DJ Gear for Beginners

Roots

Mon Apr 17 2023

DJ Gear for Beginners

Are you the most trustworthy person in your group when it comes to music? Then, we salute your good taste in music and we’re sure you know how to always rock a party!

Now, we get that finding the right equipment might be difficult sometimes! So, here are some advices:

If you’re thinking about how to avoid those awkward seconds of silence at the end of each song or how you could pull out a smoother transition between the songs, you might need a DJ controller. Of course, it’s easy to just go and buy one, but as there are a lot of options out there, you’re not quite sure which to choose. For this reason, we’ve narrowed our shortlist to four models, two for each of the most used DJ software out there, Traktor, Serato and/or Rekordbox, on two different price ranges: entry-level and top-tier. The controllers chosen for each price range have their specs fairly similar by comparison so we will focus more on their unique-selling-points. Although, we do recommend to actually go out there, to a showroom of your choice, and get the real feeling and see which one makes you feel more comfortable.

TRAKTOR S2 MK3

The first controller on our list is the Traktor S2 MK3, released back in 2018, and is the entry level solution proposed by Native Instruments. The controller is equipped with a 24bit soundcard and the package includes the full licence for the latest version of the software, making the S2 MK3 the best option for a beginner DJ and also the cheapest on our list as the price starts around 250€. The S2 MK3 has a nice build quality and is one of the most user-friendly and intuitive options on the market and a good entry-point for any aspiring DJ.

TRAKTOR S2 MK3TRAKTOR S2 MK3

Regardless of the fact that Traktor is not the market leader that it was before, the controllers they built are still popular amongst DJs due to their performances/live mixing capabilities.

Key features/specs:

2-channel mixer; 3-band EQ as standard, with filter and gain knobs on each channel; Large silicone-damped, touch-sensitive jog wheels with rubber-coated outer rim (scratch friendly); Simplified FX selectors; includes mixer FX control with eight club-grade effects and three filters; 8 multi-function performance pads for each channel for auto-looping, cue points and sampling; IOS input/power supply to run the Traktor DJ app; 1 x 4-inch microphone input; 1 x 4-inch / 8-inch headphone jack.

PIONEER DDJ-FLX4

The next controller on the list is the DDJ-FLX4 and is the flagship beginner/entry-level DJ solution by Pioneer. With similar specs as the Kontrol S2 but with an additional software, as the package includes both Rekordbox and Serato Lite, the DDJ-FLX4 is the best option for aspiring club DJs that are thinking to transition very soon to CDJs, or hobbyist who are looking for a versatile beginner unit with streaming and multiple software options. You can find DDJ-FLX4 on the market with the starting price of 320€.

Released just last year, the DDJ-FLX4 is the replacement for DDJ-400 as Pioneer’s flagship controller for beginners DJs. Besides being a little more versatile than its predecessor, the FLX4 includes beginner-friendly features as the “Smart CFX”, a combination of FX on a single knob, or the “Smart Fader”, a feature that practically does the transition for you as it auto-matches the songs. Other than this, the DDJ-FLX4 is bringing the same build-quality and layout and provides support for all relevant streaming services like TIDAL, Beatport Streaming, Beatsource or SoundCloud Go+.

Key features/specs:

2-deck, 2-channel DJ controller; 3-band EQ as standard, with filter and gain knobs on each channel; Beat FX and sound color FX; ‘Smart Fader’ – adjusts the volume, bass, and BPM as you transition; ‘Smart CFX’ – a combination of FX on a single knob; Integration with streaming services: TIDAL, Beatport Streaming, Beatsource Streaming, and SoundCloud Go+; 1 x 4-inch microphone input; 1 x 4-inch headphone jack.

TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 MK3

Switching to the top-tier options, we will start with the Traktor Kontrol S4 MK3, the flagship 4-channel professional DJ controller from Native Instruments, released in 2018. Same as the S2 in the beginner range, the S4 MK3 has a nice solid build quality and it’s a super user-friendly unit for Traktor. The controller comes with a full Traktor licence and is a widely popular choice amongst DJs for their remix deck, stems functionality and a high-quality range of FX. The starting price of the S4 MK3 is around 800€.

Key features/specs:

4-channel mixer, 4-deck controller within Traktor Pro; High-res silicone-damped, motorised Haptic Drive jog wheels with rubber-coated outer rim; Two high-resolution colour displays showing track, key, tempo, looping, hot cue, and waveform information; Simplified FX selectors; includes intuitive Deck FX and Mixer FX, with eight club-grade effects, three filters and more; 8 multi-function performance pads on each channel for Hot Cues, Loops, Samples, Sequencing and Stems; External output to easily connect turntables, CDJs, drum machines, synths and other Instruments; Three jog wheel modes including Vinyl Mode, Jog Mode and Beatgrid Mode; Key Lock (‘master’ button) is conveniently placed above the tempo fader to automatically lock the key, making mixing harmonically easier than ever.

DDJ-1000 & DDJ-1000SRT

For the top-tier Pioneer controller we will mention two models, but essentially, we are talking about the same controller, as the specs are the same, but the differences come in regards the software for which it’s built:

DDJ-1000, built for Rekordbox, and DDJ-1000SRT, model that works exclusively with Serato DJ Pro, which leads to a difference in price: the price for DDJ-1000 starts at 1500€ while the DDJ-1000SRT is available at the starting price of 1650€. The DDJ-1000 /DDJ-1000SRT was released on the market back in 2019 and it’s suited pretty much for any DJ – mobile, club, bedroom, you name it. In addition to having a 4-channel club mixer in the middle, the full-sized “CDJ-like” mechanical jog wheels are maybe the huge selling point of the J-1000/DDJ-1000SRT.

Key features/specs:

4-channel mixer, 4-deck within rekordbox or Serato DJ Pro; Layout designed to emulate Pioneer’s CDJ media players and DJM (mixer) club setup; Full-sized mechanical jog wheels, identical to that found on Pioneer’s CDJ-2000NSX2 media players. ‘Jog adjust’ knob to customise the jog wheel resistance, for preference and optimised scratching; 8 multi-colour rubber performance pads for each channel to trigger hot cues, Pad FX, Beat Jump, Sampler, Keyboard Mode, Beat Loop and Key Shift; Built-in ‘Sound Colour’ and ‘Beat FX’ taken from Pioneer’s DJM (pro) club mixers; Key Sync, Key Lock and Key Reset buttons positioned conveniently next to pitch faders. External output to connect turntables or CDJs with standalone mode for use as a standalone mixer; Two USB ports for seamless laptop changeovers, plus 2 Mic inputs.

Even though we’ve narrowed down our list to only four models, two entry-level, two top-tier, there are plenty more models & amp; options out there that essentially will help you perform and do a great set. That’s why, we strongly advise to actually go to a showroom of your choice and have a real feel of all the models on the market, or hey, at least as many of them as you can.

Special thanks @ucseneots

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