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Best Digital DJ Equipment

Updated on March 20, 2013

Music Players, Mixers and other accessories - the best DJ Equipment

Since the days of the twin turntable and two channel mixer, DJs have been trying to push the boundaries with what can be achieved with two or more songs played (hopefully!) at the same time. Today there is a vast and bewildering array of options available, some costing less than $100 others $3000 or more, they feature effects and capabilities way beyond all but professional studios only a decade ago, yet today they are here and ready in portable and powerful packages for both beginners and professionals.

I've tried to showcase the very best DJ Decks, and answer the question what is the best DJ equipment, and I've tried to do this across a range of prices and features, from beginner DJ equipment to choices for professionals, you will also find used digital DJ equipment and links to DJ Gear For Sale.

Numark iDJ3 - Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

DJ Digital Multi Media Players

Digital Multi Media players allow the DJ to play music from just about any source available, including Wav, MP3, AAC, AIFF audio files on CD,and USB memory devices. This means that you can use what ever is convenient without having to worry about converting or importing the files.

On accessing the songs these devices provide a huge variety of control, with beat matching, song slipping, auto looping, scratching and time stretching.

Many devices have a midi interface allowing the DJ to trigger effects and samples direct from the machine, further enhancing the appeal of these "all in one" DJing machines.

Pioneer CDJ-900 Overview

Watch this great video showing the main features and use of this great multi-media player.

Which should I buy CDJ 2000 or CDJ 2000 NXS?

There's around $500 difference between the latest Pioneer Professional music player and it's predecessor, it can't just be that and the suffix "NXS" that seperates them!

If you can stretch it it the Nexus is really the king, check out the video below for the evidence, incredible!

New Quantize functions for better beat manipulation

Dedicated controls for Master and Sync so no nasty train crash galloping horses!

Mixing in key is aided by a traffic light system that allows DJ's to see which songs will work and which will clash.

Load songs from USB, CD or over Wi-Fi in conjunction with the Reckordbox software.

Connect up to four (you know you want to!!) CDJs together to the same data source

Improved display

and more....

Pioneer CDJ-2000-NXS Digital DJ Turntable
Pioneer CDJ-2000-NXS Digital DJ Turntable

This is the first CDJ deck with built in Wi-Fi, with Pro DJ up to four CDJs can be linked together. The CDJ 2000 also has an awesome 6.1 inch full colour display.

 

Watch what the new CDJ 2000 Nexus can do!

Stanton SCS 4DJ DJ Controller and Media Player
Stanton SCS 4DJ DJ Controller and Media Player

No computer is needed - this DJ deck can access music from WAV, MP3 and AAC files stored on a hard drive, media stick or even a smartphone.

 
Pioneer CDJ-850 Professional Multi-Format Media CD/MP3 Player With USB
Pioneer CDJ-850 Professional Multi-Format Media CD/MP3 Player With USB

Compatible with MP3, AAC, WAV and AIFF digital audio formats stored on USB devices or CD-R/RW discs.

 

Beginner DJ Equipment

DJ Sets such as the Numark iDJ3 allow the budding DJ to quickly and affordable get started with mixing and manipulating digital music and songs, often with an iPod dock or software for use with a laptop or PC.

That said many of these devices are very capable and if your throwing parties or even DJing at family events then might just be what you are looking for.

Numark iDJ3

Numark iDJ3
Numark iDJ3

The iDJ3 is incredible value for money, allowing you to mix songs directly from your iPod or iPhone. It also comes supplied with the Virtual DJ software which once loaded onto a laptop gives you a rich and powerful multi-media music platform.

 
Numark Mixtrack Pro DJ Controller with Integrated Audio Interface (OLD MODEL)
Numark Mixtrack Pro DJ Controller with Integrated Audio Interface (OLD MODEL)

Recommended for beginners, this is still a full featured DJ Controller, the platters of the Mixtrack Pro have a very nice feel. Comes complete with Virtual DJ LE.

 
Numark iDJ Live | DJ Controller for iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch (30-pin)
Numark iDJ Live | DJ Controller for iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch (30-pin)

If you have an iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone the iDJ integrates perfectly. The large size platters are very responsive and make scratching and mixing a breeze.

 

DJ Controllers

DJ Controllers are devices that replicate turntables but are in fact an interface to a software package that is running on a laptop computer.

Big names in this market are Native Instruments with their Traktor Hardware and Software packages, Denon, Numark and of course Pioneer.

Many professional DJs now travel with the hardware they use, with their entire collection of music available to them, indexed and with cues set up ready, enabling them to react quickly to the crowd and deliver a fantastic set.

DJ Controllers to use with a PC or Mac

Numark Mixtrack Pro DJ Controller with Integrated Audio Interface (OLD MODEL)
Numark Mixtrack Pro DJ Controller with Integrated Audio Interface (OLD MODEL)

Built in soundcard, includes a mixer set between two large, touch-sensitive platters, includes Serato DJ version 1.0 software

 
Pioneer DDJ-T1 DJ Controller for Traktor
Pioneer DDJ-T1 DJ Controller for Traktor

Specially built for Traktor DJ software (included), legendary Pioneer quality.

 
Denon DJ MC3000 Professional DJ Controller
Denon DJ MC3000 Professional DJ Controller

Beautifully made, high quality, with touch sensitive platters and USB audio interface.

 

Best DJ CD Player

CDs are still very popular, while laptops, hard drives and software are getting more and more reliable, nothing beats (get it!) the fool proof assurance that CDs and CD players can give, this is why you will see them in all the major clubs alongside a couple of venerable Technics 1210s, why not add one to your set up, and increase your flexibility and performance capabilities at the same time.

So.... Digital vs. Analogue... or both?

This is all about being a digital DJ, so have you discarded your vinyl, maybe even digitised it..??

Do you still have a place for vinyl in your DJ set up?

Sennheiser HD25-1 II Closed-Back Headphones
Sennheiser HD25-1 II Closed-Back Headphones

DJ Headphones

DJ Headphones need to be robust, reliable and isolate the ear from the main PA to enable you to hear the song you are cueing up to play, the Numark's below come highly regarded and are a great value item, so much so that buying a pair as a spare should be no hardship.

I love my Sennheiser HD 25's, but at $200 a pop I don't take them out with me to gigs where they are easily damaged or stolen (it has happend!), they stay at home in the studio.

Sennheiser HD25 - Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

Numark HF125 DJ Headphones

Numark HF125 | On-Ear DJ Headphones
Numark HF125 | On-Ear DJ Headphones

Headphones get trashed pretty quickly, the wire tends to go first giving you an intermittent broken sound which will drive you to distraction, that is why I always like to carry a pair of these with me as spares, for the money they cannot be beaten.

 

Best DJ Mixers

Traditionally and literally the center piece of the DJ set up, if you are building a full DJ rig, with CD, Vinyl and Digital plus maybe effects and even an instrument or dedicated sampler then a full featured mixed is an absolute must, they provide flexibility and easy integration of visiting DJs equipment into your set up and the sliders tend to be more robust as well as easily replacable.

Things have come on a lot since the days of the two channel scratch mixer of the 80s and 90s, but fundamentally these things do the same job, allowing precise control over the amount and color of the sounds you wish to combine.

The Best DJ Mixer

Pioneer DJM-2000nexus Professional Performance DJ Mixer
Pioneer DJM-2000nexus Professional Performance DJ Mixer

A significant jump up from the DJM-800, with better effects, Pro DJ integration, a touchscreen, built-in soundcard and so on! This, and it's smaller brother the DJM-900 are the industry standard mixers at the moment.

 

More Best DJ Equipment Pages

The Pioneer CDJ 2000 Nexus, the Best DJ Deck ever?
Access music on every device imaginable, from smartphones to laptops, from hard discs to memory sticks, from CD to DVDs, it's all fair game for today's digit...

Best Digital DJ Equipment
Since the days of the twin turntable and two channel mixer, DJs have been trying to push the boundaries with what can be achieved with two or more songs play...

Top DJ Mixer - The Pioneer DJM-2000
The DJM-2000 Nexus is Pioneer's new top of the range DJ Mixer and is definitely in the professional DJ equipment bracket, this is no cheap DJ mixer! Taking o...

New DJ or Experienced Pro, please let me know what you think!

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    • Rathugger profile image

      Rathugger 3 years ago

      Always interesting to read others' opinions of various equipment. I used to own the MixTrack Pro but in the fall of 2013 I bought a Numark MixDeck Express, and ended up doing a barter through Craigslist to trade my MixTrack Pro for a flight case for the MixDeck Express. What I like about the MixDeck line of controllers is that they also play CDs and USB sticks. I had an embarrassing experience using the MixTrack Pro once at a party, where Windows decided to slow down to the point that the music was stuttering. I was forced to reboot the computer, resulting in nearly ten minutes of no music. With the MixDeck, if I had owned it at the time, I would have been able to switch quickly to USB.

    • Babbages profile image
      Author

      Babbages 4 years ago

      @DJRebelstar1: I agree, I've played with one and found it incredibly responsive!

    • Babbages profile image
      Author

      Babbages 4 years ago

      @BeatGirl: No that's true, but so many people have iPhones now that it makes a pretty good entry point for the first timer.

    • BeatGirl profile image

      BeatGirl 4 years ago

      I definitely agree with your choice of Numark's iDJ controller so long as it's for beginners with an iPad, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with much experience.

    • DJRebelstar1 profile image

      DJRebelstar1 4 years ago

      Good lens especially about CDJ players. I don't really know about them a lot ( I stopped DJ'ing for a long while and skipped them really - bad pun sorry!) so that was interesting to me. The Traktor S2 is a great DJ controller. I should know I own it :)