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Buying Second Hand DJ Equipment
How To Find Good Deals and Protect Your Wallet
DJ’s acquire toys and pick up pieces of gear like collectors.
But at some point, we may look back and regret our buying decisions.
Luckily there are often great deals on second-hand equipment that is like new.
Buying used can be a low-risk way of getting the equipment you want if you are patient and know what you are looking for.
What should you consider before buying second-hand equipment?
Efficient Buying Process
Learn The Basics + Do Your Research (What Kind Of DJ Will You Be?)
Establish a Budget (How Much Money Do You Need to Save)
Test it, Rent it if possible ( How Does The Equipment Feel under Your Hands?)
Demo The Software (Controller Often Lock you in to a Specific Software)
Sleep on the Decision, How Excited are You on a Scale of 1-10
Execute, Make Your Move
Master Your Equipment Before You Buy Anything Else
Start Slow, Build-up The Dream
When I first started DJ’ing, my options were limited to 2 Vinyl Turntables and a Mixer.
The gear was low quality, and the deal came with a bunch of music I did not like and some large speakers but no amplifier.
It was barely functional, but it was enough to get me started.
My next purchase was a used Serato Time-Code-Vinyl soundcard that allowed me to play music from my computer using my vinyl setup.
Serato was a significant investment for me at the time, but I knew DJ’ing was something I wanted to pursue, so I saw it as an investment in my future.
Even today, most of the DJ equipment I own is Second-Hand. Currently, my setup consists of 2 x Rane Twelves and a Pioneer S9.
I slowly upgraded my setup by mixing pieces of gear and buying the best equipment I could afford at the time.
That was the route that worked for me.
It does not matter what gear you have because you can apply the same fundamental skills to almost any DJ gear.
GAS - Gear Acquisition Syndrome
DJs and Producers all over the world suffer from GAS.
We get excited by the idea of new shiny toys.
We end up buying more equipment than we need.
GAS becomes a problem because we never end up mastering the equipment we own.
Instead, we think that the “next” thing will make us a better DJ, when in fact, becoming a better DJ is about developing your skills.
It is a consistent practice that makes you better, not the equipment you use.
One remedy is to buy the best possible equipment you can afford. The sunk costs should incentivise you to master your equipment before you think about getting anything else.
You end up with less gear that is higher quality, and you are a better DJ as a result.
The True Cost of Being a DJ
When you are creating your DJ Budget, there are several things to take into account.
Music including subscription services, DJ Pools, and one-off purchases
Cables including; RCA, XLR, TRS, DMX Etc
Microphone (not always necessary)
Peripherals like bags and cases
Laptop to run DJ software
Software - Pro Versions and expansion packs
Adapters - 3.5mm to 1/4” Jack
Vinyl stuff - Styluses and needles
Additional Tips When You Buy
Do a quick google search of “(insert product) fault”. If there are any showstoppers, I would reconsider the purchase.
Check if you need a special license or CD-key to use the hardware. (Native Instruments is a serial offender)
Make sure to record the Serial Number S/N of your equipment!
Each serial number is unique and allows you to identify your equipment if it is stolen or to conduct a warranty claim for faulty equipment, returning it to the manufacturer.
Keep a good record of any license keys for software and also usernames and passwords for memberships.
Use Google Drive to keep a running record of all your assets and their serial numbers.
All user manuals are online, not to mention countless Youtube Videos about expanding your functionality.
Many pieces of gear will have unique features and tricks that are hard to discover by accident.
To use our gear correctly, and utilise the hidden features, look for the secret menus and hidden alt/shift controls in the user manual and through videos online.
If we are going to pay good money for gear, it’s worth knowing what it can do and using its full capability.
As a DJ, we should always buy the best gear our budget can afford because it will save us money in the long term.
Avoid GAS at all costs and truly master each piece of equipment you own before buying anything else.
Beware of some of the hidden costs, and be sure to factor in the additional items when you are buying.
It is okay to start small and eventually work up to your dream setup.