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Controllers, Turntables and Media Players

DJ Controllers

DJ controllers are USB-connected devices that sync with computer software to allow you to sort, select and perform music with a number of different creative tools. They range from cost-effective solutions for DJs who are just getting started to robust units for professional DJs who spin at parties, clubs and large concerts. DJ controllers are generally all-in-one units with built-in mixers and the ability to play music back from USB sticks, as well as from your computer playlists. Many of the more advanced controllers also allow the connection of external turntables and media players.

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DJ Turntables

Turntables are the classic vinyl platform that has been around for over 100 years. Turntables come in two styles, belt-drive and direct-drive, with belt-drive being more cost effective, while direct-drive units have the added torque needed for robust turntablist techniques like scratching. Additional elements needed for a turntable-based DJ system include DJ mixers, cartridges, needles, slip-mats, vinyl, cables and headphones.

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Media Players

Media players are designed to fill the space between controllers and turntables. They allow DJs to use different forms of media, such as MP3, WAV and CD, while also having the ability to perform turntable-like moves with built-in jog wheels and using digital technology to help with their performance.

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Software

DJ Platforms

In the modern era, DJ software has become a staple in both amateur and professional setups. The most popular software platforms include Serato, Traktor, Rekordbox and Virtual DJ. It is important for DJs to be as comfortable with the functions of the software they decide to use as other musicians are with their instruments. It is also important that a DJ's laptop is compatible with the software application.
If you want the advantages of DJ software like Serato but prefer the traditional style and feel of vinyl on a platter, it is possible to use a compatible mixer or interface along with specially coded control vinyl.

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Triggering Samples

Sampling

As the art of DJing has evolved, live performance and production tools have become popular additions to common DJ setups. Many DJ controllers and media players come equipped with sample pads that allow sample triggering. DJs who use classic turntable setups often include devices such as a Novation Launchpad, Ableton Push 2 or NI Maschine to trigger sounds and samples to enhance their overall performance.

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Headphones

DJ Headphones

DJ headphones are designed to be ergonomic, lightweight and flexible while delivering the high sound-pressure levels needed in performance environments. Imperative to every DJ setup is a reliable set of headphones. Headphones allow DJs to listen to songs they have in cue. This helps a DJ create the mash-ups and mixes that drive the crowd.

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DJ Ethics

Do the Right Thing

No amount of gear can teach you the basics of DJ ethics. For a DJ, music selection is one of the most important things. DJs are historically considered to be tastemakers and sound-selectors who carry the responsibility of spreading great music. It is important for DJs to have a unique selection of music to differentiate themselves from other DJs. It is also common practice for DJs spinning on other people's gear to bring their own vinyl, needles and slipmats. Preparation is paramount when getting ready to DJ a big show or party. Regardless of what gear you use, it is important to understand that it is a DJ's responsibility to do more than just press play.

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