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Thread: The Best Beginnerís Bang for Your Buck

  1. #1
    Member djeternal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Atlanta, GA

    The Best Beginnerís Bang for Your Buck

    I noticed that even with the very helpful sticky threads provided by KLH and others we still get a lot of questions from beginners like "I'm new, what should I buy?" And the answer usually is something along the lines of "It depends, what are your goals?" or "What's your budget?" I think that many beginners are so new they don't know what questions to ask. There's also that fact that many beginners want good gear but they're on a tight budget - I've been there. The goal of this thread is to provide recommendations to steer beginners in the right direction and help them ask the right questions.

    These are the best bang for your buck that I've come across after DJing for over 20 years. If I were starting out or purchasing DJ gear for someone else, I would consider these recommendations. You can spend well under a $1,000 and have good quality gear for small or mid-sized events. Click on the links for pictures and product descriptions.

    • I will not recommend a specific laptop brand for 2 reasons: 1) you probably already have a laptop that will work fine for DJ purposes. 2) Buying a laptop is a personal decision – you have to decide what works best for you and your goals.
    • Having said that I will make a few recommendations regarding laptop specs. You should get/use a laptop with at least 8 gigs of ram – the more ram the better. Also, the faster your processor the better. You should also have a good amount of free hard drive space - not necessarily for storing your music. The free hard drive space is so that your laptop and software programs perform better – more about that here.

    External Hard Drive
    • If your music collection is large (more than 50 or so Gb) you should store it on an external drive. You can find great deals on external hard drives at places like Staples, Office Depot, or your preferred electronic store. I use a 1 Terabyte Toshiba portable external drive that I got from Amazon for $50.

    DJ Software

    • The 3 most popular DJ software programs are Virtual DJ, Serato DJ and Traktor.
    • Virtual DJ can be used with or without a DJ controller. You can use it with just your laptop and no controller is needed (we'll call this stand-alone mode). Right now you can download a home version of Virtual DJ for free. If you use it in stand-alone mode it's helpful to have an external sound card (assuming your laptop only has one sound card). External sound cards connect to your USB port and allow you to listen to a different song in your headphones while your computer speakers (or external speakers) are playing something else. You can get an external sound card for less than $10 on Amazon.
    • Serato DJ has a free (lite) version and a pro version. The pro version ships with many popular controllers. If you see a DJ controller that says "Serato" on it then you can rest assure that it will work very well with Serato DJ. The free lite version of Serato DJ can be used with or without a controller. More information about Serato DJ lite here.
    • Traktor is another popular DJ controller. I personally have never used Traktor so I can only suggest that you search this forum or search Youtube for helpful information about Traktor.

    Keep in mind that the speakers you buy today can become your backup speakers. Or you may decide to trade them in for new speakers so take good care of your speakers. Here is what I think is the best bang for your buck for small to mid-sized events.
    • BEHRINGER EUROLIVE B112D - Great 12 inch powered speaker for small events. Right now they cost $249 each. I've owned a pair of these speakers for a long time and had no issue. I also have friends who DJ and use Behringer speakers and are happy with them. You can find them on Amazon, Guitar Center, and other music stores.
    • BEHRINGER EUROLIVE B115W - Great 15 inch powered speaker for small and mid-sized events. Right now they cost $299 each. Some of my DJ friends use this exact speaker and they are happy with it. You can find them on Amazon and Music Stores such as Guitar Center.
    • Bass Subwoofers - If there is going to be a good amount of dancing at your gig it's helpful to bring a sub or at least use 2 15 inch speakers so that you have more bass. To add some bass to your setup consider purchasing a BEHRINGER EUROLIVE B1200D-PRO (12-inch subwoofer) - which presently costs $299. Or you can pick up a BEHRINGER EUROLIVE VQ1500D (15-inch subwoofer) for $349. Or you can pick up a BEHRINGER EUROLIVE VQ1800D 18 inch sub for $399.
    • The recommended setup for mobile DJs is to have two 12 inch speakers and one or two 18 inch subs. This does not apply to every event - you have to consider the size of the room and the type of event. If you're in a gym, big ballroom, or outside you will need more speakers. If you're new to DJing you probably won't get very many really big gigs so you can start out with two 12 inch speakers and add the 18 inch subs when you're ready. One of my friends has been using the BEHRINGER EUROLIVE VQ1800D 18 inch sub for at least 4 years and he is happy with them.

    DJ Controller
    • The Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 is a great controller for beginners. It comes with trigger pads and includes Serato DJ Lite. Right now it's only $199 - which is a great deal. You can use it while you're starting out and also have it as a backup for small gigs.
    • The Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller is also a great controller for beginners. It also comes with trigger pads and includes Serato DJ Lite. Right now it costs $243 - which is a good deal. Generally speaking, Pioneer products have a slightly better reputation than Numark products so that's why it costs more. You can use it while you're starting out and also have it as a backup for small gigs.

    • If you already own a set of headphones you may not need to buy new headphones while you're staring out. Having said that, I think a good bang for your buck for headphones are the Behringer HPX2000 Headphones. Right now they only cost $20. I purchased a pair a while back and they work fine as my backup headphones.
    • My brother uses the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x headphones, which I think are a better bang for your buck because the bass and frequency range is better. Right now they cost $69.
    • I use the Sony MDR7506 headphones, which is also a great bang for your buck because they have even better bass and frequency range. They are great for mixing and beat matching. They cost me $80.

    Wireless Mic System
    • One of my favorite purchases as a DJ was the GTD Audio G-622H 200 Channel UHF wireless mic system. I've purchased 8 or 9 different wireless mic systems over the last 20 years and this was the best bang for my buck when it comes to wireless mics. Right now, you get 2 great sounding wireless mics for only $168. I also, own a much more expensive Sennheiser XSW 2-835-A wireless mic. I was not aware of GTD Audio when I purchased it. The Sennheiser sounds better but I use my GTD Audio mics for most gigs because it includes 2 mics and they sound great.

    Speaker Stands and Cables

    • You probably don't need me to tell you which speaker stands or cables to buy but to be thorough I will point to a nice package deal that includes stands, cables, and a bag for your stands – the PYLE-PRO PMDK102. Right now it's $80 for the package.

    • Join a record pool. Or purchase music from Amazon, iTunes, or some other legit site. When you buy digital music you get high quality digital files, which sound better on your system than most Youtube downloads. There are many record pools that you can use to get quality digital music (i.e. You will pay anywhere from $10 per month to $30 per month. It's worth it in my opinion. I use Franchise Record Pool and get to download different versions of many songs (including dub or instrumental versions). Success is in the details.

    There you have it. If you're on a budget, no need to break the bank. You can buy great gear at very affordable prices. I encourage other DJs to share what they feel is the best bang for your buck for beginner DJs. For more information on how to get the best bang for your buck watch my YouTube video
    Last edited by djeternal; 08-24-2018 at 07:34 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Excellent! Two additional items -
    1) Mixxx 2.1.1 is good for a beginner (or an expert), and is totally free.
    2) If you like full range music, or you're just a bass addict, you will probably not be happy unless you're using subs - so do not make the mistake of starting out with 15" tops. Suffer with the lesser bass, but superior midrange and lighter weight of 12" tops, until you can afford subs. Craigslist is chuck full of used 15" tops of newbie DJ's that didn't do this. It's almost like a Right-Of-Passage, avoid it if you can!
    Last edited by Hanginon; 07-09-2018 at 03:32 PM.

  3. #3
    Member djeternal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Good point Hanginon. Having two 12 inch subs and one or two 18 inch subs is a great combination.

    Regarding the Mixxx 2.1.1 - I am not familiar with it so I won't recommend it right now. Part of the reason I recommended the major software programs is because they are very popular so if new DJs have questions they are more likely to get answers.
    Last edited by djeternal; 07-09-2018 at 05:40 PM.

  4. #4
    New Member Uncle Q's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Tampa Bay
    Great Post Guy. As a beginner myself I would recommend the Pioneer DDJ SR2. Myself I started out with a Numark Mixtrak Platnium and I felt like I outgrew that controller in about a month and a half and was limited to the amount of cue points I was allowed and didn't have a slicer or roll. The effects bank on the larger and more professional controllers are also a lot easier and smoother to handle on the slightly bigger controllers so that will very much come in handy when starting to use effects.

  5. #5
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Toronto, Canada
    Hi, I'm wondering if I can get some advice on which controller to buy. As a beginner I initially decided on Pioneer DDJ-400 that comes with Rekordbox. After looking at some used controllers on kijiji I see that if I spend an extra $50-100 I can buy an older model of a more professional controller; for example the Pioneer DDJ SX, although this is now 2 generations old. Does anybody have an idea what is a better situation?

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