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Portable DJ Buying Guide

Portable DJ Buying Guide

Have you ever been to a club or attended a party and thought…you know what, I could do that? There was a time when building a DJ rig required a great deal of expertise and money. When zZounds got our start in 1996, physical turntables, mixers, vinyl and CDs were the tools of the trade. Today, your computer or iOS device houses your virtual crates of music, and all you need to load and play tracks is a portable DJ controller.

Although this buying guide might not be for superstar DJs, it's a great entry point for the rest of us. While you're working your way up the DJ ranks, wouldn’t it be nice to earn a grand by spending less than one? In this guide, we’ll show you the gear you need to get started.
Portable, Affordable DJ Controllers with Audio Interfaces
The foundation of any good DJ setup begins with two audio decks and a mixer. Play one song, then fade it into another, and congratulations: you’re a DJ. As you're thinking up a cool DJ name (also an important step), there's no need to lug around heavy record turntables or CDJs. Modern DJ controllers have replaced vinyl platters and CD trays with grippy, hands-on jog wheels. Your controller's mixer panel gives you control over classic DJ tools like EQs, filters, crossfades, and pitch faders. Interfacing with "virtual crate" software like Serato, rekordbox, Traktor Pro, or Virtual DJ, these controllers let you apply classic DJ techniques like scratching, cross-fading, pitch-shifting, and cueing as seamlessly as ever before.

The great thing about modern compact DJ controllers is that they allow you to do things that would have been a struggle in the old days -- or would have required tons of external gear. The ability to reliably prepare DJ sets ahead of time is an obvious win. Or how about saving tons of cue points in one song? That's a boon for all you mashup artists out there. How about applying all sorts of audio effects on the fly, without having to truck along separate devices? We’ve all heard the hits, but imagine them sonically twisted in ways no one has heard them before.

At the end of the day, every DJ knows that their bread and butter is how their beats get matched. With all of these DJ controllers, a simple press of a SYNC button, or a manual adjustment of the tempo knob, can allow you to seamlessly blend Grandma’s request for “a song we all can dance to” into whatever obscure, UK grime set you were banging away at.
Pioneer DDJ-SB2 DJ Controller for Serato
Like New
$204.95
Save 31%
or 6 payments of $41.50
Free 2-Day Shipping
Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 USB DJ Controller
Like New
$204.95
Save 48%
or 6 payments of $41.50
Free 2-Day Shipping
Hercules DJControl Jogvision DJ Controller
or 6 payments of $41.67
Free 2-Day Shipping
Shop All DJ Controllers »
Lightweight, Compact PA Sound Systems
Everyone loves a good, loud, pumping sound system, and DJing on a dime doesn’t mean cutting these three corners. When shopping for an inexpensive portable PA, the first step is to make sure you have all the inputs you need. An XLR jack for your microphone and RCA jacks for your DJ controller's audio are the must-haves.

Traditionally, the more powerful the speakers and amplifiers, the heavier your PA system will be. But today, modern, portable PA systems skip the massive wooden speaker cabinets in favor of compact enclosures and lightweight speaker drivers. As modern power amplifiers become lighter and cooler (temperature-wise), so do the amps built into the compact audio mixers found in these PA systems.

You might not blow the roof of your local auditorium with these PAs, but they're loud enough to do some damage at your local VFW or loft space. What’s great is that your back and compact car will thank you for taking it easier on them as well. Look for a PA system that snap together in a suitcase-style design, or an all-in-one system that's easy to store an transport.
Yamaha STAGEPAS 400i Portable PA System
Like New
$529.95
Save 44%
or 8 payments of $87.50
Free 2-Day Shipping
Peavey PVi Portable Sound System
or 8 payments of $68.75
Free 2-Day Shipping
JBL EON206P Portable PA System
Like New
$404.95
Save 27%
or 6 payments of $74.84
Free 2-Day Shipping
Fender Passport Conference PA System (175 Watts)
Like New
$299.95
or 6 payments of $66.67
Free 2-Day Shipping
Shop All Portable PA Systems »
Light Shows and DMX Controllers On a Budget
Without a light show, a DJ twiddling knobs and tweaking faders is about as cool-looking as watching someone check their e-mail. A good DJ knows that ambiance is a huge part of the experience. Light shows, even simple ones, allow the audience to get lost in the music. If there’s anything you should splurge a little on, it’s lighting.

A solid way to start is with the sound-activated programs built into many DJ lights. These lights have a tiny microphone that "hears" what's going on around it, and pulses and moves to the beat of the music. If this awes you, imagine the audience's reaction! Even cooler, you can chain lights together by running a DMX cable from the output of the first light into the DMX input of the next, affording you a tight, portable light show with multiple lights in sync.

Chain a couple of moving lights and you’re set for a simple light show, but adding a DMX controller allows you to almost future-proof your DJ setup. As you grow, a DMX controller allows you to chain and control multiple sets of DJ lights, with programs that let you preset specific lighting effects to match your performance.

How do you know what lights to get and what controller to use? Its as simple as noting how many channels a controller offers, and how many channels each light takes up (all easily found in specifications info). We’ve recommended a few multi-purpose lights below. Check out our DJ lighting buying guide to learn more.
Chauvet DJ JAM Pack Gold Lighting Pack
or 4 payments of $50.00
Free 2-Day Shipping
Chauvet DJ Obey 40 DMX Lighting Controller
Like New
$104.95
Save 44%
or 4 payments of $30.00
Free 2-Day Shipping
ADJ Mega Fat Tri Pak Plus Stage Lighting System
or 6 payments of $66.67
Free 2-Day Shipping
ADJ DMX Operator 384 Lighting Controller
Like New
$134.95
Save 35%
or 4 payments of $37.50
Free 2-Day Shipping
Learn more about DJ lighting »
Essential DJ Accessories
From donning a pair of DJ headphones, to transporting your gear in a DJ case, to providing a stable platform for your all your gear, you'll need a few accessories to get your rig ready for life on the road.
Pioneer HDJ-700K DJ Headphones
Like New
$99.95
Save 37%
or 4 payments of $32.25
Free 2-Day Shipping
Odyssey KDJC3BL Medium-Sized DJ Controller Case
or 4 payments of $32.50
Free 2-Day Shipping
Odyssey LTP6 Tripod Lighting Stand with 1 Crossbar
Play as You Pay on orders $249+
Free 2-Day Shipping
On-Stage LPT600 Multi-Purpose Laptop Stand
Play as You Pay on orders $249+
Free 2-Day Shipping
Shop More DJ Accessories »
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A temporary customer reference number is assigned to each customer only while they are shopping on zZounds.com. If you call our customer service department for assistance, this number makes it easier for us to answer any questions you have about products, services or purchases.
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1. zZounds offers the industry‘s most musician-friendly payment plans

zZounds offers a variety of Play as You Pay installment plans that allow you to get the gear you want today. While our competitors might offer house credit cards that require you to fill out an application and pass a credit check, our payment plans are easy to get, simple to use, and, best of all, accrue zero interest. Unlike those house credit cards that can leave you vulnerable to exorbitant interest charges once the promotional period ends, we never have and never will charge interest when you take advantage of one of the zZounds Play as You Pay plans.

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2. zZounds guarantees the lowest price

Seen it for less somewhere else? Get it for less at zZounds. Simply click the “Seen it for less?” link on any product page and as long as we‘re not losing money, we‘ll beat any legitimate competitor‘s lowest price, usually within two hours. Want our best price even faster? Call us at 800-zZounds (800-996-8637), and we‘ll provide you with a lower price on the phone. Also, if you purchase from us and later find the product for less elsewhere, call or email us within 45 days, and we‘ll refund you the difference.

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At zZounds, we know you want your gear fast, and shipped to you free of charge. That‘s why we have absolutely free ground shipping on every single order shipped within the continental United States. This includes heavy and oversized items. No minimum purchase required. No exclusions. We also ship over 90% of our orders with FREE 2-day shipping. We pull it all off with our strategically placed, coast-to-coast warehouses.

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4. zZounds makes returns super easy

Buy it, try it, like it, or return it to us for a full refund. It‘s just that simple. If you‘re not in love with what you bought, return it to zZounds within 45 days, and we‘ll promptly arrange for an exchange or a refund. No hassles. No hidden charges. And if a product‘s defective or damaged, call us at 800-zZounds (800-996-8637), and we‘ll email you a prepaid shipping label so you can easily return it to us at zero cost to you.

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5. zZounds delivers top-rated customer service

zZounds has received multiple Bizrate® Circle of Excellence Platinum awards, placing us in the top 0.7 percent of Bizrate‘s network of 5,200 retailers. Our success in meeting the needs of our customers -- since 1996, we‘ve satisfied over 1,000,000 people -- is due in large part to the fact that zZounds only hires experienced musicians to answer your calls and emails, and they are never paid a commission.

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close [x]
Available on
orders $59+
learn more

Need it now but short of cash? All we need is the first payment up front and the rest in easy monthly payments!

Fast approval.
We approve everyone, with very few exceptions, as long as we can verify your identity.
No interest. Ever.
It's just as if you paid the whole amount up front!
No paperwork. Nothing to track.
No application to mail or fax, no bills to pay. We automatically charge the payments to your credit card.

We'll wait on your money so you don't have to wait for your gear!

When you checkout, just click the Play as you Pay checkbox to indicate which installment plan you wish to use.

close [x]
no minimum

learn more

Why fight traffic and pushy salesmen when we'll bring your gear straight to your home, free of charge?

zZounds free shipping is really free!
No hidden charges or hassles on returns.
Fast, reliable delivery
We have warehouses on both coasts, so most shipments arrive in 3 days or less.
We don't collect sales tax. Bonus!
Only NJ residents pay tax during checkout.
close [x]

A guarantee so solid, you never have to worry about price when shopping at zZounds

We'll beat any price
Simply click the Seen it for less? link next to the gear you want or call us at 800-zZounds (800-996-8637)
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