DJ’ing has become more and more accessible in recent years, thanks to the uprise in controllers and applications. So if you’re looking to get into DJ’ing with a cheap and affordable DJ setup, what would be the best purchase in terms of value for money and performance features? Let’s find out!
DJ’ing used to be about owning thousands of records or CDs, not to mention owning the expensive equipment too. Nowadays for beginners, those costly hurdles are gone.
If you have a computer, your will have multiple cheap options. The leading three software platforms are currently Rekordbox, Serato and Traktor. All three are advanced software with many performance features.
Rekordbox DJ doesn’t offer a stripped-down version of the software, and it subscription for €6.99 / month. It’s worth noting that some hardware will come with a licence key or unlock the software for free.
Use DJ controllers or turntables to control your music. You can also sync the tempo of tracks with various apps and hardware that support Ableton Link. This enables back-to-back and live performances with a sampler sequencer synced between different Ableton Link compatible DJ applications.
Although Pioneer DJ makes some of the best controllers on the market, they are also quite expensive compared to rivals.
The fantastic DDJ-400 at 249€ is the pick of the bunch for beginners. Featuring a small form factor, excellent performance features and a club derived layout.
Native Instruments have two versions of Traktor available, with a Traktor 2 being free of charge and aimed at beginners. Available for iPad and computer, only the Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3 currently supports it. The S2 MK3 is a fantastic controller which features great build quality for the price.
As an entry to Traktor, the S2 is great. I suspect anyone who buys one will hold on to it for life, because as a second or backup Traktor controller, it would work just fine, however serious or professional the DJ. That’s quite something to say about a unit that costs just shy of 300€, software included. With the full professional software included with the entry-level controller, you can grow into the software as your skills progress!
Traktor does feature some of the best sounding inbuilt effects. Thanks to its advanced remix and stem decks, it’s the choice of many house and techno DJ’s around the world.
If you’re hoping to progress into this style of DJ, starting with Traktor, maybe the best move for yourself.
Serato offers a free version called Serato DJ Lite, compatible with cheaper beginner controllers free of charge. More advanced DJ features have been removed to make the experience easier to understand.
Set up is very simple, plug in the controller and you’re away. The software also allows DJ’s to stream direct from Tidal or Soundcloud Go, great for DJ’s who don’t have an extensive music collection.
The DJ Controller Pioneer DDJ-SB3 is one of the cheapest and smallest Serato controllers. It features excellent build quality and a unique pad scratch. An excellent tool for beginners who want to learn to scratch! The club-style layout and reliable Pioneer DJ build quality have helped the SB3 become one of the best selling controllers for Serato DJ Lite.
Sure it’s cut down, basic and pretty plasticky, but the trickle-down of features from more expensive gear is greater than ever, and it continues to provide an awesome way to get started in DJing. Price: 250€
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