We’re only a couple of months into 2021, and we’ve already seen a host of new product releases in the DJ and music industry. Industry leaders Pioneer haven’t been quiet with two new mixers DJM-S11 and DJM-S7; following their new 4-Channel Controller the DDJ-FLX6. While Reloop has introduced a new beginner controller in the BUDDY, and RANE has dropped an innovative new DJ Controller for scratch DJs! So, is it time to upgrade?
With so many shiny new toys dangling in front of your eyes, by now you’ve probably started to feel the temptations. However, there are a few things you need to consider before you decide to upgrade!
- Why you shouldn’t upgrade
- Why you should upgrade
Why You Shouldnt Upgrade DJ Equipment
Noone Cares About Your DJ Equipment
Now more than ever, it really doesn’t matter what gear you have to anyone else. If you’re DJing a party, your client is not going to care whether you bring the latest flagship CDJ-3000 and DJM-900NXS2 setup, or you’re playing with something as simple as a Reloop Buddy or Pioneer DDJ-200. In 2021, DJ’s are delivering just as good of a DJ Set using their laptops alone. So no one’s going to look at you twice if you haven’t got the latest and greatest gear unless they’re specifically paying for that kind of service.
Upgrading your equipment won’t improve your skills
At the end of the day, a DJ needs the ability to switch between two music sources and output that music to the crowd. As well as the ability to listen to your second track privately in your headphones. These days, it’s possible to do all these things with even the most basic beginner DJ Controller. So it’s important you get the basics of how to DJ down pat before thinking an upgrade will solve all your issues! If you’re looking for new ways to improve your DJ skills, check out our article on “How to DJ”.
Limitations can promote creativity
If you really want to boost your creativity on the decks, one of the best things you can do is intentionally set yourself some boundaries! Working within certain limitations is a proven way to boost your creativity. So forget about the gear you don’t have, and focus on making the most out of what you’ve got in front of you! You might be surprised with how much potential you have just waiting to be unlocked!
Why you should upgrade your DJ Equipment
Now, why would you decide to upgrade? Just because you can get away with using a cheap or beginner controller, it doesn’t always mean you should. For instance, if you’re a Mobile DJ specializing in events, parties, and weddings, or you’re just a bedroom DJ; the best controller is going to be the one you’re most comfortable using.
However, if you’re looking at breaking into the club scene or the main stages, you’re going to want to be familiar with the industry standard. 9 times out of 10, when you walk into a venue you’re going to find a set of Pioneer’s flagship CDJs and Mixers. It goes without saying, if you’re practicing on a controller with a completely different layout, you’re going to find yourself lost when you jump on stage. Obviously, we can’t all afford (nor do we need) a set of CDJ3000’s for our bedroom. Thankfully, controllers like the DDJ-1000 or the standalone XDJ-XZ offer a playing experience eerily similar to what you’ll find in the club.
We mentioned above that self-imposed limitations can harness a boost in creativity. But sometimes hardware limitations can stop you from doing anything altogether, especially in a professional setting! Most venues will expect you to be able to connect your DJ Equipment to a PA system and usually also to a booth monitor. This will mean you need to have at least balanced XLR outputs and TRS booth jacks in most instances.
So if it’s going to be the difference between making some extra money and upgrading your gear, you’re going to want to make the investment. Get a few gigs under your belt and your new controller will pay for itself!
You Can Charge More
There’s no doubt about it, bolstering your kit with the latest professional-level gear is going to up the ante in terms of what you can charge for your services. So if you’re currently charging a couple of hundred dollars for backyard parties, add in some extra lights or the latest & greatest DJ Controller, and you’re going to be instantly worth a few hundred dollars more for your services. Check out our article on how to price your mobile DJ service for more info on this topic!
Again, we mentioned the fact that limitations can boost your creativity behind the decks. But there comes a time where as your skills grow, so does the need for more performance features. The most common feature upgrade is usually the switch from a 2-Channel setup to a 4-Channel setup.
Having the ability to use a third or fourth deck on your mixer lets you get even more creative with your mixes. Whether that’s adding in extra elements like drum loops, sampling acapellas, and performing live mashups! Getting a higher tier controller or mixer is also going to give you better effects and control over them.
So should you upgrade?
Okay, so is it time to upgrade your DJ Equipment? There are certainly times when consumerism gets the better of us, and we think the short term gratification of buying a shiny new toy will fix all our problems. If that sounds like you, maybe it’s best you rethink that new purchase. However, if you’re lying more in the boat where upgrading your DJ equipment is going to be an investment in yourself, your skills, and your DJ Career, then what are you waiting for!