How to Set up a DJ Controller and Decks | Nuffy (2022)

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Introduction to DJ Midi Controllers

There is still an ongoing debate about whether analogue of digital controllers are the best but a MIDI controller has so many features that it really stands out as the best overall. The great thing is that you just need to connect it to a laptop that has music saved on the hard drive and you will be able to set up as a DJ really quickly and efficiently. Other things you need, like DJ Deck Stands, Laptop Stands & Booths, can be found at

Why Use a MIDI Controller?

MIDI controllers re now something that all of the best and most up to date DJs use. This is because they will allow you to be able to use DJ software such as Trakor, Virtual DJ or Serato as well as allowing you to easily work with your collection of music but without losing the traditional CDJs or turntables that DJs enjoy using. The controllers can also be really flexible which means that you can not only use it with a laptop but also with Apple compatible products such as ipods and tablets, as long as you buy the right one.

(Video) How to DJ for Beginners (2022)

How do I Set up a MIDI controller?

The great thing about a MIDI controller is that you just need to connect it to your tablet or laptop with a USB cable and it is ready to use. You will need the music loaded on that device and that is all, so no CDs to carry around. You will need a piece of software on the device, but there are plenty to choose from. You will need to choose one that is compatible with your device and controller though, but it should be easy to check. You will then be able to easily set up the device, controller and speakers so that you can get started.

How Can MIDI Improve my DJ Setup?

There are many functions that MIDI has which could really help you. It has improved a lot lately and so not only can you use it for all the main aspects of DJing but you can also use it to make effects and other extras. There are many samples that you can use and id you get an advanced controller you will find that you will have lots of effects as well that you can choose from. It is even possible to set up the MIDI controller so that it can do anything you want on your computer. The set up is really easy and there is usually not even a need for an extra power supply as they run off the computer or devices power.

MIDI Controllers for Beginners

How to Set up a DJ Controller and Decks | Nuffy (1)
Beginners may want to opt for something like a Hercules DJ Control Instinct or a Pioneer DDJ-SB. These are easy to set up, with plug and play but they still have a lot of control. These do work only with a PC though so you may need to pick something else if you want to use it on your iPad. Both of the above pieces of software do have iPad versions which would work together with Mixvibes’ Cross DJ for iPad or Algoriddims Djay 2. These set ups are so easily portable they can go almost anywhere with you.

These may be too simple for some people though, even beginners. If this is the case with you then you may wish for a controller that can be used as a MIDI controller and an analogue mixer. These can then be used with turntables, iPod, CDJs with a Laptop and MIDI Controller. Something like the Pioneer DDJ-SX or the Americal Audio VMS 4.1 would be good for this.

(Video) How to DJ for absolute beginners | Complete Guide to DJing on Pioneer DDJ-400 & Rekordbox in 2021 🔥

Cartridges and DJ Turnable Decks

Many people will like the Vinyl DJ system despite MIDI controllers being so popular. This is because they are how DJing started so traditional and some of the best DJs will still use them and have a fantastic technique which will make them stand out above those that just use Midi Controllers.

How to Set up a DJ Controller and Decks | Nuffy (2)
If you have a Vinyl turntable you will need a cartridge which will give sensitive scratching but quality sound output as this will enable you to show off your DJ skills properly.

Which to Buy?

There is a good range of turntables and cartridges available and many are form trusted manufacturers, which can make it difficult to choose which will be the best for you. If you are just starting out then a Stanton T.62 could be the best choice as it is very easy to use but it is also reliable and has two playback speeds with good tracking and scratching provided by a straight tone arm.

There is a more advanced model from Stanton; the ST.150 which has more professional features but is still not overpriced. It has digital output which means that it can be used with Serato Scratch software using a digital sound card on your PC. It means that it can be easily incorporated into a DJ set.
How to Set up a DJ Controller and Decks | Nuffy (3)

(Video) How To DJ With Pioneer DDJ-SB2, 3 of 5: Connecting Your Controller, Headphones and Speakers

Cartridges are usually included with the timetable but they may not be the best quality ones. You may prefer to upgrade and get something which performs better such as the Ortofon Concorde Pro S Banana which has a spherical diamond design that gives it the edge above others.

DJ CD Decks and DJ Media Players

A DJ CD Deck with a DJ Media player works in a very similar way to a vinyl turntable but it is digital. They will have the same capabilities as Vinyl 12” discs but they use USB flash drives or CDs which are much more portable than Vinyl records. Most of them, particularly the more high end models can link up to software such as Serato, Traktor or Vrtual DJ easily and can be used with a USB audio interface and Timecoding CDs to enable them to be used as controllers too.

Features of the SD Deck or Media Player

Obviously a CD deck is only compatible with CDs but they may have looping controls or effects built in. They may even have a digital output so that you can link them to your PC and use with DJ software.

Media players are much more flexible though as they are compatible with many more things. A good one such as Pioneer CDJ2000-Nexus will be compatible with CDs, USB flash drives, computers, mobile devices and iPads. This can easily be set up using a free piece of software called Rekordbox which comes from Google Play or Apple app stores. It can also play a range of different file types such as WAV, MPEG1, MP3, AIFF, MP3 and AAC. A CD deck will normally only be capable of playing MP3 files so this will either limit you or mean that you have to convert files to a different file types before you can use them.

(Video) How To Use A Mixer In Your Dj Setup

Which are the best MediaPlayers or Cd Decks?

This all depends on exactly what you are looking for. For standalone CD decks them the American audio UCD200 or the Stanton C 502 would do the job. They can read MP3 CDs and have a selection of controls such as pitch, lopping and a jog wheels. They also have a LCD screen so that you can see which track you are about to play and they are also rack mountable.
How to Set up a DJ Controller and Decks | Nuffy (4)

For a media player then the Pioneer CDJ2000-Nexus or the American Audio Radius 3000 are probably the best choices. These will allow you to use lots of music files on CDs, PCs, SD cards and USB flash drives and if you want Android and iOS device support then the Pioneer SDJ2000-Nexus will also provide this through an external app. Both of them have advanced controls and effects such as scratch, flanger, echo and filter controls.

(Video) How To Set Up Your DJ Equipment


How do you set up a DJ controller? ›

Plug one end into the controller, which is your music source. The master output is a good place to plug into your controller, and it uses an RCA cable. After that, connect the other end of the cable to your speaker, if it's powered.

How do you set up a DJ deck? ›

How To Set Up Your DJ Equipment - YouTube

Do you need 4 decks to DJ? ›

While four-deck DJing might seem best-suited to techno, DJs across the genre spectrum use the extra channels to bring something new to their sets. For the uninitiated, spinning on more than two decks might seem like you need an extra pair of arms – but the results can bring a whole new dimension to your mix.

How do you set up a deck and mixer? ›

How to connect Turntables with a DJ Mixer [Basic DJ Equipment Setup]

How do I learn basic DJing? ›

Every beginner DJ needs to learn this! - YouTube

Do you need speakers for decks? ›

DJ Speakers are a must for all DJs, no matter what gig they're playing at. These products allow DJs to check the sound quality of their playlist and mixes with the utmost clarity. Most venues might already have a great sound system; however, we still recommend you buy your own since you will need them apart from gigs.

How do you DJ in 3 minutes? ›

How To Become A DJ In 3 Minutes - YouTube

Why do DJs wear headphones? ›

Why do DJs use Headphones? DJs use headphones to listen to the music track that they are about to mix into the music song track already play live on the speakers. DJs press the Cue button on the relevant channel to hear the track which allows them to beat match the music to songs playing live.

How do I set up a DJ at home? ›

These things consist of a computer or tablet, a beginner DJ controller, and some software.
  1. The Computer.
  2. DJ Software.
  3. Get a Good Pair of DJ Headphones.
  4. Setting Up Quality Speakers.
  5. Adding-in Subwoofers.
  6. Setting Up Your Cables.
  7. Getting Some Good Music.
  8. Stand Out with Some Accessories.

Why do DJs use 3 decks? ›

You can use three decks to break down different elements of the same track to create your own DJ edit live during your set. With this technique, you will want to have cue points saved at three different distinct sections of the track.

Is 4 channel better than 2 DJ? ›

A 4-Channel mixer is required if a DJ is looking to connect more than two audio sources, e.g. turntables (record vinyl, CDJ) or device (beat pad). A DJ can mix more creatively using a 4-Channel mixer, playing acapella vocals and quicker mixes. 4-Channel mixers are wide which plays a factor in a purchasing decision.

How do you mix 4 decks? ›

Learn to DJ with 4 Decks! - YouTube

How do DJ controllers work for beginners? ›

DJ Controllers 101: What to Look for and How to Use Them - YouTube

What cables do you need for DJ controller? ›

Analogue cables
  • RCA. RCA is the most common type of unbalanced audio cable a DJ is likely to come across. ...
  • XLR. ...
  • TRS / TS cables (1/4″ and 1/8″ jacks) ...
  • Optical Cables (S/PDIF – ADAT) ...
  • USB. ...
  • FireWire. ...
  • Thunderbolt. ...
  • Power.
Jun 21, 2017

How do I connect my DJ controller mixer to speakers? ›

How to plug a controller into a DJ mixer - YouTube

What are the buttons on DJ controller? ›

Here is a list and a short description of each part of the DJ controller:
  • Tempo Fader. You will find a tempo fader in any DJ controller. ...
  • FX Section Control. The FX section is a staple feature of the DJ controller. ...
  • Sync Button. ...
  • Sampler Buttons. ...
  • Platter. ...
  • Drum Pads. ...
  • Shift Buttons. ...
  • Play/Pause Buttons.
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