Beginner DJ Setups 2022
Beginner DJ Setups 2022
If you’re a new DJ or thinking about learning how to DJ here’s the best beginner DJ equipment you can buy for your budget in 2022. While there is a huge range of DJ equipment brands available to you we’ve taken the time to narrow down the list. These are our tried-and-tested top picks for beginner DJ setups in 2022.
Pioneer, Serato, Traktor or other?
There are many competing brands in the DJ world. While any DJ equipment is going to be suitable for DJing you might want to consider sticking with one of the main brands to make it easier when you actually want to DJ in a club. By far the biggest most popular brand globally is Pioneer which uses the Rekordbox software. As we mainly teach with Pioneer DJ products in our DJ courses this blog is just about the best Pioneer beginner DJ setups in 2022. As always, if you have any questions or would like to ask some advice about what beginner DJ setup would suit you best please don’t hesitate to contact us! Click here or call our office.
By far the most popular and affordable options for beginner DJs is to buy a DJ controller. They are essentially DJ mixers and decks that come as one device and plug into a computer, commonly a laptop. There is a huge range from the smallest DDJ200 up to the DDJ1000. The great news is there is something for every budget and even the cheapest smallest one packs a punch! We’ve not listed all the Pioneer DJ controllers here, just the ones we think make the easiest option for beginner DJs.
Pioneer DDJ 200 - RRP £139
This is the perfect start-up DJ controller for children. It’s not too complex, it’s affordable and small enough to store easily. This controller works directly through your laptop speakers so there is no need to have separate speakers too. Avoid this controller if you’re a bit older or feel like you or your child would outgrow it’s functionality quickly. For example, on our Beginner DJ Course most students would outgrow this controller within a few lessons. As with all Pioneer controllers this controller works with the Rekordbox DJ software that allows you to stream the music.
Pioneer DDJ 400 - RRP £259
This is the most popular choice for beginner DJs. The DDJ 400 is both affordable and advanced enough to keep any beginner DJ happy. Unlike the DDJ 200 it does have an in-built sound card which allows you to connect it with speakers. This is a major plus for those who want to hear the bass and have a bit more fun DJing. This controller is great for kids and adults alike. It would easily keep you happy while you complete our Beginner DJ Course but if you want to move into the Intermediate DJ Course you might consider buying something bigger, an all-in-one unit or a pro DJ setup.
Pioneer DDJ 800 - RRP £799
This controller is great for those who want to learn how to DJ and then have access to more advanced features when they are ready to use them. It might be a bit more confusing for a new DJ or a child but it’s certainly giving you room to grow. Like the 200 and 400 This DJ controller has two channels but it has overall more buttons and functions than the smaller models. It certainly looks more fun and gives you more creative options.
Pioneer DDJ 1000 - RRP £1199
If you want to learn how to DJ and progress through our Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced DJ courses you’ll want to invest in something that will give you enough options to make use of your new skills. The 1000 gives you four channels which means you can get more creative in the mix by adding more tracks or acapella. This is great for DJs with a budget who want to go further while sticking with the same unit.
Pioneer All-in-One XDJ Units
In addition to their DDJ range of controllers Pioneer have all-in-one stand-alone units that have an inbuilt computer and a single screen in the middle. This means that you can use them much like the pro DJ setups with a USB stick. However, if you want, you can still plug in your computer and use them together. Their similarity to the more expensive pro DJ sets ups and also their relatively affordable price means they are a popular options with new DJs who want to play in venues where they have the pro DJ systems in place. Namely, venues that have Pioneer CDJ setups. They are very popular choices with our DJ course students.
Pioneer XDJ RR - RRP £1029
The smallest XDJ all-in-one unit is the XDJ RR. This is a two channel unit which is compact and easy to transport. It’s perfect for USB and laptop DJs alike and used by many mobile DJs. As the smallest XDJ it’s the most affordable and gives you many of the same features that a CDJ set up has. It feels a bit more plastic and budget compared to the build quality of the next model up.
Pioneer XDJ RX3 - RRP £1699
This is the most popular XDJ unit. The XDJ RX3 packs a punch for the money you spend on it. It has 95% of the same features a pro DJ CDJ set up would have but at a fraction of the price. It’s larger than the RR but still fairly portable. The only downside is that it’s still two-channels, which means if you want four channels you’ll need the next model up.
Pioneer XDJ XZ - RRP £2049
The most expensive and biggest Pioneer XDJ unit is certainly overkill for any beginner DJ! If you want a beginner DJ set up this is not for you, however if you are a beginner but want to stick with the same purchase until you complete all levels of our DJ course this could be for you. It’s a big spend but has so many features for a fraction of the cost of a CDJ set-up. Again, just one screen but that really doesn’t make a difference to your DJ performance or the functionality compared to CDJ setups. Although it’s all-in-one it’s big, and difficult to transport. If you’re a big spender this is an option, but if you’re a really big spender check out the CDJ range!
Pro DJ Setups (Pioneer CDJs)
We’ve no idea why they are still called CDJs because the latest model does not even have a CD drive! Most CDJ DJs will actually be using USBs loaded with their playlists, or connecting their laptop. Some DJs will prefer to buy a CDJ setup for home use so that they are practicing with the same equipment at home as they would be using in the club. However, if you are a beginner DJ this is surly overkill. You might want to test the water first by buying a smaller DDJ controller because you’re sure this is a true passion!
Most professional venues will have a Pioneer DJ setup already installed so that DJs don’t have to take any equipment with them to their gig. It’s easy for professional DJs as they can just take their USB and their headphones. The problem here is that if you learn how to mix at home using a DDJ controller you will be totally lost when it comes to DJing at a real venue without it. Many professional DJs, or beginners who wish to be professional will choose to practice with CDJs so that they can avoid this issue.
Our best advice is don’t worry about it. The XDJ units are similar enough to practice at home and still be comfortable playing on a club CDJ setup. Better still, just book the occasional DJ practice in our studios in London, Manchester or Birmingham and practice on a variety of Pioneer CDJs. There are many CDJ models and DJM mixer models in the Pioneer range and in clubs, so it’s wise to learn with us so that you can get used to them all!
In conclusion, as beginner DJs we suggest you spend less and get a DDJ controller or XDJ unit, or better still, save money and don’t buy anything and instead boom DJ practice with us in our studios. Booking DJ practice means you won’t annoy your neighbours and it means that you can learn how to use all the different models you may encounter in a real venue.
What about headphones, speakers and cables?
To computer your beginner DJ set up you need to have your DJ controller, laptop, speakers and headphones. There are lots of options but we’ve helped out by narrowing them down to the most reliable options in 2022.
Speakers for Beginner DJs
Pioneer DM40 or DM40 BT - RRP £129-£179
The Pioneer DM40’s are great for beginner DJ setups as they are small but powerful enough for DJ practice. They come in black or white and would sit nicely on a bookshelf. They also come in normal or BT (bluetooth) versions. However, the bluetooth version won’t allow you to use use them with your DJ controller by bluetooth, it’s just to help you connect the speakers to your other devices to play music when you’re not DJing. Still the BT is a great feature and for the price a worthy add-on.
If you are looking for something bigger and more powerful you should check out Pioneers DM 50's or the bigger VM monitor range. They will pack a punch and certainly be more than capable of hosting a small house party and annoying the neighbours!
DJ Headphones for Beginner DJs
Pioneer headphones come in many styles and span a large price range. The best pair for beginner DJs to use is the HDJ-CUE1 which comes in a range of colours and have a Bluetooth version. This means you can use them to DJ but also use them to listen to music on the go! They are affordable at RRP £89 and durable enough to last a long time. If you want to spend a bit more money you can opt for some of their more expensive models but this pair are the perfect addition to a beginner DJ setup.
What about laptops?
All digital DJs should have a modern reasonably fast laptop in order to use the latest DJ software and DJ equipment. You don’t need an expensive Apple computer but a lot of DJs certainly prefer them for their stability and ease of use. DJs can in fact use Windows operating systems or Apple systems. Our best advice when thinking about what type of computer to use is look at the RAM. The RAM is what helps a computer process information, with audio there is a lot of information to process quickly so the more RAM the better. The minimum amount of RAM you should aim for as a DJ is 8GB. If you can get 16GB this is even better and would also be great for music production too. You will be able to get away with 4GB but it might just not be as reliable or smooth so treat 8GB as the minimum to be sure.
Should I buy second hand?
In short, no. We’ve heard too many horror stories with people buying second-hand DJ equipment online being scammed or buying faulty units. It’s best to avoid buying second-hand. It’s great to have the product with the full warranty. Pioneer products are built well, hence they are the industry leader. Over our 14 years teaching, we’ve rarely had problems with new Pioneer DJ equipment, certainly nothing that their excellent customer service couldn’t fix.
Where to get Music to DJ with
Once you have a DJ set up you’ll need some music right?! Luckily now there are streaming options as well as the option to buy single tracks. Many beginner DJs will go for a streaming option is they are using a DJ controller. Rekordbox performance mode has the option to connect with a few different streaming services so you don’t have to buy and store individual tracks, but rather just pay a monthly fee.
If you want to download the music track-by-track you have a few options. iTunes is difficult to use so avoid using Apple Music or iTunes. Instead, you can search for MP3s on Amazon or you can use websites like beatport.com to download music track by track. Some people actually still buy CDs or vinyl records and digitise them. Remember, if you buy music this way you will have to store them on your computer to be used with your DJ software. One advantage of buying the music means that you can still DJ with no internet connection.
Rekordbox Linked Streaming Services
There are a few options currently working with Rekordbox as follows below. Remember though, the download of using a streaming service is that you can’t DJ if you don’t have an internet connection. Most professional DJs playing in bars, clubs and festivals would rather buy the music to avoid this issue.
Tidal is great for DJs who play all styles of music. You will find a library almost as extensive as Spotify and you’ll be able to access the whole thing for an affordable fee. It’s especially good for DJs who want to play commercial music. Wedding and party DJs love this option.
This is a free service. You can link to Soundcloud and actually play tracks that are uploading onto their website. Not all the tracks are available on this service but if you want to save some money and spend time searching for hidden gems and remixes Soundcloud is a great option to explore before perhaps signing up for a paid service.
Beatsource is a partnership between Beatport and DJ City and offers you the ability to access their extensive DJ-orientated music libraries for an affordable fee. This covers both commercial music and underground dance music all in one place. They also have lots of DJ edits and remixes to choose from.
Beatport is the most popular site for dance music DJs to download music and now they have a streaming option too! Use this service if you’d like access to their entire library including all their exclusive content. It’s great for DJs who play the genres listed on the Beatport website. Avoid this is you want to play pop music, hip-hop, rnb, afrobeat or any world music genres. Beatport is really just about dance music.
Remember, if you’re learning how to DJ with LSA or our partner academies then you can simply not buy anything! Save your money because everything is provided for you at our lessons and you can book studio time to practice on a huge range of equipment. If you still want to get something don’t feel pressured to spend big! You can still rock out an amazing set on even the most basic controllers. Check out this DJ set from one of our favourite DJs James Hype on the humble Pioneer DDJ 400, RRP £259!