While DJ controllers and software have hugely reduced the cost of DJing for the majority of us, there are still set-ups that can cost mere mortals many months wages… or even more. From pro festival set-ups to boutique mixers, here we take a peek at some truly aspirational gear…
10 pricey pieces of gear
1. Technics 1200G
The Technics SL-1200 is an industry staple, but after selling more than three million units, production of the turntables came to a halt in 2010. Respected by DJs for their tank-like build and high torque motor, the players were initially designed for hi-fidelity home listening.
With the vinyl record revival and many other companies offering alternatives in response, it was no real surprise when Panasonic (Technics’ parent company) announced plans to revive and update the classic Technics design with the SL-1200G. It was a shock to DJs when the price tag was revealed though!
2. Pioneer DJ DJM-1 CDJ-1 TOUR systems
The CDJ and DJM-TOUR1 units have a very familiar look to them. They have the same layout and features as the CDJ-2000NXS2 and DJM-900NXS2. Obviously, the added screens are what differentiates them here. The screens are powered by built-in CPUs, showing a variety of waveform and library browsing views.
The DJM-TOUR1 also has Kuvo built in, so you can broadcast information about what tracks you’re playing in real time to your fans. These mega-units are designed for festival use, and I have never seen them in the wild. If you’ve just won the lottery and are feeling frivolous, then you might be able to justify their monster price tags.
Price: CDJ-TOUR1 – US$4,999; DJM-TOUR1 – US$5,999
3. Funktion One Dance Stack DS1 speakers
If you are a mobile DJ looking for a new system with added “oomph”, look no further. The Funktion One Dance Stack is a monster sound system that can be found in many major clubs across the globe. It has an easily recognisable and striking design and can be configured in different ways, depending on the size of the venue.
I was at a New Year’s Eve party a few years back when a very well-known DJ was redlining the mixer to the hilt. After about 15 minutes, he managed to blow one of the speakers on one of the Dance Stacks that venue had brought in specially. Suffice to say, the promoters weren’t pleased and I was told that he wouldn’t be asked back.
Price: US$10,000-20,000+ depending on the desired configuration of the speakers.
4. Radius 4 mixer
The Radius 4 is a four-channel analogue rotary mixer, designed and developed by MasterSounds and Union Audio at their UK-based workshops in Cornwall. Andy Rigby-Jones, the former head of design for the Allen & Heath Xone DJ mixer range, has personally designed, built and tested the analogue electronics.
Each of these premium mixers is handmade, tested and shipped directly from Union Audio. It is this kind of quality, reliability and performance that you pay top whack for.
Price: US$2,000 for the premium edition.
5. Ultimate Ears UE 18+ Pro
DJs often have problems with hearing the mix over the club sound system. To counter this, traditional DJ headphones offer sound isolation with varying degrees of success. If you are serious about protecting your hearing and getting super accurate sound when monitoring, custom in ear monitors (IEMs) are a good solution.
Custom fit IEMs, such as the Ultimate Ears UE 18+ Pro, cost more than generic ones. This is because of the technology used inside and the effort required to make them specifically for the shape of your ear. You have to go to an audiologist to make a mould of your ear canal so that the IEM company can then use to make your monitors fit as well as possible. This all drives up the cost substantially.
6. Void Air Stream DJ monitoring system
The snazzy Air Stream is a two-way active monitoring system made up of three parts, a single 15” subwoofer with co-axial 12”midrange and a 1.5” high-frequency tweeter. Its compact “all-in-one” design makes it suitable for smaller booths and it can be transformed into a monitor system suitable for larger events with the addition of sub enclosures.
Void make a variety of futuristic speaker designs, and this one is no different. It looks the part and unsurprisingly, comes with a hefty price tag.
7. Wireworld Platinum Eclipse 7 XLR cable
Researching and buying audio cables is a confusing process, even for experienced DJs. What makes the task even more difficult are the price differences between two similar cables of the same length, with the same connectors but different branding and vastly different price tags.
The Wireworld Platinum Eclipse 7 XLR cable pictured will set you back an insane amount of cash and the most obvious question is: “Can we really tell the difference between this and a US$5 cable?” Perhaps if you were running metres and metres of cable, but surely not just the length of your DJ desk.
Price: US$4,300 for a 1.5m pair
8. Model Zero mixer
The Model Zero is a stripped-back mixer for the purist DJ. This compact four-channel analogue mixer has rotary volume control knobs, no EQs and no displays. It is hand-made in Los Angeles and each of the mixer’s four channels features a passive line input and phono preamp, “designed to provide the best sound possible.”
Taking into consideration its boutique, hand-built nature, it comes as no surprise that the Model Zero costs a small fortune. If you’re looking for something a little more “traditional” and the cash is burning a hole in your pocket, why not?
9. Richie Hawtin’s Model 1 mixer
The Model 1 was designed as part studio-style mixing desk, part DJ mixer. This was done to allow DJ / producers who perform live shows to connect up and control their gear more efficiently in the booth. The mixer is a collaboration between Richie Hawtin, (the aforementioned) Andy Rigby-Jones, Allen & Heath and the AudioTonix Group.
It has no USB connections and doesn’t come with a crossfader, so probably won’t be on everyone’s wish list. It is however, a powerful and interesting piece of kit, made from high-quality parts with a well thought-out design.
10. Pioneer DJ DDJ-RZX
The Pioneer DJ DDJ-RZX is a beast of a controller. It is specifically designed to work with the Video control Plus Pack for Rekordbox DJ to allow video mixing in the DJ software. It includes three touchscreens, full-size jogwheels and the four-channel mixing console contains every bell and whistle imaginable, rightly so for the price!
It still requires a laptop to run the DJ software though, which begs the question, where are you going to fit it all on one table? If Pioneer DJ made a standalone version of the DDJ-RZX with USB ports it could give the new Denon DJ SC5000 players a run for their money.
As we mentioned in the beginning, you don’t have to start thinking about selling your kidneys any time soon. The gear listed in this article is all very niche. It’s always good to know what is out there, just in case you win the lottery and fancy a spending spree.
What other expensive DJ gear should be on this list? What’s the most expensive piece of kit that you own? What’s on your wish list? Have you used any of the above equipment? Let us know in the comments below…