Why is DJ Equipment so Expensive?

Written by: Zach Wright

DJ equipment is typically expensive because of the technology that is integrated into each piece. On top of that, DJs often need a lot of equipment, so it adds up. If you’re just starting off your career as a DJ, you might be worried about the costs of the setup. Whether you’re buying a classical setup or a modern one, the costs usually tend to be quite high. You might be left wondering why the equipment is expensive.

There are a number of reasons that both the classic and the modern setup can involve a lot of costs. As a beginner, you need to understand that although the equipment might be costly, it is still worth every penny. Here are a few points to help you understand why a DJ setup involves numerous costs.


Lots of Equipment

As you might know, DJs need a huge collection of equipment to put on a proper performance. Anyone can download their favorite songs and play them using an iPod. There’s a reason DJs exist! They perfectly mix and match the songs to ensure the smoothest transitions. All this requires lots of equipment.

The main equipment includes speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers, mixers, turntables, synthesizers, laptops, controllers, software, and even generators. All of this equipment has different costs based on the quality and the brand.

This is mainly why there are large costs involved:

  1. A mixer can cost anywhere from $100 - $2000. The reason for the wide range is that they are available in a number of different types such as tabletop mixers and the Pioneer mixers.
  2. A turntable can cost anywhere from $60 - $200.
  3. There is a wide variety of speakers and subwoofers in the market. If you’re just going to be DJing at home, you might only need small speakers. On the other hand, if you are planning on DJing at a large venue, you might need PA system speakers as well as subwoofers to ensure better bass quality. You might need larger speakers that can achieve higher volumes. Due to the varying needs of customers, you can find speakers ranging from $30 to about $600.
  4. A controller usually costs a lot, ranging from $200 to $4000.
  5. You can find cheap laptops on the market, but we recommend going for one that supports various types of DJ software. These laptops can cost around $400-$1000.

All in all, your DJ equipment is bound to cost about $1500-$2000 in total. And this is only an estimate for the most essential items needed. There are many other smaller pieces of equipment that you might want or require. These can include lighting, cables, extra backups, generators if you’re playing outdoors, and even an iPod for backup.


As you can see above, you can find many DJ equipment at affordable prices. Surely there’s a catch? Well, you can try comparing the performance of $50 speakers with $500 speakers. You’ll see that the difference is night and day! $50 speakers will be of poor quality, and the sound will start to crack at higher volumes. The $500 speakers can churn out the same sound in the most crystal-clear manner. We mentioned speakers here because these are the most noticeable part of your gear. If the quality is poor, your audience will know it in a second.

Furthermore, poor quality controllers or mixers cannot help you fade the different parts of the tones correctly. Thus, high quality is a must when it comes to DJing. It’s how you can put yourself on a map. Let’s face it... no one will think of you as a professional DJ if you use bad equipment.

Brand Name

Some brands charge more just because they know people are willing to pay it. Since PioneerDJ is an industry standard, it charges higher for its products than other brands -- even if they have the same quality. The reason is that DJs think of PioneerDJ equipment as reliable, so they are willing to shell out a couple hundred bucks more!

For instance, the Pioneer DJ CDJ-2000NXS2 costs about $2200 whereas the Denon DJ SC5000 Prime costs about $1000. Even though the Denon is a strong competitor for the Pioneer DJ and has essentially the same quality, if not better, DJs still turn towards PioneerDJ due to the industrial reputation.

Added Costs Other Than Gear

Some added costs are also included, which can make your gear seem even more expensive. These can include

Vinyl Records

a dj using a vinyl record mixer

Another important reason why DJ gear is expensive is due to vinyl records. If you use the old analog designs such as turntables and mixers, then you might need to shell out big money for vinyl records. 12-inch records are quite popular and tend to be the standard in the DJ community. When you compare their prices to the digital media, you will find significant differences.

For instance, the album ‘Cross’ by ‘Justice’ might cost about $10 on iTunes, but it will cost about $28 for a vinyl record. If you want to own 50 such albums, you could potentially save about $900 by buying them on iTunes!

The great thing about owning vinyl records is that you can resell them. If you keep them in a good condition, vinyl collectors are often willing to pay about $2000 for them.


With most DJ equipment, you might need software or apps to properly run them. Most of these are not free and often come at a high price. For instance, Serato DJ has different pricing plans, and each plan offers different features. The most basic plan is about $130 while the premium pricing plan is for $300.

As a beginner, if you are unaware of how the software will work, you can try using a free trial. The free trial will allow you to flex your knowledge on the subject and find out if the software is worth it. If you’re looking to use a software for a longer period of time, some companies offer monthly subscription at very affordable prices.

Bottom Line

DJ equipment might cost a lot initially, especially for beginners, but in the long run their premium features are worth the price. If you are not sure what to buy, we recommend that you rent out the equipment if it's available, and try your hand at it. This will save you a lot of money and you will end up buying something that suits you perfectly. Furthermore, we recommend that you check out reviews as well as ratings to find inexpensive equipment of equal quality.

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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