If you are looking to sharpen your performance and pull out all the stops to deliver truly great shows, then you need to know what the top professional DJs use. That’s because it is not only going to be the equipment that is proven to help deliver the best performances, but also because it puts your skills in line with industry standards, ensuring you have the ability to easily walk on and work when you headline shows with multiple artists. Here is a short discussion on the equipment you should use to set yourself up for success.
The ‘CDJ Mafia’
The top 100 DJs all have unique styles and methods to their set design, but past the custom controllers, extra instruments, and theatrical technicalities, there is a common core rig that allows those top-tier performers to do what they do, and if you are looking to join their ranks someday, the best thing you can do is start yourself off right, with the equipment they trust:
- The Pioneer DJM-900 Nexus-2 mixer
- The CDJ-2000 Nexus-2 Deck
- USB Flash drives for storage (Rekordbox)
Almost 70 percent of the DJs on the top 100 list released by DJ Mag use this setup with no alteration whatsoever. That simplifies the changeover logistics between sets and helps make most DJ booths into easy “walk up and play” scenarios. Even when DJs choose to modify the lineup, the majority do not stray far.
When it comes to the best studio monitors, there is a lot more diversity and range of choices. That’s partially because there are a number of companies delivering absolutely stellar speakers that make their headphones perfect for work, and the range of tastes in the musical world makes each one just a little different. That can lead to situations where DJs almost become headphone collectors—first because they are searching for their own go-to sets, and then later because they want to hear how their music sounds on a range of equipment profiles.
Here are some of the top selections from top 100 DJs.
- Sennheiser HD-25 IIs
- V-Moda Crossfade M-100s
- Beats by Dre Mixr
- Pioneer HDJ-2000
- Phillips A5 Pro
There are also a few things that the top DJs producing records right now use in common. The first is their DAW selections. There are only a few top choices in the industry, and they are:
- FL Studio
Past that, you also need synths, and the Native Instruments Plugins and Komplete/Native Instruments Plugins are the hottest choices around. You can also test-in Sylenth if you are looking for an alternative that still packs a professional punch.
It can take some time to build your gear to the point where you can hold onto a fully professionalized lineup, but once you know what you are building toward it becomes easier to plan for your next upgrades, and to know when it is time to call it good on your investment and focus on other aspects of your performance. After all, planning is the key to making sure your first few gigs fund the investments you need to keep going.
Previously, Willy Jack worked as a marketing manager for a tech.