Breaking into DJing is difficult. Whenever somebody asks me how to become a DJ, I make sure to make clear just how hard that path will be. It will take hours of practice to get good enough to play in clubs—and not good clubs mind you—and once you’re in those clubs, it will take years before you get into the good ones. But more than the time, probably the most prohibitive aspect of breaking into the industry is the equipment cost.
That’s why it’s absolutely vital you do your research and you buy all the correct equipment from the beginning. You don’t want to have to buy things again, because you bought something substandard. You also don’t want to end up buying superfluous equipment. So make sure you buy exactly what you need and only what you need right from the beginning. Here’s a quick rundown of the essentials every DJ will need:
You’ll need a minimum of two input devices: either two turntables, two CD decks or whatever. You can get more but you need at least two to mix tunes.
You’ll need a mixer with at least two input channels, so that you can mix your two input devices into each other.
Without headphones, you can’t DJ. You need them to hear the next to you will be mixing into the current one, to cue it up and to do all this without everyone else hearing it. Make sure you get a good pair of headphones with a good sound quality.
A Sound System
By sound system, I mean speakers and an amplifier. You will need these for obvious reasons. These days many people opt for powered speakers, which could save some money and is also easier to transport. Personally I prefer a separate amplifier, but this is just a matter of personal preference. Do what is right for you.
And that’s it (although I might add a microphone to the list, if you do any singing as a DJ and a hammock if you need to travel a lot and are on a budget). That’s really all the equipment you need. Of course, just this equipment will run you quite a bit of money. That’s what I would say don’t discount secondhand equipment. If you can find good quality stuff that’s been used but not abused, go for it. It’s a great way to save some money.
One thing you want to avoid in your quest to save money, though, are the boxed sets. You know the ones: DJ in a box, DJ kit, etc.. Stay away from these. They’re often substandard quality and they don’t always include all of the equipment you’ll need. I can also pretty much guarantee that you have to replace everything as you get better and demand more from your set up.
As for brands, Pioneer and Technics are probably two of the best. These are also the two that I would recommend buying secondhand, since they’re built to last and there’s not a huge chance you’re buying crap. If you can’t afford the best equipment, I suppose you have to buy something cheaper. Just know that you’ll probably want to upgrade eventually so it does make sense to buy the best from the beginning. Of course, that’s only possible if you have the money to spend.
One thing I might add down the road if you plan on producing your own music is some instruments. Playing on your own instruments is so much better than using samples. The first thing I would get is a set of electric drums. They are so much better than acoustic drums for producing music and for practicing. Plus, a drum set is just fun!
There you have it: that’s the equipment you need and a few tips for getting it. The rest is up to you. Make sure you do plenty of research and know exactly what you’re getting and why you’re getting it. And once you have it play some music. Then play some more music and then some more. Never stop practicing…