It is not long ago that every DJ's basic equipment included turntables, CD players and mixers. Nowadays, DJ controllers have become immensely popular, not least thanks to the general availability of music in digital formats. Mobile DJs, rental companies, bar and occasional DJs and the private sector in particular tend to go for the smart DJ tools, and there are a number of reasons for this: one is that there are products available that focus specifically on one or several selected software functions, allowing for great ease of operation for DJs interested in these functions primarily. Another is that many all-in-one controllers require much less space than analogue setups, and there is much less trouble with cables and setting up the device for use.
Add to this the fact that a standard laptop hard drive or stick can contain thousands of tracks, so that the lower transport weight of the hardware and the music is especially advantageous for locations and events that require a huge track library. DJs no longer have to lug around loads of drives and vinyls or CDs in their heavy trunks, and they can make use of search filters and various tags when selecting the tracks they want. In addition, the devices allow for far more intuitive software controls than a mouse, for example. Most DJ controllers, like their analogue forebears, feature mixing and player sections with faders, buttons, rotary controls and jog wheels.
Some important aspects in choosing a DJ controller are: the price, the layout, the ease of operation, the quality and durability of the chassis and the control elements, the sound quality and performance of the audio interface (if one is included) and, finally, the number and type of interfaces. Mobile Club DJs planning to play all varieties of mainstream sound are opf course interested in wholly different aspects than DJs intending to work with samples, effects and remix desks or hobby DJs who only want to spin the discs every once in a while at friends' parties. When you buy your first controller in particular, the software included and the possibility to update it later, but also the compatibility (or lack tereof) of your controller to apps other than the one it comes with may make a great difference.
Some professional DJ setups, too, feature MIDI command centres, since they offer some revolutionary ways to interact with the software. For example, music can be very easily embellished with effects, picked apart and re-assembled differently, or simply adapted in beats and speed at the touch of a button. In this online guide, we want to provide you with all the necessary information on these totally on-trend DJ tools and give you an overview of the different product categories.
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