If you want to know how to make your music sound great you should consult an expert. And who better to know the best equipment for the job than someone whose job it is to make music sound great every day (or should that be night?)
We’re talking about DJs – the people who keep parties going, raise the roof on nightclubs and take requests at weddings. People for whom quality equipment is the difference between getting paid and getting thrown out. So what are they using to get feet on the floor?
There’s not much point in any of the other equipment if you haven’t got the means to get the sound out where it can be heard. Many DJs swear by Funktion-one speakers, with a range of fantastic speakers for all situations, from the “generally not required” Tweeter Pod to Double Infra Horns for extreme bass!
DJs especially lust after the Dance Stack range, with its imposing visual appearance and equally imposing sound reproduction.
At the heart of what a DJ does their choice of mixer can be highly personal, although there are plenty that all DJs agree aren’t worth the price tag. For a fairly standard 4-channel setup many would swear by the Pioneer DJM-900NXS2 or DJM-750MK2 if funds are less generous. With the high build quality and lots of nifty features, they offer flexibility and fun with a selection of sound colour FX.
Of course, if pure analogue performance and six-channel mixing is what you’re looking for then you’d probably have the Play Differently Model One DJ mixer recommended to you for unsurpassed sound quality, while Funktion one fans will no doubt say the FF6.2 is the only possible choice.
DJ’s use headphones so they can concentrate on one source while playing another. They need good sound reproduction and audio isolation to be able to, almost literally, hear themselves think. With flip-away ear cups for one-sided listening and that iconic split headband Sennheiser HD 25 headphones have been the choice of many a professional DJ for monitoring. An alternative for many though is the Pioneer HDJ-X10, with their US military-grade shock-proofing and nano-coating they can survive even the sweatiest and clumsiest of gigs.
Whilst you can still mix an old-school, quality software opens up a whole range of possibilities not possible, or not feasible, with traditional approaches. Many DJ’s will suggest Serato DJ Pro as their choice of software. With automatic BPM syncing, coloured waveforms, access to libraries and libraries of streamable tracks and extensions to allow you to experiment even further it has an intuitive interface and you can even control it wirelessly through an iPad.
But perhaps the industry standard, used by DJs and found in clubs across the world, is Traktor Pro 3. With a wide range of compatible hardware from manufacturers including Allen & Heath, Pioneer, Denon, Korg and Reloop it’s easy to integrate with what you already have and easy to expand as your skills increase.
It goes without saying that set-up is only as good as the worst component. It is important to ensure that cables and connectors are of the highest quality possible and that everything is carefully packed away at the end of a session to avoid damage to delicate parts.
During performances, it is also important to keep equipment somewhere strong and stable, and far enough from the crowd that it won’t get accidentally damaged. Many DJ’s like the Litedeck range for the combination of strength, rigidity and ease of erection that it offers.