Working with DJs


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I was asked by a sound company that was new to the whole DJ thing about how to set up sound for them. The gave me a list of stuff they had thought of and was very wrong. I thought you guys may enjoy knowing about this as you may some day run into this situation.
There's 2 kind of DJs in general, there's the prom party DJ and then there's the big DJs. Not to undermine the prom DJs, just that they offer far less complications.
The first kind will usually come with a rack with his CD & MD Players, throw ya a stereo out and may (may!) require a monitor mix.
The second...well, thats fun! You very probably have to provide all equipment, and they may (and very probably will) have a rider, I know I have. I only go to play with my LP cases and Headphones. Most DJs will as for 2 turntables, prefered by most (not to say all) are the Technics SL1200 MKII or SL1210. Anything above that is great too. They will also ask for 2 CD players. As something to mention, Denons are usually OK, as long as they're in the 1800F - 2600 models. Nevertheless with the advent of digital turntables, most may ask for these (Pioneer CDJ-1000, Technics SL-DZ1200 to name the 2 big ones right now). They may also ask for a certain brand of mixers (its Allen & Heath XOne for me). You may then start getting extras, like more turntables (I use 3) or an FX Unit (I use the Pioneer EFX-500 but I won't die if they can't get it).
Monitors are a BIG deal as well, there's some seriously deaf guys mixing there. Personally I just use them in the mix but have them off or low the rest of the time, some guys crank it up and leave it there!!! Monitors can range from a pair of simple wedges slightly elevated (closer to the head), to have subs, to a whole system, I just did a gig with 2 KF850+SB850 per side for monitors....ouch!!!
Gotta take care now with excessive vibrations (building booths is a whole artform in itself to avoid this) so you won't get rumble on the tone arms, or worse, have the stylus skip.
As an end note, when setting levels, have the mixer peak at the LED before last. I can stick to 0dBu...most will go all the way.
Hope that helps someone some day, and please don't doubt to ask if u have doubts!!
I have had to provide equipment for dj's before and I will tell you that having a set of DI's that have adjustable attentuation (-20db to -40db) was really, really helpful. DJ gear often puts out a really, really hot signal so you want to use the DI box to bring the signal down to mic input levels so you don't fry your board (cause that would make for a really bad night).
This Saturday, August 14, is one of my favorite gigs - the Elgin area Puertoriqueno parade and fiesta. I've been doing the main stage for the last five years with my co-conspirator, DJ Pingui (Ismael Lopez).

We merge our sound systems to thoroughly cover a fairly large outdoor area. I handle sound for the live bands and political speeches (this year, in particular, there should be quite a few). He handles the folk-dancing troups who bring their music on CD, plays incidental music between acts and takes the dance-party that ends the evening.

The first year we worked together, Pingui booked the gig. He didn't have a big enough system and got my name from a mutual friend. Though all he wanted was for me to make him louder, I brought enough gear to handle live acts as well.

Each band showed up with their own PA... and left it in the van. Using one PA for everything made for much smoother set-changes. It worked out so well that the organizers wanted the same set-up the next year. Then a couple bands started listing us on their rider. And each year we try to make the system a little bigger. Although I'm of Irish and Polish descent, I'm now an honorary Puerto Rican. One of these days I really need to learn to speak Spanish...

Meanwhile, Pingiu and I have become pretty good friends. We've worked several other gigs together, and feed them to each other as well. He brings his own turntables, CD players and mixer. I give him a line-level stereo DI into my board and a good, loud, monitor mix.

I've worked with a few other DJs as well, but none have ever required me to provide turntables or CD players.

I had strange parents... both seemed to be "colorblind." I grew up surrounded by a total lack of any ethnic prejudice. We weren't really poor, but even in the early 50's our neighborhood of Chicago was starting to become "racially mixed." In Kindergarten at Bateman Elementary School, I had classmates and friends of several ethnic origins. We were kids - skin color differences and accents weren't bad, just different - interesting, but generally unimportant. My parents' attitudes towards our neighbors reinforced this childhood belief. I was about ten years old before I realized that they are important to some people, though to this day, nobody has been able to give me a good reason why: justifications and rationalizations aplenty, but no good, logical reason.

So when I say I'm an honorary Puerto Rican, I say it with pride.

Meanwhile, Pingui got lucky - one of the clubs he'd worked at on a regular basis went out of business and he got their speakers really cheap - including 4 big EV dual-18" subs. We had to replace one driver and rewire a couple of them so they're all properly phased, but for today's show we'll have a lot more "thump."


Yeah, there are different kinds of DJs, some have their own equip with them. The ig names ussualy tour with just the vinyls and headphones. I only remember Paul Oakenfold traveling with a mixe/turntable package but that was only in one tour and he stopped doing it also.
As for being racially different, hey I'm Argentine and living in Florida (by the way, thanks Charley!!) and although my way of being sometimes clashes with American's its ussually OK.

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