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DJ Systems

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing a dj system. Over the years dj equipment has undergone a number of changes, we’ve moved from all-in-one consoles to separate turntables and mixer setups, through to media player configurations and now onto computer powered DJ controllers and standalone all-in-one options. With such a range of options to choose from you might be wondering which path is best for you? To make the decision a little easier we’ll provide a quick run-down of currently available dj systems and round up the best options from each category.

First up, the basics of any dj system. In order to “mix” you’ll need two audio sources for playback and a mixer to balance the levels, and possibly EQ the tracks you wish to blend. In addition to this you’ll need speakers to output your mix and headphones to monitor and cue the tracks you plan to use. Audio sources range from virtual devices, powered by a Mac, PC or smart device running a dj app or software as well as standalone media players which read files from USB drives or optical discs. Vinyl can also be used as an audio source as well as outputting a timecode tone for digital vinyl system (DVS) use.

Quick Nav - Jump To DJ System Type


Should you choose a turntable DJ System?

Traditionally, when people mention DJ Systems the first image that springs to mind is that of somebody mixing tracks using two or more turntables with a mixer to balance the tracks. For some, the manipulation of the tracks goes beyond pitching the music to the same tempo. Turntablists cut and scratch their way through tunes by physically changing the playback direction and speed and combine this with rapid, seemingly impossible, crossfader movements to create entirely new sonic experiences.

As with all dj systems, whether you choose to work with tracks on vinyl or control virtual audio sources with timecode you’ll need at least a pair of decks and mixer as well as speakers and headphones. Beginner turntable dj systems start from around £1,100 when you include carts and styli. While the turntable dj system is the choice of purists, it’s not the only option when it comes to learning to mix – and it has the steepest learning curve.

Selected Turntable DJ Systems


Media Player DJ Systems – an alternative to turntables?

The arrival of digital media sources in the DJ booth really gained momentum at the turn of the millennium. Pioneer DJ arguably accelerated the transition to digital with the legendary CDJ-1000. This cd deck would eventually dislodge the Technics SL1210MK2 from its position as the industry standard audio source within the booth.

Fast forward to 2020 and we’ve just witnessed the launch of the CDJ-3000, which has dropped the optical drive in favour of file-from-USB-device playback. Denon DJ now have the Prime media player range which offers streaming as well as file playback, but all of this tech comes at a price. Media players from both Denon DJ and Pioneer DJ are more expensive than turntables due to the technology utilised to deliver audio playback and manipulation. An entry level media-player dj system starts from around £650 but a full blown six deck and DJM-V10 combo will set you back in excess of £15,000. We have a range of options available in between to suit your requirements.

Selected Media Player DJ Systems


All-in-one “standalone” DJ Systems.

Back in the mid-noughties, Stanton released the SCS.4DJ – this was the first standalone DJ system and was way ahead of its time. Pioneer DJ delivered the first professional all-in-one dj system with the XDJ-RX. The RX was a runaway success, delivering dual deck playback for Rekordbox analysed files, with a built-in mixer (which featured DJM effects) and had the capability to record directly to a connected USB drive. The model was superseded by the XDJ-RX2 and the all-in-one range was expanded with the entry level XDJ-RR and the range topping XDJ-XZ.

All of Pioneer DJs all-in-one DJ systems offer two channels of playback from connected USB drives and all have the capability to act as DJ controllers for Rekordbox performance mode. The range topping XDJ-XZ features full-size CDJ jog wheels and a mixer section that is essentially a DJM-900NXS2, it’s also a capable controller for users of both Serato DJ and Rekordbox. The XZ dj system offers four channels of playback from the computer or a unique hybrid mode which blends playback from a laptop with tracks on USB drives connected to the unit.

Denon DJ also offer a number of standalone dj systems, including the Prime Go – a battery powered portable two channel system, the Prime 2 – another two channel system, with a larger screen and finally the Denon DJ Prime 4. The Prime 4 is the only true 4 channel standalone dj system available currently. Capable of playing four tracks from either connected USB drives, the optional on-board hard drive or streaming via WIFI – the Prime 4 is a true powerhouse and a statement of Denon DJs technical ambition.

Standalone/all-in-one dj systems are priced from around £1,100 including speakers and headphones. These systems offer a large number of features and most of the benefits of a laptop and DJ controller combination. It is recommended that you analyse your tracks using a Mac or PC before using them in either manufacturer’s platform (using Engine Prime for Denon DJ products or Rekordbox for both Pioneer DJ and Prime standalone units). You’ll find moving between the Pioneer DJ all-in-one products and the industry standard CDJ/DJM units easiest as all units share Rekordbox for music management and playback.

Selected All In One / Standalone DJ Systems


DJ controller DJ systems.

Without a doubt, the most cost-effective way to mix currently. A DDJ-200 dj system will set you back £300 with a pair of Pioneer DJ DM-40 speaker and HDJ-CUE1 headphones. Simply add an Android or iOS smart device as the brain and you’re good to go. The included WEDJ app makes mixing simple and is a great way to learn to transition between tracks quickly. There is so much choice when it comes to a dj controller based dj system that we’ve created a guide just for buying a beginner controller – check that out here if you need some guidance on software choices and our pick of the current hardware.

While the entry level kit is more than capable of taking your mixing skills a long way, there are a number of professional options available. Pioneer DJs DDJ-1000 and DDJ-1000SRT feature full size CDJ jog wheels and an impressive DJM effects section – making these the ideal choice for DJs who want a system that offers club performance at a fraction of the cost of a CDJ/DJM setup.

Native Instruments offer a solid mid-range dj system with the Traktor S4 MK3. This unit offers a seamless integration with the included Traktor Pro software and is incredibly powerful, yet it remains easy to use with a clear UI that mirrors the functions available on the hardware.

Selected DJ Controller DJ Systems


With such a wide range of options available, you might struggle to reach a decision on the best dj system to suit your needs. Hopefully, the above info has provided some clarity. If you still need guidance, or even just a few pointers to finalise your decision, please drop us a line using live chat, email or by the phone – we’re here to help with free, impartial advice.

After you've decided on your core components, you'll need to add speakers and headphones.  We've rounded up some of the most popular dj system add-ons below: