As a new DJ you’ll have plenty of options in terms of the style of DJing you want to use and the type of DJ you want to be. Modern DJing equipment can help you realize your goals much faster, since they offer more intuitive controls that are said to be very beginner-friendly. But in terms of the type of gear you need, this will ultimately depend solely on whether you want to be an old school analog style DJ, or you want to get with the times and switch to digital. Additionally, when you’re new to the DJ scene, buying equipment can be confusing, especially considering the technology seems to be changing constantly. As a digital DJ, a controller is a must, but are DJ controllers good for beginners? Are there any entry-level models that feature more intuitive controls, models that are pretty straightforward to use?
Are DJ controllers good for beginners? Yes. A digital setup for DJing is much easier to use than learning how to spin on a couple of turntables, which is what the analog DJ has to learn. The DJ controller can actually help the beginner to get the most out of each track, learn how to make smoother transitions from song to song, and can even allow them to experiment with new sounds and mixing techniques. Many experienced DJs use controllers to produce and create their own unique tracks and also use them at gigs because they offer a more reliable performance compared to an analog setup.
As you can see, a DJ controller can be a much better option for the DJ just starting out, compared to an old school setup. These controllers come loaded with some great features that you can use to make each track your own and offer an intuitive setup that’s very beginner-friendly.
The Evolution of the DJ
Back in the 1980s and 90s, owning a mixer and a couple of turntables was all you really needed to spin. These days, digital DJing is a much better, more convenient way to spin tracks, but for this type of setup you’ll need a laptop, software, and a DJ controller. But knowing how to choose the right type of controller and software can be a difficult process, especially for beginners. So, if you don’t know how to use a controller or the type of software to buy, read on and check out my tips regarding how to use a controller and mixing software, and what to look for in a model that’s beginner-friendly.
In the DJing world, equipment prices have lowered substantially over the years, making it more affordable to spin and allow even beginners to enjoy mixers and controllers that are both high-quality and affordable. Most people have a laptop these days and compatible controllers feature more intuitive controls that allow users to learn how to DJ like a pro, in the comfort of their own home, in a matter of months.
A controller is just one piece of equipment that you’ll use when you DJ, but it’s also considered the most important. These devices are loaded with a wide range of features that consist of production and editing tools. While in many major clubs you’ll find the DJ spinning a couple of turntables, many modern DJs are now making the switch to digital, for a hassle free, more reliable way to spin.
If you’re searching for a beginner-friendly controller, you’ll also need to find a software program that’s just as easy to use and one that comes loaded with features that will give you more control over a track. When you combine software with your controller in your set up, you’ll be able to simulate the analog style old school DJs continue to use.
The ability to add effects and tweak your set up just by sliding a fader or turning a knob gives you a finer touch and more control over the quality of each track. Essentially, controllers allow the DJ to manipulate a track the way they should. Because of this, for the beginner, a controller is a much better alternative to a turntable setup.
Unlike a turntable setup, a DJ controller setup is compatible with most types of DJing software programs. In fact, many models will come with free software. The software itself is crucial in order to create the type of music you want. When you use it, you’ll be able to mold each song to suit your style.
Compared to traditional DJing, the type of effects a controller offers will give the user more variety in terms of style and the fact that it can produce a wider range of sounds is just one of the many reasons buying one is such a smart and worthwhile investment.
A Laptop for Your DJ Setup
The controller must connect to a PC or laptop, however, you don’t have to physically interact with your laptop in order to use your controller. Instead, the laptop’s monitor will work as a reference for songs and the tools that you’ll use during the production process.
Considering how limiting a laptop keyboard is for music production, the controller provides the beginner with a simpler, more intuitive way to edit and cue tracks.
These days, modern laptops are more versatile than they were just five years ago, which means it’s much easier to find a controller that’s compatible and one that will allow you to use a wide variety of software programs in order to get the most out of your mixing experience.
Laying Down Some Mixes
The ability to use the controller to record tracks is one of its main benefits. Plus, when you’re a DJ, you can easily take all your gear with you since entry-level controllers are lightweight and highly portable.
The ability to easily record your work in any type of environment is important not only when it comes to archiving or saving your sets but also in terms of playback. When you’re able to listen to your own work, you’ll be able to get a clearer look at where the improvements need to be made. The ability to practice whenever you want or even when you’re traveling is important to any type of musician. Additionally, the fact that you can record your progress on the fly is a big deal for any beginner who’s eager to DJ their first gig and in need of a more convenient way to practice and perfect their skills.
The controller is a great platform for music composition. The fact that users of all skill levels can take advantage of so many features is what makes this piece of DJ equipment perfect for multitasking. It’s one of the reasons why controllers are considered invaluable for live performances, giving the DJ the ability to master their own orchestra. But like any type of conductor, the DJ must be able to direct each sound of a track. Controllers can make mixing, editing, and tweaking a set smoother, allowing DJs to perfect certain types of mixing and transitioning techniques that can make any set pop.
The Learning Curve
Some models can be very complicated to use, so the beginner may end up hitting a roadblock from time to time, at least until they’ve had a couple of weeks to get acquainted with the controls and setup.
Issues can range from setting up the controller to fine-tuning the settings, latency, or delays with the jog shuttle controller.
With some controllers, you may also need to ensure you have a MIDI and that the PC you’re using is powerful enough to keep up with the demands of the software and controller. But as a beginner, you can take your time and play around with the controller’s settings and configurations in order to achieve the type of sound you’re looking for.
When it comes to mixing your own tracks, the DJ controller becomes a very important part of the learning process because it allows you to customize your tools. But using the controller and learning how to take advantage of all the features it has to offer will take some practice, just like with any piece of music equipment.
Buying the Right DJ Controller
Obviously, the right controller for you will be a matter of preference. Some beginners will choose an entry-level model simply because they’re easier to use and more affordable. But if you have big plans for your future as a DJ, then you may want to opt for a more tech-heavy, pro-quality controller. While these are the controllers that will take some practice to use, they’re also the type that will provide the best results in terms of mixing quality. If you’re looking for a top of the line controller, one that can take your set to the next level, and a model that features intuitive controls, I recommend the Reloop Mixon 4 High Performance 4-Channel Hybrid DJ Controller.
What are DJ Controllers Used for?
DJ controllers can be used to mix, produce, and edit tracks, and they can be used in the club scene during a gig to cue and transition songs. These devices are lightweight and highly portable, which makes them a more convenient option compared to a two turntable setup. The controller works with a laptop and DJing software and allows the beginner to truly experiment with tracks in order to achieve a unique sound that will make the beginner standout from the competition.
What’s the Best DJ Equipment to Buy for Beginners
This will depend on the type of DJing style you’re interested in. For an analog setup, you’ll use a mixer, two turntables, headphones, vinyl records, and speakers. For a basic digital setup, you’ll need much less equipment such as a laptop, a DJ controller and some headphones. Both types of DJing styles will have their own unique pros and cons, but using a digital setup for many is the easier way to go. It also gives the DJ more control over their mixes and cueing, and is considered a more reliable way to DJ. It’s also a more beginner-friendly option.
Is Mixing Easy for Beginners?
If you’re eager to start your career as a DJ, then you’re probably researching how to mix and edit tracks and how to use a mixer with your analog setup. Mixing can be difficult for even the experienced DJ, so it will obviously require plenty of practice and dedication on your part. But in the end, you can end up with some smooth tracks and one killer set. To learn more, click here to read my article on how to be a good DJ mixer.
What’s the Difference Between a Controller and a Mixer?
Both the controller and the mixer will work to mix your favorite tracks. Some DJ controllers will even work as a standalone mixer. The biggest difference between these two types of DJing equipment is the fact that the controller will actually give the user total control over the DJ software program. Additionally, most modern mixers will also allow you to add sounds and effects in order to produce a unique set. To learn more about controllers, click here to read my DJ controller buyer’s guide.
If you’re new to the scene and want to learn how to DJ, then you may be having trouble choosing between an analog setup or a digital setup. The DJ controller is part of a digital setup and it allows you to seamlessly transition from song to song, add effects, and basically make each and every set your own. But are DJ controllers good for beginners? Yes. They are. Even feature heavy controllers are much easier to use compared to an old school setup. These devices will give you more control over every track and can provide a reliable performance that will allow you to relax and enjoy the ride when you’re DJing your first gig.