The Technics SL-1200MK2 has been and always will be the most important and iconic piece of DJ equipment in EDM culture. Even a silhouette of this classic turntable screams DJ in almost every language. However, since its release in 1979, several other products have taken the DJ game to new highs (and sometimes lows). Here we count down the top 10 game changers in the DJ scene.
10. Gemini MX-2200
This two channel “battle mixer” was used by hip hop DJ pioneers across the U.S., and was even seen on Yo! MTV Raps. Its simple two channel format inspired generations of mixers to come, and bridged the gap between the one’s and twos.
9. Vestax PMC-05Pro
As DJing headed into a more scratch and turntablist oriented field, Vestax took the time to work with DMC Champions (the Invisibl Skratch Pickles) to design a two channel mixer (and crossfader) that could take a beating. The 05 offered a layout and features that most scratch mixers of the time lacked. Other companies tried to keep up, and the market was soon flooded with less expensive and less functional knock-offs.
8. Shure M447 Cartridges
Low record wear, super high output, foolproof skip resistance and excellent tracking ability soon propelled these needles as the go to for EDM and hip hop DJs alike. Plus they just look damn tough mounted to a Technics headshell.
7. Rane TTM-56 Mixer
Some may call it re-inventing the wheel (Vestax 05Pro), but Rane’s 56 had the outputs, sound quality and feel that 05 lacked. Add a non-contact fader and fully adjustable curve control- Rane had a winner.
6. Headliner Stashpack DJ Bag
After many tried and failed, Headliner finally nailed it on this bag. Pockets that fit and protected everything, slim, streamlined look and plush carpeted interior made this bag a hit with all DJs. If there were five DJ’s on the bill, five DJs had Headliners guaranteed.
The Headliner got the DJ bag right. None before, or since have come close to its ubiquity.
5. AiAiAi TMA-1
In a market dominated by Sony and Technics, AiAiAi did the unthinkable- they asked the DJs what they needed in a pair of headphones. The consensus was great sound, comfort AND durability. While the Japanese brands were heavy and guaranteed to break after 3 months, AiAiAi designed the TMA-1’s from the ground up, and soon could be seen on DJ’s heads world wide. Their relative success opened the gateway for other headphone brands to now legitimately enter the market.
A DJ’s music library is a part of a DJ’s rig, and after the digital revolution, Beatport changed the way DJ’s and producers could not only buy, but sell music. iTunes was too restrictive on their quality of files (128 kpbs is not a good look), selection of music, and security constraints. Beatport was successfully able to reign in the wild west blog house music scene and monetize it (along with already established EDM artists).
3. Pioneer DJM-800
While the Pioneer DJM-800 had many features that set it apart from the rest- there are two that stand out: Color Effects and Filter. You add four channels, midi-capability and easy to use controls, it’s not surprising that it quickly replaced Rane 56’s and 57s as the go-to installation mixers.
2. Pioneer CDJ-2000
Whether by design or by circumstance, the CDJ-2000 has become the industry standard DJ deck in clubs and festivals worldwide. Its playback format capabilities are unsurpassed, and its full color screen combined with sleek layout make it almost as sexy as a Technics 1200.
1. Rane Serato Scratch Live
While there were programs before Scratch Live and many to come after, Rane/Serato’s collaboration on the SL1 was an absolute game changer in the DJ industry. Scratch Live’s layout was intuitive and clutter free, allowing DJs to preserve the essence of mixing and scratching on vinyl while actually controlling mp3’s. The masses could now spin their libraries without the heavy investment and space issues associated with collecting vinyl, and the professionals could now bring their record collections with them around the globe.