When it comes to gear, there’s never been a better time to get into DJing. Over the last few years, feature-packed controllers from companies like Numark and Pioneer have become more affordable, lighting rigs have gotten more compact, and the industry has made every attempt to ease novices into the music world. Here at IDJNow, we’ve helped to streamline the process even further by sharing some coveted pieces of DJ equipment. With these six recommendations, you’ll have a fully-fledged, professional setup that is ready for the road (or your friend’s house party down the block).
Ushering in a new era in DJing, Numark’s Serato-ready controller has two full-color displays built right into the device. In short, you don’t need your laptop open to mix records anymore. The NV can play four decks simultaneously, using touch-responsive platters that allow you to instantly cue up or scratch a selection from your music library. There are also 16 trigger pads on the unit, which make it easy to tap in drum loops and other effects while DJing. It all comes in a rugged, remarkably portable piece of hardware.
Back in the studio, many dance-focused producers prefer Ableton Live for its Session View feature, which allows for playful experimentation by triggering audio clips in unique patterns. For DJs, the Session View is a godsend because it breaks down a live performance into individual “scenes”, which can be easily launched via a MIDI controller. At the top of the heap is Akai’s APC40 MkII — created specifically for Ableton Live, this controller replicates a full Session View grid (along with a Master channel), complete with 5 clip-launch buttons on each channel that light up in vibrant colors. This open-ended, powerful device is built for production and performance, so those late-night studio epiphanies can be brought right to your live show.
It might not seem so important, but investing in a strong light source to hang above your DJ gear is crucial. We recommend the Xstatic LED strip because it measures only 12 inches, yet offers extremely bright lighting in 20 remote-controlled colors. Using 3M tape, the Xstatic strip can easily be secured to a hard-shell case, so you’ll have plenty of light shining down on your mixer, MPC, and other devices.
If you’re setting up a DJ night in an unconventional club space — be it a backyard, basement, or abandoned warehouse — you’re going to need some lights to elevate the vibe. Chauvet’s all-in-one Gig Bar IRC includes two Derby-style lights and two LED Pars, which can be triggered in strobe or laser patterns. Best of all, the entire setup is mounted on one metal tripod, so it’s easy to take down after a long party. Depending on your preference, you can control the lights using the included wireless footswitch, or connect the rig to your computer for more intricate patterns.
For party planners on a budget, the myDMX Buddy from American DJ provides computer control over your entire lighting rig with a simple USB connection. It’s perfect for the entry-level enthusiast, allowing you to direct up to 256 DMX-compatible lights with the seamless myDMX 2.0 software. All you need to do is plug in and play.
Finally, for a high-end decorative look, you can’t go wrong with Chauvet’s MotionOrb light strings. Designed in one versatile mesh, these colored orbs can be draped over virtually any surface. There are plenty of built-in color options, but you also have the ability to send pixelated patterns to the orbs when connected to DMX software. Imagine it — you’re playing a peak time set and just about to drop your favorite song when the MotionOrb kicks in, visualizing the swelling sound waves. Although DJing is about the music, a few tasteful lights can really make your performance stand out.