Buying your first DJ controller? To make the right decision, ask yourself the following important questions before you make a purchase.
Which one should I buy: the modular controller or the all-in-one model?
As the name indicates, an all-in-one controller has all the essential features needed in a DJ setup, including a sound card. Most DJs today prefer investing in a good singular controller and hooking it up with their laptops for best results. These models are easy to set up, convenient to use, and portable owing to their light weight.
Modular DJ gear is made up of several components purchased separately, and many seasoned DJs still prefer this setup as it gives them the flexibility to adapt the system according to need. You will often find experienced club DJs using a modular DJ system. Of course, assembling a modular setup costs more and requires more experience and in-depth knowledge of the different devices such as the amp, CD player, sound card and radio and their compatibility with one another.
If you consider yourself a beginner in professional DJing, it’s better to explore the many affordable all-in-one controllers available today rather than investing in expensive modular equipment early in your career.
Are the software and hardware I have chosen compatible with each other?
All DJ controller manufacturers today provide their own software with the equipment. If you intend to buy an all-in-one controller, check out what software is included with it. When starting out, it’s a safe bet to buy a moderately-priced singular controller and use the software provided with it. As you gain experience and look to upgrade your DJ setup, you can always invest in an advanced software program that will work with your system.
Take a look at this comprehensive buying guide that reviews five best dj controllers of 2018.
If, however, you’re already using a singular controller and want to upgrade to a sophisticated modular system, check the specs of each piece of equipment before adding it your repertoire.
Also note, if you like working with CDs and vinyl, you will want a controller that can work CDs alongside digital waveforms, although many DJs who go digital hardly ever go back to using CDs.
Should I choose a controller with a built-in sound card?
Today’s high-tech all-in-one DJ controllers have done away with the need to have a sound card or an audio interface. A headphones socket is good enough, but if you don’t see one on the model you plan to buy or if you’re assembling a modular setup, you’ll need to purchase a sound card.
Again, it all comes back to which type of controller you have chosen to buy in the first place.
Should I buy an older model or the latest one?
If you want cutting-edge technology and a highly responsive controller compatible with the latest DJ software, go for a model released recently instead of an outdated one. Look for a newly released all-in-one controller within your budget—there’re plenty of them out there.