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Essential DJ Equipment for Sound Mixing

by Paul Sanders

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You might not need the most advanced audio components and DJ equipment to start, but you will want a few basics to give you the ability to mix audio that sounds professional. These DJ equipment components will help you get started mixing audio and give you a basic foundation for building a professional setup that will sound great.

Basic DJ Equipment:

  1. Turntables: The richness of sound from vinyl records is hard to duplicate, and the sound can add a quality to your recordings that is essential for good sound mixing. One or two turntables should be part of any DJ equipment setup. USB turntables plug directly into your computer or soundboard for easy recording and mixing, as well as external control of rotation speed and other settings. Some DJ equipment, like mixers, may include built-in turntables, but individual mixers and turntables are more easily portable.

  2. Slip-mats: Experimenting with scratching, beat-matching and slip-cueing requires that you be able to hold or pull the record while the turntable continues spinning underneath. Adding a few slip-mats to the turntable will give you finer control over the record without damaging the underside of the record.

  3. DJ cartridges: A few backup cartridges and record needles are great things to have on your DJ equipment list. Continuing to play on worn needles can degrade your sound quality, which is essential for your recordings. Your turntables will come with a few styli (needles), but you may want to replace them with styli that have elliptical-shaped tips, which are preferred among many professionals for recording.

  4. Mixer: The most basic piece of DJ equipment is your mixer or control system. While you can use software to do a lot of mixing on your computer, you'll still have to connect your multi-track recorder and other DJ equipment to some device, which can then pass the audio to your computer. Often, your laptop will not have enough USB ports to accommodate all your DJ equipment, and mixers will often have other ports to accommodate microphones and speaker connections as well, so a separate mixer or control panel is essential.

  5. Headphones: You will need the most accurate sound possible to mix sound levels properly, which means a reliable set of headphones is one of your most critical pieces of DJ equipment. Over-ear headphones will also help block out ambient sounds.

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