I don’t know why anybody could possibly need a buyer’s guide to find the best gifts for DJs – I mean, it’s pretty much turntables, headphones, hoodies and we’re out!
Seriously, though, there are some really great gift ideas for any DJ, and they aren’t all necessarily contained in those three basic food groups, and in this article I have put together my own personal dream list of best presents for disc jockeys of all types and stripes.
If you don’t want to wade through the whole article, here are my top four recommendations:
- Best Affordable Gift for a DJ: Tascam TH-MX2 Studio Headphones
- Best Mid-Priced Gift for a DJ: Ray Ban Justin Sunglasses
- Best Premium Gift for a DJ: MAGMA Riot Backpack XL
- Best Price-No0Object Gift for a DJ: Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000 USB DJ Controller
And my own personal pick:
- My Favorite Gift for a DJ: Sennheiser HD 25 Plus On-Ear Monitor Headphones
What Are the Best Presents for a DJ?
I may joke about how simple it is to purchase a present for the average disc jockey – though I’ve never met a single disc jockey in my life whom I would describe as average – but in fact it isn’t really that difficult, and doesn’t need to be.
This is coming from the king of the long, complex and absurdly exhaustive gift guides – if you don’t believe me, have a “quick” look at my recent article listing the 70 (!) Best Gifts for Musicians.
But here, based on the feedback I’ve gotten from friends, colleagues, actual DJs and random people I meet at clubs, I’ve managed to focus on a mere 41 (or so…) really perfect gifts for DJs.
And yeah, some of them are turntables, hoodies and headphones, but there’s a lot more too, and I’ve ended up with these four categories:
I know, headphones could have fallen under the Gear category, but if you know me at all, you know I do love my headphones, and want them to have their own special place of honor. And if you know DJs at all, you know they all pretty much feel the same way.
That said, let’s get into it, with the best DJ presents on the market today!
The Best Gift Ideas for Disc Jockeys in 2024
Best Gifts for DJs – Clothing
In many of the buyer’s guides I’ve written, I include t-shirts, hoodies, hats or even coffee mugs, for goodness sakes, with pithy little sayings on them, like “without music life would B ♭” but I have to say that DJs, perfectly and perpetually cool beings that they are, don’t really go for that kind of silliness.
And in fact we can comfortably assume that not only do they not want a T-shirt with a cat dancing on their turntable, they don’t really want the most recent temporarily trendy fashion labels either.
So for sunglasses, Justin (and please, not Timberlake!), for shoes, Docs and Nike, for jackets Carhartt and Levis, for hoodies Reigning Champ or Champion, and for t-shirts more Champ, some obscure alternative or EDM artist or anything ironic – I swear, if you buy them a shirt that says “IOU some EDM” they very well might never speak to you again, but if you get them one that says “Just a Boy Who Loves Trucks” they’ll wear it until it bursts into flames – even if they’re not a boy.
See, at the end of the day DJs don’t follow fashion trends, they inspire and set them. They don’t want multi-thousand dollar sweatshirts from Supreme or Balenciaga (thank goodness), and would infinitely prefer to get something that will outlast the next dozen or so fads.
And keep in mind that they’re not skaters or surfers, so please, no Billabong, no Stussy, no OP!
Best Sunglasses for DJs
A little expensive, but superb glasses that absolutely exude coolness while protecting your DJ’s precious eyes. Skip the rest of this section, even the rest of the article, get a pair of Justins and your gift will be the hit of the party, and a kind and caring present that will last – if they’re not lost – for many, many years.
Best Shoes for DJs
No need to spend hundreds of dollars on air. The Tanjun is the hip choice, and supremely comfortable to boot.
If ever a boot were destined to never go out of style, or never wear out, it is this substantial Chelsea unisex slip-on.
Best Jackets for DJs
Here’s a secret: Levis and Carhartt are literally exactly as cool as each other, with absolutely no preference for one over the other. Any DJ would be thrilled to get either, and they are both excellent, long lasting jackets. So, somewhat arbitrarily, I have chosen the brilliant Carhartt fleece as a heavier winter jacket and the timeless Levis trucker as a lighter year-round choice.
Best Sweatshirt for DJs
Probably too hot for most clubs, but they’re sure to wear it anyway.
Definitely too hot for most clubs, but plenty cool enough for the street.
Before Reigning Champ these were, well, the reigning champ, and still as cool as.
Best T-Shirts for DJs
- Reigning Champ T-Shirt – currently, and I believe for many years to come, the hippest shirt in the world, and maybe the finest as well. Expensive, but you’ll definitely feel the gratitude – again, for many years to come.
- Champion Long Sleeved T-Shirt – no, not as cool as the RC, but DJs themselves are so cool they will still be super-appreciative, not to mention super-stoked.,
- Just a Boy Who Loves Trucks T-Shirt – seriously, a sure-fire hit!
- Bauhaus 100th Anniversary T-Shirt – not the band, but the art movement, which is somehow infinitesimally cooler.
- The Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Premium T – always, always a classic.
- Nine Inch Nails Short Sleeve T-Shirt – another retro classic and, no matter how “hard” NIN might sound to us, about as cheesy as a DJ will ever allow.
- Swedish House Mafia We Came We Raved We Loved T-Shirt – retro? Right now? Doesn’t matter – it’s the Mafia…
- deadmau5 x Meta Threads T-shirt – we don’t need to understand.
- Aphex Twin T-Shirt – ultra minimal and ultra cool.
- Kraftwerk Computer World T-Shirt – without Kraftwerk, life itself would be impossible.
Best Gifts for DJs – Bags
There are a lot of fantastic backpacks meant specifically for DJs, but it seems like what they really want is a plain, functional and well made bag with just a touch of cool. The Jansport Big Student, for example, is made for years of heavy use, really intelligently designed and has tons of room for 12 inch records, decks and mixers and a lot more.
Like the Jansport just above, this Razer is not specifically a DJ pack, but it also has lots of room, and is a beautifully made and highly protective backpack that will really take care of gear, discs, headphones and whatever other hip and interesting things disc jockeys carry around with them.
Still, as popular as basic, high quality bags like the Jansport or Razer are, if you want to purchase the best DJ backpack on the planet and also want to a gift that will absolutely floor the recipient, look no further than this superb Magma Riot extra large backpack – or, for that matter, any one of their amazing packs (check out the Magma Products Page).
LoDrid Vinyl Record Carrying Bag – A favorite among DJs and record collectors, LoDrid soft record cases are well made, brilliantly designed and easy to use and carry, and this 60 LP case is the perfect size.
LoDrid Cable File Gig Bag – Another great LoDrid bag, and a must for working DJs, the cable file bag helps keep all important cables and accessories organized, visible and in reach, making setup and teardown so much easier and less stressful.
Best Gifts for DJs – Gear
There seems to be a lot of confusion around controllers, decks, CDJs, turntables and mixers, and especially questions about what DJs actually use today.
These are questions that even a fairly in-depth article may not completely answer, but for our purposes here we can state a couple of basic facts.
- Modern DJs are most likely to use a controller, which includes everything they need including computer interface, mixing board, tons of sound controls and effects and an intuitive physical interface for controlling the music in many different ways.
- Despite what many say or believe, modern DJs are also still very keen on turntables and vinyl, which offer a feeling and a sound – including analog warmth, surface noise, speed and transition control and various physical manipulations – which even the best controllers can’t fully emulate.
So where does this leave you, who just want to purchase a really nice and truly useful present for the DJ on your list?
Well, this all means that we should focus on four basic types of gear:
- DJ Controllers – the main control hub and expressive tool. For a starting DJ this is the very best gift idea, and doesn’t have to be expensive, but there are also premium models that are sure to be a big hit, and a big upgrade, for even serious gigging DJs.
- Turntables – some people I know would say that if the DJ on your gift list isn’t spinning vinyl, they don’t deserve a present. I would rather say that if they aren’t spinning, get them a turntable immediately!
- Mixers – since digital controllers normally include mixers, here I’ll concentrate on only pure analog mixers of the type DJs love for turntable work.
- PCs – the source of most of the music that’s fed into the controller, a laptop is used as well to run the various music processing and indexing software programs DJs use. It is possible to use a controller without a PC, but nobody I know does…
There’s a lot of other little bits and bobs we could talk about, but if you really want to get something your DJ will love, use and deeply appreciate, the right product from any of these three categories will definitely do the trick.
Best DJ Controllers in 2024
I have never used a controller that feels more natural or is easy to see, use and master than the Pioneer DDJ-1000, which is, despite its brilliant design and layout, also possibly the most advanced and powerful deck you can get. Beautiful sound, fantastic physical controls and truly premium fit, finish and overall quality – this is expensive gear, but I can’t think of a better gift for literally any DJ at any level.
Of course, if it’s just not possible, you can get so much of what makes the DDJ-1000 legendary among jockeys in the substantially less expensive, but still fabulous, Pioneer DJ DDJ-800.
A big, complex and incredibly advanced DJ controller with a superb built in drum and rhythm synthesizer, the Roland DJ-505 is not the most expensive deck on the market, but it is many DJs favorite, especially in how they can understand and use it immediately and then spend years learning how to use it and see what it’s really capable of.
Quite possibly the best value in DJ controllers, the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol has excellent feeling controls and wheels, a full array of analog and digital connectivity options, a sensible layout, beautiful sound and excellent material and build quality. And – for a controller at least – it’s downright cheap!
The perfect entry-level DJ controller, and an ideal present for anybody who is just starting out, the Pioneer DDJ-200 is surprisingly powerful and flexible, and yet about as simple as it gets in terms of control, layout and use. Beautiful sound, too, along with that legendary Pioneer quality on all levels.
Best DJ Turntables in 2024
A substantial, durable and incredibly reliable turntable which is specifically designed to meet the needs of professional DJs, the Pioneer PLX-1000 is the best DJ deck on the market today. The 1000 does not include a cartridge, and I would highly recommend the equally superb and similarly purpose-engineered Ortofon Concorde MK2 DJ Cartridge.
Many people who have used both this and the Pioneer above, which is at least a couple of hundred dollars more expensive, actually prefer the Audio-Technica AT-LP140XP, which has a strong high-torque motor and incredible physical feeling when you’re interacting with it – and comes with an excellent AT DJ cartridge pre-installed. I personally think the Pioneer is a bit higher quality overall, and a bit better sounding, but either one is a premium choice and a fantastic present for any DJ.
As I reach my choice for best entry level DJ turntable, I realize I probably should have given Reloop a little more love all throughout this buyer’s guide for the best DJ presents. They are, after all, an exciting company dedicated to DJ gear, and this Reloop RP-2000 is a great example of the excellence they offer for very little money. The 2000 doesn’t include a cartridge, but their own Om Black DJ Cartridge is a perfect choice.
Best Mixers for DJs
I’ll repeat what I said above – most high quality DJ controllers have integrated mixers, and so most DJs don’t actually need a separate mixer, but if the DJ you’re selecting a gift for is going pure vinyl – without a controller, without a PC, without a net – they definitely need a mixer.
And they definitely deserve a medal!
So here I’m going to list just a couple of basic fully analog mixers for fully analog disc jockeys – there are tons of these simple mixers on the market, and a few of them are ok, but these really stand out, and are sure to really please and impress any DJ.
A truly premium, seriously overbuilt and perfectly designed and laid out analog DJ mixer for turntables and more, the Allen and Heath XONE:23 is impossibly affordable – really, much lower priced than it should be. A beautiful sounding piece of analog gear, the 23 is a mixer that DJs love using. If you want to splurge, I might also suggest the superb Allen & Heath Xone:43, but really the 23 will blow the DJ on your list away!
The basic two channel DJ mixer, with everything a turntablist needs for performance or recording, The Numark M2 is an amazingly well made, well designed bit of gear, and has a stellar reputation among DJs. Fully analog, it also has amazing sound, and is the perfect budget choice to use with turntables.
Best Laptops for DJs
Yeah, a laptop computer is a serious investment – even the best values are going to run several hundred dollars – but if you get the right one, if you really know and purchase the best notebook computer for DJs, it is one of the most thoughtful, useful and impressive gifts imaginable.
And since at least 1 out of 100 DJs out there at least sometimes think of things other than making music and making people dance, a good PC will be useful in many other ways.
I’ll start out by saying that if price is no object, the very best DJ computer in the world is the phenomenal Microsoft Laptop Studio. But since many of us, when buying presents for those we love, have annoying little things called budgets, I can enthusiastically recommend a much less expensive choice, the Lenovo Legion 5. Incredibly fast and powerful, this gaming laptop has tons of speedy SSD storage for music, a big, bright screen ideal for clubs, and that toughness and reliability that great gaming laptops are known for – for under a grand, definitely the best DJ computer I know.
The expensive 2023 Apple Macbook Pro is actually the best Apple computer for DJs, but most would rather have an Air, which is still ultra-tough, fast and powerful, and has plenty of super-fast SSD storage for music files, but is much lighter and easier to take with, and has an even higher cool factor. Still not cheap, this is a superb computer in every way, and an almost overwhelmingly impressive gift.
It may only cost around four hundred dollars, but the Lenovo IdeaPad 5i is a seriously premium computer, and with a brilliant foldable design, real material quality and toughness, fast SSD storage and a speedy and powerful Intel i3 processor, it is the perfect affordable DJ computer.
Best Gifts for DJs – Headphones (!!!)
Yay! My favorite subject! And one of the favorite and most beloved items in any DJs kit.
I am really going to control myself here, and only mention 6 pairs of headphones (ok, maybe 9, or, uhm, 10…), but these are the best of the best at their price level, and the perfect headphones for any DJ.
Everybody in the DJ game knows the most popular high end ‘phones – Audio-Technica ATH-M70X, beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro and V-Moda Crossfade Master, for example, which are all excellent and highly recommendable. Surprisingly, though, not many disc jockeys have heard of the Pioneer J-X10, which in my mind are the best of them all, with thrillingly impactful, fast and open bass, super-high resolution and a superb blend of dynamic energy and effortless musicality must be heard to be believed. If you want to wow your gift recipient with brand names, go for any of the other three, and they’ll be thrilled, but if you want to give them the best DJ headphones at this premium level the Pioneer are just that.
If ever headphones were associated with DJing, it’s the Sennheiser 25s, which are if not the most popular DJ cans in the world, certainly the most famous, and probably the most loved. And here’s a secret – not only are they my favorite headphones on this whole list – especially the super-special Plus variety – but I would have to say they are the best and best sounding of any of them – including any of the more expensive models just above. Ok, the Sennheiser HD 7 are in fact better, the best DJ headphones in the world, in fact, but they’re also 4 times the price, and the 25 plus are just plain cooler.
High end headphones that are not maybe as expensive as you might think, the beyerdynamic DT 990 are incredibly strong, overbuilt beasts that have stunning resolution, deep and impactful bass and amazing overall sound. The perfect DJ headphones in every way!
A mid priced headphone that is truly legendary among DJs – as well as so many musicians and music professionals around the world – the Sony MDR7506 may be the cheapest way to totally blow away the DJ on your list, and will be used every single day.
The Sennheiser HD 250BT are my pick for best headphones for DJs, but not for DJing. What I mean is that these fantastic sounding, highly affordable wireless headphones are a perfect choice for personal use – you know, listening to Mozart and Waylon Jennings when they’re away from the club – and are not only beautiful sounding but have extreme street cred. Cool as cool, and surprisingly cheap!
The only super-affordable headphones I know that are accurate, neutral and musical enough for DJ work, the Tascam TH-MX2 are in fact brilliant sounding, and way beyond what you’d expect for this low, low price. They are also, perhaps even more importantly, super tough and durable.