Ready to take your first steps into DJing? It’s an extremely rewarding & fun hobby that many people are fortunate enough to call their job. Working out how to get started with DJing may feel daunting, but fear not: we’ve made this complete beginner’s guide to DJ gear to break down exactly what you will need and show you how easy it is to get started. Once you’ve got the technical basics down, there’s nothing more fun than putting your own creative stamp on your DJ sets!
Before you can start spinning tunes, though, you’re going to need some equipment. As a beginner, you’ll want a DJ setup that allows you to practice and finesse your abilities. Understanding what equipment you need to DJ might look difficult – but that’s where we come in. Our guide will walk you through the ideal DJ setup for beginners.
Read on to find out more or check out our beginner’s bundle page to create an entry-level DJ setup.
What equipment do you need as a new DJ?
Not sure what DJ setup you want to start with? There’s are lots of different setups available for all different types of DJ. The essential components of a DJ setup are:
- Decks – Your decks (also known as ‘players’) are used to play music. They are connected to the mixer. These can be turntables, CDJs or multimedia players.
- Mixer – Used to control or manipulate your audio output, the mixer allows you to seamlessly transition from one track to another and apply effects
- Headphones – Before the crowd hears anything through the speakers, you can cue up tracks through your headphones to listen ahead and get your transition spot-on.
- Speakers – Without great speakers, how will anyone hear your music? A good set of speakers will project your tracks in high quality.
- Bags & Cases – With all this equipment, you’ll need a way to transport it safely and effectively. Use bags, cases and Decksavers to protect your equipment from external damage.
What are the best DJ decks for beginners?
A deck is an all-encompassing term for controllers, all-in-one systems, CDJs and turntables. Each of these serve a slightly different purpose, so you’ll need to understand their uses before deciding which you want to go for. These are the options you could consider:
A controller is one of the best options for beginner DJs. A DJ controller includes two players and a built-in mixer, making it straightforward to use. The controller is then connected to a laptop with DJ software installed. From here, music gets dragged onto each turntable, ready to be mixed. There are quite a few different DJ softwares to choose from – three of the most popular ones include Rekordbox, Serato and Traktor. With some DJ softwares, you also now have the relatively new option of mixing music from streaming sites such as TIDAL, Beatport, and SoundCloud Go. This is a great option for people who already have subscriptions to streaming services, or people who would prefer to mix from streaming sites rather than buying and downloading tunes directly onto their computer.
Controllers are great for beginners due to their portability and lower price. Some of the best examples of entry-level DJ controllers are the Pioneer DJ DDJ-400 and Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX. These can be stored in your home easily and can be transported to wherever you are playing, so they’re ideal for a house party DJ setup.
For beginners without a laptop, this is a great choice. This device works similarly to a controller but you plug in your music using a USB stick. With some standalone units you can also mix music directly from streaming platforms. Decks like these can come with a higher price tag but offer convenience in return, as you won’t need to bring your laptop with you every time that you DJ.
Some of the best options for a home DJ setup are the Denon Prime GO and Numark Mixstream Pro. These systems are great to learn on and are usable for experienced DJs, too, making them a wise investment for the future.
CDJs or XDJs
CDJs and XDJs are top-end standalone decks that allow you to mix music from a variety of digital formats (CD, USB, streaming platforms such as TIDAL, Beatport, SoundCloud Go etc.). These are what you will find in clubs, bars and festival stages for professional DJs to play on. While their higher price may make them a less obvious choice for beginner DJs, they could be a good investment if you aspire to play live sets in clubs one day.
Cheaper, compact players like the Pioneer XDJ-700 are a fantastic choice for a beginner DJ setup. The XDJ-700 essentially has the same functionality of the top end decks but with a smaller jog wheel, giving you a club-standard DJ set up to learn on at a cheaper price. You’ll also need to get a mixer to go with them.
Mixers are vital if you opt for a CDJ or XDJ. They connect to your decks so you can manipulate audio from multiple sources and blend your tracks together. Most people use mixers with either two or four input channels – generally speaking, the more channels that your chosen model has, and the more features it has on it (e.g effects), the more you can expect to pay for it. Most of them include a filter and a three band EQ which enable you to cut lows, mids and highs to blend different elements of a track. Some of them include effects, such as reverb and dewhich are not essential but can help make your transitions smoother and more creative (and more fun!)
A CDJ and mixer set up is not a necessity for beginner DJs. However if you do aspire to do some club DJing one day, and you have the budget for it, having a club-standard set up at home from the get-go will set you up nicely for that!
A turntable may not seem to be the most beginner-friendly choice for a DJ starter kit as it has a steeper learning curve than a digital format. This is because there are no visual cues to help you mix (e.g. a BPM count) meaning you have to rely purely on your ear. However, once you’ve cracked it, it’s an extremely rewarding way to DJ. If you have a huge vinyl collection then this could be the right choice for you. Some turntables, including the Pioneer PLX-500, can also connect directly to speakers if you just want to listen to your record collection.
The best headphones for your beginner DJ set
Many beginner DJ setups include whatever headphones the DJ already owns. However, investing in a quality pair designed for DJing could take your skills to new heights.
Look out for headphones with durability, sound insulation, functionality and sound quality much like the Pioneer HDJ-CUE1 or the Sennheiser HD25. Headphones can be wired or wireless, offering you the freedom to move around your decks.
What speakers does a beginner DJ need?
Without speakers, your music won’t be heard by anyone. You’ll need to find a great set of speakers for when you’re practising at home or spinning tracks at a house party with your friends.
To get the best out of your music, you’ll want a reliable set of speakers such as the Pioneer DM-50D. Good-quality speakers will ensure that your bass is tight and controlled, keep the various elements of your tracks distinguishable from each other and sound crisp and punchy even at high volumes.
Protecting your DJ equipment
DJing is by no means a cheap hobby to pursue. With so much beginner DJ equipment to buy, you’ll want peace of mind that it is protected when you take it out with you. An effective carrying solution is important so that you can bring your house party setup with you without concern.
Our bags and cases range has options to fit most deck and speaker sizes, so you’ll have no trouble finding a solution that fits your equipment.
Choose the right DJ starter kit for beginners
As you can see, there are several different options to choose from when putting together a beginner DJ kit. Your choice will ultimately come down to your budget, and the format of DJing you like best. If you want to get the best mixing decks or turntables for beginners, then you’ll find just that at Bop DJ. Check out our beginner bundle page and select the best combination of equipment for you.
For those looking to shave even more off their budget, consider buying pre-owned. They are perfect if you’re a beginner who’s looking to avoid spending too much until you feel more confident in your abilities.
Shopping online not for you? Visit one of our stores and have a chat with our team. We’ll be happy to help create a beginner’s DJ setup for you.
Once you’ve got your kit, you’ll need some practice. Why not sign up for an online DJ course and advance your skills rapidly? And just remember, if you buy your gear from Bop DJ you’ll have access to our industry-leading tech support service. Our team are on hand to help you with any aspect of the process from getting set up to technical issues to advice on your next gadget. Happy mixing!