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Beginner's DJ Guide - How to Create a DJ Setup at Home
Beginner's DJ Guide - How to Create a DJ Setup at Home
Find out what gear you'll need to create your own setup and start DJ'ing from home.
Just like you, many of us were once beginner DJs. The world of DJ gear can seem overwhelming, but when you’re just starting out all you really need is a simple setup with a few key pieces of equipment.
We’re here to help you find everything you need to practise at home, develop your skills, and – most importantly - have some fun! Let’s get straight into the gear.
What You Need to DJ
- The big decision - a DJ Controller setup or a Turntable & Mixer setup?
- Laptop with DJ software (if you choose the DJ Controller approach)
DJ Controller – for DJ'ing with a computer
A DJ controller lets you DJ with digital music and a computer, instead of with traditional vinyl. DJ Controllers often feature two decks and a mixer combined in a single unit, so you’ll get the complete DJ experience, but with a digital setup. If you want to DJ with your iTunes collection or other digital music, this is the way to go.
DJ Controllers connect to your laptop via USB, so it’s easy to get set up. You won’t need more than a 2-channel DJ controller to grasp the basic techniques of DJ'ing as these will let you mix from track to track. Many controllers feature additional production tools such as performance pads for triggering hot cues, loops, and samples. You’ll also find some controllers with mic inputs, built-in effects, and other handy DJ tools.
DJ controllers often come complete with DJ software like rekordbox, Traktor, Serato, or even Virtual DJ. Plus, you can import your own music collection from iTunes directly into the DJ software, ready to mix with.
Shop now | DJ Controllers at Gear4music
Here’s a few controllers you could check out.
This is a great little starter controller. It’s compact and has the essentials you need for DJ'ing – volume faders, EQs, and free Serato DJ software.
Shop now | Numark PartyMix 2-Channel DJ Controller
You can DJ with either your smartphone or laptop with the DDJ-200. Once you’ve downloaded Pioneer DJ’s WeDJ app, you’ll be able to DJ with your phone’s music library; perfect if you just want to get straight on and DJ. There’s also some cool transition FX, so you can transition smoothly into the next track with the twist of a knob.
Shop now | Pioneer DDJ-200 Smart DJ Controller
Check out this portable, USB-powered, club-ready DJ controller. Using Native Instruments’ included Traktor Pro 3 software, you’ll get mixing in minutes with NI’s own Getting Started videos and series of ‘TruTorials’. This controller is the perfect gateway to DJ'ing – you’ll be able to practice your skills on the same software used by the professionals.
Shop now | Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3
Turntables and Mixer – for DJ'ing with vinyl records
If you’re looking to DJ with your vinyl records, 2x turntables and a mixer combo is the way forward. Look for turntables with a pitch fader as this will allow you to speed up or slow down your tracks to match the BPMs of the 2 different tracks playing.
Shop now | DJ Turntables
Shop now | DJ Mixers
Here’s a great value combo to get you started with vinyl.
Features adjustable speed for beatmatching, as well as a large start/stop button. It also has shock-absorbing feet that ensure it stays in place and minimises external rumbling or unwanted vibrations when playing music loud.
Shop now | Omnitronic BD-1350 Turntable, Silver
It’s got all the essentials - faders, EQs, CUE mix for headphones. Easy, simple to use, perfect for starting out.
Shop now | Omnitronic PM-222 2-Channel DJ Mixer
Laptop with DJ Software
Your laptop holds your digital music collection, and DJ software will let you play those tracks with your DJ controller. There’s a range of free and paid ones out there like rekordbox, Traktor and Serato.
If you’re not sure which software to go for, don’t forget that many DJ Controllers come complete with software, so it’s worth checking out the product listing to see what you’ll get.
Shop now | DJ Software
Unless you’re hosting Creamfields in your bedroom, a pair of studio monitors are perfect for a home setup. They let you hear all the details of your mix, ensuring it’ll transfer well to bigger systems. Monitors sizes are based on the woofer size. Bigger woofers mean fuller bass, but they could also result in an unmanageable sound for smaller rooms.
Small 4’’ or 5’’ monitors like the KRK Rokits or the ADAM T Series are more than up to the job for home use - you’d be surprised at how loud these can get! If you do want more bass, though, invest in an additional subwoofer - it’ll make you feel like you’re at Tomorrowland.
Shop now | Studio Monitors
These 4’’ monitors are super compact, so they won’t take up a load of space in your bedroom. They provide clear sound, deep bass, and they are designed with DJs in mind. This is a fantastic-value pair of speakers for any home setup.
Shop now | Hercules DJ Monitor 42 Active DJ Monitors
Ideal for DJS and built with DJs in mid. These 4’’ monitors have a sound that is clear and rich. With additional Bluetooth support, they are a versatile home system for DJ'ing and general music playback.
They look great and sound great too. The extremely popular 5’’ KRK ROKIT pumps out a high amount of volume and bass. The sound is very clear too, so you’ll be able to appreciate every track you play. With accurate sound and surprisingly deep bass response, there’s a reason these distinct yellow black monitors are so popular.
Shop now | KRK ROKIT RP5 G4 Studio Monitors, Pair
A good set of DJ headphones will keep the external noise from getting in. This means you can properly hear your reference track and get it cue’d up in your headphones before you play it through the speakers. Look for closed-back headphones as they are good at sound isolation. Also, a pair that is comfortable and clear enough to hear your tracks will help.
Shop now | DJ Headphones
Specially designed for studio and recording – perfect for DJ'ing at home. These closed back earphones offer excellent value.
Shop now | SubZero SZ-MH200 Monitoring Headphones
Great bass and very comfortable - perfect for long DJ sessions. 50mm neodymium drivers give you a powerful sound with full frequency response. Plus, they look fantastic too.
Shop now | Numark Red Wave Carbon DJ Headphones
Comfy and durable, these will be great for DJ'ing on the go. With tilting earpieces, these ‘phones pack down into a slim carry case ready to take to your next gig.
Shop now | Behringer HPX6000 Professional DJ Headphones
Finally, there’s the cables. They’re the least glamorous part of your setup, but they’re still essential! You’ll want a pair of cables to go from your DJ controller to both your speakers. DJ controllers take RCA connections, so depending on your speakers, you will need either RCA-to-XLR cables, or RCA-to-RCA, or even an RCA-to-jack cable.
Shop now | DJ Cables
Practise and Have Fun
And that’s all! If you have everything on this list, you’ll have a nice DJ setup at home ready to get you started. Now all you need to do is DJ and have fun. Get your favourite tracks into your music collection, check out some tutorials, and enjoy the ride.
Find out more | DJ Equipment at Gear4music
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