Gift Ideas for Your Favorite DJ

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Any time we head into a holiday season, you may be searching for gifts for that special someone. If they are a DJ professional or enthusiast, consider the wide selection of gear at B&H, for any application and budget. Perhaps you are looking for an all-in-one controller that comes with software, or you’re more the “old-school” type who is looking for two turntables and a mixer. There are also digital media decks (CD players) and digital vinyl solutions that bridge the gap between the old school and new school.

All-In-One

Pioneer offers a wide selection of controllers that are compatible with Serato DJ or its own rekordbox DJ software. The DDJ-SR2 is Pioneer’s entry level two-channel performance controller for Serato DJ, and features two low-latency jog wheels, as well as 16 illuminated performance pads (8 per channel). The controller does not come with Serato, so you’ll need to factor that into the equation. The DDJ-SX3 DJ controller supports four decks and includes two jog wheels, 16 illuminated performance pads, and ships with a full version of Serato DJ. The DDJ-RZ is a four-channel rekordbox dj controller that not only works and ships with rekordbox dj, but also features connections for CDJs and analog turntables. The high-quality Wolfson DAC provides excellent sound reproduction, while the 16 illuminated pads provide four modes of operation including Hot Cue, Pad FX, Slicer, and Sampler. For advanced control, check out the XDJ-RX2 rekordbox dj control system, which features 7" dual waveform displays, two channels/two decks, three-band EQ/isolators, and sound color FX for each channel. The flagship DDJ RZX offers four-deck control with no fewer than three 7" touch screens, which provide direct access to track info, such as title, BPM, and key using deck display mode, and enlarged waveforms for each track. The display can also trigger Beat FX and Release FX, while the Touch FX lets you add and adjust parameters by tracing on the X and Y axis on the display.

Pioneer DJ DDJ-RZX - Professional 4-Channel Controller for rekordbox dj and rekordbox video

Denon DJ is another respected company bringing the heat with its highly regarded All-In-One DJ player/ controllers. The flagship MCX8000 costs less than half of the flagship Pioneer controller and includes two high-definition displays, built-in effects, and 16 velocity-sensitive performance pads. What’s more, the MCX8000 utilizes DJ Engine, which is Denon DJ’s proprietary stand-alone technology that allows the controller to operate without the need of a computer. Your files are processed via Engine on your computer and saved to a thumb drive for quick and easy control and access. The MCX8000 also works as a four-deck Serato controller, a four-channel digital mixer with line/phono inputs, and two USB ports for connecting two computers for easy transitions and back-to-back DJ performances. The Denon DJ MC7000 is a smaller controller, designed for Serato DJ, and includes four decks/channels, dual USB connections, solid 6" touch-capacitive platters, and 16 velocity-sensitive performance pads. Other lower-cost Denon controllers worth checking out include the MC6000MK2 and MC4000.

Denon DJ MC7000 4-Channel Serato DJ Controller / Digital Mixer with Dual USB

DJ Mixers

There are several high-quality mixers that won’t break the bank and are great for smaller setups or beginners. Check out the Mixars CUT MKII, which is designed for professional turntablists and includes an integrated Mixars Galileo crossfader. The mixer also features three-band EQ, adjustable crossfader curve and reverse, two headphone outputs (1/8 and ¼"), and a microphone input with 2-band EQ. Another low-cost alternative is the Allen & Heath XONE:23, which boasts two channels with each channel offering phono and line inputs, simultaneously. The mixer features an enhanced version of Allen & Heath's XONE voltage-controlled filter system with resonance control, a three-band total kill EQ per side, VCA faders, illuminated switches, and a user-upgradeable crossfader with curve selector. The XONE:23C offers the same form and function as the XONE:23, but also includes a four-channel 96 kHz/24-bit sound card. For Allen & Heath’s newest flagship model, check out the XONE:96, which features an integrated 24-channel sound card at 32-bit/96 kHz resolution. The mixer has dual USB ports for connecting two computers simultaneously, as well as updated XONE VCF filters with crunch harmonic distortion that sits pre-filter in the circuit, offering a powerful new effect.

Allen & Heath XONE:96 Professional 6-Channel Analog DJ Mixer

For professional applications, the DJM900NXS2 is found on just about every artist rider worldwide. With its simple interface, powerful effects, and intuitive control, you can see why it’s considered one of the best mixers on the market today. This “next-generation” version includes a high-definition 24-bit/ 96 kHz sound card with support for up to four stereo channels. There are four line inputs and four phono inputs (one for each channel), as well as digital inputs via S/PIDIF and a S/PDIF output for connecting the mixer digitally to an appropriate digital sound system. There are two top-mounted USB connections, and an additional USB port that supports iOS devices for use with Pioneer's optional RMX-1000 for iPad. An independent Send & Return section allows for external effects to be used simultaneously with the internal effects.

Pioneer DJM-900NXS2 4-Channel Digital Pro-DJ Mixer

Denon DJ has upped the ante for professional club mixers with the X1800 Prime, which offers four channels with 24-bit/96 kHz digital output, dedicated sweep and BPM FX and an integrated LAN-Hub for connecting up to four SC5000 Prime media players. Each input of the mixer features a level control, channel fader, expressive 3-band EQ with Classic or Isolation modes, a dedicated filter (HP/LP), and Sweep FX, which include Dub Echo, Noise, Wash Out, and Gate settings.

Denon DJ X1800 Prime - Professional 4-Channel DJ Club Mixer with Smart Hub

Rane makes some of the best-sounding mixers, and its Seventy-Two two-channel club mixer offers dedicated controls for complete plug-and-play control of Serato DJ. The mixer offers advanced features, including a full-color touchscreen interface, Flex FX, stackable Serato FX, and eight Akai Pro MPC multi-function trigger pads per deck. Dual USB connections allow two DJs to tag-team or effortlessly change over. Additionally, the mixer provides two USB (Type-A) ports designed to connect the latest Rane T`welve, a 12" vinyl motorized DJ control system.

RANE DJ Seventy-Two 2-Channel Performance Mixer with Touchscreen for Serato DJ Pro

Turntables

he most sought after and highly respected turntable on the market is the Technics SL-1200 series turntable. The original line was discontinued in 2012, but recently was put back into production with the SL-1210GR, which offers some significant updates to the design, including a coreless direct-drive motor, precision motor control, and added high-damping silicon insulation to prevent unwanted vibrations from corrupting the sound. If the Technics 1200 is out of your price range, then check out some of these other makes and models that are affordable and well suited to professional club use. The Denon DJ VL12 Prime is a professional high-torque, direct-drive turntable with true quartz lock and optimal acoustic isolation capabilities that can withstand loud, bass-heavy environments. The isolated motor design provides an excellent signal-to-noise ratio, while the S-shaped tone arm offers accurate tracking. An "easy grip/brake" chamfered platter offers a refined tactile DJ touch, enabling direct and subtle adjustments to your vinyl mix. The Reloop RP-8000 is an advanced hybrid turntable that features an upper torque direct quartz-driven turntable with digital correction and a bank of eight user-programmable MIDI buttons, with Serato Scratch live mappings and a trax encoder for browsing your library and loading digital tracks onto the decks. The Stanton STR8.150 M2 turntable is one of the most skip-resistant turntables available. It features a straight skip-proof tone arm with a direct-drive brushless DC motor, an aluminum platter, and phono/line switchable outputs. Additionally, Stanton also makes an S-shaped tone arm version; the ST.150 M2. Available in silver or black, the Audio-Technica AT-LP120USB is a professional-quality direct-drive turntable with a dedicated USB output. The deck offers +10% and 20% quartz pitch control and includes a built-in phono preamp, so it can be connected directly to any line-level input. The USB interface allows you to record your vinyl into your computer with the included Audacity software.

Audio-Technica AT-LP120USB Direct Drive Professional DJ Turntable with USB Output

DJ CD, MP3, and Media Players

For the digital DJ looking to perform music without a computer, the Pioneer CDJ and XDJ-Series media players offer excellent hands-on control. The units are networkable and allow a single thumb drive to connect up to four players. The CDJ2000NXS2 is the latest offering, with high-resolution 24-bit/96 kHz file compatibility, and a 7" full-color touch screen. The unit is also Wi-Fi audio-streaming capable, which lets you stream audio from your phone directly to the player. The touch screen offers a QWERTY keyboard and search filters to navigate and select tracks quickly. The player can also play files for CD/DVD, a flash drive, or an SD card. The CDJ900NXS offers the same rekordbox playback with wireless streaming, CD/DVD playback, flash drive, or SD Card, but forgoes the touch screen. For even greater savings, the well-appointed XDJ-1000MK2 and XDJ-700 offer the touch-screen display, but lose the CD/DVD media players. All units are rekordbox compatible and are capable of Wi-Fi streaming from your phone, tablet, or computer. Another media player that is turning heads is the Denon DJ SC5000 Prime, a high-definition digital DJ media player with a 7" high-contrast multi-touch display and latency-free tactile navigation, load, and playback functionality. The dual-layer playback engine acts like two separate players in one, complete with separate audio outputs. Additionally, the player is capable of onboard music-file analysis, which allows you to add cue points, loop start and end points and more, while working on the fly. The SC5000 employs a dedicated multi-core internal processor to run "Engine Prime," Denon DJ's latest music librarian software, and features direct access to convenient performance features. The Denon DJ SC5000M Prime offers the same feature set, but with a 7" motorized platter with a real vinyl record for better tactile control. Other cost effective media players worth checking out include the Reloop RMP- Alpha-2.5 and the Numark NKX500.

Numark NDX500 - USB/CD Media Player and Software Controller

Digital Vinyl

For the DJ who wishes to bridge the old-school technique of mixing vinyl/CD with computer technology, Serato DJ Pro and Native Instruments Traktor are the current favorite of many professional DJs and home enthusiasts. The Denon DJ DS1 is a bargain digital vinyl system and includes Serato DJ Pro and DVS expansion pack, two NoiseMap vinyl records, two NoiseMap CDs, and a 24-bit/96 kHz stereo in and out interface—everything you need to get you up and running with Serato DJ. For Traktor, the Scratch A6 is a 24-bit/96kHz interface offering 6 inputs & outputs, two control vinyl and two control CDs, and includes the Scratch Pro 2 software to get you going.

Native Instruments TRAKTOR Scratch A6 - AUDIO 6 DJ Advanced DJ Audio Interface

That about warps up this gift guide for your favorite DJ. If you have any questions or wish to get your hands on a piece of gear, check out the B&H website or head on down to the NYC SuperStore. Do you have a favorite piece of DJ equipment? Tell us about it in the Comments section, below.

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