This month, we're paying tribute to all of you who have sold your guitars and bought turntables: the electronic music producers and DJs of the world. Whether you're spinning tracks on Serato, meticulously beat-matching the grooves of your records or simply monitoring your mixes with a pair of cans in the studio, we've rounded up some of the best products you can have at your fingertips for all your DJing and production needs.
Denon Prime 2
Denon has dominated the standalone DJ hardware technology since its tech award-winning MCX8000. The Denon Prime 2 is a standalone controller and essentially a refined version of their acclaimed Prime 4. A seven-inch multi-gesture touch-screen allows you precise control over music library navigation, waveform display and FX. Multiple inputs (USB, SD and 2.5 inch HDD bay with SATA connection) provide ample room for music storage and recording, while Wi-Fi connectivity and an Ethernet port open up a world of streaming services including Beatport, Beatsource, Soundcloud and TIDAL.
The two six-inch jog wheels each feature a colour display for loop information, album artwork and custom logos. Multifunction performance pads provide access to trigger pads for cues, loop points, beat rolls and slicer. Two independent mic channels don't interrupt the line channels, there are multi-options for headphone monitoring and two auxiliary inputs provide options for backup inputs. High resolution 100 mm pitch faders, time-stretch and key shift functions all give you tactile control over your mix.
The Prime 2 represents a sweet spot in their lineup as many users will find the Prime 4 overkill, and with the same premium build quality and precise software, it's sure to be a popular choice.
Pioneer DJ DDJ-200
With the DDJ-200, Pioneer DJ has made an excellent introductory controller for aspiring DJs. At under 38 x 21 cm, it's a lightweight portable machine for mastering the foundations of DJing. A host of software solutions allow you to connect you PC/Mac to the DDJ-200 including Pioneer's dedicated app WeDJ for iPhone, which connects directly to your phone. WeDJ features tutorials and Pop-Hints to introduce you to common terms and techniques to have you impressing your friends in no time. Spotify, Deezer, SoundCloud Go+, iTunes, Beatport LINK and Rekordbox all have integration options.
Eleven types of Transition FX will help you blend one track into another using the cross-fader. An automated Phrase Sync feature analyses the tracks and helps you match the beat for seamless mixes. Cue up the next track using your headphones while the jams don't stop out of the master out.
Three-band EQs help you shape the channels and tempo faders let you remix or manually beat match if you don't want to use the automation. Eight performance pads allow you to cue, loop and remix your favourite tracks the way you've always wanted to. The Pioneer DDJ-200 has everything you need to begin your DJ journey.
Portable micro setups are proving ever popular at the moment, and the pocket-sized Numark DJ2GO2 is easily the most portable DJ Controller on the market. The DJ2GO2 is designed to sit on a laptop trackpad and offer the full features of a standard DJ controller with the smallest possible footprint. A built-in audio card and included Serato Intro software comes pre-mapped, making it ready to go wherever you want to take it. Not only ideal for entry-level consumer but also anyone that desires a controller to practise on during travel or backup controller for when things don't go to plan.
The built-in soundcard features master gain, headphone output to cue tracks as well as channel gain to adjust the mix. A crossfader mixes the two channels and pitch faders allow you to get creative. Each deck features four pad buttons with four modes. Auto Loop and Manual Loop modes set loop points, Cue mode sets cue points in Serato and Sample mode plays assigned samples in Serato. While it ships with Serato Intro software (ready to be upgraded to Serato Pro) it's MIDI mapping is standard so you can also use your preferred software.
There's really nothing else like this on the market at this price point. To be able to have all the features you need (only an EQ is missing) makes this a perfect option for beginners, travelling DJs or anyone requiring a backup controller that at only 630 grams is barely going to make your case heavier.
Roland has designed their DJ-707M with the mobile DJ in mind, expanding on a traditional controller with added functionality for a sound technician level of control. An integrated live sound console uses Roland's DSP technology from their dedicated digital audio console range giving you flexible control over the final output. A zone mixer allows three separate speaker management configurations, each with their own four-band EQ, multiband compression, limiter and mono mode. All of these specified settings can be stored and recalled in 10 on-board Scene Presets.
Two microphone inputs have studio grade preamps with independent gain, noise-gate and low-cut on each channel and a three-band EQ and extensive effects section (including auto-pitching) allow dynamic control over vocal performance. Serato Pro compatability gives you refined control over cues, loops, slicer, rolls and pitch play.
The onboard effects engine allows you to assign effects to dedicated Filter/FX knob on each channel and there are even drum loops from Roland's immortal TR series and other samples to play on a pad section. Perfect for events and parties where you need greater control over the sound system and with all these modern additions, the DJ-707M represents the next generation in DJ Controller.
Any DJ wanting a vinyl turntable experience should be familiar with the iconic Technics SL-1200 series. I mean, they are without question the benchmark for all turntables. The new 1210MK7 with its Coreless Direct Drive Motor, has all the features we have come to love from the brand and a few more that are sure to endear it to a whole new generation of Vinyl enthusiasts and beat selectors.
On the outside, you can feel the rich history of the design and its legendary build quality, but removing the platter reveals some crazy new developments, including switches underneath for fine-tuning the starting torque and brake speed, making it extremely customisable to the DJ’s personal taste. Reverse Playback is also welcome new feature, opening up all kinds of creative options. Highly precise bearings balance the instantly recognisable S-shaped arm and provide stability even whilst scratching. There's a handy pop-up stylus light (a bright and durable white LED) and the option to set the strobe light to red or blue.
Both the stylish matte black case and feet feature vibration-absorbing cases to suppress interference. Featuring all the class of the immortal series combined with the latest in turntable technology, the SL-1210MK7 offers unrivaled performance at this price point. Would you expect anything less?
DJs have very specific demands when it comes to headphones. Extreme durability, extended low-end reproduction and enough isolation/output to allow for mixing in a booming club environment are but some of the very specific requirements for the working DJ. Thankfully, Technics have made their EAH-DJ1200 headphones specifically with the DJ in mind. A 40mm-diameter CCAW voice coil delivers detailed sound from a newly developed driver. Designed for high volume use, its high durability input of 2,500 mW remains clear and undistorted at the high levels that club environments require. Well-balanced throughout the frequency range with a low impedance of 40 Ohms, the EAH-DJ1200s are ready-made for DJs.
Adaptability of use is also a prerequisite for the various ways DJs wear headphones and the EAH-DJ1200 feature a flexible design to accommodate this. The arms have 270 degrees of swing and can be locked into the angle you find most comfortable. The lightweight on-ear design can be folded compactly for the fast, mobile lifestyle of working DJs. A detachable cord makes maintenance and cleaning easy and features a clever lock to ensure it's not accidentally removed. Designed as a follow up to the classic RP-DJ1200 (on the market for over 20 years), the EAH-DJ1200 represent an exciting new chapter from the undisputed masters of the DJ realm.