DJ Controller Outputs

This tutorial shows you 11 different ways to connect your DJ Controller to speakers. The solution you need will depend on the DJ equipment you’re using. We cover everything that you need to know if your DJ controller has the following outputs:

  • RCA
  • 1/4″
  • XLR

In terms of speakers, everything that we show you will work for:

  • Powered Studio Monitors
  • Powered Speakers For Live Events

Balanced VS Unbalanced Cables

Before we show you what cables to use, we need to cover some theory. There are two types of audio cables: Balanced and unbalanced.

Unbalanced Audio Cables For DJs

Unbalanced cables should not be run longer than 15ft (4m). If you run cables longer than this, you may notice static, buzzing, hissing, and in extreme cases, your cables can even pick up radio stations.

Two examples of unbalanced cables are:

  • RCA Cable
  • 1/4″ TS Cable

Balanced Audio Cables for DJs

Balanced cables can theoretically run up to 1000ft (300m) without any noise or audio degradation.

Balanced cables are considered to be more professional and of higher quality.

Two examples of balanced audio cables are:

  • 1/4″ TRS Cable
  • XLR Cable

Connect DJ Controller With RCA Outputs To Speakers

If your DJ Controller has RCA outputs, the three options below will work for you, depending on the input that you need for your speaker.

Since your RCA output is unbalanced, all of these cables are unbalanced, and you should avoid running them longer than 10-15ft (3-5M) if possible.

RCA connectors are very popular with entry-level DJ controllers, you need to select the right cable depending on what input you have on your speaker.

Connect DJ Controller With 1/4″ Outputs To Speakers

If your DJ Controller has 1/4″ outputs, the three options below will work for you, depending on the input that you need for your speaker.

Two of these options are balanced and one of these options is unbalanced. If your speaker has a 1/4″ or XLR input, you will have higher quality and reliability by connecting to these inputs rather than RCA.

If you must connect to an RCA input of a speaker, don’t use a cable longer than 15ft since the RCA jack will make your cable unbalanced.

Connect DJ Controller With XLR Outputs To Speakers

If your DJ Controller has XLR outputs, the three options below will work for you, depending on the input that you need for your speaker.

If you must connect your XLR outputs to RCA, keep the cable shorter than 15ft. This cable would be unbalanced and will likely degrade your audio quality.

If you can connect to 1/4″ or XLR inputs on your speaker, you can theoretically run up to 1000ft without noise or audio degradation.

We think an XLR cable is the best option since they are always available on-site, and you can extend the cable easily without needing a coupler or adapter.

Use DI Box With DJ Controller

What happens if you need to balance your unbalanced cable? Then it would be best if you had a DI box. A DI Box has a transformer inside that can balance your cable and allow you to run a long distance without worrying about noise, distortion, or audio degradation.

If you connect your DJ Controller to a DI Box and run directly to your speakers, you will need to set your speakers to “Mic” level because a DI box will lower the line level outputs of your audio mixer to be “mic level”.

If you connect your DI box to an audio mixer, you should plug it into an XLR mic input.

Out of the four options below, we recommend the Radial Pro AV2 because it has RCA and 1/4″ inputs to give you maximum connectivity.

Use Audio Mixer With DJ Controller

If you’re looking for the best result possible, we recommend connecting your DJ controller to an audio mixer. An audio mixer has many benefits:

  • High-Quality Preamp: No more hiss coming from your microphones.
  • Phantom Power: So you can connect condenser microphones.
  • FX Engine: If you have a live vocalist at your event, you can add reverb, etc.
  • Line Level Inputs: You can connect your DJ controller directly to the audio mixer without needing a DI Box
  • XLR Outputs: The easiest to use at a live event when using powered speakers.
  • More Control: They don’t call it an “Audio Mixer” for nothing

We recommend these two audio mixers for DJs

Related Post: How To Connect DJ Controller to Audio Mixer

How To Connect DJ Controller To Speakers

Time needed: 5 minutes

How To Connect DJ Controller to Speakers

  1. Setup DJ controller with laptop.

    Connect your DJ Controller to your Laptop, power on, and open your DJ Software.

  2. What output does your DJ controller have?

    XLR, 1/4″, or RCA

  3. What inputs does your speaker have?

    XLR, 1/4″ or RCA

  4. Select the best cable for you from this list:

    RCA Cable (Unbalanced):
    RCA To 1/4″ TS Cable (Unbalanced):
    RCA To XLR Cable (Unbalanced):
    1/4″ To RCA Cable (Unbalanced):
    1/4″ To 1/4″ Cable (Balanced):
    1/4″ To XLR Cable (Balanced):
    XLR To RCA Cable (Unbalanced):
    XLR To 1/4″ Cable (Balanced):
    XLR Cable (Balanced):

  5. Do you need a longer distance cable?

    Use a DI Box!
    Radial Pro AV2:
    Radial Pro D2:
    Radial J48:
    Radial Trim Two:

  6. Do you need more inputs?

    Consider using an audio mixer!
    Mackie ProFX6v3:
    Yamaha MG10XU:

  7. Connect cables together

    Following the instructions in this tutorial

  8. Turn it up!

    Remember to have fun and enjoy!

DJ Controller to Speakers FAQ

What speakers to use with DJ controller?

The speakers that you use with your DJ controller will depend on the size of the room that you are in and how loud you want the sound to be. For home use, we recommend Adam Audio T5V speakers. For performance, we recommend 12-15″ powered speakers from JBL, QSC, or Yamaha.

Do DJ Controllers need speakers?

You will need some speakers for your DJ controller. It’s possible to practice DJ’ing with headphones, but you will need high-quality 12-15″ powered speakers for your performance.

Which speaker is best for DJ?

The best DJ speakers will largely depend on your budget and the room you’re performing in. Generally, most DJs use 12-15″ powered speakers from JBL, QSC, or Yamaha for their set.

How do I connect my DJ controller to my speakers?

For best results, use a balanced 1/4″ or XLR cable to connect your DJ controller to your speakers. It’s possible to use RCA cables or unbalanced 1/4″ cables, but these can only be used for a short distance.

Do DJs use active or passive speakers?

Since 2005, passive speakers have been phased out for active speakers. Active speakers have built-in amplifiers specifically tuned to the speakers and will give you a better result while simplifying setup.

Do you need an amplifier for DJ speakers?

Most modern DJ speakers are active, which means they have a built-in amplifier. You no longer need to supply an external amplifier for your modern DJ speakers.

Do you need 2 speakers to DJ?

For best results, you should have at least two speakers for DJing. One speaker should be connected to the left output and the other to the right output. This will give you stereo sound and allow you to use stereo effects which sound much better.

What do you call DJ speakers?

Modern DJ speakers are known as “Active” or “Powered” speakers.

Can you practice DJ with just headphones?

Yes, you can practice DJ with just headphones. For your performance, you will need at least two powered speakers. We recommend 12-15″ powered speakers from JBL, QSC, or Yamaha.

Topics: Connect DJ Controller to Speakers

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:44 – Video Setup
  • 1:00 – Price & Specs
  • 1:15 – Booth vs Main Outputs
  • 1:30 – Balanced vs Unbalanced Cables
  • 3:45 – Line Level vs RCA Level vs Mic Level
  • 5:08 – RCA Outputs
  • 5:23 – Option 1 – RCA Cable (Unbalanced)
  • 6:08 – Option 2 – RCA to 1/4″ TS Cable (Unbalanced)
  • 6:40 – Option 3 – RCA to XLR Cable (Unbalanced)
  • 7:11 – 1/4″ Outputs
  • 7:30 – Option 4 – 1/4″ TS to RCA Cable (Unbalanced)
  • 8:05 – Option 5 – 1/4″ TRS To TRS Cable (Balanced)
  • 8:35 – Option 6 – 1/4″ TRS To XLR Cable (Balanced)
  • 10:15 – XLR Outputs
  • 10:34 – Option 7 – XLR to RCA Cable (Unbalanced)
  • 10:55 – Option 8 – XLR To 1/4″ TRS Cable (Balanced)
  • 11:35 – Option 9 – XLR Cable (Balanced)
  • 12:30 – Extra Options
  • 12:40 – DI Box
  • 17:00 – Audio Mixer
  • 19:12 – Final Thoughts