The Ultimate Buyers Guide | 2021

Becoming a DJ | The Ultimate Buyers Guide 2021

Becoming a DJ: Intro

So you’ve decided to begin your journey to become a DJ… THAT’S AWESOME!!! 

If you love music and entertaining a crowd then becoming a DJ is a great way to make some extra cash as a side hustle.  Alternatively, you can absolutely make this your full time job with enough time, dedication, networking and promotion.  

As a DJ that’s just starting out, you’ll have lots of questions on how and where to begin. 
This article aims to be a comprehensive guide for beginner DJs.  It is a step-by-step walk through the resources, products, and equipment you should consider getting started. 

Please let me know if you have any questions, I’m here to help! 

** Some links are Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases **

Becoming a DJ

Where To Find Your Music to Become A DJ | Music Pools

Music Pools

The question “Where do DJs find their music?” is easily one of the most common questions found among most DJ related sites and posts. How do DJs keep up with the forever changing music charts, and trends? 

Especially as an open format DJ…  

Let’s answer this question first and foremost: 

When becoming a DJ, the most important tool you’ll have is your collection of music. The most common tool DJs use to collect music is what’s referred to as a “Music Pool”. 

How Do DJ Pools Work? 

In today’s world, a music pool is a website that allows DJs access to most of the chart topping music and artists within a certain country or region. Most people opt for country-wide music pools as they offer the most up to date and diverse collection of music. Music pools will allow you to download any song for their site in exchange for a monthly fee (Usually $25.00 – $30.00 a month). Some will ask you for a review, or crowd feedback as well.  

As your music collection will be the cornerstone of your entire DJ career, selecting the right music pool for you will be super important.

Here’s a video I found that greatly explains the purpose of a music pool and its benefits… 

Here’s A List Of Some Great Music Pools

The Music Pool I currently use.

What DJ Software Should I Use To Become A DJ?

Finding the right DJ software for you

DJ Software

Now that you’ve found a music pool that works for you and you’ve gathered a great selection of music… The next thing you’ll need to become a DJ is great mixing software. You’ll want to use one of the many DJ mixing softwares available. Here in North America, the industry standard software is Serato DJ Pro.

The History

In a nutshell, Serato is the leader because back in the year 2004 DVSs (Digital Vinyl Solutions) were just getting introduced to the DJ community, and there were only a few names to choose from. At the time, there were only two real contenders in this space.  One was “Final Scratch”, created by a company called Stanton, which was a leader in turntable needles and head shells.  The other was, of course, Serato, which at the time was partnered with Rane. Rane at the time was (and still is) known for great high-end DJ mixers among other DJ and audio equipment. 

DJs found that Final Scratch had a multitude of problems that made it very unstable when playing live in front of an audience. On the flip side, Serato offered a solution that was much more stable, albeit less bells and whistles at the time!  It was stable, which was all DJs needed to hear. It was then that DJs were starting to make the switch from CDs and vinyl to a DVS system. 

As A Result

Since Serato was the clear winner when it came to stability, most pro DJs opted to use it.  It quickly became the most popular DVS at that time.  Still today, Serato holds a large majority of the market space due to its continuous strides in innovation and cutting edge design. 

Below is a video overview on the latest version of Serato and what it offers to DJs. 

That being said, today there are many alternatives to Serato.  Other options may work better for you based on your preferences and work flow. Some DJs choose to use one software for one application and another for a different application.  Below is a list to choose from. There are a host of others, but in my experience the ones listed below are the ones most commonly used.   

Here’s A List Of Commonly Used DJ Softwares

Now You Need A DJ Controller

Getting a DJ Controller

Now that you’ve chosen your software,  you may opt to use a DJ controller.  Alternatively, you will need a stand-alone mixer and something to manipulate your music, such as CDJs. 

DJs just starting out use controllers because they are convenient, compact, and cost effective.

What Is A DJ Controller?

A DJ controller connected to your computer allows you to manipulate the DJ software and hear the music you’re playing via the “Output Section”.  You connect your DJ controller with a USB cable coming from your controller into your laptop.  What you will be able to control with your controller will depend on its calibre.  You will be able to use all of your DJ softwares features with your mouse on your laptop should your controller not give you the option. 

Suggestions for getting your first DJ Controller

I suggest that, as a beginner DJ, you don’t get caught up in the latest and greatest pieces of hardware. The truth is that 90% of your time will be concentrated on only a few sections of your controller.  The other options are used only a handful of times – if at all. It’s my opinion that you should master these primary sections first before exploring the more complex options and tools available.  Having all the other tools at your disposal may only confuse you. 

Get to know your DJ controller

Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the crossfader, pitch fader, volume fader, gain knobs, and how your loops and cue points work. Familiarize yourself with how to find and sort your music.  Practice finding whatever song you need quickly within your music catalog. 

Below is a great video on the basics of how to use a controller. This video is a little dated as the DJ is using an older standalone mixer (that mixer was Pioneer’s flagship mixer at the time), but all the fundamentals remain the same. 

Here’s another great tutorial… This one is more focused on how to “beatmatch”

Here Are Some Beginner DJ Controllers I would Suggest 

As previously stated above, Serato is the most common DJ software used by the pros here in North America, so I will make my suggestions based on that…

*Descriptions below are from Serato.com

The Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2 is a 2-channel controller with the capability to control 4 decks. Its 8 performance pad modes include the advanced pad plus mode, dedicated FX controls and filters on each channel, while its stylish design and compact size make it a portable option for any DJ.

The Numark NV is a 4-channel mixer with dedicated FX controls and performance pads to utilise the many features within Serato DJ Pro. Track, Library and FX information can be viewed on the dual high-resolution 4.3-inch, full-color screens which show real time feedback of Serato DJ Pro so you can focus on your performance.

The Mixon 4 is Reloop’s flagship, 4-channel Serato DJ Pro controller. The Mixon 4 gives easy and responsive control over many Serato DJ Pro features including Hot Cue, Loop Roll, Sampler, Slicer, Flip, Cue & Slicer Loop modes and Pitch Play with its 16 RGB performance pads.

 

The Roland DJ-505 is a professional 2-channel, 4-deck controller and comes equipped with a range of great features derived from the popular DJ-808.

Here Are Some More Budget Friendly Options

I try to steer beginner DJs away from the controller below.  These controllers don’t offer the output options needed when implementing a full DJ Set up and you’ll find yourself needing to upgrade to one of the controllers suggested above VERY QUICKLY. They are, however, great for “getting your feet wet”.  

*Some of these use Serato DJ Lite rather than Serato DJ Pro
*Descriptions from Serato.com

Pioneer DDJ-FLX6

The Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX6 is a 4-channel controller that combines exciting new features and a professional club-style layout, while staying portable and affordable. The DDJ-FLX6 will let you add a range of creative elements to your sets, Jog Cutter applies scratch effects from the Hot Cue or track playback position and Merge FX applies one of four Serato DJ Pro FX combinations which will help you easily transition between tracks, no matter what the BPM or genre is.

Hercules Inpulse 500

The Hercules DJControl Inpulse 500 is a compact 2-channel performance controller. It comes loaded with everything you need to perform, with unique features such as retractable feet and built-in learning guides, as well as additional connectivity. This controller is ready for gigs while remaining accessible to DJs at a beginner level.

Numark Mixtrack Pro FX

The Numark Mixtrack Pro FX is a 2-deck controller that has 6’’ capacitive-touch jog wheels. It comes with 16 Performance Pads along with six dedicated Serato FX controls for you to use in your sets. Onboard controls allow you to browse and load tracks along with creating and adjusting loops from Serato DJ Lite.

Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 DJ

A compact and feature rich 2-channel/4-deck controller with a world-first Scratch Pad Mode and FX Fade for creative mixing. An evolution of the popular DDJ-SB2, now with dedicated play and cue buttons, independent auto loop section and much more.

 

Roland DJ-202

The Roland DJ-202 is the perfect entry-level controller, and comes with Serato DJ Lite for free, just download, plug in and away you go.

 

Denon MC 4000

I use this one for smaller gigs, and for my ceremony set up

The Denon DJ MC4000 is Denon’s premium 2‑channel, 2‑deck controller with independent hot cue & sampler pads. Denon DJ’s highly regarded dual microphone inputs are complemented by a studio-grade echo effect, and “ducking” feature.

 

Time To Get Your DJ Speakers

Getting DJ Speakers

DJ speakers are another very important part of your set up. After all, what good is having spent all that time learning and practicing your mix if no one can hear you? 

Things to consider when buying DJ Speakers

Now… I know we all have dreams of playing for 1000+ people week after week, but the reality is that unless you have a proven track record within the industry those types of contracts won’t be coming your way just yet. You’re much better off getting a pair of small speakers that would facilitate a crowd of 150 or so guests, as this is the size of gig most DJs start off with. Then you can just rent a bigger system as you need them from you local audio shop.  

When purchasing your first pair of speakers there are a few things to consider. Let’s go through some key points individually. 

  • Speaker Weight: 

  • As you’ll be lugging around your speakers from your storage space to your vehicle to the venue and back again at the end of the night, you’ll want to have a pair of speakers that are fairly light.  A plastic box is generally lighter than a wood box.
  • Speaker Size:  

  • The size of your speakers is another important factor. The bigger the speakers, the less room in your vehicle for your DJ controller, speaker stands, lights, cabling and so forth. Since you may not have a larger vehicle or a trailer just yet, going with a 10″ or a 12″ speaker might be the best option.
  • Passive or Active Speakers:

  • This refers to how your speaker will be amplified. A passive speaker means your speaker has no internal amplification. This generally makes the speaker lighter, but also means you’ll need to buy a separate amplifier. An active speaker means the amplification needed for your speakers are already built in. Some also offer different equalization options and user presets to further dial in your preferred sound. As space in your vehicle might be important, and you’ll want to minimize the amount of gear you’ll have to lug around for set up and tear down… going with an active speaker makes the best choice.

  • How Powerful Should They Be:

  • Make sure your speakers will indeed be powerful enough to deliver good clean sound to your guests. Having to crank your speakers up to the point of distortion is a huge no-no. Speaker distortion is very unpleasant to listen to and extreme distortion can cause ear damage. It’s best to keep your mixer and speakers out of the “Red Zone” to avoid this from happening. An article from DJ Tech Tools does a great job of explaining how to avoid this.   A speaker that can deliver up to 250W RMS would be what you’re looking for.

  • Speakers Input Section: 

  • The industry standard for connecting your DJ controller to your DJ speakers is referred to as an XLR Connector. If the speakers you’re using don’t have these, they may not be right for this application. Some DJ speakers will also offer other input choices, such as an RCA input or an 1/8″ input, making it easier to plug in your phone and other devices should you need to. Some speakers also give you the option of connecting via bluetooth… I recommend trying to stay away from this option unless you’re within 10′ of your speakers. For long cable runs, using XLR cables will be your best bet! 

Here Are Some DJ Speakers I would Suggest to Beginning DJs. 

These suggestions are optimal choices based on what we’ve discussed above. 

I Still use these for smaller gigs. they’re very light weight, amazing sound for the price.  

ZLX-12BT 

Portable loudspeakers offer the best performance and reliability in their class – with components and engineering that work together to make it quicker and easier than ever to take control of your sound, whatever the gig. Now with Bluetooth® enabled wireless audio streaming, legendary ZLX performance becomes even more convenient with the ability to connect to any mobile device for streaming your music library.

Featuring custom drivers housed in an innovative cabinet design, the two new wireless, compact, and versatile ZLX-12BT’s make EV’s renowned sound quality and rugged reliability more accessible than ever before.

  • High-quality Bluetooth® audio streaming for background music or musical accompaniment.
  • QuickSmartDSP features best-in-class processing. Easy setup via four presets, sub/top system-match, two-band EQ, five user-programmable presets, visual monitoring of limiter status, input level control and meters, and master volume control to optimize gain structure, all via LCD.
  • High-efficiency 1000 W Class-D power amplifier delivers us to 127 dB peak SPL utilizing transducers designed and engineered by EV.
  • EV-patented Signal Synchronized Transducers (SST) waveguide design provides precise and consistent coverage, minimal distortion, and maximized acoustical loading.
  • Three optimally located handles combined with a rugged composite structure provides the most portable professional sound speaker on the market.

    *Description From AVshop.ca

This is the speaker I use as my stage monitor

Delivering proven, chest-thumping low-end in an extremely affordable package; the 1300W Thump12A by Mackie 12” Powered Loudspeaker has been redesigned from the ground up to sound better than ever.

Thump™ features an all-new amplifier design with Dynamic Bass Response™ for chest-thumping low end. Plus, the flexible built-in 2 channel mixer features Vita™ preamps with Wide-Z™ technology that handle mic, instrument or line signals with ease.

Application specific speaker modes let you dial in the system at the push of a button. With an all-new professional enclosure and robust system protection, you can walk into your next gig with confidence.

PROVEN THUMP PERFORMANCE

  • 12″ high-output woofer / 1.4″ titanium dome compression driver
  • 1300W of ultra-efficient Class-D power
    • LF -1000W
    • HF – 300W
  • Next-generation system protection and thermal limiting keep your system safe

    *Description From AVshop.ca

     

More than just another great JBL sound system, the new EON600 is a true step forward in technology developed specifically to deliver the best sound possible regardless of its application. Completely rethinking how truly good an affordable self-contained, portable PA system can be, JBL engineers purposely designed and built the EON600 from the ground up featuring JBL’s advanced waveguide technology, JBL designed and manufactured transducers, and convenient, wireless remote control of its onboard DSP EQ parameters via Bluetooth. This total redesign of the EON platform leverages the latest technologies in cabinet materials, acoustic science, transducer design and user friendliness that delivers the extraordinary quality of a high-end studio monitor in a fully professional, highly flexible, easy to use, portable system for today’s working musicians and sound providers.

Features

  • Enclosure designs have been optimized for ideal acoustic resonance taking advantage of injection molding techniques and mechanical shaping of the enclosures.
  • JBL Waveguide Technology
  • Bluetooth integration

    *Description from JBLpro.com

The Behringer EUROLIVE B115D features a 1,000-Watt Class-D power amp, built-in wireless microphone capability and exceptional portability. Backed by SMPS (Switch Mode Power Supply) technology, the high-tech alternative to heavy transformers and massive heat sinks, these loudspeakers run cool, are lightweight, and sound great.

Behringer additionally adds its wireless-ready design to the new B115D. Just plug the receiver into the dedicated wireless port on the rear panel and you have full access to two channels of stable, natural-sounding wireless connectivity.

The B115D’s integrated mixer features the same ultra low-noise, high-headroom mic preamps that have made BEHRINGER mixers popular. Variable Input gain controls (with Clip LED) will have you dialing in the perfect level every time. And if you need more coverage, use the Link Output XLR connector to add more active loudspeakers.

Thanks to its trapezoidal shape, the B115D and B112D are suitable for a wide variety of applications. They can be mounted on standard speaker poles, placed vertically atop subwoofers, or even laid on their side for use as onstage monitor wedges. Their extraordinary fidelity and frequency response make them a favorite of vocalists and instrumentalists alike. Hook up is simple, requiring only a single XLR or 1/4″ cable from your mixing console and power. Additional monitors can be chained together via the XLR Link Output jack on the rear panel.

The B115D active loudspeaker is ideal for both speech and music applications.

*Description from Metrosoundmusic.com

But What About The Bass | Should You Get Subwoofers?

Getting Subwoofers for your DJ Setup

Some DJs will tell you that you absolutely need subwoofers for every gig! I totally disagree with this sentiment. Depending on the type of gig, size of venue, amount of expected guests… Subwoofers may or may not be necessary.  Before we go into what to consider when getting subwoofers, let’s first answer the question “what are subwoofers”…

What are Subwoofers?  

The “Readers Digest” definition would be this: A subwoofer is a type a of speaker that’s designed to only produce lower-end frequencies. They’re best suited to help deliver music notes that are found in the lower end of the audio spectrum. Typically they are optimized to deliver frequencies between 20 – 150 Hz.  These are the speakers that help you “feel the bass” and generally give you a warmer sound.  

For a much more in-depth explanation of the concept and its applications, check out this great Wiki I found on Wikipedia. I would suggest reading the intro, then scroll down to the “Sound Reinforcement” Section. 

Wikipedia Link:

 

What To Consider Before Buying Subwoofers: 

Type Of Gig:

The type gig you have can play a large part into whether or not you need subwoofers. Typically, for any event where music is not the primary focus, it is best to leave your subs at home. This includes events where the focus is on key note speeches or networking. This would also include cocktail style parties, where guests are there to mix and mingle and speak to each other. It’s generally harder to carry on a meaningful conversation when you have to contend with bass in your ear all night. In my experience, subs are best suited for when music is the main focal point of the evening, such as school dances and parties.

Size Of Your Venue:

The size of your venue can play a large part as well. If you’re in a fairly small room where you expect some dancing but most of the guests will be at the bar or chatting to one another, then having subwoofers may be more trouble than they’re worth. I’ve been to plenty of venues and parties (such as smaller weddings) where I ended up needing to take the subs off entirely. As a matter of fact, I now don’t take subs to most of my smaller weddings, and guests still have a great time!

Type Of Venue:

If your venue is generally made of highly reflective material, such as brick, glass, or metal, then leaving the subs at home may be the better option.  Lower-end frequencies tend  to bounce around in such venues, giving you a muddy and unclear sound. However, if you’re in a venue that consists of mostly absorbent material, such a large drapes, thick carpet, spray foam, then sub will work well as sound frequencies will not bounce around as much.

Number Of Guests:

The number of guests also play a large part into making my decision on whether or not to use subs. Typically, if the guest count is less than 100 people, I wouldn’t use subs. However, even with only 100 people, if the party is expected to be a “rager” then you may want to plan on having subs.

Buy Or Rent:

Based on the considerations above, perhaps hold off on buying subs for now and rent them as you need them.  After all, they are expensive and you’ll need to find a place to store them when they’re not needed. That being said, the cost of renting and the time spent going back and forth to your local audio shop can add up over time. My general rule of thumb is this… if you expect to need subs more than 12 times a year, it might make sense to buy them rather than rent them.  If you can afford the upfront cost, this approach may save you spending more in the long run in terms of time and expense going back and forth.

Here Are Some DJ Subwoofers I would Suggest

These suggestions are best to accommodate the suggested speakers listed above.

These subwoofers compliment my ZLX-12 very well. 

Optimized for performance with the ELX112P and ELX115P, the ELX118P adds a deep, low-frequency, amplified punch that you can hear and feel.

  • ELX118 performance with self-amplification
  • EVS-18K woofer for extended LF
  • 32 Hz – 130 Hz frequency range
  • Lightweight, cool-running 700 W Class D amp
  • Selectable Normal/Boost modes
  • XLR and TRS combo input
  • XLR parallel output

*Decription From electrovoice.com

The Thump18S powered subwoofer features a professional band-pass design that delivers class-leading output and deep, punchy lows. Designed by a world leader in portable live sound, the Thump18S provides 1,200W of continuous Class D amplification for high-output applications, bringing your Mackie Thump or SRM system to an entirely new level. 

A full set of professional input and output connections provides simple integration and sonic optimization of any system. Plus, there’s ample system protection in place to protect your investment. With tons of power and a high-output/deep punch band-pass design, the Thump18S is the perfect subwoofer to complete your professional PA.

* Description From musiciansfriend.com

JBL no longer makes the 518s subwoofer (which was the recommended Subwoofer when they were released), so the best matched subwoofer for the eon 612p would be the bigger brother, the SRX818SP

A full suite of User Controllable DSP driven by the SRX800 Series powerful onboard 400MHz Sharc DSP includes 20 PEQ’s, 2 seconds of delay, signal generators, Input mixing, amplifier monitoring, and 50 User Presets. In addition, the system can incorporate V5 JBL Tunings providing compatibility with our flagship Vertec and VTX touring systems. An integrated LCD screen supports fast setup and configuration.

  • Description from JBLpro.com

 

  • Precise reproduction of ultra-low frequencies for “bulletproof” punch and impact

  • High-performance 3000-Watt powered subwoofer for PA applications

  • World-famous, British engineered 18″ TURBOSOUND speaker

  • Extremely high sound pressure level and incredibly accurate bass

  • State-of-the-art 3000-Watt Class-D amplifier with comprehensive over-excursion, thermal, RMS and clip limit protection

    *Description from Amazon.com

 

Let's Talk DJ Headphones

Why Do I Need Headphones?

Headphones are another important part of your DJ set up.

Headphones are used to listen to the music before your audience hears it. In most instances, they are instrumental in helping you to get two songs matched up when you need to “beatmatch” the two together. I’ve linked a video above to show you what I mean with instructions on how to do so.  I’ve also included a link back here so you don’t have to scroll back down 😉 

What to consider before buying Headphones: 

Now that you have a clear understanding of why headphones are so important, let’s go through some considerations you should make before buying a pair.  

  • Comfort:
  • If you plan to beatmatch often, you’ll most likely have your headphones on a large percentage of the time and will be  slipping  them on and off constantly throughout the night.. With this in mind, you’ll want a pair that are fairly light weight and comfortable around the ears.

  • Isolating Outside Noise:
  • When you have your headphones on it will be important that all other noises are blocked out. This will help you listen to the music and beatmatch much quicker than you would if you were having to contend with outside noise. Plus, you’ll be able to listen to your headphones at a much quieter volume, so you can save your hearing for the next time you’re at a gig.

  • Output Level:
  • You’re going to have a lot of outside noises to contend with, such as your DJ monitor and music reflecting off the wall and coming back to you. Headphones that isolate well will do some of the work, but you still should have a pair with an output level that’s efficient enough to hear the music loud and clear.

  • Sound Quality:
  • Listening to music for DJing is much different than listening to music for leisure or working out. Try not to get a pair that will produce too much bass or too many high-end frequencies. You should look for a pair that has a fairly even sound without highlighting any particular set of frequencies too much. This will again help you to get your songs beatmatched quicker and get your get your headphones off much faster.

     

  • Durability:
  • These puppies will more than likely get thrown in and out of your gig bag very often.  Make sure you have a pair that not also sound good, but are road worthy as well. The last thing you want to do is spend upwards of $200.00 only to find out they’ve somehow snapped in half as you were taking them in/out of your gig bag, or during transportation.

    TRUST ME when I saying DJing with a pair of broken headphones is not much fun at all. As a matter of fact, it’s downright brutal!  

     

    Good Warranty:

    Although some headphones will claim to be DJ road worthy, a lot are not (HMM BeatsByDre…). Get a pair that offer a good warranty should the unspeakable happen. Most higher-end headphone manufacturers will have a 90 day warranty at the very least. 

Here Are Some Headphones I would Suggest. 

These suggestions are all “DJ Quality” headphones. They check all the boxes listed above.

I use the bigger brother to these, the HJD-X7. Very robust and sound great. 

  • Hear your tracks loud and clear in the booth and on the move with the HDJ-X5. By taking on board feedback from DJs and analysing many different styles of monitoring, we’ve made sure our new DJ headphone range includes all the features needed for performing at every level. Thanks to the high-quality audio design inherited from our previous professional DJ headphones, you can enjoy distortion-free monitoring, even at high volumes, wherever you go.

    The HDJ-X headphones are designed to be flexible. Their swivel mechanism allows you to wear them comfortably, whichever way you prefer, for long periods of time. No need to worry about bumps and knocks during transport as these DJ headphones can handle severe conditions and heavy use. They even cleared the US Military Standard Shock test.

  • *Description from AVShop.ca

  • The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are decent critical listening headphones, with durable build quality but a somewhat uncomfortable fit. They have a good audio reproduction that packs a lot of bass, and although they’re mostly made out of plastic, they feel durable enough to handle multiple drops without damage. Unfortunately, they’re rather tight on the head and make your ears very warm after a couple of hours of listening. They also won’t be the most versatile headphones to use outdoors.

  • *Description from Rtings.com

  • Fuel your creativity with rich and detailed sound. Featuring powerful 50mm dual-diaphragm drivers with CCAW voice coils, Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex Edition achieves CD quality sound in wireless mode thanks to premium Bluetooth audio codecs (Qualcomm aptX and AAC), and the Hi-Res Audio certification by the Japan Audio Society (JAS) when wired for pristine clarity.

  • *Description from V-moda.com

The ATH-M50xBT harnesses the legendary M50x studio sound for an exhilarating wireless listening experience, with exceptional clarity and deep, accurate bass response.
Utilizing Bluetooth wireless technology and 45 mm large-aperture drivers with rare-earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils, the ATH-M50xBT brings the coveted sonic signature of M50x to a wireless, on-the-go design.

  • *Description from Audio-Technica.com

Due to their low weight and the option of one-ear listening, the HD 25 headphones are indispensable for mobile monitoring. The closed-back HD 25 are purpose-designed, professional monitoring headphones offering high attenuation of background noise.

Capable of handling very high sound pressure levels and of extremely robust construction, these headphones perform exceptionally well in loud environments, e.g. ENG, sound reinforcement, studio monitoring and audio equipment testing. Ideal monitoring headphones for cameramen and DJs, these are a pair of true sound professionals’ working headphones.

  • High sensitivity due to lightweight aluminium voice coils

  • Capable of handling very high sound pressure levels

  • Very lightweight and comfortable, even if used for long periods of time

  • Tough, detachable, single-sided cable

  • Rotatable capsule for single-ear listening

  • *Description from Sennheiser.com

Here Are Some More Budget Friendly Options

Just be aware that the quality of the headphones listed below are not at all the same quality as the ones listed above in terms of audio quality, comfort, or ruggedness, they do however make for a great backup pair. 

OneOdio Wired

Behringer HPX2000

Numark HF125

Roland RH-5

Shure SRH440

DJ Microphones

Why You should have a Microphone 

At one point or another you or someone at your event will need to address the other guests over your sound system using a microphone. Whether it’s a heart warming speech from the maid of honour, or the MC telling someone at the club to move their car – your microphone needs to be loud, clear, and to not produce feedback.    

 

What to consider before buying Microphones: 

*I found an amazing and comprehensive article on microphones from musiciansfriend.com. I went ahead and extrapolated the points most important for beginning DJs below. Feel free to check out the full article here

 

 

  • Polar Patterns:

    The polar pattern is the shape of a mic’s field of sensitivity, or the directions from which it accepts or ignores incoming sounds. An omnidirectional mic responds to sounds coming from all directions. A bi-directional mic, also known as a Figure 8 microphone, picks up sounds from east and west while excluding sounds from north and south. A unidirectional mic primarily hears sounds from one direction and excludes sounds from other directions.

     

    Unidirectional mics are the most common type, and they come in three polar patterns: cardioidsupercardioid and hypercardioid. All three of these patterns reject rear-axis and off-axis sounds coming from behind the mic or from the sides.

     

    The cardioid pattern is roughly a heart shape (hence its name), which makes the mic most sensitive to sounds from straight on and from the sides, but rejects sounds from 180 degrees opposite the direction the mic is aimed.

     

    The supercardioid mic accepts a little more sound from a 180-degree field, but rejects more from each side. The hypercardioid allows yet more sound from 180 degrees but rejects more of the sound coming from 90 or 270 degrees.

    Polar patterns are important when you are working in a noisy setting, such as when miking a vocalist in a band. Cardioid, supercardioid, and hypercardioid mics will tend to exclude all the sounds except the voice of the singer, thus preventing the signal from becoming muddied or producing feedback.

     

  • Sensitivity and SPL-Handling Capability:

    Sensitivity refers to how quiet a sound the mic can detect, and it is expressed using different systems. Regardless of the system, it is perhaps enough to know that the lower the number, the more sensitive the microphone is.

    SPL stands for “sound pressure level” and is expressed in decibels (dBs). It describes the maximum volume that a mic can handle, so, in a way, it is the opposite of sensitivity. This is important if the mic must deal with loud instruments such as drums. An average level is around 100 dB; a high SPL is 130 dB

     

  • Dynamic Microphones:

    Dynamic microphones use an inductive coil connected to a diaphragm and placed within the field of a permanent magnet. As the diaphragm moves, it moves the coil, thus varying the voltage the coil produces. These subtle shifts in output voltage shape the mic’s output.

    These mics are usually quite rugged, and have high SPL-handling capability. Most have internal shock mounting to allow hand use, and their polar patterns reject off-axis sounds. These are all reasons that dynamic mics tend to perform well in live sound situations, though some also are used regularly for recording. The Shure SM58 has been both a studio and stage staple for many years.

    As a group, dynamic mics also are relatively affordable, and many of the big-name mic manufacturers have economy-series mics that give you great performance for a low price.

     

     

  • Wireless Microphones

    Though they are electronically similar to wired microphones, wireless microphones include a transmitter to allow a greater range of movement. A battery-powered transmitter in the microphone’s body transmits the mic’s signal to a receiver unit that is connected to a mixer or PA system. The signal is transmitted using radio frequencies. The most common wireless systems use digital, UHF, or VHF frequencies. Affordable wireless mic systems that deliver good sound and bang for the buck typically use the UHF band. The best systems use digital technology that optimizes audio quality while also eliminating noise and signal dropouts that can be an issue with low-quality systems. Interference generated by devices such as radios, wireless phones, garage-door openers, and even fluorescent light fixtures are detected and eliminated by such digital circuitry.

    Another way better-quality wireless mic systems deal with reception problems is through diversity technology. Receivers that have what is referred to as true diversity contain two separate radio modules, each connected to its own antenna. When interference is detected, a circuit compares the signal received by each module/antenna and uses whichever one is cleanest.

If you’re looking for tips on how to raise your MC game along with some other tips and tricks, check out this video!

Here Are Some Microphones I would Suggest. 

These suggestions are all “Beginner DJ Quality” or “Entry level” Microphones. This section will focus on wireless units

The BLX24R/SM58 System with SM58, an industry-standard, highly versatile cardioid dynamic vocal microphone, tailored to deliver warm and clear vocal reproduction combines simple setup and an intuitive interface for performance you can trust.

  • *Description from Sure.com

Sennheiser XS WIRELESS 1 has been designed for first-time and casual wireless users who appreciate simplicity, fast set-up, and no complications. With intuitive iconbased controls and one-touch synchronization, XS WIRELESS 1 is wireless the easy way.

The XS WIRELESS 1 VOCAL SET is an easy to use all-in-one wireless system for singers and presenters, excellent for live sound featuring Sennheiser’s renowned evolution microphone capsules, e825 (dynamic, cardioid) to get started, or
e835 (superior dynamic, cardioid) to perform under pressure. The set includes an intuitive stationary receiver for quick setup and hassle-free handling, as well as a vocal microphone and microphone clamp.

  • *Description from AVshop.com

The Line 6 XD-V35 series of digital wireless handheld and lavalier systems sets a new standard in professional wireless systems for active vocalists, performers and spoken word presenters. Featuring exclusive microphone modeling technology, the XD-V35 handheld mic delivers a spectacular model based on* the industrystandard Shure® SM58® microphone for full, rich tone.

  • *Description from Line6.com

AKG DMS300 professional digital wireless systems for performers and presenters combine signature AKG sound quality and eight channels of rock-solid, license-free 2.4GHz operation with advanced security features, extended battery life and the ultimate ease-of-use. The DMS300 is available in two options: with a high-quality, AKG handheld microphone or with a bodypack.

Leveraging more than 70 years of AKG microphone engineering and offering 24-bit/48 kHz uncompressed audio coding, the DMS300 provides crisp, studio-quality sound with none of the interference found in analog wireless systems. Combined with ultra-low latency, these features make the DMS300 is a joy for singers and instrumentalists. And with the signal security provided by AES 256-bit encryption, presenters can feel at ease in confidential settings. Unrivaled fidelity, security and performance make the AKG DMS300 the ideal digital wireless solution for performing musicians, corporate and government presenters, houses of worship, fitness instructors, educators and anyone who seeks both studio-quality sound and freedom of movement onstage

  • *Description from AKG.com

  • PREMIUM WIRELESS PERFORMANCE: Dual UHF wireless microphone micrófono system with 200 selectable frequencies from 530MHz – 580MHz (2×200 channels), employing PLL frequency synthesized technology to provide hassle-free sound transmission, minimum dropouts, and maximum feedback rejection. Smooth and quick IR synchronization and long range operation of 210ft – 250ft line of sight. Unlike other systems with frequency switch on mic, the IR sync circuitry ensures better coverage and more stable signal

  • STURDY BUILD, MULTICHANNEL FEATURE: Sturdy metal build for both wireless receiver and cordless handheld mic. Endurable system is equipped with high quality cardioid dynamic cartridge that engineers for clear robust optimal true sound. Full range response and great reproduction of vocal tone. Multichannel feature enables users to select different frequencies when preset frequency fails, thus ensuring interference-free reliable performance and allowing multiple systems used at the same time

  • VERSATILE AND FLEXIBLE USE: UHF sound system is equipped with one 1/4’’ mixed output and two XLR outputs. Also includes 6.5mm to 3.5mm adapter for use in 3.5 mm Aux input devices. Easy-to-read LCD display enables visual monitoring of signal strength. Can purchase extra handheld/bodypack/lapel/headset and additional antenna kit for more professional use. Ideal for events like home karaoke, church, weddings, DJ gigs, public speaking, meeting, classroom, etc
  • *Description from phenyxpro.com

Here Are Some Wired Options

Here are some options if you would rather go with a wired solution. Personally have both on hand ’cause you just never know. 

Sure SM 58

Audio-Technica ATM510

Sennheiser E835

AKG D5

AUDIX OM2

Other Accessories And Gear For A Beginner DJ

Now that you’ve gotten all your gear, you’ll want to keep it safe and road worthy. 

In this section, we’ll go over some of the gear and accessories that you should think about as you’ll want to be able to set up and tear down as quickly as possible while maintaining a professional look.

Speaker Stands:

It’s a great idea to have an assortment of speaker stands because you may change your set slightly from venue to venue. Here are the ones I use and carry with me. It’s a great idea to carry both styles with you when your going into an unfamiliar venue.

Compact Speaker Stand Pack With Bag

Speaker Pole Mount

Dual Mount Speaker Bracket

Speaker Stand Skrim

Speaker Stand Clips

DJ Cables:

Be sure to have lots and lots of cable! Make sure to have plenty of cables with you and an assortment of adaptors. Murphys Law states “If anything can go wrong, it will”. 

Your best bet is to be proactive and be ready for when a cable eventually goes down. Below are links to the most commonly used cables with the system laid out. 

XLR Cables

Get Several in different lengths if you can

1/4″ – XLR Adaptor

Great for the “Booth Out” of your controller

Cable Duffle Bag

Try to get one with wheels if possible

IEC Cable

For your speakers/subs

Try to use heavy duty ones if possible

14 AWG Extension Cords

Try to stay away from 18AWG or smaller cords

Surge Protected Power Strips

Stay away from light duty power bars

Road Cases

It’s a good idea to protect your investment and get a roadcase for your controller. I get all of my road cases from Odyssey. They’ve been around for years, the quality is very good, prices are reasonable. 

Laptop Stands

Space on your DJ table can be a precious commodity.  If your roadcase doesn’t have a stand with it, you won’t want to be crouching down to reach the keys and you definitely don’t want to stack up road cases on your table to save your back. It’s not a pretty sight, and that can get very cumbersome. I highly recommend getting a stand. Here are a few of the best ones I’ve seen. 

RockJam DJ Stand

Cheap but very hard to take apart, very clunky as well. 

CRANE Universal DJ Stand

Amazing stand! Strong and robust. This is the one I use.

Pyle Portable Laptop Stand

Robust, but thread tends to wear quickly.

Hercules DG400BB

I haven’t used this one, but it is a good brand and looks well made. 

Dolly Cart

Save your back and precious time. Get a dolly cart that’s robust and strong enough to handle your gear. At the end of the night, you’ll be super happy to be using that bad boy. Here are some of the leading DJ Dollys: 

Rock-N-Roller

Wheels are great on these

Cart Extention

Awesome when you have a lot of gear

Harper Trucks 400Lbs

Good, but not recommended for going over grass

Harper Trucks 700lbs

Best one I’ve used 

CONGRATS That's Your First DJ Rig!!

Thanks for reading this article in its entirety. You are now prepared to purchase gear and accessories with confidence!  

Check out my next article on how to get gigs regularly HERE.

Once again, feel free to contact me anytime with any questions. 

Below are some other blogs. 

Share this: