How to DJ with Vinyl

“Hey this DJ is playing some amazing tunes… and on vinyl too!” – you dream in your head. You want to get started as a vinyl DJ, and show off your growing vinyl record collection, but you’re not sure how to get started. Well, this article’s for you, my friend! Read on to find out more.

Let me tell you: there is nothing better than playing your favourite tunes on vinyl at a party, and watching it go off. (And we’ve heard that you have all the best tunes.)

Nothing beats the tactile, analog experience with vinyl: searching for vinyl in your record box, placing the record on the turntable, and controlling the beat with your hands. It’s awesome.

And it’s actually quite straightforward to get started DJing with vinyl records. Read on to find out more.

What you need: a vinyl DJ’s party-starter kit

If you’re a beginner to vinyl DJing, then we’ve broken down the equipment that you’re going to need:

image/svg+xml Leftturntable Rightturntable DJ mixer Headphones Leftspeaker Rightspeaker A BASIC VINYL DJ SETUP
A typical 2-turntable vinyl DJ setup
  • 2 x DJ turntables (also called record decks) – You can’t avoid the fact that you will need two decks. (Or you could pause the music and turn the record over when it ends, which I once saw a DJ in a club do, but it’s not such a great idea!)

  • DJ mixer, which is a specialised type of sound mixer made for DJs. This can be as cheap and cheerful as you like, or ultra-high-tech and advanced.

  • Headphones – Headphones have a purpose when DJing. (And it’s not so that you can pose behind the decks.) Headphones allow you to listen to the music without the crowd hearing it, which is really important when you’re preparing your next track.

  • Sound system – If you’re just DJing in your bedroom, you can listen to yourself in your headphones. But if you want to play to a crowd, you’ll need big sound. That’s where you’ll need a sound system, or some speakers that you can plug into.

  • At least one vinyl record – or, preferably, 2. :-)

  • Water – Because good DJs stay hydrated, of course! 🚰

What kind of turntable do DJs use?

Vinyl turntables for DJs are a little different from home record players, because they have an extra slider which controls the playback speed (pitch) of the vinyl.

This allows you to speed up or slow down a record, so that you can beat-match two songs together.

How to DJ with vinyl (the basic steps)

If you’re looking to understand how DJing with vinyl actually works, then here’s what happens. We’ve broken it down, step-by-step:

  1. Set up your 2 turntables. Most people prefer to place them either side of the mixer, so you have a Left turntable and a Right turntable. Plug in your turntables into the DJ mixer, by following the instructions in the manual.

  2. On the DJ mixer, push up the fader for the Left turntable.

  3. Play your first record on the Left turntable!

  4. While the first record is playing, prepare your next record on the Right turntable. Make sure that the fader is down on the DJ mixer, so that the crowd can’t hear it.

  5. When the first record finishes, push up the Right turntable fader fully on the DJ mixer, and start the next record!

  6. Now repeat the process, but the opposite way round. You can play your next record from the Left turntable.

That’s pretty much the basics! There are way more techniques and skills, which you can learn later, but these are the basic steps to DJing your vinyl records with two turntables and a DJ mixer.

Happy mixing, DJ!

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