The DJ Hardware Basics
The scope and range of DJ hardware available in this day and age can be a bit overwhelming at times. A small (or large) fortune can be spent building up a DJ’s arsenal in preparation for performing to a dance floor packed with punters. Whether you want to start with the minimal or the maximal, there are always options. To be honest you can start with the bare minimum depending on what avenue you would like to take, and then develop your “arsenal” as you go.
The primary options to consider is whether or not you would like to begin mixing as a conventional DJ with vinyl and turntables, CDs and CDJs, or whether you would like to be a Digital DJ. If you choose either of the first two options you will likely also need a mixer.
CDs And CDJs
Clearly CDs and CDJs have a long, more recent history within the world of DJing. These are usually the first choice for most people getting into DJing, albeit entry into the world of CDJs is limited to those with the connections to the clubs, and the money for the initial investment in the hardware. To that extent, if money is an issue you might prefer to look into Laptop DJing (otherwise known as Digital DJing).
If you are in the market to actually invest in a set of CDJs, and lets face it, owning your own is ulitimately the best way to practice and perfect the required skills, then check out the review of the “Top 10 CDJs” on the market. Thanks goes out to Juno Records for their detailed information.
MP3s And DJ Controllers
Given that you have showed up at this website in search of some groovy free knowledge I can presume you are probably going to impressed by the versatility of DJ Controllers, used in conjunction with You computer. Practice is ultimately the most important thing and means the difference between making it and letting this skill pass as just another hobby. I myself have used a variety of different DJ controllers in different settings and I can tell you it surely beats using a mouse with your favourite DJ software.
When choosing a DJ Controller there are a couple of questions you should be asking.
1. Does the controller come with a built in soundcard. There is nothing worse than having too much unnecessary gear. Having your sound card built in to your controller saves you in set up time and reduces the amount of gear that can fail in a gig.
2. Do you want something big, expensive and super high quality gear? Or is it the small, cheap and compact that you are after.
3. Are you just starting out, and is this more or less a hobby? Or is this a professional set up you plan on taking to paid gigs? This question is important because sometimes the cheaper gear can be less reliable, and one BIG problem with DJ controllers, laptops, and soundcards is that they can FAIL. This is a scary prospect when DJing in front of a packed dance floor.
4. What style of music are you playing? Different styles of music tend toward different types of controllers. For example, if you are into hip hop and want to scratch you should focus on the quality and size of the jog wheels. Where as, techno and other more progressive styles of dance music should be fine with out jog wheels (this can also save you space and money).
Vinyl And Turntables
As you are probably already aware, turntables are the origin and foundation of modern day DJing. “Disc Jockeys” of yesterday broadcast records to the radio listening public from the comfort of the studio. This era was followed by DJs mixing tracks with 2 turntables, in both France and the UK, with the rest of the world following shortly after.
“Old School” DJs will tell you there is no other way than vinyl. And there may be some truth in it, but ultimately this path is more expensive than either of the other more modern paths. Records cost a lot to produce, turntables are heavy and require maintenance, high quality needles can run into the thousands of dollars. However, it is suggested that the Bass response of vinyl is superior to the less high fidelity digital mediums of CDs and Soundcards.
The below banner will take you to the classic Juno Records site, for all your vinyl needs. Here you can get an indication of the sorts of music that are still being pressed and distributed by vinyl.