Why Is DJ Equipment (So Very) Expensive
If there’s one word to describe DJ equipment, the word would be “expensive”. In fact, many aspiring DJs often complain that DJ equipment is often exorbitantly costly, with cheaper prices only being found in less known brands with inferior quality control. But the question that we should ask ourselves is what exactly makes decent DJ gear so costly in the first place. I personally was very curious about that, so I decided to make some research to find the answer.
And the answer is that one of the main reasons why DJ equipment is so expensive is because Pioneer controls a big chunk of the DJ equipment market. This means that they have significant control over the prices they charge. Many DJs affirm that Pioneer gear is somewhat overpriced, but they still keep buying their controllers and mixers because they are considered the best stuff available. Many other DJ equipment companies also take advantage of the fact that Pioneer overcharges for their gear, pricing their products similarly to them.
This is not the only reason why DJ equipment is expensive though. We need to be fair about some stuff, and the truth is that decent DJ equipment takes a lot of resources to create. Also, modern equipment companies are always innovating and creating new technology, such as state of the art controllers that process the best sound possible. This is why DJs do not play their music from their iPhones, but instead from their CDJs.
Those are just a few of the reasons why DJ equipment is so expensive. If you want to learn more about the topic and the best bang for your buck brands, check below!
Which Gear do Brands give You The Best Bang For Your Buck?
As I implied above, Pioneer controls a big chunk of the DJ equipment market. They make some great stuff, but you can’t deny the fact that their gear isn’t the best choice for people new to DJing. If you are an aspiring DJ, you really need to look for brands that will give you the best bang for your buck. Below I provide a small list of the manufacturers that I consider to be the best in this regard, with information about their best value controllers and mixers. So if you are on a budget but still want to get started, you can’t go wrong with these brands and products!
Numark has several years making quality gear at an affordable price, and this holds true even in 2019. They have been competing with Pioneer for DJ equipment supremacy for more than 20 years, and part of Numark’s strategy has been undercutting the competition in the pricing department. The result is a very high-quality piece of gear that does 90% of what other brands do at 50% of the price.
The best value controller Numark makes is the Numark Party Mix. This heck of a controller is the perfect choice for any beginner looking to get good at DJing. It features many beginner-friendly features, such as simple plug-and-play functionality. One of the things that most beginners hate about DJ equipment is the sheer amount of drivers that need to be installed for a controller to start working. The Party Mix avoids all that hassle. You only need to plug it into your favorite PC or Mac, and off you go! Sometimes, the simpler the better, and that definitely holds true when it comes to beginner DJ gear.
But the best thing about the Party Mix is its pricing. This controller is very well made, and Numark could have charged several hundred dollars more for it, but they decided to keep it under 200 bucks, which is insane when you consider the quality of it. Even better: Numark often offers some sweet discounts of this and other gear in their repertoire, so if you look well, you could easily find this controller in the $50-75 dollars range on the internet.
Another veteran in the DJ gear industry, Roland is another company that has routinely challenged Pioneer for market supremacy, but unlike Numark, they tend to focus more on their higher-end controllers and mixers, mixing traditional Japanese reliability with innovative tech, things that have made them the giant they are today. While they have some really expensive stuff, they do make more affordable gear for beginner DJs, and some of this equipment is very well made.
An example of this is Roland’s DJ-202, a product acclaimed by the DJ community since it was first released for its versatility and capability. This is the perfect controller for the green but talented DJ that wants to take Djing seriously but needs to do so in a tight budget. Another big pro of this controller is the fact that it is very easy to use with Serato DJ. Roland even packages this particular controller with Serato DJ Pro for free, which makes this controller even more attractive for the beginner Deejay.
Roland is considered a bit more premium than Numark, so their entry-level stuff is a bit more costly than theirs, but Roland tend to be better made too, with better warranties and better customer support. Both are great brands for beginners, but if you are on a very tight budget, go for Numark, however, if your budget is tight but a bit more flexible, I would advise that you go for Roland instead.
A lesser-known name in the DJing industry, Hercules is actually much older than what many people think. They have been in business for over 30 years, but in other musical fields. They eventually decided to start creating DJ gear, with an emphasis on entry-level product ]s. I have personally used several of their controllers and mixers over the years, and let me tell you, they are awesome! I highly recommend that you try them out. Their products are super beginner-friendly, with many features made to assist the user with the remixing.
In my opinion, the best product Hercules makes is DJControl Inpulse 200. It’s perhaps the best controller for people who have very little if no experience DJing, and this is because of several reasons. The first one is the beat-match assist functionality that this controller provides to the DJ. Beatmatching can be pretty challenging for new players, and this controller makes it a breeze. While you shouldn’t rely on a crutch to beat-match, you can’t deny how useful this can for people just starting out!
Aside from that, there’s another big pro about the DJControl Inpulse 200, and that Is the fact that it’s so affordable. This is one of the very few controllers under $100 that I would recommend, and while the quality isn’t up to par with the other 2 controllers I posted above, it’s still a great choice if you are looking for the feature I posted above.
Money-Saving Tips For Aspiring DJs
If you are reading this article, chances are that you are broke or want to save as much cash as possible on gear. Buying the controllers that I posted above will save you a good chunk of money, both short term, and long term, but it’s not enough. Here are a few extra tips to make sure you can become a successful DJ without breaking the bank.
- Buy Used Gear: Every time that somebody asks me about wanting to buy a controller or a mixer but wanting to spend a little cash as possible, I always advise them to go to the used market. Ideally, you are going to want to look for used entry-level gear like the ones that I posted above, but you could even find more expensive stuff at very accessible prices.
- Be Smart When Purchasing Music: One of the most common ways to go broke is to go overboard with the tracks that you buy. These tracks can be up to 5 bucks a single song, and while there are some times where this is unavoidable, there are several websites where you can download music for free.
- Go PC Over Mac: This is a very hot topic on the DJ world: which is better for playing music, Macbooks or PCs? And truth is that at least in the pricing department, PCs are better. Everybody knows how expensive MacBooks are, but not only that, they also tend to have inferior specs when compared to a PC of the same price. It seems that DJs only use Macs these days, but if you choose to use a PC instead, your wallet will thank you.
What is the average cost of the equipment of A-list DJs (Daft Punk, Marshmallow, Hardwell)? This is something that will depend a lot on the specific DJ in question, but generally, most major DJs will have over $10,000 in gear and equipment. They generally will have a high-end controller, mixer, MIDI controller, turntables, and some DJs might even have more traditional instruments in their setups. There are a few DJs that even use custom made DAWs that are rumored to cost thousands of dollars per license.
Is it worth it to rent DJ equipment? I have personally have had to rent my equipment a few times, and the truth is that no, it’s generally not worth it. Not only is it a bad deal financially over the long term, but you often don’t have the ability to choose the specific gear that you get. It’s fine if you do it in a pinch, but if you are going to be doing this long term, you should just save up or get along to be the owner of your gear. But if you're having a DJ Set overseas it is indeed worth to rent your gear since it saves a lot of hassle. I have made an article about bringing your stuff overseas by airplane which you can check out.
I love researching and writing about new and exciting things in the world of mixing, including tutorials, reviews on hardware and software, as well as finding the latest and greatest. My goal is to help people become better DJs by providing them with all the knowledge they need to do just that!