by Kevin McHugh

Beginner DJ equipment:
what you need to start DJing

beginner DJ equipment

Don’t let anyone tell you that someone was born a DJ! We all start from somewhere, so there’s never a bad time to start learning what you need to succeed as a DJ. One of the most intimidating parts of starting as a DJ is the number of options when it comes to your setup—what equipment does a beginner DJ need? What do all these knobs and buttons do? We’re going to walk you through the essentials of beginner DJ equipment including mixers, software, speakers, and more so you can set yourself up right.

Jump to these sections:

How much does beginner DJ equipment cost?

Beginner DJ equipment:

  1. DJ mixers
  2. DJ controllers
  3. DJ headphones
  4. Speakers and monitors
  5. DJ software
  6. Additional DJ equipment

How much does beginner DJ equipment cost?

Beginner DJ equipment includes DJ software, mixers, headphones, cables, and more that can cost anywhere from $500-$1,000+ or more altogether, depending on the brand, quality, and features you prefer. It’s always a good idea to research and compare different options to find the best equipment that suits your needs and budget.

Beginner DJ Equipment

Let’s explore everything you need to start DJing, from mixers to cables.

1. DJ mixers

Every DJ uses some type of mixer to control the flow of music. A DJ mixer allows you to control how your music selections are introduced to listeners, how they blend with other selections, and how they eventually are pulled away from the listeners. A DJ mixer will always have at least two channels, so that one piece of music can be playing while another is being prepared. The mixer then allows the signal of both channels to play simultaneously—this is mixing. No matter what device a DJ uses to play the music, it always goes through the mixer. If the DJ makes the mix, then the mixer makes the DJ.

Some mixers control the audio signal from playback devices like turntables or CD players. Other mixers are controlling the software that functions as your playback device. These can be a great way to get familiar with the process of mixing, without committing to bigger analog devices. One great mixer that does this is the TRAKTOR Kontrol Z1.

The Kontrol Z1 is a performance-ready mixer, controller and sound card for TRAKTOR DJ 2 and TRAKTOR PRO. This is a perfect combination of many essential tools if you already have a computer ready to use TRAKTOR DJ software. It will allow you to control the levels of your tracks, listen to your channels before you play them out, and blend two channels live for your mix. It also can send your audio straight to the sound system or any other speakers you’re using. It’s small enough to travel easily with a laptop and plugs in anywhere.


2. DJ controllers

With the advent of digital DJing software like TRAKTOR, a wealth of options now exist for DJs to manipulate and affect the music they’re playing. But with those options come a lot of decisions about how to execute those techniques. Controllers can offer you the ability to navigate your DJ software, select, play and loop your tracks. They can allow you to use effects such as reverbs, delays, flangers, filters and more. Controllers can also allow you to add other layers to your mix, such as samples, loops and other tracks.

Some controllers offer an all-encompassing system that gives you the opportunity to combine a mixer, pitch/tempo controlling jog wheels, display screens, faders, effects controls and more. These solve all of the hardware needs of a full DJ setup in one single device (minus headphones and speakers). Some examples of these all-in-one solutions are the TRAKTOR KONTROL S2, which combines the features mentioned above in the Z1 with jog wheels, effects controls, hot cue and loop buttons, and more.


Where the S2 is perfect for making 2-channel mixes, other options allow you to control and mix four tracks simultaneously. The TRAKTOR KONTROL S3 and TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 are both 4-channel controllers that give you the ability to instantly connect to TRAKTOR PRO 3 or TRAKTOR DJ 2 and harness all the tools and power included.

They combine all the controls of a full professional DJ setup into one powerful and portable unit. They also include all the tools of the TRAKTOR S2 for looping, effects, layers and chops plus the power of mixing 4 channels at once.


Other TRAKTOR KONTROL options can allow you to control just the DJ decks and effects in TRAKTOR while routing your audio via other devices. The new TRAKTOR KONTROL X1 MK3 is a great interface that instantly maps to TRAKTOR and gives you tactile, deep control of everything in your computer. If you want to get more involved in live remixing, the KONTROL F1 is a fantastic way to chop up and layer stems, looks, one-hit samples and other sounds to keep your mix exciting and live.

3. DJ headphones

DJ headphones are probably the most visible piece of DJ equipment that crowds notice. Standing in a club, most audience members will see at DJs headphones and none of their gear. More important than how they look to the crowd, is how they sound and feel to the DJ. The sounds you hear in the headphones are a preview of what your audience will hear—so you want to make sure you hear everything properly. And if you’re going to be performing a lot, you want something that feels comfortable and is durable enough to last.

Some things to consider with beginner DJ headphones—you’ll want wired connections. Wireless headphones often use lower quality or slower connections, and these can make it harder to be sure you’re hearing the music correctly. A wired connection is stable, and instantaneous. You’ll also want over-the-ear, closed-back headphones. Earbuds will not block out other sounds sufficiently to allow you to isolate the channels you need to preview.

Audio Technica’s ATH-M20x professional monitor headphones are a good choice for a reasonably priced, entry-level pair of headphones for DJing.

Audio Technica ATH-M20x Headphones

Other options to consider are the Sennheiser HD 25 LIGHT headphones, which are closed, dynamic headphones that are lightweight and decently priced.

Sennheiser HD 25 LIGHT headphones

If you’re still looking for DJ headphones, the Sony MDR7506 headphones are another pair to consider.

4. Speakers and monitors

You don’t need a mobile sound system to be a DJ. Most DJs simply connect to the sound system of the venue where they’re performing. But every DJ needs to practice, and to practice at home requires a set of monitors that allow you to hear what you’re playing. Good monitors will give you an accurate sense of how your mix sounds, and allow you to decide which transitions, mixes, effects and track selections will work best in advance of your performance.

Here are some affordable monitors you can use to get accustomed to hearing your mixes when you practice. Remember that the size of your room will help you decide the size of the monitor you need. Practice monitors don’t need to be big, they just need to help you hear everything clearly.

The ROKIT G4 monitor system is a solid set to use for DJing.


Another great choice to consider is the Adam Audio T5V monitor system specifically designed for small control rooms—including the bedroom where you’re practicing your DJing.

5. DJ software

DJ software plays a crucial role in the modern DJing by providing DJs with powerful tools for creating seamless mixes and engaging performances. It enables precise control over tempo, beat matching, and song transitions, allowing DJs to craft unique and dynamic sets.

Moreover, DJ software facilitates experimentation and innovation, empowering artists to push creative boundaries and explore new genres and styles of music.

TRAKTOR PRO 3 is a DJ software that offers a comprehensive suite of features designed to enhance performance and creativity. With its intuitive interface and extensive library management capabilities, TRAKTOR PRO 3 enables DJs to seamlessly mix tracks, apply effects, and manipulate audio in real-time, providing a powerful toolset for professional DJs and enthusiasts alike.



TRAKTOR PRO PLUS is an add-on subscription that gives you even more features including the TRAKTOR Pattern Player, the integrated Ozone Maximizer, exclusive bespoke Pattern Player artist kits from renowned DJs, and more.



6. Additional DJ equipment

Depending on which equipment you choose, you might need a few other pieces to help things. If you’ve chosen to use TRAKTOR software to DJ with, you’ll need a computer, and if you plan to travel to gigs, you will probably want it to be a portable solution like a laptop. Additionally, if you’re traveling with a laptop and controllers, you will probably want protective carriers for your controllers. The TRAKTOR controllers have a range of flight case options for the KONTROL S2, S3 and S4, as well as the KONTROL bag for the X1, Z1 and F1 models.

TRAKTOR flight case

You’ll probably also need cables, as every device needs a stable and high quality connection.

The TRAKTOR DJ Cable allows you to have headphone pre-listening while an output is simultaneously routed to another output. This can be great for mobile setups, or collaborative back-to-back performing with another DJ.




Start DJing with the best DJ equipment

Overall, starting to DJ may look intimidating, but getting a few essential pieces of beginner DJ equipment can make it easier and exciting! Everyone starts somewhere, and the key is to choose what works best for you, and what inspires you to create the best mixes. Learn even more about DJing by discovering how to make your first DJ set, how to start DJing, and how to work with four-deck DJing.

Explore TRAKTOR DJ Equipment

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