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HOW TO BUILD A BEGINNER DJ SETUP – Best Guide for Beginners

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Building a DJ setup can seem like an overwhelming task and can confuse any beginner DJ. This is because there is a large variety of equipment as well as options to choose from. It would only make sense to invest in what’s required to develop the perfect performance.


When looking at DJ setups, you will come across various options as well, where some will require less equipment and others will be a bit more advanced. For heads up the most basic DJ setup will require a laptop, software, mixer, turntables, and so on.

We have gathered here all the information on how to build a beginner DJ setup. Without any further due, let’s dive into different DJ setups.

Different DJ Setups

Just like any other setup, DJ setup ranges from simple to more complex one. The simplest one includes a laptop, the right software as well as turntables (CD or vinyl), and a mixer. If you wish to upgrade the setup, you can add DJ controllers which come with built-in turntables, sliders, and other controls.

Equipment of DJ Setups

A DJ setup consists of six components which are the key to producing the perfect mix and performing live. The most important equipment for every DJ setup consists of speakers, mixers, turntables, headphones, laptops, and DJ software. A single setup can’t be considered universal. This is because the setup depends on your preference mainly.

  1. Input device

As the name indicates, it is a simple device that is used to input songs into the DJ rig. Input devices consist of turntables, CD players, laptops, and cassette players. The most common type of input devices that DJs opt for are turntables. Let’s take a deeper look at them.

Turntables: It is most likely that you have always seen a DJ with a classic vinyl turntable. It is the most common choice for a DJ setup that will allow you to incorporate classic tracks to impress your audience. The drawback of turntables is that they are expensive and bulkier than CD players.


CD Players: If you are a DJ or an aspiring one, you will probably have plenty of CDs in your collection. These are the cheaper option comparatively; however, you might lose the essence of authenticity.


  1. Mixer

This is the core of any DJ setup. It combines multiple input devices, and allows DJs to shift between input devices as well as use a microphone. It lets the DJ to transition from one song to another.


An ideal mixer for a beginner DJ setup consists of four channels that are used to connect different analog players. These channels have different controls, like a fader for adjusting the volume, a trim control to control the input level, and a CUE button. Other additional features in a mixer consist of Delay, Multi-Tap Delay, Roll, Filter and Phaser effects, and Reverse Roll. Let’s have a quick overview of the controls of a basic mixer.

Crossfader: It allows you to effectively move between different tunes. It makes your tasks as a DJ much more efficient by providing you the ability to cut and do numerous different tricks.

Sliders: The sliders control the bass, lows, and highs. These slides are quite flexible and easy to use.

Earphone Jack: Make sure that your chosen mixer comes with an earphone jack. This will allow you to directly plug in your headphones and listen to the track in one ear, without requiring figuring out where you are blending.

Sound Meter: This meter will allow you to monitor the loudness of your music. It is simple. When it turns red, it means that the music it too loud, loud enough to blow out your speakers.

Other Controls: You might see some other switches to execute the lows, mids, and highs. You might also look out for extra inputs if you are planning to use an extra turntable or another musical gadget.

  1. Sound System

This is another of the most important pieces of equipment in a DJ setup. It consists of a pair of stereo speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers. Some speakers come with built-in amps as well.


The different types of speakers you can find in the market consist of bookshelves and computer speakers. They allow for amplifying your desired frequencies for a perfect outcome. Most sound systems come with an aux port that makes it easy to use cell phones, laptops, or other sources. Speakers can be either active or passive. Active speakers have self-contained amplifiers and power whereas, passive speakers require an additional amp and power supply.

The two most common types of speakers that can be found in the market are monitor speakers and PA speakers.

Monitor Speakers: These are the basic type of speakers with nothing dynamic and are designed to monitor the music. They are quite cheap and don’t require incorporation with your DJ setup. Mostly, DJs use such speakers to listen to their mixes as it provides them with the exact representation of what their audience is hearing.

PA Speakers: The other types of speakers are the PA speakers which are perfect for getting the bassy sound. They require an extra amp and power supply.

  1. Headphones

How will you look like a DJ without the classic DJ headphones? They are used to preview music tracks and their listings and mix tunes with precision. It is a crucial accessory for a DJ setup.


The three most important things to consider while choosing the perfect headphones for your DJ setup are accuracy in the low end, noise isolation, and rotating ear cups. Another important factor to consider while choosing the most suitable headphones is comfort and flexibility.

  1. Computer Hardware

It isn’t the most essential of equipment for your DJ setup; however, it is surely a safer option for beginners. A laptop or Mac Book will allow you to load everything and provide a high performance.


If you decide to opt for this modern controller, make sure your laptop with Windows has at least an i5 processor and RAM of at least 16 GB.

  1. Software and DAWs

This is an important component of a DJ setup. If you are using a laptop, you will require proper software to run the mixes through.


DAW or Digital Audio Workstations allows you to play samples, edit loops and manage your entire mix. You will find a number of DAWs in the market with each DAW offering different features.

  1. DJ Controllers

DJ controllers come with a mixer as well as a turntable meaning that you have a simple device for pretty much everything. You will require a laptop with it. They come with knobs, faders, touch strips, encoders, jog wheels, and other controls allowing you to mix music through the software.

  1. Microphone

If you wish to interact with your audience, a microphone is a perfect equipment for you. Using a microphone requires an XLR cable for connection as well.

Tips for Building a Beginner DJ Setup

You went through all the equipment required for a DJ setup; now let’s take a look at what is the most suitable option as a beginner for you based on certain factors like cost and ease of use.

DJ Controller or Mixer

Knowing the required equipment isn’t enough to have the most efficient and suitable for you. It can be a daunting task to choose the right equipment according to your preference. A DJ controller is a more compact, budget-friendly, and easy-to-use option. It eases the process of cueing up, crossfading, and manipulating tracks. These controllers will allow you to easily transition from one song to another. They support built-in media players and also allow Bluetooth connectivity. This means you can control using a single device only.

Karaoke Equipment

Karaoke Equipment is cheap and easy to use as compared to professional DJ equipment. However, such equipment isn’t suitable for bigger audiences and works for smaller parties only.


Small speakers aren’t capable to touch high frequencies and it is recommended to invest in a subwoofer to bring bass sounds to your party.

Bundled Package

You can find a number of value bundled packages in the market. These bundles will provide you with all the equipment at a very good price.

How to build a beginner DJ setup

After choosing the right equipment for you, now let’s take a look at the setup process.

  1. Turntable DJ Setup What You’ll Require

  • DJ Turntables x 2
  • DJ Cartridges x 2
  • DJ Mixer
  • DJ Headphones
  • Vinyl Records
  • RCA Cable
  • Slipmats

Things to Know

This is the most fundamental step of the DJ setup and it is recommended to start your setup with this.

  1. Turntable DJ Setup using DJ Software

What You’ll Require

  • DJ Turntables x 2
  • DJ Cartridges x 2
  • DJ Mixer
  • DJ Headphones
  • Computer/Laptop
  • DJ Interface Package
  • Slipmats

Things to Know

A DJ Interface Package usually comes with an interface, software, and all required cables. This type of setup is usually preferred professional DJs and will allow you to play both vinyl records and digital files. Apart from this, such software also comes with many additional features.

  1. CDJ DJ Setup

What You’ll Require

  • CDJ DJ Turntables x 2
  • DJ Mixer
  • DJ Headphones
  • CDs or MP3s

Things to Know

This type of setup will offer more control as compared to a turntable setup. CD turntables are capable of playing digital files from USB drives. They also allow you to create custom CDs to play.

  1. CDJ DJ Setup using DJ Software

What You’ll Require

  • CDJ DJ Turntables x 2
  • DJ Mixer
  • DJ Headphones
  • Computer
  • DJ Interface Package

Things to Know

This type of setup is preferred by most professionals. It will allow you to play both CDs and digital files.

  1. DJ Controller Setup

What You’ll Require

  • DJ Controller
  • Computer
  • DJ Software

Things to Know

It allows tactile control of music as well as customizes controller setup according to your preference. It is also very portable.

Rent or Buy

Another important thing to consider while starting up as a DJ is whether to rent or buy DJ equipment. Renting equipment is the best option for DJs that don’t have the budget to purchase all the equipment. This is also preferred for beginners until they don’t feel comfortable and confident enough to spend a good amount on DJ equipment. Another pro of renting out the equipment is that you don’t have to worry about regular maintenance. It also allows you to test various brands before choosing your preferred one.

Buying the complete setup also has its advantages as it allows you to create your own fully customized DJ setup. However, it will require a good investment.


What equipment is needed for a beginner DJ?

For the simplest DJ setup, you can use your laptop and suitable software. Additionally, you can also opt for two turntables and a mixer.

Can you DJ with just a laptop?

Yes, you can play DJ with just your laptop.

Why does DJ wear headphones?

They wear headphones to listen to the tracks they are about to mix in the song track that is already playing.

What kind of speakers do I need to DJ?

The minimum size of the DJ speaker must be 8 inches. If your venue is small don’t play bass-heavy music.

Is it hard to learn to DJ?

It isn’t hard to learn to DJ but at the same time, it isn’t an overnight success as well. It takes work, time, and hustle.

Do DJs still use CDs?

Yes, DJs still use CDs, mainly for promotional reasons, to promote their brand.

Can I DJ without a controller?

Yes, you can DJ without a controller using DJ software and the keys present on the keyboard of your computer.

What do DJs do when they turn knobs?

The knobs are used to control everything from volume to effects and bass and treble and so on.

Do DJs have to buy their music?

Most DJs get their music from paid or free legal online sources. They buy it based on the per song, per month on a subscription basis, or download it legally for free.

How much power does a DJ need?

Most DJ gear uses about 1500-2500 watts in stereo mode or 2000-5000 watts in mono mode.


There isn’t any ideal DJ setup as it highly depends on your preference. Being a beginner you will need a setup that is lightweight and flexible. You must also look into the brands as equipment from a well-known brand is more likely to produce better results.

Once you are familiar with how to build a beginner DJ setup, all you need is to start and practice your setup. After following this guide you will be able to use your creativity and develop technical skills to produce music and blends.

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