It’s no secret that DJing is an expensive hobby, and unless you’re in the rarified atmosphere of elite DJs, hanging with the likes of Skrillex or deadmau5, it’s not financing that new Porsche Carrera anytime soon. While they’re hanging with celebrities at the latest European mega festival, you’re probably trying to figure out how to pay for your styli replacements.
DJing can be a glamorous gig, but it’s not always the most profitable. Plus, replacement or upgrade costs can add up quickly. The truth is, used DJing equipment can be a lot less expensive than buying brand new items.
Sure, there are always the tough questions you have to ask yourself. Like, what if the used equipment breaks? What if it’s not what I wanted or was promised? Why am I meeting some guy in a Walmart parking lot at 9PM?
These are all valid questions you have to ask yourself when deciding when and where to buy used gear. The good news is, some websites offer certain levels of protection to the buyer. Unfortunately, there are others that will leave you high and dry if you ever encounter an issue.
And so, in this article, I’m going to break down what I feel are the best places where you can find used equipment for DJing—everything from turntables and CDJs to headphones, speakers, and more.
Below, take a look at the interactive table that compiles a handful of popular DJ equipment that’s currently on the market and can be purchased either brand new or used.
|Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2||$$||★★★★||Silicone-Damped Jog Wheels|
|Numark Mixtrack Platinum DJ Controller||$$||★★★||Sensitive 100mm Pitch Sliders|
|Numark Party Mix||$||★★★||Built-in Sound Card|
|Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2||$$||★★★★||2-c=Channel Controller for Serato DJ|
|Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-WeGO3K||$$||★★★★||Has Pulse Control Lights|
|Stanton T62||$||★★★★||33 or 45 RPM Speeds|
|Audio-Technica AT-LP120USB||$$||★★★★||USB Direct Drive|
With that out of the way, let’s first begin with eBay.
Starting with eBay is a no brainer. It’s the obvious choice for anybody buying anything new or used. For those of you living under a rock for the last 20 or so years, eBay is an online auction site that allows you to buy and sell items of almost any nature. It’s broken up into categories and gives you the ability to browse items by condition—such as new or used.
They get a bad rap sometimes (a lot of it due to their high fees) but there is a reason they’re still the #1 auction site in the world. For all of their faults, it’s one of the safest places to buy things. When an issue arises, eBay almost always sides with the customer.
eBay requires sellers to list their items with enough detail that you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. If you purchase an item and it’s not as described, you can open a case and have it resolved without too much hassle.
They also require sellers to list policies such as returns, shipping method and turn around time. Because eBay tracks turnaround time by tracking number, sellers are incentivized to ship their items quickly. In order to make the buying experience as uniform as possible, eBay vigorously enforces its User Agreement and will take action against sellers that do not comply.
No matter what you’re looking for, it’s most likely for sale on eBay. Pricing can be varied, but if you are patient, you can usually find a good deal. For added protection, eBay also allows you to purchase extended warranties, so even if that used mixer you bought stops working after a couple of sets you’ll still be covered.
Below, take a look at some of the best-selling DJ controllers, mixers, and turntables on Amazon, where you can purchase brand new and used DJ equipment:
If eBay is like a well lit shopping mall, then Craigslist is like a back alley with a flickering street lamp. It’s the newspaper classified section of the Internet. People can list any item they want for free with little or no oversight.
There is no method of payment available through Craigslist. You’ll have to work that out on your own. Because of this, most people will not ship and require local pickup only. This can go from tense and awkward to potentially scary fast with several high profile arrests for violent crimes committed by fraudulent sellers.
This is not to say that Craigslist is all bad or should be avoided, you just need to exercise caution when meeting up with strangers with a wad of cash in your pocket.
With eBay, sellers have to take into account the approximate 10% fee that eBay charges in addition to PayPal fees and shipping. Craig’s List can be a less expensive option because their are no added fees—everything is handled person to person and there is no shipping involved.
It also allows you to purchase larger items that are cost prohibitive to ship. Need a pair of dual 15” subwoofers? Crate shipping that is going to equal close to the amount of the sale cost. For the price of a UHaul or some pizza for your friend with a truck, you can have those beasts in your living room in just a few hours.
With Craigslist, you need to be smart and you need to be safe. Use PayPal’s mobile app or your bank’s quick-pay option so you don’t have to carry cash with you. Get the name and contact information of the seller before you agree to a purchase. Always meet in public during the day. And heck, if you can swing it, try and ask the person to bring the DJ equipment to a public space so you can meet them amongst other people.
There are deals to be had on Craigslist. If you’re willing to give up some buyer protections, you can find some of the best deals online there. Just remember that you’re relying on yourself to make sure you don’t get scammed.
If you’re a musician as well as a DJ, you’ve probably heard of Reverb. Started in 2013 by David Kalt, owner of Chicago Music Exchange, it’s grown into the largest online instrument sales website in the world.
Tired of paying exorbitant fees on sites like eBay, Kalt started Reverb as a place for musicians to sell to other musicians without all the hassle.
While the focus is geared more towards guitars and other musical instruments, there is a lot of crossover and you can find anything audio related for sale on the site. Reverb is constantly expanding, adding new categories and sections based on sales and customer feedback.
With a slick layout, and knowledgeable articles as well as videos, they’ll help you pick out the right equipment for you. Want to know the Basics of DJ Gear or interviews with awesome DJs? They’ve got you covered. Reverb has a section titled DJ and Lighting Gear with all the best new and used equipment. And the best part is that the sellers there really know their stuff.
They aren’t going to have 10 options of every model you’re interested in. They may not always be the least expensive option. They also have no-interest payment options with some of their stores through Affirm, a new finance company started by one of the founders of PayPal.
Their customer service is also great. Ever try to get someone from eBay on the phone? It can be a nightmare reminiscent of a Kafka novel. Reverb’s chat option puts you in touch with a real, live person ready to answer all of your questions and concerns. They’re fast, responsive and knowledgeable.
Reverb is still a relatively new site but they’re growing more and more each day. Every new company experiences growing pains, but Reverb appears to be doing everything right. I guess that’s what you get when a company is run by people as passionate about music as you are.
Your Local Hi-FI or Audio Shop
Nothing says you love where you live more than buying local. Sure, you can go to Guitar Center and check out their used gear. The prices are going to be okay, certainly better than buying brand new, and they’ll give you a warranty and have a pretty good return policy, but there’s a cost involved in doing business with big box retailers.
I’m not going to get too much into how large corporations have been squeezing mom and pop shops out of experience for decades. We all remember the local stores that flourished when we were kids. They had knowledgeable employees and paid them a living wage. You could pick their brains for hours and they were happy to talk to a fellow enthusiast.
These places have largely gone out of business, replaced by huge companies, but some still do exist. If you’re lucky, a quick search online will turn up some shops that maybe you forgot about or didn’t realize existed at all. There’s nothing quite like the experience of going into a specialty retailer that’s been in business for 30 years and talking shop with them.
Price’s are likely going to be higher than you find online, but not much more than you’ll find in a place like Guitar Center. The staff will impart wisdom, hopefully in a snarky “we’ve been here forever” kind of way. If you buy something, you can be sure that the money you gave them will stay in the community and bolster a struggling industry.
There are tons of other places you can scavenge for great deals on DJ equipment. Pawns shops may not have a clue what they’re selling, but they force the seller to show them it works and the prices are usually pretty good.
If you’re DJing, there’s a pretty good chance you know other DJs. Ask your friends what gear they’re trying to unload. If you don’t know many personally, the places you mix probably do. Talk to bar managers and bartenders. Let them know what you’re looking for and see if they can hook you up.
If you’re new to DJing and really don’t have any new contacts or friends in this business, you could consider joining a Facebook group dedicated to DJing. Or maybe an online forum. Perhaps they have a section of their group or forum that is all about trading and selling used DJ equipment. If so, that could be a perfect place to shop and sell confidently amongst other die hards like you.
Join discussion groups, preferably local ones, on Facebook and other sites. You’ll find enthusiasts looking to sell and trade all kinds of equipment. Barter for equipment you don’t use anymore. Get out and meet people. Your best resource is the people in your community. Do some networking and who knows, you might find the deal of a lifetime on a pair of 1200 or you might also find some new gigs that’ll help you pay for them.
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