Best DJ Gear: A Guide to Best DJ Setup
Looking for the best DJ setup like the best DJ turntables, best DJ headphones, best DJ controllers under 500$ can be a daunting task.
You got to have good knowledge and experience regarding the gears which you will require, but if you are clueless regarding this don’t sweat we have got everything covered in as simple words as possible in this article.
In this article we will tell you about the best DJ turntables, DJ headphones, DJ controllers and we will give you some tips for beginners on how exactly can they make the most of their DJ gears.
1.) Best DJ turntables:
More or less every DJ on this planet use some kind of digital technology nowadays, it can be DJing from USB drives or laptops, you will be forgiven for having the notion that, in 2020, the turntable is pretty much dead.
You will be surprised to know that the best DJ setup history tells us that great things rarely go entirely away, and there are still a lot of DJ out there who are still till using turntables, doesn’t matter the intention it can be to play records or for controlling DJ software via DVS (digital vinyl).
The reasons can be plenty starting from the want to scratch, for nostalgia, or simply put they are inclined to learn this way as they won’t have it any other way.
They might also prefer to feel like an “old school” DJ. Your reason could be anything for looking to buy turntables they can range from ripping music, or simply just to add a bit of turntablism onto the sets or music productions.
If you are looking to buy a new turntable, then you have come to the right place as I will guide you and tell you on the few factors that you ought to keep in mind when you are in the market for a new turntable.
3 factors to be kept in mind while looking for the best DJ turntables:
1.) Emphasize getting hold of a heavy turntable:
The biggest drawback of the turntables according to me is the vibrations it produces, this brings forward all kinds of troubles, which include distortion in sound quality, skipping, and in worst-case scenario horrible bass feedback coming out of the speakers.
The turntable body back has to be adjusted with the stylus again and again which will be very frustrating for the operator. If your turntable is lighter and flimsier then it becomes more vulnerable and susceptible to all the issues which are mentioned above.
This is why you should always try to opt for a heavier, sturdier, well-built turntable, all the more so when you want to use it in actual real gig situations.
2.) Higher torque is better:
Torque is all about how much force or power the motor kicks out. This also means that higher torque equals quicker start-up times.
Superior resistance the motor will deliver when you try to slow it down with your hands and let me tell you both of which are good things.
For instance, the torque a Technics 1200/1210Mk2 puts out around 1.5 kg/cm. This is the reason why you want your turntables to operate at least on this much torque.
Numbers quoted or mentioned by the manufacturers aren’t very reliable, though it is suggested to first try it out yourself if it’s possible or in the least try to give your level best and research regarding this matter.
This is to be taken seriously because you don’t want to get stuck with something that you don’t enjoy operating then it will be money not well spent.
3.) Prefer direct drive, not belt drive:
Belt drive turntables, as mentioned earlier are not that great for DJs. They feel spongy when touched upon, they are a nightmare to cue and scratch upon.
They are absolute of no match when compared to the far superior direct drive.
The only possible edge that I can think of when you learn your trade on the belt drive and then you move onto the direct drive, it will become a hell lot easier.
So, you need to make to avoid turntables at all costs.
How to set up a turntable:
When you will purchase the best DJ turntable, it’ll need a bit of assembly, and also some care in positioning and set-up. The following steps you are required to follow (alongside consulting your instruction manual):
1.) Find a place flat and isolated from vibrations and knocks to set up your turntable::
The isolation will always be as good as the floor they’re put on. If you will put it on unstable or uneven ground, then you are asking for trouble because the turntable is sure to jump around here and there and causing you trouble.
2.) Put the platter inside the base unit:
The platter more often than not can always be separated from the base unit, and there can be packaging designed in order to safeguard the platter and the spindle area. You should try to remove all of it before slotting it into the place.
3.) Assemble stylus, headshell, and cartridge:
The fiddling wires are required to be put in or pushed into the place, screws tightened, angles in the right direction, try to follow the instructions.
There are some types of assembly which have the headshell and cartridge put in the same unit, which makes things easier.
4.) Balance the tonearm:
Using any stylus protector remove the needle, turn the counterweight till the time you let go of the tonearm, the tonearm will be at zero degrees, like a flat seesaw.
Make sure the headshell assembly is touching the platter and if it’s not touching and is too low, they dial the weight back; and if gets high in the air, add weight to it so that it can stabilize itself.
5.) Make sure to keep the correct weight onto your stylus/cartridge set-up:
While doing the previous stage, you can rotate the dial on the counterweight to indicate that setting as “0 grams”. After that by rotating the counterweight to add weight, you can insert what the instructions say you need.
Set the anti-skate to the same value.
After all the setup you try to play a record or a piece of DVS vinyl, and make sure the needle sticks in the groove and also make sure that it is resistant to jumping when you knock it.
You can always try scratching. Ideally most of the time you may have to apply a bit more weight than what the instructions suggest.
2.) Best DJ headphones:
There are two types of headphones On-Ear Headphones and Over-Ear Headphones
On-ear headphones are way lighter and portable than their counterparts, so if you prefer to come up and produce on the move a lot, for instance, a live stream for your unlimited fan base, then on-ear may well be advantageous.
Over-Ear headphones have a definite advantage when it involves sound isolation and cancellation. This enables you to stay focused on the music, even in loud, confined spaces like trains on a commute to your day job.
They’re a bit heavier and bulkier than on-ear headphones but the rise in weight usually comes with an increase in sound quality.
Over-Ear vs On-Ear
This is an age-old debate about the best DJ setup but it just boils right down to preference. There’s no right or wrong account for the most part, but there are distinct advantages and downsides to both.
There is a necessity to own a pair of decent headphones. Some people think to have one set of each as they like the merits of both.
You’ll be able to enjoy the advantages of both types looking at what task and genre of music you’re engaged at the time.
5 factors to be kept in mind while looking for the best DJ headphones:
You want to look for a headphone that will last for a long time. In this case, Over-Ear headphones lag behind over the ear headphones. The wire quality is superior in the case of over the ear headphones.
The quality of the headphones completely depends on the quality of the materials used. In short, they vary from brand to brand and model to model.
The quality of the headphones can be judged based on how it will tackle the daily wear and tear of daily use.
3.) Rotating ear cups:
The rotating ear cups gives a DJ the freedom to use a single ear cup so that he can automatically adjust the sound as required while performing live on the stage.
You want to opt for a headphone that you can use for a longer duration of time. Headphones with cushion give your ear the much-needed release from the pressure which is constantly being exerted onto the ears.
The best DJ headphones you will be looking for should have punchy bass as well as melodious low and high note. The perfect balance between these two is what will make your music experience richer.
3.) Best DJ controllers under 500$:
1.) All-in-one DJ controllers:
These are the combination of media players, a mixing section, and computer/iOS interfaces all in a single unit.
They include physical knobs, buttons, and sliders that give you access to hands-on control of the DJ software and apps running in your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
You could operate most software or app functions using your laptop or your iOS device, once you’ve tried dedicated physical controls, there’s usually no going back.
The real knobs and buttons assist you to perform smoothly, rapidly, and musically.
2.) Modular DJ rigs:
The best DJ controller under 500$ is the modular DJ rigs which consist of separate sources such as CD/media players and turntables; an analog mixer; and a sound card giving you the freedom to operate your gear via DJ software.
Although the vast majority of today’s DJs prefer all-in-one controllers connected to a laptop to run their software, some still use the modular approach.
Upcoming DJs use apps on their iOS devices to get hold of deejaying basics but the capable hardware/software are for professional performances and beat building.
The best DJ setup varies widely as the choice of equipment is subjective. The equipment comprising a complete setup is totally dependent upon each DJ’s musical style and personal preference.
However, a sample setup for beginners who want the classic turntable setup would be like the following:
1.) Two turntables
2.) DJ mixer
4.) USB/audio interface
5.) Monitor Speakers
Rent or Buy?
You can rent a wide variety of DJ equipment and it will be the best option for those who don’t have a huge budget for purchasing all the gear they require.
This makes sense particularly for those who are just venturing out to develop their skills as a DJ and might not be willing to spend a large amount on professional equipment till the moment they have more faith in their skills and are raring to start booking gigs.
Apart from making savings on the purchasing cost of new gear, they don’t have to think about spending regular maintenance money on the equipment.
The other advantage of renting would give you the freedom of trying out different brands (that too for a fraction of the actual cost) and then you can decide easily which ones suit you the best before jumping to conclusions and opting to buy the gear you want.
On the flip side, the best DJ setup is made out of purchasing brand new decks and mixers have their own merits.
They allow you to create a fully customized DJ setup with perfect lights, that suits your needs, almost all the equipment’s come with manufacturer’s warranties.
The downside is the price, but if you are serious about this job then it is definitely a worthwhile investment to be made.
All in all, we can say that there are a plethora of options available at your disposal. No one can say exactly which equipment is best for you because everyone has their unique taste in music.
This is why DJ’ing is such fun.