Last updated 2 December, 2017

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dj-mag-tech-awards

We thought we’d revisit DJ Magazine’s Tech Awards and see what kit the DJ community thinks should be worthy of your cash. It’s sometimes hard to know what kit to buy, so it’s good to know what other people rate as the best in each class to help you make your own mind up.

We give our verdict on each of DJ Magazine’s winners, suggest some of our own alternatives (just in case you’re not impressed with their number one choice in each category), and give you the relevant links for you to see them in-store too.

Let’s look at some kit, then…

The winners are…


 

The Akai APC40
The Akai APC40 plays nicely with Ableton Live 8.

Innovative New Product: Akai APC40

This is a controller for Ableton Live 8, the production software that’s also great for DJs who want to blur the lines between producing and DJing.

You can DJ on this thing with just a laptop and sound card… and an awful lot of preparation.The faders don’t feel brilliant to use, though, and you need an extra mains socket: It’s not USB-powered.

The Akai APC40 is at Amazon.com for US$299 and at Amazon.co.uk for £320.99.

What’s the alternative?
You could go for a Novation Launchpad (from Amazon.com for US$134.95, or from Amazon.co.uk for £149) to duplicate the clip/scene launching functionality, and a little mixer like the Novation Nocturn (from Amazon.com for US$93.82 or from Amazon.co.uk for £69) to duplicate the DJing bits.

You could probably get away with USB power too with these plus a sound card, removing the need to find two mains sockets.


 

Vestax VCI-300
The Vestax VCI-300 is great fun to use and well-made to boot.

Standalone Computer DJ Interface: Vestax VCI-300

Controller, to you and me. With built-in sound, you just need a USB lead and you’re away. Great build quality, tightly integrated Serato ITCH software, and wonderful user experience make this a worthy winner.

You’ll need to add the VFX-1 if you want FX other than the Easter Egg filter, though.

See the Vestax VCI-300 at Amazon.com for US$699, or at Amazon.co.uk for £624.99.

What’s the alternative?
Wait for one of these new controllers: Vestax’s own new VCI-100 Mk II appeals, which you can use with DJ software other than Serato ITCH. The Traktor Kontrol S4 is equally professional, but aimed more at controllerists, with a more button-based workflow.


 

M-Audio BX8a Deluxe
The M-Audio BX8a Deluxe speakers pack a lot of punch for the price.

Studio Monitor:
M-Audio BX8a Deluxe

They’re bi-amplified, they’re loud, they have accurate sound, and they look good. And at this price for a pair, they’re the perfect speakers for today’s digital DJ, producer or music enthusiast to use at home.

See them at Musician’s Friend for US$499.

What’s the alternative?
The Alesis M1 Active 520 speakers (at Amazon.com for US$167.38 and at Amazon.co.uk for £168) again are powered so you don’t need a separate amp, and while they lack a bit in the bass department, they sound crisp, clear and detailed.


 

Traktor Pro
With four decks, loads of effects and wide hardware compatibility, Traktor Pro is a worthy winner.

DJ Software: Native Instruments Traktor Pro

With four decks, a plethora of effects and enough bells and whistles to keep the geekiest geek happy for eons, Traktor Pro is the most popular DJ software among, well, pros.

And for good reason. It’s not the easiest to use, though, and isn’t very pretty to look at.

Buy Traktor Pro at Amazon.com for US$199.

What’s the alternative?
Virtual DJ is very popular with beginners through to some professionals, and also your best choice for video mixing.

If you are happy to go with Serato-affiliated hardware, ITCH is lovely for the DJ who just wants to play music, no frills.


 

Stanton SCS.3d
The Stanton SCS.3d is a lovable little controller and will certainly turn heads.

Compact DJ Midi Controller: Stanton SCS.3d

If you want to add a third deck to your Traktor or Virtual DJ setup, or just add some control over your software while doing the rest on the screen, this is an innovative, well-made and fun to use device that has a tiny footprint.

See the Stanton SCS.3d at Amazon.com for US$159.57.

What’s the alternative?
The new Denon DN-SC2000 is an affordable, professionally spec’d and constructed Midi controller for Traktor Pro, and again is small enough to pop in a bag and whip out when you want hands-on control over those laptop features.


 

Native Instruments Audio 2 DJ
Native Instruments Audio 2 DJ sound card is simple and it works. What more could you want?

DJ Sound Card: Native Instruments Audio 2 DJ

Small, lightweight, no frills – it gives you what you need to plug your headphones and sound system in and get going. Just make sure you don’t leave it behind by mistake.

See it at Amazon.com for US$99.

What’s the alternative?
The Numark Numark DJI/O (at Amazon.com for US$78 and at Amazon.co.uk for £77) does a similar job for a similar price, and is equally hard to fault. Get whichever one you can and you won’t go far wrong.


 

Sennheiser HD-25 II
The Sennheiser HD-25 II headphones are compact and strong.

Headphones: Sennheiser HD-25

The perennial DJ’s favourite, they’re virtually indestructible, small, light, great sounding and you can replace parts should they break. Some may find the cups a bit small to completely cover the ear, though.

See them at Amazon.com for $199 and at Amazon.co.uk for £159.08.

What’s the alternative?
The Pioneer HDJ-2000s (at Amazon.com for US$254.93 and at Amazon.co.uk for £254.17) are well made and sound great, but lack in sound isolation and cost a bit more than most could probably stomach.

At the other end of the scale, the Numark PHX (at Amazon.com for US$55.05 and at Amazon.co.uk for £39) are flimsier but great sounding.


Your verdict…

What do YOU think of the winners? Do you agree or would you have chosen differently? Any of this lot on your Christmas wishlist? Let us know in the comments.

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