5 Reasons To Think Twice Before Upgrading Your DJ Gear

Phil Morse | Read time: 3 mins
Club/Festival DJing Pro
Last updated 18 January, 2020


With NAMM fast approaching and a huge number of new kit releases already in 2020, DJs are being bombarded with marketing to try and get them to buy the latest and greatest gear.

And while of course we’re not saying don’t do this (after all, we are, as ever, playing our part showing you what’s new and the advantages of the latest kit throughout this “gear season”), now is a good time to offer a reality check, and to reinforce the important idea that it is rarely a necessity to upgrade or replace your gear – it’s usually a want, not a need. Here are a few points to think about:

  1. The crowd doesn’t care what you’re playing on – More than ever before, what gear you have is a non-issue with punters. People are delivering amazing DJ sets on their phones, iPads, laptops only, and with all sizes and types of controller and DJ system. Whatever your reason for wanting better gear, don’t kid yourself that the crowd gives a monkeys – it doesn’t
  2. The basics needed for DJing haven’t actually changed in decades – You need two music sources, a way of switching between them, a way of getting that output to the crowd, and a way of listening to the other music source privately, in your headphones. The rest is optional. Your phone can do all of these things…
  3. People use the promise of new gear as an excuse for not actually DJing – “When I can buy the [insert forthcoming item here], I’ll be able to DJ how I want, and THEN I will hustle for my first gig” – this is a typical thing we hear often here at Digital DJ Tips. And it’s bollocks. Ever wondered why amateurs are so obsessed with gear, pros not so much? Because the pros are too busy actually, y’know, DJing. That’s a big lesson right there
  4. Limitations and creativity go hand in hand – If you want to be truly creative, setting yourself boundaries is a great idea. Finding ways of doing what you want to do within those boundaries is a pretty decent definition of creativity. Once you forget about the gear, and concentrate on exploiting what the gear you have CAN do, not worrying about what it CAN’T do, that’s when the inspiration kicks in
  5. …and anyway, any flashy features you want but don’t have can usually be “hacked” – DJs have been hacking together bits of gear to get the features they want forever. Want to incorporate a streaming service for requests? Get Spotify on your phone and find a spare channel to plug it into. No sampler on your system? Just use cue points and make “sample sets” of all the bits you want to use. No, none of this is perfect. But that’s half the fun. Point is, there is nearly always a way without throwing out what you have and buying something completely new


On all kinds of levels (financial, psychological, environmental) consumerism is in question more than ever nowadays. People buy stuff they don’t need, with money they haven’t got, the production of which uses resources the planet can increasingly ill afford. And why? Without getting too deep, often it’s for the thrill of the purchase, or to try and fill a gap in their lives by simply spending money. When it comes to the art of DJing, don’t let that be you!

Again, of course I’m not saying don’t ever buy kit, or don’t ever upgrade your kit – just take a scan through the points above before spending your hard-earned money to sense-check your reasons.

The best DJs frankly don’t really care what they’re DJing on, and when they get comfortable on something, they stick with it for their whole career. Take a leaf out of their books.

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