Distrokid – What is a Personal Tax Number?

When setting up your account with Distrokid, you will run into this question. For me personally, I had to go through helplines to figure it out; but I’m going to save you all the hassle.

On Distrokid a personal tax number is the number you use when employers at jobs ask for within your country. This number is called different things based on your country. It attaches your earnings to your taxable income in your country.

They’re different for every country, but here’s a short list:

  • United Kingdom: NINO (National Insurance Number)
  • United States: SSN (Social Security Number)
  • Canada: SIN (Social Insurance Number)
  • Germany: IdNr (Identifikationsnummer)
  • Australia: TFN (Tax File Number)

Please do due diligence, I’m not a tax professional in my own country, let alone an international tax master. Look into what designates you for your own countries of residence.

DistroKid Review and Information

DistroKid Review and Information

Is DistroKid Good?

Distrokid is an insanely good music distribution service for artists of all levels to use. It has basically gotten to the point that I would not recommend another service and you can see why in the comparisons section below.

The service is extremely easy to use, has a far-reaching network, and has a very good price. The service has only improved since this tweet in 2018:

Tunecore VS DistroKid praise tweet

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Who Does DistroKid Distribute To?

DistroKid distributes your music to every important service. As well as tons of other small ones. I’m not going to go over the massive list. This may seem like a non-answer. But if someone is using a service to listen to music 99.9% of the time DistroKid releases to it. In my opinion, DistroKid is comparable to its competitors in its distribution network of distribution networks.

I tried to find a service they didn’t release to.

I couldn’t.

For a moment I thought I found one with Xbox Music but it turns out that’s now Microsoft Groove, and that’s on the list.

DistroKid doesn’t burn CDs or etch Vinyl and get you into physical music stores though.

How Much Does DistroKid Cost?

DistroKid is inexpensive to artists and has a few different costs associated with the service. Currently, the service has yearly subscription plans and upsells add-ons or subscriptions for each musical release. If you stop paying your subscription, all of your music will be removed from all of the platforms, unless you pay for a Legacy Add-on which makes it a permanent addition.

There are 3 main tiers. Musician, Musician Plus, and Label.

The basic Musician plan only costs $20/yr and will get you distributed and earning income on your streams. This is a totally acceptable plan for small artists with small followings and manual promotion.

The $36/yr Musician Plus mid-tier lets you release under 2 bands, will add streaming performance stats, and allows you to set your release date. It offers a bunch of other niceties as well.

In my personal opinion Musician Plus is mandatory and I see the service as a $36/yr service. You need to use the Release Date feature to set a date with at least 10 days for major distribution platforms to analyze your song for recommendation engines. If used, your songs will be put in front of potential new fans, growing your fanbase.

The Label tier lets you manage a lot of acts, and ranges from $80-1200/yr.

There are some add-ons for uploads. Prices change depending on whether it’s an album or single. Current release add-ons are:

  • Youtube Money ($5-$15/yr + 20% Ad Revenue) – If someones using your song on Youtube they will detect and claim ad revenue.
  • Store Maximizer ($8/yr) – Whenever DistroKid adds a new platform, they will automatically add your song to it.
  • Shazam/Siri ($1/yr per track) – People can use these apps to find info on your song when it’s playing.
  • Legacy ($29-$49 one time) – If you cancel your DistroKid sub your music will stay up and you will still receive royalties.

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How Long Does DistroKid Take?

DistroKid is very efficient at getting music onto the major distribution networks and I’ve never been burned by them. When it comes to getting your music out DistroKid is comparable to its other competitors. In my opinion, after using this service and competitors for multiple releases; I can’t see a noticeable difference. Distrokid isn’t unique in this regard nor advantageous.

Does DistroKid Take Long?
Song Upload takes about 20 Minutes On Really Slow Coffee Shop Wifi, is submitted immediately and is Live on iTunes by the Next Day

This question is actually a bit complex. So I’ll break it down into how long to upload, how long to get your music submitted to the networks, and how long for the song itself to appear on the networks.

The actual upload process is not too tedious if you have all the information readily available. It will take about 15 minutes to fill out all the information and dot your i’s and cross your t’s. It will go very quickly if you know the W5s of your Music. If you’ve got your name, art, release dates, release extras, intended targeted distribution networks, who’s involved, and royalty splits.

Once you’ve got all the data entry in, the upload itself takes “your internet speed”. The longest it took me was 15 minutes on super-slow free coffee shop Wi-Fi from the back of a van in the parking lot. If you’re not a struggling Soundcloud rapper it will probably take way less time.

Once it’s in DistroKid’s hands it usually takes about 1-2 hours to be distributed to the distribution networks. Technically this is the scope of “How Long does DistroKid Take?”

But now we’ll get into the actual distribution platforms. Each one takes a different amount of time and has different schedules. The large platforms ingest (receive) your release very quickly, and can put them up for listeners equally fast. I’m going to make a random, non-specific, uneducated guess and say within 24 hours you’re likely on most platforms your fans would use.

How Long Does DistroKid Take?
Live On These Networks In 24 Hours

If you’re a smart artist, and you use the future “Release Date” feature, the big names will take up to 10 days to analyze your song. This feature is only on the $36/yr plan. If you don’t wait 10 days you won’t be featured on a generated playlist for new listeners to discover you.

When it comes to the other lesser-known networks DistroKid has some wait time because smaller distribution networks actually update their libraries at less frequent paces (2 weeks+) because they’re smaller organizations. This is affecting literally <1% of your fans though.

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What Do You Need To Release Music Through DistroKid?

The information on what you need wasn’t readily available prior to signing up so I figured I’d share it with you.

As far as being an artist you don’t need much. DistroKid will help you build a Spotify profile, and set you up in all the major stores.

You will need media for your releases such as art, lyrics, and your MP3 or WAV files of course.

Prior to releasing music on DistroKid, you need to share some tax information with the company. If your band is already a business it requires business documentation. If you’re a solo artist it requires your personal information. It will ask for a tax identification number. This is generally whatever your country uses to identify you for income. For me, it was a Social Insurance Number.

Depending on where you live you will need to make tax claims based on the income generated by this United States company. Some countries have treaties and special rules for royalties. When you input your residence, DistroKid may provide drop-downs that show which laws are applicable to you.

USA may hold 30% of income for foreign artists, IDK if you can recover it or not.

I’m not a tax lawyer, this isn’t tax advice. I’m not going through the income tax and royalty laws of countries.

Is DistroKid Legit?

Distrokid is 100% legit and not a scam. It will distribute your music to these streaming services and will pay you 100% of the royalties it receives. It however does not guarantee that you will get any streams once you’re on these services.

DistroKid makes your music available, it won’t make you a star. You will need to do your own promotion. I also highly suggest opting for the $36/yr plan to set release dates for your releases.

How Much Does DistroKid Pay Per Stream?

DistroKid itself just forwards 100% of the royalties generated by your releases by the other streaming and distribution platforms. Service usually pay per stream or pass sales on to you after taking a cut.

Annoying Things About DistroKid

I have very few problems with DistroKid but this is an honest review. I’ll update the list as I interact with the service more but as of August 2020, this is comprehensive.

The first annoyance is specifically relevant to new artists. The problem is this interaction with new Spotify artists. If you intend to do multiple uploads of albums and tracks prior to the release of your track and the creation of your Spotify profile, you can’t bundle the multiple releases together to attach to the same artist. But you have to attach your upload to an account or create a new one. Unfortunately being a programmer I know this problem is a nightmare to solve and inherent in the system.

problems with distrokid
If your Spotify Doesn’t Exist Yet, And You Have Multiple Uploads Planned… Get Ready to call support.

My recommended solution? Release everything you intend to release for the next few weeks as one Album, otherwise, you’re gonna have a bad time, or will have to wait until release to set up your Spotify before uploading any new music. I heavily use Spotify’s analysis timeframe, so the first time I ran into this I actually had to push the release date of tracks back multiple weeks.

My next problem is more of a pet peeve and is entirely unrelated to DistroKid itself (Sorry DistroKid sales team ;^D ). It has been touched on a few times in this DistroKid review, but this will literally change your life as an artist.

All the major distribution networks use machine learning to analyze your song and prepare it for recommendation engines prior to release. ELI5/TL;DR? The longer your release sits on a platform before being released to the public, the more likely that platform will be to share it with people who’re likely to love the songs.

If you want any chance at all of anyone finding your release through Spotify/YouTube Music without looking for it, it’s a 100% must. This is annoying because DistroKid does not properly explain the gravity of the Release Date feature. When you upload you get this in tiny fine print:

“Setting your release date to at least 1-week in the future increases your chances of getting added to playlists.”

No Cap. If you don’t set a release date of at least 10 days you will never be discovered on a generated playlist/radio/station. Period . . . . … .. Plus this is a feature only available in the $36/yr plan. This is totally fine, but so many people don’t even know about this and distroKid doesn’t spell it out enough. IMO the $36/yr plan is legit mandatory specifically for this feature.

Not specifically DistroKid at all, but now you’re learned.

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Comparing DistroKid With Competitors

DistroKid Vs(or) Tunecore

If you’re deciding between DistroKid or Tunecore, stop. Tunecore is absolutely blown out of the water. The above tweet by the founder of Tunecore sums it up.

Tunecore charges a subscription for each release yearly. You will keep 100% of royalties on the songs just like DistroKid. Your releases will also stay in the distribution network as long as you pay the subscription for that specific track.

The more you release, the more expensive everything gets. Additionally, to break even on each release, you need to generate a lot of streams and sales. If this was the 90s and DistroKid didn’t exist, this would be a groundbreaking indie distribution network. It’s not the 90s and DistroKid exists.

DistroKid immediately costs less than Tunecore with 3 single releases.

DistroKid Vs CDBaby

CDBaby has a different service fee set up than DistroKid. Essentially you pay a “small” fee and your release will be distributed permanently. Once distributed CDBaby takes a percentage of your royalties instead of letting you have 100%.

In my personal opinion, CDBaby penalizes you for gaining popularity for using their service when DistroKid doesn’t. If you’re just releasing 1 single to release a single, and you don’t intend for anyone to listen to it, CDBaby is better. But if being a musician with fans is an actual goal of yours DistroKid quickly outpaces. Again in as quickly as 2 single releases a year.

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Best Portable DJ Controller Options

This article is for when a full sized DJ controller just won’t cut it and you need a more compact or portable option.  Save on desk space, have a backup for the gig, practice you mixing anywhere, or set up laptop cue points pre-show. There’s tons of reasons for wanting a compact controller. That’s why in this article we’re going over the best options for portable DJ controllers currently available.

The Best Compact DJ Controller – Numark DJ2GO2 Touch

Usually when I write an article like this it’s hard to pick a best. Different controllers are better for different reasons, software options, use cases, budgets, and features. I try to highlight these differences in a way that helps readers find the best option for them. That’s not the case with this article. The best portable controller on this list is the Numark DJ2GO2 Touch.

The DJ2GO2 is Numark’s answer to the question, “what’s the most portable usable DJ controller we can make?”. It’s a full feature DJ controller with everything needed to do a mix. All you need is a laptop and DJ software and you’re good to go. The controller itself is small enough to sit on a laptop below the keyboard. It has an audio card, so no audio interface is needed.

This controller is amazing option for a lot of people. First it’s inexpensive and cheaper than the other option on this list (and has more features). It’s great as a backup. It’s great for practice or playing impromptu shows on the go. It’s great if your studio space is really tight, and adding another piece of gear is impossible. It’s great as a first controller for kids. Its great as a first controller for someone just testing out the hobby.


  • Compact two-channel DJ controller
  • Comes with Serato DJ Intro
  • Control the music with play, fader and jog wheels
  • Onboard Audio and Headphone Cueing
  • Midi mapping for any software
  • Compact and portable
  • 3.55mm Headphone output
  • 3.55mm main output

Another Portable DJ Controller Option – Hercules DJControl Starlight

Just to be thorough I figured I’d outline the other main compact controller competitor, the Hercules DJControl Starlight. At a slightly higher price point the offering from Hercules has the exact same feature set and companion DJ software. This is Hercules’ answer to the full featured, smallest functional DJ controller question.


The main differences between the Starlight and the DJ2GO2 is the layout, additional illuminating LEDs, accessibility of features and the slightly larger size allowing for potentially easier handling. The LED are RGB and programmable to allow for effects in the booth.

Both options are amazing for all the same reasons, they’re high quality, and great buys. It’s definitely a choice between cost, brand loyalty, preferred layout, and looks/effects.


  • Programmable RGB LED Backlighting with effects
  • Compact two-channel DJ controller
  • Comes with Serato DJ Intro
  • Control the music with play, fader and jog wheels
  • Onboard Audio and Headphone Cueing
  • Midi mapping for any software
  • Compact and portable
  • 3.55mm Headphone output
  • 3.55mm main output

The Smallest DJ Controller And “Studio” – Monster GO DJ

The Monster GO DJ is one of the smallest full feature DJ controllers that’s available for purchase. Small is an understatement as it comes in at 10 ounces and 2.6 x 0.66 x 9.84 inches. Smaller than anything else on this list. But ironically its size isn’t what makes this controller stand out among the rest.

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This isn’t just for mixing, it’s a complete mobile DJ solution. The other controllers on this are purely MIDI interfaces to go with a laptop and software. This little beast can pump a show out all on it’s own. It’s touchscreen, you store songs on an SD card, and it handles everything! It feels awkward calling it just a small DJ controller when it’s more like a pocket music studio.

The Monster GO definitely intends to fill a niche. Intending to bring everything into the device it changes the game. The controller has it’s own DJ software and processes the mixes itself. It even has a rechargeable battery to power it meaning you don’t even need an outlet if you have a portable speaker to go with it. On top of that leaving the laptop out immediately makes this the most compact solution.

It comes in at $499 and special order from Korea. You can check it out at the Monster Go website.


  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Touchscreen
  • Full software suite installed on controller
  • SD card and onboard memory to store songs
  • Headphone and Microphone Aux Plugs
  • Really unique product


The Ultimate Buying Guide to the Best 5 DJ Controllers in 2020

People have a lot of misconceptions about what it takes to be a DJ. The truth is that mixing music is a complex process. Being a good DJ takes some experience and the right equipment and software. DJs have to ensure that everything involved in the mix is giving off good quality sound, and they use DJ controllers to help do that.

The best DJ controller shouldn’t constrain your creativity. Sure DJ controllers have all kinds of  feature components, including faders, wheels, knobs, touch strips, faders, backlit buttons, and more. But it’s not just about the gear. It’s also about the experience you create for the crowd. The controller needs an intuitive layout that doesn’t get in the way of the show; and not just any show. A truly epic show. And these are born from a combination of talent, the best DJ speakers and a great controller that lets you put it all together.

Royalty-free night-party photos free download | Pxfuel

Given how important the DJ controller is to the experience, it’s essential to choose from the best DJ controllers on the market. There are plenty of options available to choose from out there, which makes it challenging to pick the right one for you. Different controllers are suited to different types of people, venues, and experience levels. Here’s a closer look at some of the best controllers available. Afterwards we’ll go over what a DJ controller is and how to choose the best one for your needs. 

The Top 5 Best DJ Controllers in 2020

Denon DJ Prime 4 – Best Overall

The Denon DJ Prime 4 DJ controller comes with a handy 10-inch display – touchscreen, no less – as well as two mixers and a powerful processor that allows the controller to work without the aid of a laptop. The touchscreen offers clear information about the tracks, such as their BPM, song and artist info, pitch info, time, and more. All in all, the display should tell a DJ everything they need to know about their music. 

The Prime 4 is so-called because of the four channels it comes with. Each channel features a 3-band EQ, dedicated dual-function sweep X, filter control, and gain control – perfect for any musical modifications you want to make. The two decks on the system can be split up to become four independent decks with their own track controls and looping controls, including a built-in automatic looping encoder. 

Control your music through the highly responsive touch-sensitive jog wheels on the Prime 4. These wheels offer on-jog information about the track playing at that moment. The decks have built-in RGB backlit performance pads. These pads can be used to trigger all kinds of effects, including hot cues, rolls, loops, auto-loops, slicer loops, beat slices, and more. 

As a standalone unit, the DJ Prime 4 comes with four USB slots, an SD card port, and a 2.5-inch SATA drive bay. The USB slots aren’t just for bringing your own tracks. These ports also allow you to mix and create your own music and save it directly to an SD card or USB flash drive. The Prime supports all kinds of music formats, including MP3, FLAC, ALAC, and WAV. If you want even more control over your Prime 4, then you can hook it up to a keyboard and control it however you want, whenever you want. 

The rear of the unit features four RCA inputs, 2 XLR (6.3mm) inputs, 2 XLR (booth) outputs,  2 XLR (master) outputs, 2 XLR (zone) outputs, an RCA (master) output, and two headphone outputs (6.33mm and 3.5mm). The zone output, in particular, is useful as it allows you to send a playlist to another location without having to leave the dancefloor.


As a Denon device, the Prime 4 comes loaded with the proprietary Engine Prime Music Manager software. Engine Prime Music Manager lets you import digital music from all kinds of sources, including iTunes, Rekordbox, Traktor Pro, and Serato DJ. All the new music you add to the system is updated and analyzed automatically. Last but not least, the Denon offers support for StaglinQ for venues where there is room for lighting visual effects and videos. 

Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX2 – Best for Clubs 

The Pioneer XDJ-XR2 offers an all-in-one DJ controller system. The Pioneer can be used with Rekordbox music management software and is used a lot in clubs in particular. The controller features two USB-driven players built-in along with a 2-channel mixer. The control panel for the controller is the same as the one used for the CDJ/DJM series of controllers. 

Like the Denon DJ Prime 4, the Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX2 features a touchscreen. The difference is that the screen is a little smaller here at 7 inches. The screen offers dual-waveform displays and complete QWERTY search, providing information about the music on both players at the same time, including the BPM, beat grids, and time of the song currently playing. 

The decks have individual jog wheels, each of which is powered by the touch screen and offers a graphical display. The decks also have four pad modes, eight multicolored performance pad, and a long-form tempo slider. Each deck also has a separate reverse direction button, beat loop, loop slice, and vinyl jog mode. 

Pioneer DJ has been hard at work promoting and selling their Rekordbox DJ software, so it’s not surprising that the XDJ-RX2 comes complete with a free license to use the software. That means people who enjoy connecting their controller to their laptops can use all of the great features of the software. There’s also the option of connecting to the Rekordbox export feature and sending your music directly to the decks over USB. This allows you to transfer music directly, instead of loading it on to a USB and then to the deck. 

One great feature of this DJ controller is having access to Rekordbox Video. Some units come bundled with the Rekordbox Video software, but some don’t. The software lets you mix videos as you would music. This feature is one thing that makes the Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX2 such a hit at clubs. The downside is that the controller doesn’t come with Rekordbox DVS compatibility. As a result, you’ll have to use an external soundcard to use external CD players and turntables with DVS. 

Not everything is an upgrade over the previous model, as Pioneer DJ saw fit to remove the ethernet port from the controller. This means users would be unable to use Link to connect their controller to a larger setup. This isn’t too much of a downside, as it wasn’t like this was possible with the earlier model if you had a CDJ connected. Even so, it’s still something of an omission and something many will be disappointed to see gone. 

Pioneer DDJ-SB3 – Best DJ Controller Under $300

The Pioneer DDJ-SB3 is the best DJ controller under $300 and offers some of the best value for money on the market. You can’t go wrong with a Pioneer controller of any kind because they always build their products to last. The DDJ-SB3 is suited to both beginners and expert DJs, which offers a surprising amount of functionality and power given the price. The controller is suited for bedroom, mobile, and club DJs thanks to the wide variety of features. 

For a start, the controller comes with the Serato DJ Lite software, but it still works well with other programs. Just plug in your controller and Serato DJ Lite will be available for download. You’ll have no problem getting the software going and using it to manage your music. With presets tailored for the controller immediately applied, you’ll be able to mix without set up. You will have to pay to upgrade to Serato DJ Pro.

The controller syncs up to the software so that you can control everything through the Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3. The great thing is that there’s a soundcard built directly into the controller. All you have to do is plug it into your computer, and away you go. There’s no need for any external hardware, such as a separate audio interface. You can directly hook up your best DJ headphones and monitor everything real time. Every controller on this list has this feature; But at this controller’s price range it’s actually rare for a controller to have a soundcard. 

In terms of features, the controller comes with a three-band EQ and trims and an uncluttered two-channel mixer. There’s also the ability to browse and manage through music libraries, high pass/low pass filters, and separate channel VU meter so that you can control music levels on the fly. One area where the DDJ-SB3 falls a little short is in the rotary knobs. The knobs work fine, but they don’t feel as good as the more expensive versions do. 

The deck comes with responsive 128mm jog wheels. It’s great that the wheels perform so well, but, unfortunately, they aren’t backlit as they would be with more expensive models. Despite this setback, they are touch-sensitive and do just as good a job for scratching. You just might have some trouble seeing them in a dark club, and they won’t look as cool as other models do. 

The deck includes eight performance pads to control cues and loops and add samples to mixes. There’s also the standard transport control buttons that let you choose tracks and fast-forward or rewind to individual parts. 

There’s the option to do some traditional beatmatching, as well as the option to sync up and do an automatic beatmatch if you’d prefer. Don’t forget to consider the small pitch sliders if you opt for the manual beatmatching option. It can be more complicated than you’d think to work around the sliders. If anything, perhaps Pioneer should remove them from any models they come up with in the future. 

Even with the small problem of the small sliders, this DJ controller is among the best options for beginners. It’s the kind of controller that grows with you. It could also be used by experienced DJs thanks to the Serrato DJ software that lets you create your own mixes and have a lot of fun. 


All in all, this is a great little DJ controller. The small size makes it suited for mobile DJs in particular as it is easy to transport and take to venues. The small size does work against it a little, however, as the controller doesn’t have the weight to stand up to rigorous scratching or those with heavy hands. 

Denon DJ MC6000MK2 – Best Mid-Range DJ Controller 

The Denon DJ MC6000MK2 is a great mid-range DJ controller suited for experienced DJs and mobile DJs that need something versatile. The controller connects to computers quickly enough thanks to a plug-and-play system. Just hook the controller up, and you’re good to go. The controller is designed for Serato DJ in particular, with a free introductory version of the software included in the package. It doesn’t cost much to upgrade to the full version of Serato – and you should have no problem using the Denon with another software if you want. 

One reason you might want to consider upgrading to the full version of Serato is that the controller is compatible with Serato video. There’s a video button included in the mixer section of the controller so you can create your own videos. Feel free to switch between audio and video during a set or use them both together to create an unforgettable experience. 

What makes the Denon DJ MC6000MK2 such an excellent choice for mobile DJs are the two microphone channels complete with EQ controls and a knob for mic echo effects. The mic ducking feature is another advantage for the mobile DJ. This feature allows a DJ to talk over the music without any problems. The feature works by automatically reducing the volume of the music for you, so you don’t have to shout over it. 

The mixer can seem a little too busy at first as everything is clustered close together. It can take a little practice to get used to handling the mixer without a problem. It’s all too easy to find yourself hitting two switches at once. This is one controller that isn’t for people with big hands. 

The good news is that everything is put together better than it seems. The controller actually has a very intuitive layout that makes it easy to use, despite the troublesome people might have. The VU meters, 3-band EQ with gains, four channels, and crate navigation features are all within reach and easy to use as you want to create the perfect set. 

Use the controls to set loops, control effects, hot cues, and set up an auto-sync function. The jog wheels on the controller feel nice and look good, thanks to a silver design. Like the rest of the controller, the wheels are a little small, but it won’t be an issue for most people. 

The four rear line inputs on the controller allow for access to the DVS function. The DVS function lets you connect a CDJ or use phono with the turntable through the Denon DJ MC6000MK2. There’s also the option to set timecodes for vinyl and CDs to play them traditionally and have the music move itself. 

The Denon DJ MC6000MK2 comes in at a svelte 4.1 kilos, making it a transportable option good for mobile DJs in small venues. Even so, the controller is robust and well put together despite the small and light frame. All in all, this is a great DJ controller that should make any DJ happy, no matter their skill level or experience. 

Pioneer DDJ-800 – Another Excellent Mid-Range Option

Pioneer is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the best DJ controllers, and the Pioneer DDJ-800 is no exception. This 2-channel Rekordbox-dedicated controller features several pro tools for DJs, a full-color display, effects, and trigger performance pads. The design of the DDJ-1000 was clearly influenced by the design of the Pioneer DDJ-800. The setup for the machine is similar to that of the NXS2. 


The jog wheels on the DDJ-800 are versatile and easy to use. The wheel tension can be adjusted for more accurate and effective scratching and rewinding. The on-jog displays for the controller offer all of the information a DJ could need, such as playback time, positioning, BPM, and waveforms. 


The Pioneer DDJ-800 includes eight backlit performance pads used for trigger modes like pad FX, sampler, beat jump, and hot cues. There’s also a 100mm pitch fader that also adjusts the tempo, a master tempo control button, quantize button, manual looping controls, and a slip mode built into the controller. 

Pioneer took the Beat FX and Sound Color FX features from the DJM series and built them into the Pioneer DDJ-800. The controller also features a separate Beat FX display that lets you see the BPM for a song and the FX you have running. The two channels on the controllers have 3-band EQ control, gain control, a cue button, and a dedicated rotary control for the Sound Color FX. 

The Pioneer DDJ-800 comes with two RCA (Line/Phono) inputs, an RCA (auxiliary) input, a 6.3mm TRS jack input for microphones, a ¼ inch TRS jack input for mics, an XLR (master) output, an RCA (Master) output, a 6.3mm TRS jack (Booth) output, a 6.3mm stereo phone jack output for headphones, and a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack for headphones. The microphone inputs come equipped with 2-band EG control and independent gain controls, so you have plenty of control over your microphones. 

One standout feature for the Pioneer DDJ-800 is that it is the first controller to feature the new Feedback Reducer. This feature is used to detect the frequency of feedback signals automatically and reduces those signals so that they don’t get in the way of performance. The feedback reducer works automatically can be set to light or heavy reduction, depending on how you want to use it and how much feedback you expect to face. 

What is a DJ Controller?

You’ll have a pretty good idea of what a DJ controller is if you’ve ever seen a MIDI keyboard controller. A DJ controller is like that, but for a DJ. These controllers have all kinds of features and functions to help DJs in their work.

Controllers have all of the components and features a DJ could ask for, such as faders, jog wheels, knobs, and more. You might be wondering what the point of buying a DJ controller is if you already have a MIDI keyboard you use to control everything. A DJ controller lets you control everything straight through the equipped components rather than having to fiddle around with a program or app on a computer or phone.

Controllers make it easy to edit and manage music through the onboard controllers. More expensive controllers have sound cards and outputs for DJs to connect devices such as headphones and preview music before playing it out loud.

These controllers generally come with two turntables/CDJs and a mixer. The turntables access the software in the controller to add an effect to the beat. More advanced controllers allow users to map their turntables and outputs to serve different functions and customize how the controller works. Other components can be included or added to the controller to create even more effects and add extra functionality.

DJ controllers run via some sort of software that translates the signals from the device. A controller is generally packaged with some official software or other recommended software, but they should work with just about any kind of DJ software. Most controllers run using MID and HID communications protocols. These protocols are the industry standard, so you should have no problem getting the controller to work with whatever software you use. Even so, you should double-check the compatibility before making a purchase, just in case.

How to Choose the Best DJ Controller 

Now you have some ideas about what the best DJ controller is, you need to consider how to choose between them. The right controller for you is one that suits your budget, has all the controls and features you want, and works with your preferred software. There are several pricing options for controllers, so start by setting a budget. Once you have a budget, you can think about your personal preferences and go from there. Beginners need to choose a controller that has a lot of options and controls as these are easier to use. 

Don’t forget to factor in the DJ software the controller is compatible with. The software translates the signals to and from the controller. You should choose a setup that either comes bundled with proprietary software or works with the software you use. 

The Best DJ Speaker Set Ups

Purpose Of This Review Of DJ Speakers and Suggesting Set Ups

In this article I will give you my professional advice on what I think are the best DJ speakers and subwoofers. But this isn’t just a review roundup and buying guide…

It’s also an act of rebellion.

To give you a bit of context I’m a professional audio engineer of 10 years. Recently I’ve been checking out what kind of information comes up for people looking to purchase sound systems. Specifically articles outlining the best speakers for DJs and other live musicians for use in performances…

To say I’m not a fan of the articles that I found would be an understatement.

The articles look like they were written by someone who’s never touched a speaker in their life, never sourced sound equipment for a live event, and spent maybe 15 minutes googling terms. Some of the products they review don’t even have the specs the article says they do.

That’s why I’m writing this article, to cut through the disinformation, and to help you make an actual informed purchasing decision. You’re about to get a free consultation from an audio professional. You can find that information after my recommendations.

Quick Recommendations: The Best DJ Speaker and Subwoofer Set Ups

I want to save some people time. So before I get into how to understand specs and how they impact the performance; I want to quickly recommend some of the best DJ speaker and subwoofer set ups that I could come up with. My recommendations fully depend on intended usage.

I’m not going to overload my recommendations with random specifications. You can find those on the product pages or in their data sheets. These DJ set ups are sound for their usage. If you want to understand how to read the specs, and see how I make an informed decision, definitely check out my guide below.

Amplifiers will not be included in this guide. All the suggested speakers will be powered. This is to reduce the amount of complexity in a set up. It saves you time, and reduces the amount of things that can go wrong in a live show.

This list is also intended for live DJ performances where you will be using high quality headphones. Studio monitor speakers won’t be included in these recommendations. If that’s what you’re looking for check out my guide on the best speakers for DJ studios for my opinion. Spoiler: it’s these ones.

Low Budget House Party, Room Inside House

Recommended Equipment List:

– Behringer Eurolive B210D Speaker x 1

If you’re just looking for house parties or planning to do some impromptu and intimate performances this option is for you. To maximize a limited budget you’ll have to make do with an all in one solution. All you need is an outlet.

This speaker will sound absolutely amazing as long as you use this household DJ staple for its intended use, house parties. This is a single channel setup with no amplifier required.

You will be sacrificing low end and power, but it doesn’t matter much when you’re playing inside a house. This speaker has more than enough power for a non-commercial space. Plus the room size itself will bring out the low-end.

It’s got a basic mixer on the back end, and allows for standard 1/4 jack or XLR. It also has an output impacted by the mixer, so you can daisy-chain it to some other gear. Why you’d actually do that is another story.

A single B210D will sound significantly worse if you move it outside, or the venue is larger than a Starbucks. If you find yourself playing shows in venues like these, I highly suggest getting two of them. Unless you’re getting paid for your shows and want great reviews, in which case I suggest checking out the next section for larger events.

Weddings, Small Outdoor Parties and School Dances, Average Sized Venues

To maintain quality of sound in larger venues you will need to move to a multiple speaker set up. You’re going to want a minimum of 2 mid range speakers and a subwoofer if the focus of the event is the music.

Throw on some audio and take some time to walk the room before the show starts. A slight angle change can make a world of difference. Speaker stands for the mid-range are also suggested for proper sound propagation. Try to use equal cable lengths to prevent a time delay causing the audio signals to be out of sync.

Recommended Inexpensive Speaker List:

Yamaha DBR 10″ Speaker x 2
Behringer VQ1800D 18″ Subwoofer x 1

For my low cost suggestions I’m recommending Yamaha DBRs in the mid range. These are a punchy inexpensive speaker and great to break into live shows with. They’re very light and easy to move around. They sound great, and will throw far. Two can fill an auditorium. These speakers are all you’ll need if you’re DJing a small wedding reception.

DBRs are extremely adaptable as well. These speakers can cover the full frequency spectrum. But they also have build in filters, allowing you to attenuate the low end and make room for a subwoofer. Their amplifier is smart, and will maximize wattage to fit the set up.

The VQ1800D will add greatly to the sound, and turn the show from background music to a live event. The subwoofer is well made and won’t break the bank. You might need a dolly and a helping hand to move it though.

Recommended Professional Grade Speaker List:

QSC K10 10″ Loudspeaker x 2
QSC KS118 Direct Radiating 18″ Subwoofer x 1

Brand Information QSC Live Sound | AED Group

It’s not hard to guess that QSC is my preferred premium loudspeaker brand for DJs. If you have even more budget go for the K12 12″ instead. QSC products run at peak performance and are excellent quality. The speakers are also extremely rugged and perfect for transporting to gigs. There’s even a rumor the company tests their loudspeaker durability by dropping them off the roof of their building.

This recommended setup will DOMINATE a gymnasium or club with sound waves if it needs to. There’s no breaks in the frequency response coverage, and all frequencies of the audio signal will come through crystal clear. You WILL need a trolley and assistants for this set up. Specifically for this bad boy:

QSC does offer a CP line at a lower price point, but they’re a downgrade from the Yamaha DBR mentioned above for coverage. Plus Yamaha’s warranty is better. But it’s rare to even need to use QSC’s warranty.

Stadiums and Outdoor Music Festivals

My professional grade DJ speaker set up that I recommended above will cover an outdoor area of about 100 ft with QSC K12s. You can always add more speakers to increase range and coverage.

However, I can’t help you find a speaker set up if you want to go bigger for your outdoor music festival. You should be consulting audio engineers. Most of the equipment required is special order line arrays, and you’ll need to do some heavy math to figure out speaker placement, cable lengths, amplifiers, etc. Anything further than 100 ft needs exponentially more oomph and you’re edging into $XX,XXX sound system set ups.

$18,000 and a transport semi later…

How To Choose The Best DJ Speakers For Your Set Up

First A Rant – Reviews Are Misleading, How Understanding Saves You Money

I felt I had to write this article after reading a few review pages online. There was just a lot of fluff and it didn’t seem like the authors knew what they were talking about at all. I feel really bad for people making purchases thanks to their advice. Here’s a hypothetical of how lack of info can leave you dissatisfied with your purchase.

A lot of DJ speaker reviews I found had paragraphs like this in them:

Thanks to the array of switches which will facilitate the required settings for live events. Once you’re connecting everything, the Truesonic’s twin XLR/combo inputs produce easy work of your setup and each speaker’s independent level controls give you the pliability to dial everything in your approach in seconds.

–Actual “Review” of a TS310

A pliable “Array Of Switches”

Nothing about that differentiates this speaker from another. There’s no talk of the frequency response. Figuring out what kind of set up it works in. What it would clash with. Someone just rewrote the amazon page without knowing what they were saying.

Let me give you an example of how this can lead to poor purchasing decisions. The Alto TS310 is similar in price range to the Yamaha DBR 10″ Speaker.  It beats the DBR 10 in Wattage. It outputs 1000W for the DBRs 700W. Whoa, 300 more Watts for the same price? Sign me up. But if you get two TS310s and  set them up with a subwoofer, they will sound worse than a pair of DBRs. Your mid range will be weak, and your sound will be bass heavy. Worse yet, it’s intrinsic to the DJ’s speaker set up. It just can’t be fixed. Your set sucks and you’re a sad panda.

This is because the TS310 are 2 channel with a simple amplifier. The wattage is divided between the two channels. The specifications say 650W lf + 350W hf. That means the mid range is maxing out at a little over 350W and there’s an additional 650W woofer in the system.

Without a subwoofer, both TS310s and DBRs will have a fuller sound. TS310s can handle a gig on their own. This is where they have the advantage. DBRs are quieter and can’t quite fill a venue the same way that TS310s can. But with a pair of DBR you can add in a subwoofer and blow the TS310 pair out of the water.

All in all TS310s are excellent on their own as a pair without a subwoofer, and a great budget solution for small venues. Great information to know, but unfortunately the review I quoted above only mentioned the price benefits.

2000W of PEAK Power, split 35/65 between two channels***

The Frequency Spectrum And How Speakers Fit Into It

After that example I’m sure you see the value in understanding the various specs and how speakers fit into your set up. You’re probably rearing to go so let’s get into it.

You’re probably aware that sounds have different frequencies. The size of a speaker’s driver assembly determines the speakers ability to create these frequencies. It’s physically impossible for one driver to transmit all frequencies equally efficiently. So depending on the size of the driver, the range of sound changes. A speaker can house multiple drivers to even out the frequency response ranges.

QSC K12.2 Two Way 12" 2000W Powered Loudspeaker - Midwest Pro ...

Using Frequency Response To Plan Speaker Purchases

Above you’ll see specs for two loudspeakers I touted as the best for DJing. The top is the QSC K12 and below that is the QSC Subwoofer. The important spec is called a speakers frequency response. This shows what a speaker can and can’t do.

Anything below -10dB will be almost impossible to hear on the speaker. If you were to have the K12 and a KS118 setup, you’d be able to hear any frequency from 35Hz to 20kHz (human hearing is 20-20k). There is also very little crossover in this arrangement.

Now lets look at the Alto TS310 and Behringer  VQ1800D for an example that clashes. Neither of these speakers have a visualized graph. You usually won’t find an actual graph unless the company wants to show it off.

The TS310’s frequency response is 54 – 20 kHz (+/- 3 dB) and its lower range dies out at 48Hz.

Behringer  VQ1800D covers 60-150hz (+/- 3 dB) and has a range of 40-200Hz before dropping below -10dB.

This means all of the audio that the VQ1800D is pumping out is also being pumped out by the TS310. Having this subwoofer adds nothing substantial to the range of sound. This doesn’t mean it’s adding nothing, just that it’s adding nothing new. The TS310 is throwing 650W into the low end and the VQ1800D is adding another 500W into it.

When your low end is running at 1150W and your Mid-highs are running at 350W you can see why this combo would sound like trash. The easiest way to fix the sound is to just take the unnecessary sub out. Don’t even waste your energy hauling it to shows.

DJ Speakers With Built In Filters Are More Flexible

Now the quick learners among us may have went and checked out the frequency response of the DBR10 to see how it compares to the TS310. They may have noticed it’s almost exactly the same. Why don’t they sound equally garbage? Well the DBR10 have a built in high pass filter (HPC) to remove the frequencies we want the subwoofer to take care of. The amplifier is also smart and directs wattage wherever it is needed. Upping the power of the high ends and fixing a sound profile.

How Do Monitor Speakers Fit Into A DJ Set Up?

Studio monitor speakers are a special speakers engineered to have a frequency response that is flat as possible. The highs, the lows, all of it will be given equal weight so that people using the speaker can accurately assess the audio track that they are listening to or producing. Here’s my recommendation guide for studio monitors.

Monitor speakers during a live performance are different. They’re essentially just regular speakers with a wide frequency response. They are set up for vocalists and other performers to listen to the song as it’s being produced. This allows the artists to perform correctly along with the song. A DBR10 or TS310 would perfectly fulfill this role.

For the most part monitor speakers have no place in a DJ set up. Headphones should be used instead to minimize propagation delay and allow for smooth mixes. I’ve made a similar recommendation guide outlining the best DJ headphones if you’re interested.

What About Watts

A speaker’s SPL or sound pressure level is determined by it’s power output watts. More watts, more volume, more expensive. Here’s a quick rundown for bass heavy DJing.

House Rooms Or Starbucks:  <250W
Gyms, Churches, Small Clubs: ~750W
Big Venues: ~1500W
Outdoors: 750W+ (Depending on range required, grows exponentially)

I’m Dead Set On Passive DJ Speakers

None of my recommendations in this article are passive speakers. The people who want to buy these types of speakers are probably a little disappointed. They’re cheaper and lighter after all.

Well you need an amplifier, they’re usually rack mounted. So you will also need a rack. You’ll need to monitor audio signal line levels. You’ll need to ensure you don’t mismatch power restrictions and destroy your speakers. You need to pay attention to cable runs, coils, and attenuation. You need to understand more points of connection mean more potential points of failure.

There is nothing inherently better or worse than the quality of passive speakers. When you plan ahead and build your inventory and systems it’s fine. But passives definitely add a lot of headache to the set up and tear down of the show. They also require a lot more technical knowledge to spec.

There is a lot of useful information in this guide for specing your passive speakers.

Thanks For Reading!

If this article helped you in any way, please consider purchasing off amazon through my affiliate links. Whatever speaker you settle on I hope I was able to help you find the right one for your needs! Thanks for taking the time to read this article!