The Best DJ Equipment (Review & Comparison)
Of 2020 – Our Top Picks Reviewed
Good DJing takes a combination of skill and equipment, having the right gear is just as important as knowing how to use it. Below is our list of some of The Best DJ Equipment in 2020, as well as the reasons they are worth buying for your next DJing gig.
If it’s your first time buying DJing gear, you might find a huge variety of different tools and options confusing. Thankfully, you don’t need everything to be a good DJ – you just need to be smart with what you’re buying.
Below are 12 of the best DJing products we could find, along with some explanations of what makes them worth your time and money.
The Products We Reviewed – Click to go
The Best DJ Controller
1. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3 DJ Controller
Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.3 x 2.4 inches – Weight: 9.48 lbs – Channels: 4
The best controller we have found so far is the Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3, by Native Instruments. The built-in mixer means that you don’t need to have a separate one in your setup, and the haptic drive gives it more force-feedback than a standard set of turntables, making it easier to hit different cue points and get the timing right on complex beats. It also allows you to adjust the speed of tracks in two different modes and uses a Jog mode to sync them up, giving you more freedom in how you arrange each track.
This controller fixes one problem that many models run into – the DJ isn’t forced to keep looking at the screen. This might let you keep track of other settings on different devices, or interact with the crowd more, which can make a big difference if you are a relatively unknown DJ who needs to build up their reputation. It also relies on color-coding to distinguish different settings, so you can keep track of each track’s tempo and filters without needing to lose focus on everything else around you.
The Best DJ Turntable
2. RANE DJ Digital DJ Turntable (Twelve)
Dimensions: 5.2 x 14.6 x 16.2 inches – Weight: 20.5 lbs – Decks: Up to 4 decks of control
The Digital DJ 12-inch turntable by Rane DJ is our choice for the best turntable so far. The entire unit is designed to prevent audio feedback and inaccurate performance, which can lead to a direct increase in the quality of your performance as a DJ. The lack of a needle avoids many of the skipping and stuttering problems that can happen on damaged turntables, which also means that it is much easier to transport them without having to worry about the needles breaking and ruining your entire setup.
It keeps the classic vinyl turntable design and adds multiple useful features, including the ability to set up cue points and skip to your favorite moments in a track – you can also do this with the needle search feature, which gives you the option of skipping a large part of the track and getting to the highlights. This skips a lot of the unnecessary fiddling you’d need to do with a regular turntable and opens up some extra creative possibilities if you’re putting together your own personal remix.
The Best DJ Mixer
3. Behringer X-32 Compact
32 Programmable MIDAS Preamps – Dimensions 20.8″ x 35.4″ x 7.9″ – Weight: 45.4 lbs
The Behringer X-32 Compact is a relatively small controller that offers 40 different input channels and 25 buses to work with, giving you much more flexibility as a DJ and opening up lots of opportunities to experiment with your music. It also has 17 different faders and 16 programmable preamplifiers, cutting down on the amount of distortion and quality problems you’ll run into while giving you greater control over how you manage each track. As the name suggests, it’s compact, so it’s easy to store or carry if you’re moving to a new venue.
Helpfully, the X-32 can connect directly to USB speakers, or record straight into a flash drive if you want to have a particular track pre-prepared. It has a total of 8 XLR outputs and 6 extra connection points, so you won’t need to struggle with cable-to-cable connections if you’re adding it to an existing DJ setup. While it might be intimidating for new DJs who haven’t had experience with mixers before, it isn’t a bad starting point, and it comes with over 50 built-in FX plug-ins to get you started.
For more information on the Behringer X-32 Compact, see our full review
The Best DJ Speaker
4. Bose L1 Compact
6-speaker articulated line array – Outputs: 2 – Inputs: 4 –Dimensions 16.8″ x 13.2″ x 78.5″ – Weight: 26.9 lbs
The Bose L1 Compact is a very tall, thin speaker that doesn’t take up much space, something you’ll appreciate in smaller venues where you don’t have much room to work with – you can even keep it collapsed to minimize its size without reducing its performance very much.
Alternatively, if you connect all of its extra components to make it reach full height, it’s able to use six separate speakers all at once. Each loudspeaker is designed to spread sound evenly rather than in a single direction, allowing it to cover a wider area and making it easier for everybody to hear the music properly.
Its size makes it perfect for on-the-move DJs, but it still comes with multiple useful extra features, like the built-in bass speaker and audio amplifier. It also includes an integrated mixer that can connect to up to six other devices (two outputs, four inputs) and apply various different dynamic pre-sets, giving you a way to spread these audio adjustments to other speakers without having to connect every cable back to your DJ’s booth.
For more information on the Bose L1 Compact, see our full review
The Best DJ Headphone
5. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO
Weight: 10.2 ounces – Wireless: No – Wired for studio use – Type: Over-Ear
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO headphones are meant for audio mixing, offering high audio quality from a three-meter cable that gives you more freedom of movement. While it’s a general-purpose design, DJs will appreciate the extra padding and durable materials built into its design, as well as the over-ear sections that dampen background noise slightly. They’re also able to correctly capture low-bass sounds, something that many DJs can miss that might affect the way their music sounds when it’s actually being performed.
The single-sided cable makes these headphones much less complex to set up and use, so they can be a great addition to an on-the-move DJ’s mixing setup. Alternatively, they can double as ear protection if you’re performing near your speakers and are able to give you a better idea of how loud you’ve turned up or boosted the bass. Regardless of where you’re using them, they provide much greater audio quality than simple earbuds and make each track much easier to hear, especially if you want to be sure that the bass will sound right in a larger venue.
The Best Music Production Software
6. Ableton Live 10
Mac and Windows Platforms · Unlimited Audio Mixing Software and MIDI Tracks · 5000+ sounds, 57 effects and 10 instruments
The software can be a tricky part of your DJ setup to get right, but the Ableton Live 10 suite contains everything you might need to DJ like a professional. This includes things like the ability to sync up different pieces of music automatically, removing most of the frustration that can come from combining tracks with different BPMs. You’re also able to use this to warp the speed of live music in real-time, which can create some really unique effects. It has full compatibility with a range of recording hardware and real-world instruments as well as midi files, and you can import or record as many tracks as you need into a single project.
Like a lot of music software, Live 10 also comes with pre-made sounds: in this case, it’s over 70 GB of samples and loops that you can apply to any song, as well as multiple different effects and ten special instruments for creating your own beats and transitions. Not only does it work well for pre-made tracks, but you can use it to improvise during a live performance.
The Best DJ Laptop For Music Production
7. Asus ZenBook Flip S
Dimensions: 12.2″ x 8.3″ x 0.4″ – Weight: 2.4 lbs – Storage: 256GB-512GB – Display: 13.3-inch FHD Touch
The Asus ZenBook Flip S is a touchscreen laptop that has a fully-flappable display, allowing you to use it at a wide range of different angles, or even as a tablet device. The thin and light body makes it easy to store for on-the-move performances, but it’s still strong enough to deal with large pieces of software and live performances, reducing the chance of it crashing at a crucial moment. The touchscreen makes it far easier to change your software settings quickly and removes the need to carry around a mouse at all times.
The laptop has around 11 hours of average battery life and a fast-charging system that reduces how much downtime you’ll need to deal with, letting you perform or compose for long periods of time without constantly needing to recharge. Although it’s not too important, the backlit keyboard also makes it much easier to see each key in the dark, which can be incredibly useful in a darker club or midnight performance where consistent light isn’t really available.
The Best DJ Booth
8. Liteconsole Elite Portable DJ Booth
Dimensions: Fully opened: 1190 (high) X 1240 (wide) X 700mm (deep – Weight: 65 lbs
When it comes to a DJ booth, the Liteconsole Elite Portable DJ Booth is a very good choice. It doesn’t include any extreme features or built-in lighting displays, but it’s a straightforward booth that offers a lot of flexibility. There are two interior shelves, both with open rear sections, to keep cables clear and untangled. It also comes with some shatterproof side panels that you can use as light-up sections, as well as plastic feet that reduce the vibrations that’ll be going back into your equipment. Once it’s taken down, you can use the three-strap harness to keep all of its parts in one place.
The frame is made with sturdy aluminum that you can easily replace or cover-up, meaning that you can customize it without having to build the entire booth from scratch, and the design of the interior shelves helps everything stay together under the weight of your gear. While it doesn’t seem very fancy at first, the Elite is very versatile and has a lot of room for custom modifications or designs.
The Best Speaker Stand
9. Roland Speaker Stand
Telescopes for custom height adjustment – Weight: 6.45 lbs – Carrying bag with shoulder strap
The Roland DJ gear stand gives you a flat, easy-to-set-up gear stand that isn’t designed for any specific tool or piece of equipment, letting you configure it to support any part of your setup. The most obvious feature is the two small arms on the top surface, which can be used to hold a laptop or tablet in place – these are adjustable and can be moved left and right to get the perfect size for your device.
The legs of the table are also slightly adjustable, and you can extend or retract the neck section to raise and lower the table to your preferred height. The stand’s surface doesn’t pivot, but you can screw it in at any angle you like, and it won’t suddenly slip or dip down if it’s holding an unbalanced piece of gear. The design is quite minimalistic, which can work for a lot of DJs – it avoids the problem of having to repaint or cover over a stand that sticks out from the rest of your setup.
Best DJ Lighting System
10. Chauvet DJ GigBAR2 system
Dimensions: 1185 x 110 x 386.5 mm – Weight: 25.6 lbs – 4-in-1 light
If you ever need to bring your own lighting, the Chauvet DJ GigBAR2 system is a good choice, including four different lights that can all be set up to operate at different angles. It comes with a remote that you can use to quickly adjust the lighting movement speeds, effects, and colors in an instant, and each lighting head is fully interchangeable to give you more control over how they’re organized.
You can also use a wireless foot switch to adjust the lights if your hands are busy, which can be useful if you want the lights to change in time with the music. The “blackout” option lets you quickly kill the lights for dramatic effect, and there’s even a sound-activated setting that’ll make it automatically randomize its colors and effects to fit the current track, cutting out the need for you to keep track of the lights as well as the music. While it’s not the most portable choice, it has a removable tripod, truss brackets, and carry bags to give you more transport and setup options.
Best Fog Machine
11. ADJ Low Lying Fog Machine
Dimensions: 21. 38″ x 18. 11″ x 24. 9″ – Weight: 93.7 lbs – Massive fog output of 550 sq. m/5920 sq. ft – Dual Element Heating system
Fog machines are great for creating a certain kind of atmosphere, and the Low Lying Fog Machine by ADJ Products has enough settings to let you integrate it into your DJ setup properly. As the name implies, it’s a low-lying machine that keeps the smoke close to the floor, stopping it from getting in your face or covering your view of the audience. It has a motorized dry ice basket that slowly uses up any dry ice you add to it, rather than all of it being used up at once.
The fog machine has an electronic temperature control system with a 4-section design that can increase or decrease the amount of fog being produced at any time, giving you a way to intensify or stop the fog at key moments of the current track you’re playing. At its highest settings, it can output a huge 550 square meters of fog, enough to cover large venues without forcing you to set up and connect multiple fog machines together. Once you pack it up, it sits in a big-wheeled box that’s easy to push around.
Best DJ Carry Case
12. Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 MK2
Dimensions: 24 x 12 x 16 inches – Weight: 9.2 lbs – Rolling backpack designed to carry most 25-note controllers and laptops
A carrying case can be your best friend when you’re moving your gear around, and Gator’s GK-LT25W carrying case might be one of the best. It’s a very lightweight backpack-style wheeled case that can carry almost any kind of controller, mixer, laptop or another device, and has exterior storage slots that can hold all of the cables and extra equipment you might need. You won’t have to worry about everything bashing together since the inside is padded properly to prevent that kind of accidental damage.
While it’s not as portable as a backpack and has a smaller overall size than many large briefcases or wheeled storage units, the LT25W is a good mixture of both, so you’ll find it useful if you’re constantly on the move to new venues. You can remove the wheels and handle if needed, so you’re not forced to use them if it’s inconvenient. In addition, the outside is made with tough nylon that’s able to deal with light weather damage and small bumps, which is something many carrying bags and cases struggle with.
How We Chose The Best DJ Equipment In Our List
These products all share something in common – versatility. Being able to adjust your DJ equipment is important, especially if you want to develop your own personal style and visual theme. You never know when you might come up with a gimmick or technique that sets you aside from other DJs, and having the option of adjusting or customizing your gear can make it much more comfortable to use. There’s also the added benefit of having a more intimate understanding of your gear since you’ll have spent time setting it up and adjusting it – this makes it much easier to fix problems you run into in the future.
DJ Equipment Buying Guide
How do I choose DJ equipment?
A basic DJ setup doesn’t need all that much to work properly. Many people can get by with two turntables and/or a CDJ music player, a controller, and a laptop, although it’s generally a good idea to avoid buying the bare minimum. Along with some headphones and a speaker or two, these are the essentials that almost every DJ will have, whether they’re performing on a public stage or just doing it as a hobby.
When it comes to choosing your new DJ equipment, don’t just think about the price. Although it is an important factor to consider, but it’s not the only thing you should care about. While it might be tempting to go for the cheapest option when it comes to speakers or a laptop, it can dramatically affect the quality of your performances, and it might even cause technical problems that are hard to fix.
Ideally, you’ll want gear with a good mix of everything: enough reliability to avoid breaking during a performance, enough flexibility to work around different venues or setups, and a price that’s within your budget. DJing is a tough job, and you need to be prepared for situations where basic equipment won’t be enough.
There’s always one extremely important factor to consider when you’re buying any piece of DJ equipment – how important your DJing will be. If it’s your primary source of income and a large part of your life, then feel free to pay whatever is necessary to get the best gear. If it’s only a little hobby that you don’t practice often, it’s smarter to be a bit more careful with your budget. That’s not to say that you can’t buy something more expensive, but you need to look at DJing in the long term and figure out how much you’re willing to spend on it.
What should I look for?
Different people have different preferences when it comes to buying DJ gear, but you’ll often find that the situation is the same regardless of your DJing style or technical requirements. For example, most DJing equipment on the market these days support both digital music files and physical CDs, so you could end up buying the exact same music player or controller either way.
Perhaps the most important part of buying music-related equipment is the audio quality: the worse your music sounds, the less professional you’ll look, and it generally comes down to the quality of your speakers. Even if you’re using a cheap laptop or turntable setup, high-quality speakers can make your music sound so much better.
Price and quality aren’t the only things that matter. Remember that DJing is quite a mobile job, and you will often have to move to different venues that will have completely new setups, sizes, and audio systems. You can’t rely on the idea that you’ll have everything in the same place at the same time, so gear that’s easy to carry and quick to set up can be incredibly useful if you’re often moving to new locations.
Finally, don’t let yourself get blinded by popular brands or endorsements from other DJs. You need to focus on your requirements and build a DJ setup that fits your needs, rather than anybody else’s. This might be the difference between your first gig going flawlessly or becoming a technical disaster.
Is there anything else I might need?
The last thing you want is to be surprised with extra costs, so it’s important to know if you’ll need to buy anything else in the future. Once you have a working DJ setup, you’re technically ready to start DJing, but that’s often not the case. You might suddenly realize that you need a way to carry all your gear, or a venue might ask that you bring your own lights and sound systems. If you’re working for a specific venue exclusively, they might even ask you to get a DJ’s booth set up. All of this translates to higher costs, more work, and a deeper hit to your budget.
The biggest problem with gathering your gear is that the basics don’t always stand out. The equipment itself is the flashy part, with carrying cases and DJ tables being overlooked by a lot of new DJs. You might never have even considered purchasing a DJ booth or a laptop stand, but they can make a significant difference to both your performance and your experience as a DJ.
If you’re still interested in getting hold of some brand new DJ equipment, then hopefully this list will have given you a few ideas to help you find the right gear. Remember: your DJ setup is a very personal thing, and only you can decide what you need. All of the equipment we’ve listed here should be versatile enough for most DJs, but don’t be afraid to branch out and add something extra to your setup if it catches your eye!
How much would I have to spend?
DJ gear can cost as much as you need it to since there’s always cheaper and more expensive options available. However, remember what was mentioned earlier – cheaper speakers, mixers, and other important pieces of gear can lead to cheaper-sounding performances, so you’ll need to decide what you can sacrifice without ruining your sound quality.
Should I buy DJ gear used by my favorite DJ?
Most professional DJs use good equipment, so it’s reasonable to go for the gear they use. Just keep in mind that it might not be suitable for entry-level users or hobbyists, so you might be too overwhelmed to use the gear properly.
How do I maintain my DJ equipment?
DJ equipment is like a regular musical instrument – keep the equipment in a bag, consider insuring the expensive parts, keep it away from water or drinks, and don’t leave it somewhere unattended. After each show, wipe them down and clean them, just in case.