What DJ Equipment Do You Need as a Beginner

Written by: Zach Wright

As a beginner, DJs should typically start with the following equipment: a mixer, monitor speakers, a laptop with the right software, and headphones.

So, what equipment should you buy? It all depends on your needs as well as the budget. However, first, you should gain more knowledge of the different types of equipment in the market. Read ahead and find out more about what to buy as a beginner.

Renting Equipment

The first option you need to consider is between buying and renting dj equipment. Since you might be unaware of the different types of equipment, we recommend you try to rent out the most highly acclaimed ones. This will help you gain more information about the product and you’ll learn how to use it in the most efficient way.

Renting can help save you a lot of money. You might not want to spend a large amount of money on professional setups just yet. You can start by testing out such equipment. This way you’ll gain more confidence in your skills

On the other hand, you’ll also get to learn what it takes for an equipment to be the best in the market. You can try out different brands and products and then decide which one is best when you finally decide to buy. Furthermore, you’ll easily find out what you need from the equipment.

Another huge advantage is that you won’t have to worry about the maintenance cost.

Types of DJ Equipment for Beginner

You’ll find that every DJ prefers their own setup made from different combinations of components. However, all setups usually involve a turntable, mixer, speakers, records, headphones as well as a laptop and DJ software. And depending on the types of gigs you are doing, you can even add a portable karaoke microphone into the mix for a fun additional touch.

Whichever equipment you decide on, it’s important that you find out what combination suits you best. One style will not fit everyone. SO, we recommend that you mix and match all your gear to find the perfect setup for yourself. The following are some of the most essential equipment you need to ensure the best quality sounds

DJ Speakers

DJ Speakers are a must for all DJs, no matter what gig they’re playing at. These products allow DJs to check the sound quality of their playlist and mixes with the utmost clarity. Most venues might already have a great sound system; however, we still recommend you buy your own since you will need them apart from gigs.

DJ speakers should be powerful enough to easily perform in your targeted venue. For example, most beginners will find small gigs where they might end up playing for a friend’s pool party. For such applications, a decent pair of affordable passive speakers will do. We wouldn’t recommend you to buy speakers that are too costly since you will only be playing at smaller venues. Check for reviews for the audio quality of the speakers. Active speakers grant you with more power, however, they are costly and you might not need that much power for smaller gigs.

Here are a few recommendations of the best DJ Speakers for Beginners

  1. Acoustic Audio PA-380X Passive 8" DJ Speakers
  2. Peavey PVx 15 800W 15" Passive Speaker
  3. Rockville RSG12

DJ Controllers

a hand playing a DJ controller

DJ controllers are a sort of new concept in the world of DJ equipment. The DJ controller allows you to control a bunch of different features using a software. The different customization and settings can be easily adjusted using controllers. You’ll find that most modern DJs use a rather simpler setup including a Laptop, a software as well as controllers. These can easily replace mixers as well as turntables as they perform the same basic function and more.

The DJ software that they come with allows for easier manipulation and mixing of sounds. You can do so using the various knobs, buttons, faders, wheels, strips etcetera.

There is a wide variety of DJ controllers available in the market today. You should look at the functions they offer and how they allow you to mix the sounds. Some might allow you to tweak track settings or volume while others may let you scratch records. The best part is that you can use digital audio tracks without having to deal with the hassles of records.

Following are our top choices for DJ controllers for beginners

  1. Pioneer Electronics DDJ-SX2 Controller
  2. Novation Dicer Controller
  3. Hercules DJControl Instinct S

Check out our full buying guide for the Best DJ Controllers

DJ Headphones

DJ Speakers can be optional for some setups that already have a high-quality sound system. However, DJ Headphones are not optional. Whether you’re practicing at home or performing at a concert, you just cannot do without a decent pair of DJ headphones. When making mixes and putting up playlists, these headphones allow you to check the quality of the sound.

They allow you to hear what you’re preparing and you then portray to the rest of the world. Some mixers allow you to hear what’s coming up next. This is probably why you have seen most DJs with one headphone cup on the ear. This allows them to hear clearly what track is currently playing and what track is coming up next. This allows them to correctly mash them up and transition the tracks correctly.

When buying headphones, you should also look for comfort apart from the sound quality. Since you’ll be wearing it for hours, you need to be comfortable. Here are top recommendations for beginners

  1. Sony MDR-Z7 Dynamic Headphones
  2. Sennheiser HD 600 Stereo Headphone
  3. Samson SR850 Reference Headphones

DJ Mixers

a dynamic microphone on top of a dj mixer

DJ mixers are essential for any DJ setup. They’re a kind of an audio mixing console that allows you to transition from one song to the next in the most seamless way possible. This results in the smoothest sound mixes or mashups. However, that's not all! The mixers can be sued for a wide variety of purposes including tweaking sounds in your tracks. It allows you to control the slider to scratch the record properly. On the other hand, you can also control tone, FX as well as volume. Furthermore, you can sue it to play record players.

In fact, you can even plug your headphones or speakers into the mixer. This allows you to hear what track is coming up next so you can easily transition to it. You can install sound cards to ensure better sound quality. Lastly, you can connect them to your laptop as well.

The following are our recommendations of the best DJ Mixers for beginners

  1. Pioneer Electronics Mixer DJM-S9
  2. Behringer DDM4000 DJ Mixer
  3. Allen&Heath DJ Mixer

DJ Turntables

When you think of a DJ, chances are the image that comes to mind is a person with headphones on working on a record player type device. These are called turntables and needless to say, a DJ is quite incomplete without a turntable. A turntable is basically a device that plays your records for you. However, nowadays turntables are slowly fading out.

Most modern DJs only have a laptop fixed with a controller. However, turntables are still a must in most DJ’s setup. They let us scratch, slow down the temp and generally tweak with the record as much as we want. You should have a turntable in your setup nevertheless.

Here are our top recommendations for DJ Turntables for beginners

  1. Audio-Technica AT-LP60 Turntable System
  2. Numark TT250USB Drive Turntable
  3. Reloop RP-8000 Advanced Turntable

Cables and Lighting

Depending on the type of setup you have, you might need a wide variety of cables. For analog setups, you might need RCA cables which are quite commonly found in DJ mixers. Other include CLR cables used in monitors or other audio interfaces as well as the TRS/TS cable used in controllers. Here is the complete list of cables you might need:

  • RCA
  • XLR
  • TRS/TS
  • Speakon
  • Optical Cable
  • USB
  • Midi Cables
  • Power Cables
  • Ethernet
  • Signal Adaptor Cables.
  • Extension Cords

Apart from all the audio equipment, you can also invest in some DJ lighting equipment. These are essentially stage lights that grant your performance that extra ‘oomph’. There are various types of DJ lights available in the market. Some can reflect beams of light that move around while others can flash intensely. They can be controlled by sound so that the light moves to the beat of the sound. Apart from that, some lighting can be controlled through DMX or through Daisy chains.

The main types of DJ lighting are:

  • Party Lights
  • Retro Lights
  • Projectors
  • Lasers


All in all, you too can become a DJ with these simple equipment in your armada. It’s up to you whether you decide to rent out equipment and test it or straight up buy it. Now that you have more information on what each piece does as well as the best gear for beginners, you can easily let loose and rock out to your favorite sounds! Welcome to the DJ World!

Written By:
Zach has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Being a studio owner for 13 years, he actively helps musicians and producers with technical issues around musical instruments and studio and audio equipment.

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