The best DJ gear of 2011: speakers, headphones, mixers, apps and more
16th Dec 2011 | 09:45
The best DJ gear of 2011
It's that time of year again: your DJ bookings have gone bananas and you're begrudgingly scouring the internet for quirky Christmas remixes and edits. So what are you going to spend your Christmas earnings on this year? Well, maybe some of the greatest DJ kit to come out of 2011…
After the jump we've got everything from the best mixer, controller, software, monitors and even iPhone and Android apps. So what are you waiting for?
Without further ado, let's crossfade over to slide one and show you 2011's mixer of the year.
NEXT: Mixer of the year
Mixer of the year
Even though we loved the Pioneer DJM-2000, it wasn’t as widely adopted as Pioneer might have hoped.
But, fortunately it had a trick up its sleeve with the DJM-900 Nexus, which massively improved upon the industry standard DJM-800 mixer without looking too alien to the majority of the DJ community.
The Nexus offers incredible effects, MIDI sync, a USB interface and connectability that goes beyond anything seen before. Arm this with two CDJ-2000s and some Recordbox’d music and you’ll have one hell of a party.
Controller of the year
Simpler than NI's flagship S4 controller, the S2 benefits from portability and nstant usability and is just massive amounts of fun.
For most DJs the S2 will do every task they need in the DJ booth and it’s easily the best value controller on the market, coming with the full version of the Traktor Pro 2 DJ software. We’ve rocked many parties with this unit and had no problems so far.
Heaphones of the year
The most resilient set of headphones we’ve ever used and a must for anyone that has ever had a pair fail on them in the DJ booth.
Full aluminium parts, reversible housing and a removable, high-quality mini XLR lead make these a long term investment. They have the classic Pioneer sound, will go nice and loud without distorting and deliver a decent amount of bottom end as well. True, they’re not the cheapest cans on the market, but they’ll last you years.
DJ device of the year
Although this is also a DJ controller, it’s unique in that the unit itself requires no computer to play music.
Everything is self-contained in the SCS.4DJ, with software on board that scans and collates any music collection plugged into its four USB ports. Although the scanning of tracks can take a while, some new offline scanning software for your PC or Mac solves this problem and makes the Stanton a fun and practical portable DJ solution.
Sample set of the year
Sample Magic’s biggest selling sample set of 2011 and with good reason.
It was given impressive maxed-out reviews in both Computer Music and Future music, and is the perfect tool for the DJ who wants to produce, or for laptop jocks looking to remix on the fly in their live sets.
Monitors of the year
Nobody expected Pioneer to release a DJ/studio monitor this year, despite being renowned for its hi-fi and in car audio equipment.
It did, though, and it's fantastic, with the five-inch model shown here a great value set for the DJ turned producer. Hyped enough to be fun to listen to and yet good enough for production, the S-DJ05 benefits from a breakout controller, multiple inputs and an EQ kill switch.
If the festive winter colour isn’t enough, the larger eight-inch model is a great studio set, too. Check them out!
Software of the year
It’s been dominating many laptop jocks screen for years, but now NI has shifted up a gear and made Traktor an incredible, stable, creative powerhouse.
Sampling, more effects, amazing track organisation and simple four-deck operation alongside usability tweaks and scalability keep it as our DJ software of choice. Team it with the right controller and your options will be limitless.
Effects of the year
Control four effects at the same time and move between them with an easy swipe or two. It’s a new take on Korg’s ledgendary Kaoss idea and we love it.
Simple phono/RCA ins and outs on the rear and a massive amount of mangling potential with freeze controls makes things even more creative. Tap it like a drum machine or gently blend effects together with organic fluidity. We wish it ran on batteries…
Android app of the year
With over a million downloads this is one of the most popular Android DJ apps on the market.
It works a treat for DJ mixing, with full three-band EQ, sync and even Soundcloud integration to publish your mobile mixes to the world. It's worth having for the auto DJ function too, so you'll never have to suffer other people's horrible party music ever again!
iOS app of the year
Far and away the best DJ app on iOS, and you can team it with a DJ controller for extra functionality.
Pitch, mix, sync and even add effects to tracks, all in real-time. You can scratch, too, if you really get the urge. Record your mixes or use the auto-DJ functions to provide the soundtrack to a party.
djay is easy and fun to use, and genuinely useful to have on you for those impromptu mix sessions.
Liked this? Now read: The best music tech gear of 2011: synths, DAWs, plug-ins, keyboards, apps and more
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