A DJ’s gear list includes a variety of things, and they all serve a purpose for making music.
Whether you want to become a DJ or are just curious, you should know some of the most popular items DJs use. Then, you can start building your gear collection.
DJs use a combination of software and hardware to make music. A professional Multi-Player is important for selecting tracks and maintaining audio quality.
However, a DJ Mixer is essential for creating mixes. Combine those with a proper laptop and music software for a proper music-making DJ setup.
Whether you’re looking to start DJing or want to upgrade your hardware, consider some common tools for making music.
You don’t need anything fancy or expensive, but you do need good quality equipment. Without the right tools, you won’t be able to improve your DJing skills.
A professional Multi-Player is an essential part of any DJ’s toolkit. You can use it to mix music on the fly, which can be useful for live shows.
A good Multi-Player lets you view information, like the Phase Meter, and it should let you search for different tracks based keywords.
You can use the device to cue up different songs, so you don’t have to worry about making the switch right when one song ends.
Once you start using the device more, you can program it with different cues that you like to incorporate in your music.
The right Multi-Player should be easy to use, and it should have a variety of ports so that you can connect it to your computer, headphones, and other accessories.
If you can’t connect it to anything, it won’t be very useful. Pioneer makes one of the most popular Multi Players, but you can look for a more affordable one if you’re on a budget.
Another piece of hardware DJs use to make music is a DJ Mixer. The device has tons of knobs and buttons that you can use to create a precise mix.
You can adjust the FX controls to suit your needs and wants based on the music you’re making.
A good DJ Mixer will also let you adjust the EQ and fader curves so that you can transition between songs. The EQ is helpful for mixing the different frequencies so that they balance out.
Some mixers can have multiple inputs, so you can transition from one laptop to another. That can be nice if you and another DJ have to share a DJ Mixer, but you don’t want to use the same computer.
As with a Multi-Player, a DJ Mixer doesn’t have to be expensive. But if you go for something cheap, you will lose out on some features. Luckily, you can get a more basic model to start, and you can upgrade once you get going with your DJing career.
Every DJ needs a good set of headphones to make music. When mixing live, you want to be able to hear what you’re doing before the audience does so that you can make any necessary adjustments.
Headphones give you a split second to hear things so that you can change the EQ or sound effects.
A good pair of headphones should be comfortable, and it should be easy to hear the music through them, especially compared to the volume of the speakers.
When you’re DJing in a loud club or another venue, you may want noise-canceling headphones so that you can hear what you’re doing.
If you can’t afford to invest in anything else as a new DJ, get good headphones. The last thing you want is to get a decent pair and have them break during a gig. You can always use headphones for other things when you aren’t DJing.
Digital Audio Workstation
A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is a type of software that musicians and DJs use to record and edit music. DJs can use it to mix and edit music either before a gig or live.
A DAW lets you adjust a lot of the same things that you can change with a DJ Mixer or Multi-Player.
However, the DAW doesn’t require physical space, and they’re usually not very expensive. Depending on the computer you use, you may be able to find one or more programs for free.
While there are many popular DAWs out there, every DJ will have their preference.
The best program for you depends on the music you make, your skill level, the features you need, and more. Just because your favorite DJ uses one particular DAW doesn’t mean you have to use the same one.
If you want to become a DJ, you can experiment with a few different DAWs to get a feel for them. You can figure out what you like and don’t like about the programs, so you can choose one or two for you.
How to Choose a DAW
Some popular DAWs to consider include Pro Tools, FL Studio, Ableton Live, and Steinberg Cubase. Mac users can also look into programs like GarageBand and Logic Pro. Anyone can also try Audacity, which is a great free option.
When choosing the best DAW for you, consider what type of music you want to make. Free programs have limits, so you may not be able to mix tracks as easily or fluidly in Audacity or GarageBand.
If you want to do a lot of live DJing, Ableton Live is very flexible, and you can mix music in real-time. However, you can also use it to mix tracks before a gig so that you can let the tracks play.
You can even use one DAW for recording tracks and another for mixing live on stage. Luckily, the variety of DAWs on the market means you can probably find one that suits your needs.
You’ll also need a good laptop for your DJing. If there’s a specific DAW you want to use, you should look for a computer that supports it.
But you don’t have to get a new laptop to become a DJ since most computers are powerful enough to run music software.
A good DJing computer should be a laptop so that you can take it with you. It should have a big enough screen that you can see what you’re doing when editing.
However, you don’t want it to be too big and bulky in case you need to move it.
DJs need a laptop with a lot of power and storage space. As you start mixing and storing tracks, you can easily use up a lot of your onboard storage.
If you do need a new computer, look for one with more storage and RAM so that you can run the programs you need.
You can also compare Windows and Mac computers, but the decision there is up to you. If you prefer one over the other, you don’t need to switch to become a DJ.
Another thing that DJs use when setting up is power cables. You can’t make music if you can’t connect your computer to your other equipment.
Some good cables to have include those for USB, XLR, and MIDI. You’ll also need a power cable for your laptop so that it doesn’t die during a gig.
If you play at a lot of clubs, they may have some of the cables on hand. But it doesn’t hurt to have some of your own in case you get a gig somewhere else. Then, you can show up prepared.
DJs use a variety of things to make music, and some tools are more obvious than others.
Headphones may not make the music, but they let DJs hear themselves even in a loud environment. And without the right cables, you can’t set up everything.