People are always asking me what equipment I use or what equipment they should use. While I do think this is a fair question, there are some problems with it.
For one, the equipment doesn’t make the DJ. A good DJ can do a great job with just a simple pair of turntables and a basic mixer. He or she doesn’t really need much in the way of equipment to get a crowd going. On the flip side, no matter how expensive your equipment, it will not make you a better DJ. Terrible DJs suck, no matter how high quality their turntable record players or their mixers are.
But if you’re just starting out, I can understand that you would want some recommendations. Of course, the equipment I use is probably not going to be the equipment you want to use. And the same goes for any other DJ. What works for one, will not work for the other.
But I will try to help as best I can. The first thing you need to ask yourself is what type of equipment you want to use. If you want to use old school record players, then the best turntable for a beginner is probably one made by Audio Technica. Many people will say Technics, but they are much more expensive.
I’d go with the Audio Technica AT-LP120 (review here). This is a great entry-level turntable that has all the functions you’ll ever need, and then some. The AT-LP60 is also a great choice and is much cheaper. The reason I recommend the more expensive one is that it gives you room to grow as a DJ.
If you want to spin CD decks, I’d say don’t do it. There is no point in using CD decks in this day and age. There really isn’t much point to turntables either, but I do think it’s important to learn how to use them. Therefore I still have a recommendation there. But for CDs, forget it. Just go to the next paragraph and continue reading. Forget about CDs….
For most DJs I would recommend getting a controller and using a laptop. That is what all the big DJs do these days. Controllers have jog wheels on them that you can use in the same way you would use a turntable on a record player. This way, you don’t lose that tactile function, but these controllers just do so much more than a record player. In today’s modern age of digital music, these are the way to go.
The main decision you have to make here is between a Serato system or Native Instruments system. Personally, I prefer Native Instruments, but that is just my personal preference. Do your research and see which one is best for you.
Mainly this will depend on your style of music, but there are also differences in how these software programs perform. You want to give both of them a try and see which one feels more intuitive to you. Then get a controller that works with that system.
That’s why it’s hard to make a recommendation here. Depending on the software you use, you want a different controller. With Native Instruments Traktor Scratch system, you should use a Pioneer controller. For Serato, I would use one by Newmark or also Pioneer.
Now, I know that this post probably did not answer your questions, but that’s because they are hard to answer without more information. That’s really my point here. Any equipment you buy, try it out first and see how it feels to you. That’s what matters. The tools I like using likely won’t work for you, so find the ones that feel best to you. Most stores let you try out their equipment and if that’s not possible, you can always rent some and give them a whirl before buying.