Make no mistake about it – no piece of hardware is more important for an aspiring DJ than a decent controller. All well and good if you already know your way around DJ kits, but what if you’re setting yourself up with a home rig for the first time?
With such a huge range of options to choose from, narrowing things down to the perfect DJ controller can be tricky. Nevertheless, the whole thing can be simplified by keeping the following five considerations in mind:
1) Modular or All-in-One?
Personal preference plays a role here, but anyone looking to keep things simple, compact and affordable should stick with an all-in-one controller. Something like the Numark Mixtrack FX, which packs pretty much everything you’ll need into a compact and super-affordable device that’s also perfectly portable. There’s nothing specifically ‘wrong’ with separates – it’s just that you need to buy multiple components, connectors and accessories to make things happen. With an all-in-one controller, that’s all you need.
2) Software Inclusion
You probably won’t know what kind of software you like best until you actually try it out, for obvious reasons. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that whichever way you go, decent DJ software suites can be seriously expensive. Hence, it’s best to look for a DJ controller that comes with a solid suite of software included in the bundle. Even if it’s not the top-shelf version of the software package in question, it’ll be more than enough to get you started and keep you going for a while at least.
3) CD Players or USB?
Let’s put it this way – the vast majority of newcomers who go for the CD player option end up wishing they’d gone digital. As in USB digital, tapping into their complete library of music stored in a ‘virtual’ capacity, as opposed to in the form of physical compact discs. Even if your entire music library is currently CD-based, it’s worth taking the time to digitise it and catalogue it on a hard drive of some sort. It’s all for the sake of making life easier for yourself as you get to grips with DJing.
4) Old vs New
It can be tempting to pick up an older DJ controller that was once considered cutting-edge for a super-low price, as opposed to picking up something current for the same kind of price. However, technological advances come thick and fast in this game, meaning older controllers can quickly start to feel outdated. Plus, what was considered cutting-edge say five years ago is more or less what you’ll get in a midrange or entry-level device right now, so there’s really no need to sell yourself short.
5) Buy Outright or Finance?
Last up, it’s never a good idea to let price alone be your primary decision-making factor. If there’s a controller you absolutely love but it’s not quite within your budget, you can always consider DJ finance to spread the costs. Think more about the long-term value for money you’ll get out of the purchase, when your investment in your future pro DJ career eventually pays off.