DJ gear for a friend?

I would possibly suggest a Pioneer controller instead, especially if they think they might ever DJ in a bar/club. Honestly most of their line up looks pretty good for a beginner so you can probably choose on price, but feel free to post a few options and I can share my thoughts. e.g. this DDJ-FLX4 looks fine to me, or a second hand DDJ-400.

The reason for this is that pretty much every venue (in Europe at least? I assume it’s the same elsewhere) has Pioneer CDJs, it’s what every DJ uses in the house/techno world for example, and so if you use a Pioneer controller with their Rekordbox software, your song library is already in a format which you can just export to a USB stick and load into a CDJ with no problems if you did play a party. All your tags, folders, cue points etc. will be exactly as they are at home.

Also, the layout of the controllers is pretty similar to the real Pioneer CDJ/DJM mixer setup, so they would be able to hit the ground running with the “real” kit… and it’s the industry standard layout for a reason I guess.

The downside is that the Rekordbox software is not amazing. It’s fine, but the interface could be clearer etc. However, Traktor is also feeling pretty old fashioned (at least it was when I last used it), so I’m not sure if this is a huge differentiator, and if you ever want to use CDJs, Rekordbox is a necessary evil as it’s the only way to curate your library.

There are other alternatives which are interesting for sure, but I think Pioneer’s dominance in venues makes them the obvious choice.

Traktor controllers are nice and the software is cool for more creative mixing, but I very rarely see club DJs use Traktor these days which makes me worry about its future a bit. Also, if you use Traktor and ever want to play a club/venue, you either need to bring all your kit and your laptop, or you need to find a way to export your library to Pioneer format (I’m not sure if this is even possible) and then use some unfamiliar kit.

Denon gear is meant to be quite good, but again, your library isn’t in Rekordbox format which I think is a big deal. Serato seems popular in the hip hop etc. world, I’ve never used it so can’t comment, but I think it’s more aimed at people using control vinyl on turntables.

Most (all?) controllers just output MIDI, so you can technically use most controllers with most software (there are some quite nice 3rd party DJ apps without their own controllers such as Djay Pro), so you aren’t necessarily locked in to one software forever, but it makes sense to get the controller which matches your software of choice as it is going to have the best integration. Also, you have to pay a subscription (I think?) to use Rekordbox in DJ mode unless you have a Pioneer controller.


+1 for this. Definitely get a controller that’s compatible with Rekordbox :+1:


What a lovely thing you and your friends are doing for your mate.

If you can get a serato or recordbox based controller for the money I would go with one of those. Some controllers I believe can run either. From what I remember the Traktor UI isn’t great and pretty over complicated/crammed but then I was always a serato guy. It’s been years so possibly traktor has improved on that front. I think it’s possibly more flexible and deep but for no nonsense mixing I think Serato is great.

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Does your friend have a laptop or just working off a phone?
If they just have an iphone your options are limited the djay app and traktor app (‎djay - DJ App & AI Mixer on the App Store)

I’ve used all the dj apps starting with virtual dj (obsolete), traktor, rekordbox, and serato. They all have their strengths and weaknesses but they all require a laptop. As also noted above, europe and a lot of the us is mostly rekordbox / cdjs in venues. A lot of clubs in the us require the artist to bring their own gear so it doesnt matter as much. In fact, as far as djing as art goes, the gear doesnt matter at all. People use to rock parties with 2 cassette decks. The most important part is that you’re encouraging your friends to be creative, for that you win the internet today.

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I suggest you get a Pioneer/Rekorbox device too. As previously suggested, I would go for a DDJ-FLX4. DDJ-FLX4 : Contrôleur DJ USB Pioneer DJ -
Getting a HD-25 is a good idea, and why not the case for the controller ? That would look ace.


Hobby DJ here, play mostly at home and friends’ parties. Started with vinyl then added Traktor (got an X1+Z1 then an S4 then 2x D2, also for DVS). It felt like treason but I just sold my beloved D2s and am in the process of moving my library over to Rekordbox and got a DDJ-XP2 so I can use Rekordbox via DVS and my Technics and touch my laptop as little as possible. And whenever I play a venue I can put my selected tracks on a USB stick in Rekordbox, plug it in the CDJs and am good to go.

Traktor once reigned supreme (esp in techno) but I feel Native Instruments has lost its focus quite some time ago and allowed Pioneer to become dominant. So I agree with the other commenters to recommend Rekordbox if you want to be prepared to play on club/bar/venue equipment.

One general tip - spend time and effort setting up and maintaining your library, regardless of the DJ software you’ll end up with. If you use iTunes, that’s fine but be aware its default settings will eventually wreak havoc if you sync DJ software and are not careful. My preference is a file based system with a clear model for folders, file names and tag management (I use mp3tag). Rekordbox then reads this and adds it own metadata in its database. But if I ever want to move on, a good file structure allows you to do so with minimal pain.

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…that laptop question is the first essential one, i’m afraid…

but who does not own some sort of a laptop these days, asks a 1st world human…

traktor is the most common starting point…
and that specific device will do the trick for a while, even if it’s audiointerface quality is pretty bottomline…most importantly, make sure, it comes with the traktor software included…

just checked that…it does! light version…le…it says traktor…so that should be the full fledged version…

most common oldschool dj headphones remains sennheisers hd25…

We have 640€, I think this little selection could be very nice :slight_smile:

Thank you for your help!!


That’s a very nice starter’s package :ok_man:

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Damn, the people that collected the money went for the standalone Numark Mixstream Pro+ instead:

(budget grew up to 885€ in between, I’m not kept in the loop, being away from the source).

Interesting, it seems to use the same OS as Denon. Apparently that can read Rekordbox libraries, so you could advise your friend to use Rekordbox to organise their tunes and then they’re good to go if they ever play elsewhere. Not sure if there are downsides to that though.

One thing that is quite cool is that is a standalone device, no laptop needed. I ended up selling my Pioneer controller and buying the full XDJ/mixer set up because I found having to hook up and use the laptop was a total buzzkill, so that actually might be better in many ways!


That’s very reassuring, thank you a lot for the feedback!

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Got a z2 recently, and it came with a free upgrade from t2 to tp3. Don’t have any need for jog wheels and multiple hot cues, so perfect for me. And it doubles as a standard mixer if needed.

The Numark Mixstream Pro+ has been bought already, but you keep dropping your own suggestions for future cases ^^

I’ve used everything from decks, controllers and laptop, iPad etc… but have landed on using an all-in-one (Denon Prime 2 in my case).

So I think the choice for an all-in-one is a good one. A bit like hardware music making kit it removes most of the reliance on the computer and reduces friction to encourage you to just play. I think your friend will like it!


Yeah this is so true. Every time I hooked up my laptop to use Rekordbox, some preference needed tweaking for some reason… and it made the setup more awkward… and I do enough staring at a laptop and dealing with the complexities and distractions of that. Sure an all in one/CDJ still has a screen but it’s distraction free.

TBH if I had known all-in-ones existed at this price point I’d probably have recommended that! I thought they started much higher.

that’s nowhere near to the reasonable and average starting point like traktor stuff and it’s by far not leading to any final destination like pioneer stuff…since, whatever ur argument might be, pioneer is simply and undoubtly the gold standard in the real world…no venue around the globe goes without it…

that investment is kind of wasted, i’m afraid…

if there’s any chance to switch back to that pioneer solution including the hd25, some speakers and if the budget is raised, even add a rekordbox license to all that, it would be the way better solution to be really ready for any further future dj plans…

Yes, I was really convinced by these arguments.
But I’m not the one that buys, unfortunately.
I should have taken care of this myself I guess. And have asked you folks way sooner.

I thought the same when I saw it, but it’s running Denon’s Engine Prime which is fantastic (speaking as an ex Traktor and Pioneer user…). Check this out:

You even get something like a Kaossilator for effects!


Yeah I actually think it looks pretty cool. Especially if it can read Rekordbox libraries - or if he doesn’t ever plan to play a club, it’s self contained so really easy to take to a party. I’m sure he’ll have loads of fun

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