The Beginner DJ Blog
How to Choose the Perfect Digital DJ Controller
Choosing the perfect digital DJ controller when you are learning how to DJ can be a difficult choice as there are dozens of manufacturers and even more pieces of equipment available on the market.
Don’t fret because BeginnerDJ has put together a list of the top five items to consider …
Tip #1: Consider your budget
You obviously have to consider your budget before you buy anything because there’s no point in hyping up your purchase if you can’t even afford it. Likewise, you shouldn’t set your budget too low so you get stuck with mediocre gear that breaks after a few months of play.
Consider your budget before you even start to research the different types of DJ controllers on the market. Once you have your budget you can accurately dig around the net (or at local shops) for something within your price range.
Tip #2: Consider your music format
The second thing to consider is which type of music format you really want to play. If you’re leaning toward vinyl than you really don’t have business looking into getting a digital DJ controller where as if you are in the market for CD turntables than it may be best to make the leap and go full on digital.
Look through your music collection and remind yourself what type of format you truly use the most. If you’re all MP3 than digital is right for you; if you’re half and half on CD than you may want to pick up a hybrid system but if it’s vinyl than you’re definitely not in the market for digital controllers.
Tip #3: Consider the included features
Next up, you’ll want to begin digging through the features offered by the various manufacturers and the controllers they’ve put out. If an extra feature is nearly $100 more than your budget than you could save up just a tad more to get it otherwise remember the essentials for mixing on digital (jog wheels, eq and sliders) which should keep you on point.
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Some features aren’t really worth the hundreds of dollars that you may need to spend extra. Likewise, you don’t want to buy something where you’re kicking yourself later because you don’t have a much needed (or desired) feature. Find something right in between; enough to get you mixing but not where it breaks the bank from the upgrade.
Tip #4: Consider the flexibility of your gear
What happens when you start getting gigs but you’re stuck with over 100 pounds of vinyl turntables and another 50 in your DJ bag? Well, that kind of sucks especially when it may be a smaller gig at a local club. The flexibility of your gear matters especially when you start traveling which is why digital DJ gear has caught on so greatly.
Consider how much you’d be moving around in a realistic manner. If you know you’re bouncing from club to festival to bar and other events than you’ll probably want a DJ controller that can handle quick setup and is relatively light.
Tip #5: Give it a live test
If you can, always try to get hands on with the DJ equipment you want to buy. Testing out gear and practicing a bit will, duh, help you get a true feel for what you’re about to pick up. You can try out gear at some of your local DJ shops or always see if websites offer a trade in so if you don’t like it you can exchange it out.
Bonus Tip: Ask your fellow DJs
Finally, I’m not even sure if this is a tip, but ask fellow DJs what gear they’re using and what they may suggest. In fact, see if you can swing by and test out some of the gear they use. Their own choice in gear could help you in the long run especially if you get something similar; you could practice together and maybe form some kind of alliance (Sasha and Digweed style) and rule the clubs.
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- The Types of DJs
- How To Beat Match
- Best DJ Programs for Beginners
- Best Online Backup Tools for Musicians and DJs
- Top 5 Digital DJ Controllers under $300
- My Top 10 Favorite Psybient Artists and Songs
BDJ Current Gear Picks
1. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2
The NI Traktor Kontrol S2 is an incredible digital DJ controller that comes packaged with Traktor PRO. Those that want to get started with DJing should definitely consider the S2.
Learn More: Traktor Kontrol S2 on Amazon
2. Numark Mixtrack Pro DJ Controller
The Mixtrack Pro DJ controller is perfect for those on a tight budget; it has everything you need to get started with digital DJing and continues to drop in price every few months.
Learn More: Mixtrack Pro on Amazon
3. Hercules DJ Console MK4
If you're really itching to start DJing and don't want to spend a whole lot than the MK4 is for you. You'll have complete control over your mixes plus it's packaged with Virtual DJ.
Learn More: Hercules MK4 on Amazon