DJing has evolved along with technology. Though a killer vinyl collection can still take you far, a good digital music library can really give your DJing an edge. Sometimes it’s all you need. And anyway, it’s much more difficult to cart records around with you when you’re on the road.
Though digital files may not take up as much space as 12” records, you still need to store them somewhere. With your entire set counting on solid, reliable storage, you can only trust the best of the best when it comes to USB drives for DJing. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide.
There are several criteria for judging a USB drive. The two most important are size and speed. Pay close attention to all of them when making your decision.
When it comes to filling your virtual crates with music, size matters. You want to keep as much music as you can on one stick, so you don’t want to buy a stick that will fill up faster than you can download new tracks.
Your best bet is to get as big a stick as you can. If you are using 320kbps MP3s, most songs will be about 10MB. So for every 1GB you will be able to store around 100 songs. A USB drive of 64GB will let you store 6,400 songs. This should be more than enough to build up a wide and varied collection, but if you think you can get by with less, feel free to buy smaller. And if you think you need more, by all means go bigger.
The last thing you want in the middle of a DJ set is your timing being thrown off by the speed of your USB. Okay, USB speed is unlikely to make enough difference to make or break a set, but it’s still important to buy a drive that can keep up with your mixing fingers.
When browsing the USB shelves, you will come across drives labelled USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. USB 3.0 is faster, hence the higher number. However, the more important speed factor to check is read and write speed. These will be advertised in MB/s, with speeds around 450MB/s being the highest.
This ultra-compact USB is physically one of the smallest on the market. In terms of storage space, though, it is more than big enough. Perfect for the DJ on the move, conscious of taking up precious travel bag space, or for someone who wants to keep their entire music library in their pocket so they can jump in the booth for late night surprise guest sets wherever they go. Just make sure you don’t lose it.
Another super-small storage solution, this slick, metallic USB stick will once again keep your collection safe in a compact, easy to carry around place. This one is only USB 2.0, but most CDJs can only read at USB 2.0 speeds anyway, so it shouldn’t make too much difference.
The Corsair Survivor Stealth is one of the only DJ USB stick drives that can accurately be described as a beast. Boasting a solid, rugged design, this stick has aircraft-grade aluminium housing, and is waterproof up to 200m. These factors make it perfect for the adventurous DJ. You may not have thought you needed to keep your collection on a waterproof drive, but if you want to keep it on you at all times and you may be likely to jump into a pool at any moment, this is the one for you.