Vinyl is back in vogue, with the industry set to rake in $1 billion for the first time ever since the ’80s, before technology began to truly take over by major bounds and leaps. At the same time, we are seeing a sizable demand for vinyl players as well, not to mention people are retrieving their old vinyl players and dusting off their old collections once more.
Of course, when it comes to DJing it is an entirely different matter. If you are looking to spin vinyl, you are on the market for specific equipment and a question now arises, especially among the budget-conscious DJs: how much will that all cost?
To address this question, we have to first understand that every DJ has their own preferences and needs with regards to equipment. To keep things simple and fair, we will be focusing on the basic equipment that a new DJ will need. At the very least, we will be looking at equipment that lets the DJ do the basic two-song mix. This means we’ll need to also compare the cost of a vinyl versus digital collection as well.
Generally, buying vinyl is more expensive than buying digital music. This may look like digital music has a clear advantage but that is not really the case.
For one, vinyl’s higher cost can be a factor that drives DJs to invest in smaller, yet higher quality collection. We must also not forget that some tracks are only available on vinyl, which helps artists build a more unique music collection.
The downside here is that availability on vinyl may be limited and the prices will vary based on location. Although it’s possible to order vinyl online, shipping can jack the costs up, especially if the records are coming from overseas.
A key thing to consider with vinyl is the investment factor. Vinyl can be resold, and sometimes its resale value can be higher than what it was originally purchased for. Its resale value depends on the record itself, its rarity and the market demand for it. Regardless, the cost of purchasing vinyl factors in the fact that you’re buying something tangible that is for all intents and purposes now an asset. The same cannot be said of digital.
For a basic vinyl setup, DJs will need a set of entry level turntables and a basic two channel mixer. DJ Tech Tools made a table comparing it with the basic setup for other types of equipment. As you can see, the vinyl setup is actually a bit cheaper.
Keep in mind that both setups require ongoing investment. For example a Digital DJ may be able to get by with a very cheap laptop, but then you may need to buy a new laptop every few years as spec requirements increase. In the case of vinyl, DJs can purchase a entry level pair of turntables but they may not last as long. And if they’re no longer in production, then tough luck.
Overall, digital is the winner, though not by a significant amount. The initial cost is just slightly more but it is less expensive to maintain a digital collection. However, this does not mean you cannot save on a vinyl setup. The key is to shop smarter and taking the time to find the good deals that are out there, especially for vinyl.
In the end, each DJ will have their own preferred setup. Whether you decide to go vinyl, digital or both, all that matters is that your chosen setup provides you the most enjoyment as a DJ. After all, enjoying what you do with the equipment you have is one of if not the most critical factor for a DJ to make it in the music scene.