakers to fill their venue with sound, speakers are essential DJ equipment so that you can show up prepared for any situation.
- The experts surveyed spoke highly of QSC speakers for a few reasons:
- These are the best consumer speakers available in their price range
- QSC speakers produce high-quality sound
- Don’t fiddle with copper wire—use these speakers’ straightforward inputs
- They’re also incredibly durable, and should last you for years to come
Browse QSC products by venue type and look for speakers with features that best suit your needs, including pole mounts and carrying cases.
If you want your audience to feel the bass, you’ll need a subwoofer, too.
These days, there are plenty of DJs who make playlists on Spotify and iTunes. But that’s no fun, is it?
Many professional DJs assemble a collection of vinyl records that they can switch and scratch on-demand to create custom sounds.
A controller is a piece of hardware that makes it possible to manipulate inputted sound (from your laptop or turntable) through looping, fading, and more.
With your laptop or turntable plugged into a controller, you’ll be able to manipulate sounds to make your mark on beloved tracks and cult bangers alike.
Once you master it, a controller adds considerably to your arsenal of effects.
Pioneer is one of the most trusted names in the DJ controller business. Their easy-to-use controllers make it intuitive to master a range of effects and begin customizing tracks to fit a crowd’s specific vibe.
Which DJ controller is right for you?
If you’re buying your first DJ turntable, consider purchasing it from Technics. This was the top recommended brand from the survey. Technics are the original standard turntable for the professional DJ and produce premium sound.
For a beginner DJ controller, the experts surveyed recommended the following:
- Pioneer DDJ-SR2 – This is the industry standard 2-Channel DJ controller. It has all the tools of a professional controller, but a lower price tag. Plus, it’s easy to use.
- Pioneer DDJ-SB2 – If you’d prefer to start experimenting with a lower-cost controller, this is the product for you. It’s an affordable way to get acquainted with the tools of your new trade.
If you want to spend a little more for more features, they recommend you check out:
#4 DJ Software
Software isn’t physical equipment, per se, but we don’t want to omit this potentially important piece of your basic DJ setup.
You can get away with nothing but a laptop and controller. But DJ software designed to interface with a controller can provide a much wider array of effects. It’s also much easier to use your controller when it’s hooked up to appropriate software.
Professional DJs recommend the following programs:
Beyond these two DJ software programs, you’ll eventually discover a whole word of apps designed specifically for DJs.
Another must-have as you’re building up your DJ gear is a great pair of headphones. A common question from beginner DJs is why DJs only use their headphones briefly. Without going into the specifics, it’s to help cue the next song and beat match. The more you know!
many records you have on-hand, you’ll also need a fully stocked music library for the moment when an audience member inevitably requests a track that you don’t have on vinyl.
Invest in an industrial laptop with adequate storage space and RAM for music and mixing software.
Your laptop, controller, and mixing table are all high-end, expensive equipment. Don’t carry them around in a cardboard box!
Invest in padded cases for your essentials.
Your new DJ job isn’t all fun and parties—you take on risk as a DJ. In fact, the fun and partying directly contribute to that risk! Whether you dream of becoming the next big club DJ or looking to DJ weddings and events as a side hustle, DJ insurance helps to protect your business so you can just worry about creating the perfect set.
- Most DJs need general liability insurance to provide coverage for claims arising from a situation like the following:
An event attendee trips over the power cord going to your speaker and breaks their wrist. While they shouldn’t be back by your DJ booth, they could sue you for bodily injury.
Liability insurance provides coverage, investigation, and legal defense for claims of third party bodily injury, property damage, and advertising and personal injury that stem from your work as a DJ. It can also help cover claims of errors and omissions.
In addition, someone could easily spill their drink on your new controller. That’s why we recommend equipment insurance, which can provide coverage for damage or loss of business assets including your new DJ equipment.
Lay the foundation, then mix it up
Being a good DJ is all about layering. You start with a basic track, then put your own spin on it.
Take the same attitude as you start DJing:
- Invest in the hardware that will help you create unique sound experiences
- Find software to store your tunes and interface with your controller
- Hedge against the risks you face with insurance
For the beginner DJ looking to get started, follow this basic DJ setup from one of the professional DJs surveyed:
“A decent laptop, serato DJ pro software, and a Pioneer DDJ-SB3! – It’s the most inexpensive way to get into DJing that teaches you professional DJ software that you can grow into with better equipment over time.”
Then, let the music play! As you experiment with new DJ equipment and amass more experience, you’ll discover a whole world of apps, effects pedals, and unforgettable nights ahead.