Selecting the right DJ equipment is crucial to creating quality sounds for any DJ. There are a number of essentials that a DJ requires, including a turntable, a phono cartridge, headphones, and speakers. The turntable allows the DJ to spin vinyl records, a quality phono cartridge picks up the sound, headphones allow the DJ to multitask by hearing the current track and the next one to be played, and speakers allow the audience to hear the music. There are two speaker types, one with an amplifier and one without. Buyers need to purchase an external amplifier if the speakers do not have one. With every piece of equipment, there are multiple options, each with different advantages. Once the basic setup is complete, DJs need to acquire the records they intend to play.
DJ equipment and records are available from audio specialists in bricks and mortar stores and online. Alternatively, buyers can visit eBay, where they can find all of the equipment and vinyl records that they need.
Essential DJ Equipment
For DJs of any skill level, there are certain items that are essential. There are many options to choose from for each item so it is useful to understand the different features. An understanding of the available equipment enables buyers to choose the best devices for their budget.
A DJ turntable is the most basic and essential piece of equipment. The turntable is used to play records. It has a plinth that supports the platter, or the turntable. A vinyl record is placed onto the plinth, and the tonearm, which houses the stylus, is moved into position in the grooves of the vinyl. There are two main types of turntable: direct drive and belt drive. For a DJ, direct drive models are the best option as they offer a greater level of control. This extra control allows DJs to produce better quality sound and mixes, with greater accuracy when spinning records. Belt drive turntables are more than adequate for simply playing vinyl records at home, so are not well suited to use as a DJ turntable.
The tonearm houses the phono cartridge. The tonearm is weighted to control the amount of pressure placed on vinyl records. Many DJs favour a three gram weight. There are two main tonearm styles: straight and the more traditional angled pivoting arm. The choice of tonearm style is largely personal, although DJs that compete in battles often prefer the straight tonearm style, as they feel that it offers superior control when performing tricks.
DJ Phono Cartridge
The phono cartridge is an essential piece of DJ equipment. It has a tiny diamond stylus that travels in the grooves of the vinyl record. The structure of the grooves is interpreted by the stylus and this information is transported through the tonearm, processed, and finally converted into sound.
Maintenance of the DJ Tonearm and Phono Cartridge
The tonearm and phono cartridge are both delicate instruments, and need regular care and maintenance. The phono cartridge with the stylus needs to be sharp. If the stylus is damaged, scratched, or dirty, it produces an inferior sound quality and causes irreversible damage to vinyl records. The stylus should be kept free of dirt and grime, and regularly wiped with a very soft cloth. Replacements can be found with ease, and connecting a new phono cartridge is straightforward, although a little bit time consuming.
Not only do DJ headphones protect the ears against very loud music and noisy environments, they also allow DJs to hear how their music sounds before the audience does. This is particularly useful for DJs who want to mix and prepare their next track while live music is being played through the speakers. When purchasing DJ headphones, buyers are likely to want to block out as much external noise as possible. Therefore, over the ear DJ headphones are highly favoured. Over the ear headphones have large ear cups that are well padded with insulation, forming a seal when in place over the ear. This padded seal blocks out the majority of unwanted external noise.
DJ headphones enable a DJ to swivel one cup away from the ear, to listen to both the live music and the music being played through the headphones simultaneously. Some are also available with a removable cable, enabling buyers to simply replace either the cable or the headphones, if only one part has a fault. When shopping for DJ headphones, buyers should consider the length of the cable. A DJ wearing headphones still needs to be able to move around, so a long cable is desirable.
Speakers are a vitally important part of a DJ setup. There are two types of speakers: active and passive, also known as powered and unpowered. The main difference is that active speakers do not require an external amplifier, whereas passive speakers require an amplifier in order to work.
Active speakers have an amplifier built in. Active speakers are favoured by many DJs because the internal amplifier is perfectly tuned to the speaker, so there is very little chance of the speaker experiencing too much or too little power. The amplifier creates a high quality sound. Active speakers are slightly more expensive than passive speakers. However, purchasing active speakers negates the need to purchase an amplifier.
Passive speakers are less expensive than active speakers. They require the use of an external amplifier. When purchasing passive speakers and an amplifier, buyers must make sure that the amplifier has the appropriate power capacity to correctly power the speakers. Too much or too little power can damage speakers, and may blow them completely, requiring buyers to purchase a new set. Passive speakers tend to weigh less than active ones. However, the addition of an amplifier, which is a heavy piece of equipment, creates more weight, and takes up far more space.
Once DJs have purchased all of their essential equipment, the next step is to buy the all important music. It is all well and good having state of the art turntables, headphones, and speakers, but a DJ ultimately impresses with the music. Vinyl records are still a popular choice for DJs. These records have multiple tiny, detailed grooves that hold the patterns of the sound waves. The stylus tracks these grooves and turns the information into sound.
While many people consider vinyl to be outdated, the majority of modern artists still release vinyl records, as well as CDs and electronic versions. Unless rare, vinyl records are reasonably inexpensive, particularly when used. Many vinyl records can be found in very good condition.
Cleaning and Storing Records
To maintain a good selection of music, DJs need to maintain and store records correctly, to limit damage. Vinyl records should be kept in protective sleeves to avoid accidental scratches or dust particles gathering in the grooves. Buyers should never touch the playing surface with bare hands. Oils from the skin are damaging to vinyl and can gather in the grooves, distorting the quality of the sound. Records should be stored vertically, but not near to cooking areas, as grease and smoke can adhere to the outer jackets and the records, causing severe damage. Vinyl records can be cleaned with a soft cloth and distilled water, but must be thoroughly dried before being stored.
Buying DJ Equipment on eBay
The widest choice of DJ equipment and records is available on eBay at very competitive prices. DJ equipment can be found by conducting a search from the eBay home page. If the buyer has any item specifics in mind, entering this information in the search provides narrower, more accurate results. Buyers can also limit their search by price and condition.
Some DJ equipment is large, heavy, and bulky, so buyers need to factor postage costs into their budget. It may also be possible to find DJ equipment locally, allowing buyers to reduce delivery costs by collecting the item from the seller once the transaction is complete, provided that the seller agrees.
To ensure the best quality product and the most efficient customer service, buyers should read the item description thoroughly, and contact the seller with any questions. Buyers are also encouraged to check the feedback score of a seller. Those with a high percentage of positive feedback have an excellent reputation and provide quality products and service consistently.
Turntables, phono cartridges, headphones, speakers, and records are all essential items for a successful DJ. For each of these items, there are a range of options available to the buyer, so a clear understanding of the different features allows the buyer to select the right DJ equipment. After purchasing the right DJ equipment, buyers must ensure that they care for it well to increase its longevity, and to maintain high quality sounds. This includes keeping the turntable free of dust, dirt, and grime, and cleaning the phono cartridge regularly. Vinyl records also require simple, but important care and maintenance to avoid scratches, corrosion, and poor sound quality.
Once buyers have chosen the equipment that they need, they can start to play music on their DJ setup. eBay provides buyers with a vast array of just the right DJ equipment, in both new and used condition, catering for all musical tastes and budgets.