A DJ Setup for Beginners

This is our first article in our DJ Tips and Techniques series of articles for the Beginning and Pro DJ. In this article we discuss the basic DJ setup, equipment choices and other issues.

Posted by Michael Bordash on Thu Nov 15, 2001

For those of you starting out in the realm of DJing, it's time to make a decision. Before making the mistake of over or under buying the gear you'll need, you've got to ask, is this business or personal.

We'll get to specific qualities soon enough, but first: the basic DJ setup.

The components include:
  • Decks
  • Mixer, at least 2 channels
  • Amplifier
  • Speakers
  • Media Library
Right now, the only two real choices, outside of Computer DJ setups, are Turntables or CD Players. CD systems are great, they provide long life, they're highly portable and have the highest sound quality available. CD decks generally run $500US and above, whereas decent direct drive turntables run as low as $150US a piece. Click here for a listing of quality Numark turntables and features.

You can get by with a 2 channel mixer to start, but we recommend starting with at least a 3 or 4 channel mixer--especially if you'll have use for a mic. Professional mixers use 4 channels - one for a mic and 3 more for cd players or turntables. Make sure that the mixer offers a phono/line if you want to use turntables. Decent mixers can be purchased from around $200US. Click here for a small list of Mixers, prices and features.

Speakers & Amplifiers The most import feature of your system? Your sound projection component. When you're ready to spin for an audience, ditch those headphones and buy yourself some decent speakers and a capable amp. The genreal rule of thumb when buying amps and speakers: Make sure the RMS power rating for your speakers is about half the RMS rating for the amplifer you want to buy. Keep this in mind and make sure your amp doesn't clip--you'll never blow your speakers. Your Amp/Speaker setup will most likely be your most expensive piece of this puzzle, and you may want to hold off initially and stick with a good set up headphones until you're really committed to the DJ effort. Click here to check out some amps and speakers. Click here to see some decent headphones.

Media Library
Depending on your decks, turntables or CD players, you'll need a collection of albums to tie your system together. Vinyl is inexpensive, and there are tons of new/used Vinyl shops online where you can pick up albums dirt cheap. You can also find CD/Record pools where you can receive new albums from artists to add to your collection. Check back with internetdj.com in the coming weeks, for a presentation of how to get your media cheap, and the best places to buy your vinyl and CDs.

Remember, before you buy, make sure you're committed to the expense and to the challenge ahead of you. It's frustrating starting out, and you need to stay focused and you must practice as much as you can. Stay with internetdj as we discuss beginning techniques like beat-matching, to get you on your way.

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