Equipment essentials for beginner DJs

Bring your gear up to scratch.

guy behind a dj setup
Learn to DJ with this basic equipment.Marius Serban via Unsplash

Vinyl may be back, but if you’re just learning to DJ, purchasing quality turntables and building up your record collection is a big investment. Enter the world of modern DJ controllers, which work with the music files on your laptop to mix killer sets with old-school FX. Here are two great controllers for beginners, and a pair of quality DJ headphones that allow you to listen closely as you spin.

Hercules DJControl Starlight Pocket USB DJ Controller with Serato DJ Lite
Your parties just got epic.Amazon

If you love making playlists for your friends, kick it up a notch with this affordable, portable DJ controller. Download the free version of Serato’s DJ software on your laptop, connect your laptop to the controller with a USB cable, and use your music library to get started. Learn to set up hot cues for the best parts of your favorite tunes, EQ the bass, loop, and create scratch effects using the jog wheels. Play with the lighting effects on the controller’s base to set the mood, and go live at your next get-together.

Pioneer DJ Black DJ Controller
House is in the house.Amazon

Pioneer collaborated with none other than DJ Jazzy Jeff to create a mid-range controller that works with Serato’s DJ Lite and continues to support your skills when you’re ready to upgrade to Serato DJ Pro. Learn to scratch by triggering pre-programmed effects from his legendary hip-hop tracks, and then use the jog wheels to replicate them in real time. The design layout models professional gear, so as you master your fade FX and develop your style, you’ll be that much closer to spinning from the booth at your local club.

Sennheiser HD 7 DJ Headphones
You’re only as good as what you can hear.Amazon

Have you ever been to a kid’s party when “Let It Go” from Frozen comes over the PA? If so, you know that all parties can get loud, and it’s not just the music. Keep your focus on your DJ set with this pair of headphones, designed to give you both strong noise isolation and a powerful bass. Swiveling ear cups and soft cushioning make monitoring mixes one ear at a time easy and comfortable.

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