Arts & Entertainment, Music

A Questlove Setup: Equipment


Lesson time 19:11 min

Find out about Questlove’s DJ setup and his equipment preferences.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Turntables • Mixers • Using Headphones • Mac vs. PC • Slipmats


[THEME MUSIC] - So now, I'm going to talk to you about equipment. I start the conversation off by saying don't get caught up in gunning, or shooting for the most expensive, or what's perceived as the best equipment. I think you should find what works for you. I often find that the most creative ideas come from when people have limited equipment, so I know a lot of DJs out there that get all the latest programs, all the latest software, and there's still not as creative as I would hope they would be. [MUSIC PLAYING] Now the thing is, is that I come from a certain era, and I'm in love with vinyl. This is not relic territory, but oftentimes, most DJs have moved or graduated up to using what they call CDJ2000s because it's portable, it's easy to use, you could put everything in a bag and show up to a gig yourself. Or they use like a controlling device, which is basically kind of a mixer and a mock kind of CD controller thing that you can literally put in your backpack, show up to the club, and leave. I come from an era where I would have to pay four friends to carry about 300 records inside of eight crates, so it gets a little expensive. However, I just love the feeling of being on a turntable. So thus, I still stick to turntables. Now this particular turntable, this is a Pioneer PLX-1000. And I chose this because the gold standard of turntables, which was the technique 1200, they recently discontinued that model. And it's kind of like the car not being here, or the broom not being here, like it's such-- it was such a gold standard for its time period for DJs, and then suddenly . And so Pioneer was considerate and intuitive and wise enough to create-- not only create a device that is pretty much the equivalent of a Technique 1200, but they improved on it by adding this tempo range device right here, which lets you spin music as slow as this, [RECORD SPINNING SLOWLY] And going as fast as this. [RECORD SPEEDING UP] [MUSIC - DR DRE FEAT SNOOP DOG, KURUPT, NATE DOGG, "THE NEXT EPISODE"] (SINGING) Da, da, da, da, da. So that's a good thing. I will say though, that parents are always coming up to me and asking, like, are kids interested in DJing, or should I get-- I tell parents that there's a device called the DDJ-SB3. It's basically a controller device, like a life-size controller, that is big enough to fit in your bag, you connect it to your computer, and you can get the same results. It doesn't feel the same in terms of turntables, so it's foreign to me because again, I've spent 40 years of muscle memory of queuing music, and scratching, and that sort of thing. When you have these CDJ devices, you no longer have to spin a record backwards-- [RECORD SPINNING BACKWARDS] --to get to a certain place, you know. It instantly goes where you want it to go. So it kind of saves you time. So it takes some getting used to. This is an area that I'm really stubborn in, and that is my choice of mixer. And ...

About the Instructor

Ahmir Thompson—better known as Questlove—is an iconic DJ, the drummer for The Roots, and the “coolest man on late-night,” but his first love is collecting and mixing music. Now the Grammy winner is sharing his passion with you. Explore DJ techniques, expand your musical vocabulary, and learn how to glide from genre to genre—including hip-hop, neo-soul, jazz, R&B, and more—to curate your own perfect playlist.

Featured Masterclass Instructor


The iconic DJ and Roots drummer Questlove teaches you how to be a better DJ, deepen your love of music, and make a perfect playlist.

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