When you're starting out with DJing it can be difficult to understand which gear to pick up first. There's mixers, headphones, speakers and, let's not forget, the turntables! In modern DJing there is a new movement toward digital turntables; this guide will tell you about three which will get you started on the lowest cost and without having to deal with all the various other pieces of equipment.
Why digital turntables?
Before we dive into this article, let's first answer the question of why you would want one, here are a few reasons:
You can use your existing music collection your computer (which saves you money from buying vinyl or CDs)
- Digital turntables are all-in-one systems so you don't need to buy other gear
- Digital is the future of DJing and will give you more flexibility on a lower budget
In short, digital turntables allows you to hook up the gear to your computer, route it through a program (often packaged for free) and let you begin mixing without having to hook up all the other pieces of equipment or spend an arm-and-a-leg to build a traditional DJ setup.
The top 3 digital turntables for beginner DJ's
Now let's take a look at which three digital turntables are recommended for when you start out; they will be presented from the lowest cost to the highest. Of course, the cheaper you buy the fewer features you gain overall but for those that want to jump right in and mix music, each will provide you with everything you need to get started.
1. Hercules DJ Console MKII
Although there's the MKI and a few other of the later models the MKII version of the Hercules DJ Console is at the perfect price point and feature list to begin DJing - roughly $199. With the Hercules DJ Console MKII you'll be able to mix your music using jog wheels (as if they were turntables) and control your songs with the built in mixer (knobs, sliders, etc). You can hook up the DJ Console MKII directly to your computer via USB and it even comes bundled with a free version of Virtual DJ so you can start mixing right out the box.
2. Numark Mixtrack USB DJ Controller
This little guy has many of the same features as the Hercules DJ Console but has two other things running for it that the previous doesn't:
- It's backed by one of the major turntables manufacturers: Numark
- It comes prebundled with Traktor LE
There's not much difference, overall, in the design for this digital turntable set but one thing you'd probably enjoy if you picked this one up is Traktor. I actually have the pro version of Traktor and love every minute of it, they do a great job at giving you a clean interface with tons of features already built into the program.
3. The Vestax VCI-300
Although this digital turntable setup is more expensive than the others (generally around $400) it's quickly becoming one of the best-of-the-best within the DJ industry. Vestax really knows their stuff when it comes to midi/digital turntables and it really shows in the amazing design and flexibility of this piece of equipment. If you're a little more serious about DJing and want to use digital turntables this would be your best bet.
For as cheap as many of these digital turntables may be they're actually quite packed with value. The price for each of these directly reflects your overall list of features but if you just want to "test the waters" in DJing it's a low cost entry point depending on which you choose. I recommend, if anything, you try out the Hercules DJ Console MKII because it's very affordable, will give you a great representation of mixing and has a great resale value in case you decide DJing isn't for you. Hope this helped!