Being a DJ these days is technically easier than ever. You no longer need to pay for studio time or expensive production equipment just to mix and basic DJ equipment is more reasonably priced than ever. In fact many new DJs will tell you that the most difficult aspect of learning how to DJ is learning how to DJ. Mastering equipment is no longer the big uphill battle it used to be, learning the skills and techniques will take up most of your time.
I’m not talking about anything you have to buy as a DJ; right now we are just talking about the laptop you plan to make your DJ laptop. Is it old as hell and on its last leg? Does it have enough CPU and RAM to run big programs required by DJ software?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions this is where your search for DJ equipment will begin. You don’t want to spend money on hardware and software for your future as a DJ before you have a computer than can handle the power. Either way you’ll have to buy something else, but if you take a look at the needs of your DJ software you can get a laptop that will last during your first few years as a working DJ.
For example you should look to have at least 4GB of RAM plus an extra drive. The goal is to get a machine that meets your needs so you don’t have to lug around a ton of excess gear from gig to gig.
The good and bad news as a digital DJ is that there are plenty of different DJ software programs from which you can choose. Depending on how much you’ve looked into software you are probably familiar with Virtual DJ, Serato and Traktor. But those are just some of the most popular ones, there are others that you may want to look into such as MIXXX and Ableton. Some DJs have their favorites and they don’t tend to stray from it unless given a good reason. They aren’t as hardcore as Mac vs. PC, but it comes pretty close.
You will notice that many of these software programs have LE’s (light editions) that come without a ton of the features the full program offers. In fact some DJ hardware comes with a LE version so you can test it out before you commit.
I suggest you go online first and look at the specs for the different software programs and figure out what features are most important to you. Is customization a priority for you or do you prefer a friendly user interface? Then you should take it old school and by that I mean head to an actual store where you can get this equipment and get a feel for it. It’s the one thing you can’t get online and it may make a difference.
While most DJ equipment is created mostly equally the decision comes down to how it feels for you.
You don’t have to be a techie in order to be a DJ…but a does help. While it’s true that I’m nowhere near being a computer expert over the years I have learned a lot about computers because it is essential to my job.
I not only know words that used to make no sense to me—CPU, RAM, SSD & operating system—but I know what they mean and what’s good and what’s not. This will help you figure out when you need to upgrade and when you can hang on for a bit longer. As a DJ you will be self-employed and running your own business, which means you need to know the ins and outs of your business…including the hardware that allows you to be a DJ.
Chances are good that as a wannabe DJ you already have a substantial music collection and that is fantastic. However before you just dump your entire DJ music library into your new DJ laptop, you need to go through all the songs and make sure they have solid sound quality. You don’t want crappy copies ripped from a concert to make it into your playlist so weed out the tracks that are for “personal use” and those that are for “work”.
You want to store your tracks on the computer but you don’t want them to take up too much space, which is where additional storage comes in quite handy.
Once you have sorted out all of your DJ equipment from hardware to software it is now time to learn how to DJ fast so you can start working. Sign up for DJ courses, get a mentor and start performing!
I hope you are now prepared to go out and get the DJ equipment you need for all your future DJ gigs. Email in the box below to get access to Free video DJ lessons that will answer all of your questions on how to become a disk jockey!
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