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The Best Thing I Ever Did As A DJ...

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:29 am
by Lippy
...was to get my own equipment. Within reason of course. When I read through many of the posts hear on SDJS there is a lot of talk about whether one should DJ from a laptop or CDs or Vinyl, and how to solve one of many recurring problems. My theory is that YOU as a DJ should be responsible for everything you could possibly need out to the PA / Sound Board / AMP / etc...

Now what exactly that entails will vary from DJ to DJ / Setup to Setup. I've been DJing for many years (Swing for 10 / Club for 4) and through many mistakes and blunders have put together different setups depending on the medium I was DJing. I've purchase mixers, CD Players, Turntables, and accessories to boot to make sure that I'm always ready to go.

Here are some of the essentials (IMO):

Mixer: By having your own mixer you can quickly control your sound on the fly. A three band EQ is key to get the best sound out of your music. Also as mentioned in many threads, Mixers tend to have some sort of pre amp to boost your volume levels.

Line Out Accessories: Have adapters to go into ANY connection that may be asked of you. Typically it will be either RCA or Mono 1/4 Stereo Plugs. You probably don't need XLRs because most boards that have those will have 1/4 Stereo Plugs as well.

RCA (output) cords: I carry about 60 ft of RCA cable to connect into systems. How many times have you DJ'd a party where they say "OH. The dancers and speakers are here, but the sound system is in this closet!!" Lots of cord can allow you to set up shop where you think it's best.

Extension cords, power strip, ground lift: I carry a 25' extension cord with a power strip to plug in my equipment. I also have a few of these in my box in case of hum.

Headphones and Microphone: If you have a mixer you can plug these babies in. Ahhhh, no more shouting over a room full of dancers to announce someones birthday. Be sure to have headphone adapters as well.

Booklight / Screwdriver

Basically the idea is to take care of yourself the best you can. I hate to look stupid in front of a crowd, so i don't want anything to go wrong. Bring the things that you know you need to make your sound the best possible instead of relying on venues to have it for you.

When I spun with CD's I bought my own CD players that had skip protection. When I spin vinyl I bring extra needles, and shock absorbers for my turntables.

I am currently transitioning my setup to be CD free. I have a DJM400 and I just purchased Serato Scratch Live which will allow me to spin traditional vinyl and digital laptop files. If I don't want turntables Scratch Live will let me plug my laptop into my mixer to have two channel control with EQ, Microphone capabilites, Cueing, Pre amp, etc...

Now I all have to do is ask while showing my RCA or Stereo cables is "Where do I plug this into? "

Posted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:22 pm
by Surreal
More things that I always pack with me when dj'ing:
- sticky notes & two pens
- masking tape and electrical tape
- cord ties (usually velcro ones) and a couple twist ties
- a couple granola bars and a bottle of water
- spare batteries (for the cordless mouse, flashlight, etc)
- mp3 player with a danceable playlist, in case my computer dies on me and I need something to plug in quick to keep the music going

In my box of wires and connector accessories:
- 1/8" to RCA, 6' long, x3
- 1/8" to RCA, 6" long
- 1/4" to RCA Y adapter
- RCA extension, 12' long
- single RCA to 1/4" adapter, x2
- 1/4" to 1/8" adapter, x2
- 1/8" to 1/4" adapter, x2
- 1/4" patch cable, 12' long, x2

Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:13 am
by Chilli Poppin
In addition to some already mentioned.

Leatherman tool.
Butane soldering iron.
Selection of plugs/connectors for equipment other than your own.
Couple of strips of co-codamol.

Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 2:13 pm
by lipi
Chilli Poppin wrote: Butane soldering iron.
Couple of strips of co-codamol.
i assume the analgesic is used when accidentally soldering a finger to an rca plug?

Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:11 am
by Chilli Poppin
You can honestly say you've never had a headache behind the decks? :lol:

Re: The Best Thing I Ever Did As A DJ...

Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:22 am
by Haydn
Lippy wrote:Scratch Live will let me plug my laptop into my mixer to have two channel control with EQ, Microphone capabilites, Cueing, Pre amp, etc...

Would you say Scratch Live is a better tool for DJing swing music than other software?