Starting out as a DJ can be expensive. Not only do you have to persistently purchase music for mixing, but unless you’re renting a studio then you’ll likely look to invest in your own equipment so you can regularly practice at the comfort of your home. Taking a look at the most high-end setups you’d be looking to spend upwards of £5,000, depending on what extra functionality you’re after that is. But that would be a silly route to go down for any beginner DJ, as you’re yet to learn the ropes before you earn your rights to play with the big boys. But by no means do you need to have the most expensive equipment to learn how to DJ. Matter of fact, the more expensive equipment is only going to make you a lazier DJ and most entry level mixers and controllers will provide you with all the tools to teach you how to record a smooth mix that will get the crowd bumping.
But by no means do you need to have the most expensive equipment to learn how to DJ. Matter of fact, the more expensive equipment is only going to make you a lazier DJ and most entry level mixers and controllers will provide you with all the tools to teach you how to record a smooth mix that will get the crowd bumping.
In this guide, I’ll be going over some recommendations for budget orientated DJ equipment that fits perfectly in a bedroom or any small living space setup without breaking the bank and still offering plenty of versatility.
What you’ll need…
For any DJ set-up, you’ll need several essential pieces of equipment so you can start mixing your music. Firstly you’ll need two turntables or CDJ units that will be used to play your two tracks. Most new DJ’s will now opt for the more modern CDJ’s which mimic the “old school” turntables by playing from CD or USB format. Your two players will then plug into a mixer unit which you’ll use to blend your two sources of music together and output the result through a pair of speakers.
Additionally, you’ll be needing a pair of headphones which will help you to queue music before outputting it the main speakers. As an alternative to buying two players and a mixer, you can now find options for all-in-one controllers which packs the lot into a single unit. Typically, these controllers offer a budget solution that includes everything you’ll need and even more in a compact form factor. However, unlike the CDJ players, controllers require a connection to a laptop in order to work with it’s dedicated software i.e. Rekordbox, Serato DJ and Traktor DJ.
Best budget controllers
Pioneer DJ DDJ-RB
Pioneer recently added this controller as a refresh to the popular DDJ-SB2. However, this new model comes together with Pioneer’s own Rekordbox DJ software license which is arguably one of the best on the market. With everything running off a simple USB cable, just plug this bad boy into your PC, load up the Rekordbox software and you’re ready to go. The mixer has additional performance pads for hot queues, beat jump, pad fx… you name it… Together with the software, this unit is able to offer high-end functionality at a budget whilst keeping the premium feel familiar with high-end Pioneer products.
Numark Mixtrack Platinum
Another revision of a popular line of controllers from Numark that utilises Serato DJ software. Compatible with up to 4 decks and a multi function search strip for dynamic FX control and Strip Search, this is a great option for any new DJ. The dual 5-inch jog wheels feature Numark-exclusive touch-capacitance response and include a Hi-res LCD multi-function, conveniently displaying your vital track info such as BPM and timer. The unit comes paired with Serato DJ intro and is upgrade-ready for full Serato DJ.
TRAKTOR KONTROL S2
The S2 MK2 gives you full access to the power of Traktor DJ. The design takes portability in mind, so this makes for a great choice if you’re starting in the bedroom and want to tuck it away somewhere when not in use. The controller comes bundled with Traktor Pro 2 favoured by iOS DJ’s and can even be paired with your other iOS devices including an iPad. The S2 borrows the robust build quality of it’s bigger brother “S4” with RGB backlit buttons and high-res jog wheels.
Reloop Beatmix4 MK2
This 4 channel Serato performance controller comes with everything necessary to take your mixing on the go. The extra low profile gives an authentic vinyl feel and also includes a virtual needle position through it’s LED technology (exclusive to Serato DJ). Get creative with your mix using the rubberised pad section and trigger loops, samples and more to make your mix extra special.
Best budget monitor speakers
There are many viable options for speakers out there. And unless you’re into music production you can easily get away wish using mid value PC speakers assuming they deliver the oomph you’re after. But if you’re after something a bit more refined, then you’ll want to check out a pair of studio monitors that will give you the most accurate sound directly from your output source. Below are some great options that deliver respectable monitoring audio without costing a fortune.
Delivering premium monitor sound reproduction, M-audio is a popular choice for budget orientated monitor speakers. With built-in amplification, you’ll need not worry about external amps as these will be plenty for any bedroom setup. Comes with 10 watts of power per channel and a 3inch woofer for deep sound reproduction. At the front, you’ll find a conveniently placed volume control as well as headphone and auxiliary jacks.
Best Budget DJ headphones
When buying DJing headphones you want to take into consideration comfort and functionality alongside the audio quality offered. As a DJ you’ll be after punchy sound so you can hear the music you’re queuing as the main speaker belt the live audio. You’ll often be putting them on and off, twisting the band to hear with only one ear and hanging it around your neck when not in use so flexibility and comfort are important here.
Sony MDR-V55 DJ Stereo Headphones
These Sony over-ear DJ headphones offer the comfort, flexibility and sound you’re after. 40mm drivers packed behind over-ear cushions mean you can wear these with comfort wherever you’re mixing. the Flexible band makes this a great choice for single-ear monitoring and the foldable designs means you can pack this away and take it on the go!
Having followed our recommendations, you should have all the equipment necessary to get you started as a DJ in your own home for as little as £350 (Don’t forget you’ll still need a laptop or PC!). You have all the tools ready to perform as well as any of the top DJ’s you aspire to and can even start recording and sharing your mixes to the rest of the world!