You may find when researching DJ gear that a cool piece of kit you’d love to own has been discontinued, but don’t worry, you don’t always have to buy new! The cost of new equipment can be a big barrier for aspiring DJs, and supply issues nowadays often mean you can’t find the gear you really want anyway. And in truth, the speed of development in DJ gear has slowed a lot in recent years, so the “latest shiny thing” is often not too different from last year’s (or the year before’s) model.
Want help choosing gear? Grab your free PDF: The Digital DJ Gear Buyer’s Guide
This is why buying secondhand DJ gear can be a good move. So as many of our students are interested in secondhand gear, and it’s a question we often get asked in our courses and live lessons, we’ve produced this quick guide to share the most valuable advice and give you some extra tips.
Why buy secondhand?
We’ve already touched on some of these things in the intro, and in fact there are plenty of good reasons to do so:
- Cost – DJ equipment can depreciate quickly, and secondhand items are often available at a fraction of their original price. This makes it possible to snag higher quality gear than you might afford if buying new
- Environment – Buying second-hand is a form of recycling. It reduces waste and the demand for new products, so you can feel good knowing you’re doing your bit for the world
- “Vintage” appeal – Some DJs prefer certain older gear that’s no longer in production, for instance out-of-production analogue mixers and Technics turntables have particular appeal
- Try before you buy new – If you’re not sure about a piece of gear or even the whole hobby of DJing, buying a secondhand version to test it out can be a wise decision. If it doesn’t suit your needs, you can resell it without taking a significant financial hit
Where to buy secondhand DJ gear
Maybe you’re here because you’ve already found the piece of gear you want somewhere. But if you haven’t, here are some good places to start looking:
- Online marketplaces – Websites like eBay and Gumtree are popular for buying and selling secondhand items, including DJ gear, and even Amazon has started to sell repackaged, returned and secondhand equipment at a lower price. They offer buyer protection services and a broad selection, but be sure to check seller ratings and ask for detailed photos and condition reports
- DJ forums and websites – Websites such as Reverb cater specifically to musicians and DJs and can be a good place to search. These platforms often have knowledgeable communities, meaning the equipment is likely to be well-cared-for and the sellers more reputable
- Social media groups – Facebook Groups and Marketplace are great for finding local deals. You can often negotiate prices and inspect the gear in person before committing to a purchase
- Pawn shops and secondhand stores – These can be a good source for finding hidden gems at lower prices. However, choice may be limited, and it’s advisable to thoroughly test any equipment before buying
- Music and DJ stores – Some stores offer secondhand sections or trade-in options. Purchasing from a retailer can give additional peace of mind with warranties or return policies
Tips for buying secondhand DJ gear
- Research – Before making a purchase, research the item to understand its value, common issues, and typical second-hand price. This will help you negotiate. A good place to ask these questions if you’re a Digital DJ Tips course owner is in your StudentHub Facebook Group, but you could also ask on the manufacturers’ forums, or on any product Subreddits that exist
- Inspect and test – If possible, inspect the equipment in person and test all knobs, buttons, faders and so on. Check for cosmetic damage, but more importantly, ensure that everything works as it should. Be sure that you get the software you’re expecting, or are aware of extra costs this may incur for you
- Ask questions – Don’t hesitate to ask the seller about any issues they know of with the item. People may not offer such info unless you ask! A good seller will be transparent about the gear’s condition
- Warranties and returns – Understand the return policy or warranty if available. Some secondhand retailers may offer a short-term warranty or return period
Read this next: When To Upgrade Your Gear (And When To Wait)
One thing to always look out for is continued software support. There is some ancient gear that simply no longer works with the latest versions of the software it needs to function – old Rane DVS boxes, first-generation Serato controllers and so on.
If it’s a controller or control device for software, it’s best not to buy TOO old – a few years is fine, but a decade or so? Probably a reason why you found it for £20 in that charity shop…
Again, if you’re not sure, research and ask. And remember, we’re always happy to help over on StudentHub if you’re a Digital DJ Tips course owner.