7 Tips For Getting The Most From Your Brand New DJ Gear

Phil Morse | Read time: 3 mins
first controller
Last updated 1 December, 2017

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We hope Christmas has brought you what you were hoping for. Pic: Juno Plus

Many of our readers arrive when they first think about digital DJing, before they even have a controller and when they’re just playing with software. That moment when their first controller arrives is one of the most exciting there is – but also can be frustrating as you battle to get set up and going.

So we thought we’d give you a list of seven clever moves to make sure you get the best from your new gear, which come both from experience and from the many emails we get each week from brand new DJs, which tend to ask the same types of questions.

  1. Be careful if you’re using a knife to open gear packaging – There are often instruction manuals or worse, cables right underneath where boxes are taped up. Be extremely careful that you don’t inadvertently cut your instrucutions or leads in half while hacking into your box!
  2. Keep all of your packaging, including cable ties, polythene bags and polystyrene – You will probably never have to send your kit back for repair or replacement, but you don’t know for sure. But also, modern packaging is lighter, more practical and sturdier than ever before, and the packaging your kit came in is the perfect way to transport it to gigs until you have proper bags or flight cases for it
  3. Unpacking your new kit
    Take time to unpack your new gear properly… and watch how you cut tape with knives! Pic: rockpapershotgun.com

    Install the latest drivers and software – The CDs that come with you DJ controllers, sound card etc were often burned and packaged many months or even in some cases years before you opened them and put them into your computer. Most software has a “check for updates” function – so once installed, use it. Or visit the manufacturer’s website to see if there is a latest version for your operating system. This can stop many problems with new gear in one go

  4. Make sure you have installed latest updates for your computer, too – If you are constantly hitting “update later” on your computer, you may have out of date components in your operating system that aren’t compatible with the latest version of the software you’ve installed for your DJ gear. So make sure Windows or OSX is up to date too
  5. Work through the “Quick Start” guide – Come on boys (and I’m, talking to the boys now, not the girls) – we hate to use instructions, right? But Quick Start guides know that – they’re the “really important” instructions that we should make sure we follow if nothing else. You may miss something simple and spend an hour trying to sort it out, which is time you could have been spending DJing
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  6. If you can’t work something out, walk away for a while – there’s nothing like rushing to make you miss something obvious. If you think you’ve done everything right and so your new gear “must be broken”, just take a break. Help someone else with their Christmas presents, wait till after dinner, watch a film, and have another go afterwards. Difficult though this can be when you just want to play, the chances are you’ll work it out straight away when you come back to it
  7. Look on the manufacturer’s web forum for help – Most equipment manufacturers have forums where users can turn for help, and many of them have a “beginners” section where you can find help, or more likely find someone else with your problems and see the answer

Finally, once you’re all set up and going, why not check out “Help! I’ve Just Bought My First Digital DJ Kit. What Do I Do Now?”, for more ideas on your first steps with your new digital DJ gear.

If you get new DJ kit and despite the above are still stuck, you could try asking in the comments below. If the rest of us pitch in, hopefully we can make sure we at least point you in the right direction for a solution.

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