How to choose a DJ turntable and USB controllers?

Born in the 1950s, the practice of DJing has evolved tremendously, turning the disc jockey passer disc respected musician. With the emergence of hip hop in the late 70s and early 80s, the DJ starts using its platinum as an instrument, inventing scratches, samples and other breaks to become a real goldsmith of music. Reinventing genres, DJs no longer confined to hip-hop and pass techno, electro, drum & bass, using technology to advance their sound. Today, these musicians have an armada of instruments renewing art. You also want to discover the world of digital DJing and access a world of sonic possibilities? Then follow the guide.


Little Sisters of the turntables, the best type of DJ mixers add prefer playing CDs and MP3s. Designed for DJs, they have the advantage of offering more possibilities in terms of sound change: impacts, improved sampling … Featuring ‘jog wheels’, a wheel the size of a CD, they can restore the same sensations as on a turntable for both the scratch for research pieces. Their advantage lies in their ease of use and mobility.



Beginners should not have eyes bigger than your stomach and be burdened with material they will not use and will gradually dust.Better to start with a model emphasizing simplicity, but will allow the DJ to get used to his instrument.

Regarding the configuration of a beginner board , the bare minimum will do so. We opt in this case for an instrument with good jog wheels in order to train properly for the realization of samples and loops and an integrated sound card, in order to have a decent sound. Regarding other features, the most daring can opt for a DJ Platinum model including preset effects, or an internal hard drive in order to create a music database.



For DJs have already mastered their instrument, we must move up a gear. The more experienced will move towards an instrument that will allow them to manipulate the sound easily, without having to add a variety of external devices.

This time, he’ll have to choose a model that will have several effects as the slicer, the roll, the sampler, the hot cue or loop, to name a few. For fans of sampling (extract pieces of music and then make a “collage” of several), it will take more to guard a platinum pitch controller, which can move up and down to 16%, and than a “tap” button, to easily synchronize multiple tracks. A model for DJ confirmed may also include a MIDI controller and a solid sample bank, for even more possibilities.



DJ pro swear by three criteria: sound quality, manageability and functionality. To be reliable enough to be performing live, professional DJ turntable will especially allow the user to manipulate sound at will, without limit, in association with any mixing software.

A platinum pro will then include very good jog wheels large direct drive. It will also control multiple USB channels, MIDI pads responding to velocity, sensitive faders to the slightest adjustments, as well as line inputs, phono and microphone. It also include a bank of effects including classics: sampler, filter, gain, equalizer … Some DJs also wish to turn to models offering a complete integration of the Apple brand devices, like iPhone, iPad and iPod touch in order to access a touch interface. But the essential criterion of a pro-quality platinum is its strength. In order to accompany the DJ everywhere, the deck will indeed be robust and withstand shocks. To do this, choose an aluminum structure, synonymous with reliability.

DJing Fun 
In another style, the DJ Hero game allows for him a different approach to DJing. It can play several and allows to get into the skin of a real DJ. The player can mix on songs by Marvin Gaye, Eminem, Gorillaz and many others … DJ Hero is available on XBOX 360, Wii and PS3.




Besides the decks, DJs can now call on a range of USB controllers with infinite possibilities. Designed to keep pace with the music creation software like Live, Fruity Loops or they can play a virtual instrument, program effects, send samples, loops to play … A simple MIDI keyboard will thus become a brass section, a pad will become a real electronic drum or an endless sound bank and MPC will change in some settings, in a real orchestra. In short, the best USB controller is a custom tool, programmable and changeable at will. The dream of every musician.



Also called “master keyboards’, MIDI keyboards no sound itself. But once programmed with music software desktop, they can transform at will. You want a grand piano sound or harp? It’s possible. The most advanced models have three main features: a heavy touch to better feel the notes, detecting the velocity, so that the sound is different depending on the force you put into every keystroke, and a division function the keyboard to assign multiple instruments on the same tool.


  • For beginners: they can turn to simple models such as keyboards 25 or 49 keys, integrating the rigor some touch pads. They can then be hand and master the characteristics of the instrument. The most demanding wish, for their part, have a more advanced model, equipped with 61 keys. These should then be velocity-sensitive, for better touch.


  • For advanced: they wish to invest in some additional effects such as pitch wheel, an arpeggiator, a modulation of octaves …


  • For pros: it will take up a notch and go for a MIDI keyboard with velocity-sensitive keys, but also the pressure of repetition. The keyboard will have 8 or even 16 pads, if possible, and a battery of effects and presets.



If digital pads can take many forms, their basic principle is the same. Each key is assigned a sound: a cymbal, a snare drum, a bass drum, but also a sample, loop … Sensitive to velocity, they can become a virtual farm or a sound bank, with which the user can play at will.

For starters, much to move towards a single model of use, however, to discover the different possibilities of a pad. A small model 16 keys so will fit the bill perfectly. A cut above, we will move towards a pad offering sensitive keys with velocity, pedal inputs prerecorded patterns, or the faders and knobs, to better control the sound. Finally, professionals will want for their part have a powerful device with a full sound bank, but remains fully programmable.




Computer aided music software (or MAO) are veritable Swiss army knife for the digital DJ. To create a few clicks of samples, loops, and even real pieces, they are an indispensable tool.

The most recognized of them have two major qualities: a range of sonic possibilities and therefore easy handling. They must allow the DJ to easily create pieces, making available many instruments, loops, sound. A wide range of effects and tools will also be necessary in order to create without constraint. The interface of the software should be fun, simple and clear, in order not to overload the user with too many windows. Among the multitude of existing software on the market, we will move towards the most reliable and complete as FL Studio, Reason or Ableton Live, one of the most popular DJs in both professional and amateur.

All pros will tell you that behind every good DJ is hiding a good DJ headset. Impervious to outside noise, robust and delivering a high quality sound reproduction, they are an indispensable tool.