How to choose DJ equipment

Want to be a DJ? What are you waiting for? We'll help you pick the right DJ equipment.

The days when being a DJ meant only turntables and (later) CD players are a thing of the past. Today's possibilities for DJs and their creativity have taken a quantum leap forward; DJ software has also come a long way, and the magical function of 'sync' makes it possible to enter the world of DJs without hours of practice and huge investments. Complete 'all-in-one' DJ systems and DJ controllers exist in models for hobby DJs who want to mix music at home or at parties for friends, but also as more sophisticated systems for professional players who sell out large halls.


TIPS FOR BEGINNERS:

If you're looking for the easiest way to enter the world of DJing, an ideal route with a good price/quality ratio and many possibilities is a DJ controller with a built-in sound card. This device helps you understand the principles of DJing such as the comparison and synchronisation of beats, mixing two tracks, setting cue points and more. These tools come with the necessary software to install on your PC. Connect the controller to you computer (or even some tablets) and let the DJ mania begin!

Our experts are ready to answer any questions and to recommend the ideal solution. You can call us at 020 8089 1481 (Mon-Fri, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.) or send us your questions by email to .

A DJ controller with a built-in sound card look like this:


Classic DJing and turntables

Turntables are an essential part of classic DJing, a phenomenon that began in the USA in the 1970s and led, among other things, to the emergence of modern genres such as hip-hop Turntable DJing established the basic rules of this musical discipline. The basic techniques of turntable DJing include comparing beats and songs using two turntables and a mixing console. The turntable can also be used as a musical instrument by using the technique of scratching in which the rhythmised movement of the record creates the characteristic sound used in a number of musical styles.

Turntables can be divided into types with a direct or belt drive. Advanced players prefer direct drives, as they are more precise and have a better response.

Turntables can also be divided into purely analogue or with an integrated USB interface that serves as a sound card and enables a direct recording of the analogue signal from the vinyl to the computer. Turntables can also be combined with a DVS (Digital Vinyl System) using special timecode vinyl records which, through the sound card, make it possible to synchronise the position in the audio file with the timecode vinyl. With DVS, you can combine classic DJ techniques (vinyl/CD) with the advantages of digital audio formats. DVS includes a sound card, timecode vinyl records/CDs and software. The most popular systems include Serato DJ and Native Instruments Traktor Scratch.

DJ controllers

Digital DJ controllers have already become the absolute standard on the DJ scene. They can be divided into the three types shown below:

All-in-one DJ system

A convenient solution for all new and intermediate DJs is the all-in-one solution, otherwise known as a complete DJ system. It is divided into two side parts used to control individual music/sound tracks on the PC, and the middle part functioning as a mixing table. These systems come with 2 or 4 channels. The more channels, the more tracks you can control at the same time, play and mix. These controllers are connected directly to the PC through a USB interface and have a built-in sound card.

Simple DJ controller

These two-track controllers allow you to control music tracks, set cue points, create loops, modify the equalisation and effects of individual tracks, and more. The great advantage of these 'small' controllers is that they are very compact, and many of them can be operated with just a tablet or phone, allowing you to get your DJ party going anywhere and anytime.

DJ mixing consoles

No DJ can work without a DJ mixing console. If you decide to go the route of a complete system and all-in-one controllers, they will have a mixing console as an integrated part of the device. If you plan to use turntables or a separate DJ controller (or a combination of the two), you will need a mixing console to mix the signals from these devices.

A DJ mixing console can be fully analogue, which means that you work exclusively with an analogue signal. If you want to use a DVS, you must connect a sound card to the mixer or buy a mixing console with an integrated sound card.

USB/MIDI controllers and Launchpad

This group of controllers has a slightly specific standing among our DJ devices. It's not actually a device that normally mixes several channels and music tracks like in all of the previous cases. These controllers most frequently used with the music/studio program Ableton Live can do two basic things. You can use them as a MIDI device, which means that you assign a sound to it in the program and then play it like a keyboard. Launchpad is therefore practical when composing music. The second basic regime involves playing a loop prepared in advance. In this case each pad on the Launchpad corresponds to one loop you launch by pressing, allowing you to create live music in a very attractive and user-friendly way.

Basic DJ terms

DVS
Digital vinyl systems such as Serato DJ and Native Instruments Traktor Scratch. Combines timecode vinyl/CD and software to which digital audio in the computer is synchronised. With DVS, you can combine classic DJ techniques with the advantages of digital audio formats.

Loop
A loop is a repeating section of a track that plays for a set number of times.

JOG
A rotating wheel for operating DJ controllers, scratching CD/digital audio formats.

CUE/Hot CUE
A designated place in an audio file serving for fast access to a specific point in a song.

Sync
A basic function for DJs serving for automatic synchronisation of the speed of played audio files.

Pitch fader
A slider/software control to adjust the playing speed of audio tracks/CD/vinyl.

In key/Key Lock
A function that saves the original tone height of a song when the playing speed is changed.

FLUX/Slicer
A function that divides the audio file typically into 8 segments and assigns them to touch pads, thanks to which it is possible to remix percussive loops and others live.

Remix deck/Sampler
Enables live sampling, the addition of loops and sounds to the main composition or creating new structures of a song divided into individual tracks.

STEMS
A new .mp4 format from Native Instruments which in one file contains 4 tracks that can be freely mixed and shaped with effects.

Ducking
An effect that automatically suppresses the chosen audio output based on the presence of a sound, say, from a microphone.
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