The Passionate DJ Podcast
Episode 189: Best DJ Controllers for 2020 (The Controller Compendium)

Episode 189: Best DJ Controllers for 2020 (The Controller Compendium)

December 9, 2019

Today we're talking about DJ controllers, and deciding which is the best DJ controller to buy as we head into a new year. There are so many options these days... how do you know which to choose?

Since 2014, The Controller Compendium has helped thousands of DJs compare the top DJ controllers so that they can get the most for their hard-earned money. This version, as posted on YouTube and on the Passionate DJ Podcast, is based on the written guide which can be found at That will be the most up-to-date version of the guide featured in this video.

The guide is divided into several price categories:
* Premium ($1000+)
* Midrange (under $1000)
* Budget (under $500)
...each containing a Top 5, plus several honorable mentions.

The guide then addresses each of these platforms separately:
* Rekordbox DJ
* Serato DJ
* Traktor DJ
* Algoriddim DJay
* Standalone
... each containing a top recommendation, plus several honorable mentions.

We also talk about what you should consider when you're shopping for a DJ controller, and the knowledge you should bring to the table before hitting "buy". While this guide can't determine a "one size fits all" answer for every single DJ... by the end of the episode, you should have the confidence of making an informed choice for YOUR needs.


Once you’ve decided what your requirements are, you should decide how much money you’re willing to spend on your hobby or business. There are great options in every price point, which is why this guide is initially segmented by price.

Never feel like you have to buy high-end gear to be a “real” DJ, or to keep up with the times. Buy the controller that fits your needs, for the amount you have to spend. Even in the “middle” price point, you’re mostly just paying for additional luxuries. All the basics will be covered.

DJ hardware is only part of the equation. For a steady fix of DJ news, tips, stories, and adventures… follow The Passionate DJ Podcast here on YouTube or on your favorite podcast app. Our show features inspiring stories, interviews with famous DJs, tips to increase your DJing skill, industry news, and much more.

📖 Find the full guide here:

* We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Episode 188: Ten Years Ago (2009)

Episode 188: Ten Years Ago (2009)

November 25, 2019


As the third entry in our "Ten Years Ago" series, today's episode will focus on the music and happenings of 2009. From the death of the King of Pop, the creation of Glee, and the launch of Farmville... we leave no stone unturned as we explore the events of a decade ago.

Of course, we discuss the DJ hardware that was launched that year (ever hear of a little something called the CDJ-2000?) and the winners of the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Poll. We listen to a few best-selling 2009 tracks on Beatport, and learn what words were added to the lexicon that year.

Before diving in to our main topic, we take some time to discuss the latest release from Pioneer, the XDJ-XZ standalone DJ system, and how it stacks up vs. the Denon DJ Prime 4.

Other stuff coming soon:

- Hands-on reviews of the Denon Prime X1800 & SC5000

- Video: Day of the Big Show (Up & Up Festival)

- Update to Controller Compendium; Best DJ Controllers 2020 episode

- Holiday episodes!


Episode 187: Going Up & Up w/MASIN

Episode 187: Going Up & Up w/MASIN

November 11, 2019

Today's episode features Matt Masin, a DJ from Long Island who has been doing serious work as a club and festival DJ for the past year and a half. Matt joined us for a two-part interview about Up & Up Festival, for which he was playing direct support under headliner Elephante.

The Up & Up's innovative guerrilla ticketing system is simple: students crowdsource demand on their campuses leading up to a 48-hour competition period, and the top colleges with the most pre-orders win a festival. The Festival Series launched in 2016, with headliner Cash Cash, and expanded nationwide in 2017 and 2018, featuring Alan Walker, GRYFFIN , Two Friends & Slushii, Lost Kings and Elephante.

As a relatively new DJ, Masin has gained more experience in the past year than many DJs ever will. We wanted to talk to him about his active new music career, and get a feel for how he approaches his music. And it's a good thing we asked, because Matt drops a lot of golden nuggets in today's episode.

We also get some perspective from co-host and stage manager Tony DeSaro, who tells us about the problems he needed to solve leading right up to the moment the first DJ hit "play"!

Coming soon to YouTube: our latest entry in the "Day of the Big Show" series, featuring Up & Up Festival.

Check out MASIN on Instagram:


Check out David and Tony on Instagram:



Episode 186: Prime Time

Episode 186: Prime Time

October 28, 2019

In today's episode, David and Trip crawl over the Denon Prime setup... consisting of the SC5000 and X1800 Prime. This rig has made waves in the industry (being pushed along by Denon's #ChangeYourRider advertising campaign)... and now that Trip owns them free and clear, we take the time to explore the system in-depth and record our results.

💿 Denon DJ SC5000 Prime | *
🎚 Denon DJ X1800 Prime | *

Essentially, we throw ourselves under the bus and simply hit record, without any real planning, so that you are getting our true reactions to spending time with these things.

This episode to be followed up with "proper" review videos, but if long-form discussion is more to your taste, this will be the episode for you.

Will Trip keep this setup, and #ChangeHisRider? Or will he simply flip it? Only time will tell...

P.S. - this is your last opportunity to get in on our October special:



Passionate DJ Classic Logo Tee –
Midnight Edition!



Available ONLY during the month of October! Get it while it lasts!

The Denon SC5000 Prime Player includes:
7-inch HD display with multi-touch gesture
24-bit/96Khz digital audio outputs
Uncompressed audio formats (flac, alac, wav)
Dual-layer playback with individual audio outputs
8 multifunction triggers for cues, loops, slices and rolls
8-inch rugged metal jog wheel with HD jog display
Customizable RGB around the jog wheel
(3) USB and (1) SD input for music playback
LAN output to Link to up to four players

The Denon X1800 Mixer includes:
(4) phono/line switchable channels; (4) digital inputs for high-resolution audio mixing
Dual USB audio connections
Crisp OLED screen for precise menu based adjustments
Dedicated sweep and BPM FX knobs
Expressive EQ - choose classic or isolation modes
Adjustable filter resonance control

💿 Denon DJ SC5000 Prime | *
🎚 Denon DJ X1800 Prime | *

* We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. 

Episode 185: Rookie DJ Mistakes

Episode 185: Rookie DJ Mistakes

October 14, 2019

OCTOBER SPECIAL! Passionate DJ "Midnight Edition" Shirt


Today, David and Mo talk about common mistakes made by inexperienced DJs. If you're worried about making common faux pas as a DJ, this is the episode for you!

We talk about:

• Tranwrecking, and generally mixing poorly
• Poor gain staging
• Being unfamiliar with gear and concepts
• Being under-prepared (not knowing tracks)
• Being over-prepared (not reading crowd)
• Overdoing it with FX or hyperactive mixing
• Disregarding the importance of progression
• Not knowing your history, or doing your homework
• Chasing fame over the love of music
• Dependency problems
• Getting drunk, etc.
• Playing low-quality sound

... and much more!

This week's episode is brought to you by shameless self-promotion:

➡️ David's YouTube channel

➡️ Mo's Mixcloud channel

➡️ Tony's Twitch channel

➡️ Trip's Soundcloud channel



Episode 184: Back to Business

Episode 184: Back to Business

September 30, 2019

🎃 OCTOBER SPECIAL! 🎃 The Passionate DJ "Midnight Edition" tee is back!

The Passionate DJ Podcast RETURNS from a long break! After a long summer... and spring... David, Tony, and Mo get together in the studio to catch up and talk about the happenings of the season.

We talk about:

• Our break, and Passionate DJ going forward
• Happenings in our home town #DaytonStrong
• Fam Jam I
• New hardware: Roland DJ-707M, Pioneer DDJ-1000SRT, Pioneer DDJ-SB3-N Gold and HDJ-X5BT-N Gold, V-Moda Crossfade M-100, MasterSounds Radius Two Valve, Alpha Model 9900
• DJ news: streaming service updates, layoffs at Native Instruments, Phase firmware updates, Apple kills iTunes

➡️ Links and Resources:

OCTOBER SPECIAL: Passionate DJ Midnight Shirt

ONE MORE REP (Mo's other podcast)
* or your favorite podcast player




We're glad to be back...
Keep On Spinning!

Episode 183: Knocking The Dust Off

Episode 183: Knocking The Dust Off

April 22, 2019

⚠️ Get bonus episodes on Patreon:

In today's episode, David and Trip talk about DJ hardware upgrades, the struggles of time management, the pros and cons of RGAS (Rapid Gear Acquisition Syndrome), gaining motivation, and general life stuff.

Trip recently picked up a new production toy, trading up his old Native Instruments Kontrol S25 keyboard for the sexy new edition of the S49, with all black keys. We get his first impressions on the new keyboard, talk about some of the latest features of Kontrol and MASCHINE, and drool over the "murdered out" look.

We also spend a little bit of time discussing the struggles of committing to a particular DJ platform. While most "typical" DJ gigs at a club lean towards the ease of use of Rekordbox, there's something to be said about the features offered by other software-centric companies like Native Instruments or Serato.

⚠️ Get bonus episodes on Patreon:

Episode 182: Life,  Money, and DJing w/Alex of The DJ Hookup

Episode 182: Life, Money, and DJing w/Alex of The DJ Hookup

April 15, 2019

⚠️ Support Passionate DJ on Patreon:

✅ Special offer on DJ gear:

On today's episode of The Passionate DJ Podcast, David speaks with Alex Pyatetsky of The DJ Hookup. Alex has a long history within the DJ community, including a 10-year pursuit as a DJ himself. Now, Alex runs the highest-rated online retailer for DJ hardware for several years running.

Here are a few of the things we discuss in this week's show:

  • Why some DJs are perpetually broke
  • Networking as a DJ
  • Existing within the DJ communityGetting more DJ gigs
  • The value in mobile DJing

...and much more!

⚠️ Support Passionate DJ on Patreon:

✅ Special offer on DJ gear:

Episode 181: Live From Dayton Podfest

Episode 181: Live From Dayton Podfest

April 8, 2019

In today's episode we present a recording from Dayton Podfest where David and Mo spoke in front of a crowd about podcast production, content creation, and why we're passionate about DJing.

⚠️ The Passionate DJ Podcast is supported via Patreon. Gain access to bonus episodes: 

We discuss our roles in production, the struggles we have with time management, the pros and cons of working on a team... as well as some stories about how we use DJing to help attach music to an important memory.

The audio from this show was originally published on The Gem City Podcast, and is being shared here with the permission of Terry "Izzy Rock". Video provided by Passionate DJ. 

Preceding the main segment, we speak to Chris who was running audio for the event. He gives us some insight on lights and sound from his 30 years of stage experience.

Check our merch! 

Episode 180: Spring Updates for DJs

Episode 180: Spring Updates for DJs

April 1, 2019

Today, we go over recent news headlines in the DJ and music industries as we head into the spring season. Here are the news topics we cover in Episode 180:

Serato DJ Pro 2.1.1 Released

Lets you sync up with Roland drum machines (e.g. TR-8S, TR-8, TR-08, TR-09)
Remapping capability for OSAs (Official Serato Accessories, e.g. Novation Dicer, Reloop RP-8000MK2)*
Independent pad modes per OSA device
* Excludes CDJ/HID devices

Rekordbox 5.4.4 beta Released

“Cloud Analysis”
Track Analysis data sharing between users
Reduce overall time that users spend analyzing music, by downloading it from server whenever possible

Traktor 3.1 Update

Overmapping (for Kontrol S4, S8, D2, S2)
Alter function of a single knob/button in an “additive” way, without destroying entire mapping.
Standalone Mixer for S4
Firmware update. Filter still works!
New View Options
Preparation view (single deck)
Parallel waveforms (2 or 4 decks)
External Mixing (bypasses all internal audio processing)
Gets cleanest and clearest signal straight out of Traktor for pro systems. Can still use limiter.
Tag-writing Mode (select whether to write tags to files)
Preferences Tooltips (to understand what everything does)

Speaking of Native Instruments...
A recent Windows Update “killed” several NI products without warning
In latest builds of Windows 10, 8, and 7, the Kontrol S4 mk2, Maschine Studio, and Komplete Kontrol S-Series keyboards were all unrecognized by the OS.
Problem now fixed

Mixvibes Cross DJ 4 Released

“Album Cover” view in library
Parallel Waveforms
Customizable UI through Maquillage (scripting language)
Touch-screen compatibility
3 synchronized FX per player, create your own FX with “Tweaker”
SoundCloud Go integration
Improved Autoplay
“Phrase Analysis” - find the intro, outro, “best track parts”
Master clock & Ableton Link
New remote app for iOS and Android
“Track match” and “Track playlist” panes
Import/Export from Rekordbox, Serato DJ, Traktor, and Virtual DJ
Export to external USB

Kado Shuts Down

Kado was an app that let you drag a song from your collection, and pull tracklist data from thousands of DJs (see what was played before/after, and by whom)
Operations will cease on March 31, 2019. All subscriptions have been canceled.
Founded by two former Twitter and Google employees + Ean Golden

Rane Twelve allowed at DMC

“RANE and DMC are excited to jointly announce that the RANE TWELVE motorized turntable controller is now officially accepted as performance hardware in the DMC mixing championship events from this year onwards. This announcement includes all regional heats, finals and the online competitions. To support this, RANE is offering custom made 12” acrylic control discs to any DJ that competes in the 2019 DMC globally using the TWELVES.”

Streaming Music Domination

RIAA report: streaming services now account for 75% of music industry revenue
Digital downloads = almost half of industry sales, but dropped by 25% from 2017
Vinyl sales saw its most profitable year since 1988, at $419 million

Beatport LINK is almost here

In-software integration of Beatport library
Store songs in an “offline locker”, making it available for use in DJ apps
Based on Pulselocker technology, which they purchased in 2018.
Platforms haven’t been announced, but Pulselocker was integrated w/Serato DJ Pro, Virtual DJ, Rekordbox DJ

Return of Beatsource

Partnered with DJ City
Caters to open-format, Top-40 DJs needing access to charting songs
DJ City’s record pool will be accessible within BeatSource
Will work with Beatport LINK, potentially making this a great resource for mobile/wedding DJs!

Spotify vs. Apple Music

Spotify filed complaint with the European Commission, after resolving directly with Apple Music team didn’t work.
Spotify alleges that paying a 30% tax via Apple’s forced payment system, it gives their platform an unfair advantage.

Warner Makes Deal with Dubset

Dubset is a startup which help DJs publish licensed songs, and monetize.
Helps give access to artists like Daft Punk, Bruno Mars, Cardi B, etc.
Sets can be distributed via Spotify and Apple Music.
Sony was the first to partner, in August 2017, followed by Tidal and Merlin. In October 2018, SoundCloud partnered with Dubset to add them as a distribution channel.

SoundCloud Premier Distribution

Get payouts from all major music services (e.g. Amazon Music, Apple Music, Instagram, Spotify, Tencent, and YouTube Music).
No additional cost… comes as part of SoundCloud Pro or Pro Unlimited.

Fyre Festival Merch Auction

Your chance to win branded t-shirts and other merch from the infamous festival that never was.
All proceeds of the event go to those who were scammed.
Billy McFarland left a $25M+ debt when his event collapsed, and is currently serving a 6-year sentence in an NYC jail after pleading guilty to fraud. (Cross Fyre)

Kernkraft 400 turns 20

The Zombie Nation classic celebrated its 20th anniversary on March 18.
The most well-known version is actually the later-added DJ Gius remix.
“It was a weird feeling because this track kind of became the original,” the creator recalls. “A lot of labels didn’t bother to say it’s a remix.”

And finally, RIP to Keith Flint of The Prodigy. <3