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Beginner's Gear Guides: DJ Gear

Ready to be a DJ? Find the right rig here.
DJ gear has come a long way since the early days of pioneers like Larry Levan and Grandmaster Flash. While some hang on to the old-school coolness of two turntables, a mixer and a microphone, nowadays DJs can play entire sets with nothing but a laptop and DJ controller. Take a look at these sample setups and build a rig that's right for you. Whether you're touring the club scene or just workshopping mixes at home, we've got the DJ gear you need to get started.

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The Computer DJ
With the latest computer-based DJ gear, all you need is a DJ controller and a laptop to spin your music collection. This model rig combines a versatile Pioneer DJ controller ( with Pioneer Rekordbox DJ software) and a Novation pad controller (with Ableton Live Lite software) to help you create original mixes and tracks. A Denon DJ audio interface allows you to roll in your favorite turntables into the mix with DVS platters. For home mixmasters, a solid pair of studio monitors from PreSonus are an essential addition to your setup.
The Mobile DJ
The party starts when a mobile DJ shows up. This rig is built around a Pioneer DDJ-400, a powerful DJ controller/audio interface from the hugely popular Pioneer DDJ series, which includes Rekordbox DJ software. Add your laptop, a DJ table, and a portable PA system, and you'll be ready to hit the party scene. For this setup, you'll need a stereo RCA cable to connect the controller's audio outputs to the PA system.
The Vinyl Purist
Like hip-hop pioneers of the late '70s, the purist DJ likes to keep things real and old school. Got some records you've been waiting to spin out? All you need is two direct-drive turntables, a mixer, and a pair of RCA cables to connect them together. A pair of DJ headphones will help you cue and monitor.
The Hybrid Performer
Today's DJ mixers can combine audio from a vast array of sources. Connect a pair of turntables or CD players to your computer with an interface system like Pioneer DJ's Interface 2, and scratch virtually any digital audio file. This sample setup is great for live mixing -- plug two CD players into the mixer, and the mixer to a laptop with the rekordbox interface. Connect the whole thing to a pair of powered speakers to really rock the house.
DJ Accessories and Lighting
No matter which path you choose, every DJ should have a trusty set of headphones and a solid mic like the Sennheiser e835. A set of lights can add a whole new dimension to your performance, while a DJ table can provide a platform to place all your DJ equipment. Stands keep your laptop and deck right in front of you and solidly grounded for many a gig.
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