If you’ve booked a live performance and are scrambling to gather the right DJ gear for the gig, it may seem as though there are too many options out there. But there really are just a few basics that can get you through the night, depending on what type of venue you will be playing. Assuming you will be spinning at a place that doesn’t already have a PA system you can use, here are some of the pieces you’ll need to load into your car.
Mixer or Controller
This is your basic control panel that lets you transition between songs and balance sound. According to I DJ Now, most DJs who travel to gigs have switched to digital music, and a compact controller is ideal for these situations. More traditional musicians still prefer turntables for vinyl. When choosing a mixer, consider these features:
- Inputs: Regardless whether you work with vinyl or CDs, you’ll need enough input jacks to connect to all the devices you will be using.
- Software: Depending what kind of software and applications you will be incorporating in mixing your beat, you will need a mixer that can handle the different options. Some mixers work best with a specific type of software while others have the versatility to work with all sorts of operating systems.
- Budget: There are plenty of mixers with lots of bells and whistles that can help you put on an amazing show, including many options from industry-standout Numark. But if you are just working a wedding where a basic playlist will run in the background most of the night, you can stick with just the simplest DJ gear.
During the event it’s likely you will want to address the crowd. For this you’ll need a microphone, and the two options are corded or wireless. If you will be basically in one spot the whole event, a corded mic is fine. If you want to move all over the room, the versatility of a wireless model will be ideal. In this category, think about whether you want a handheld version, a headphone mic, or a lavalier that you can hook to your clothing for hands-free use.
Many DJs won’t need this piece of gear because they use powered speakers, but if you are just starting out and need the amp, be sure it makes it into the van. The main factor in amps is choosing one that will work in the size of the venue you will be playing. If you plan to work rooms of different sizes, get the amp with the most power you can afford.
For increased portability and versatility, most DJs who work live gigs prefer active speakers, which include amps inside the box. Here you can choose the standard full-frequency models, which function as both woofers and tweeters in one cabinet. However, if you play a lot of dance music with lots of low bass, you probably want to pack some sub-woofers, which will provide better sound.
These basic elements to you DJ setup will allow you to get started with live gigs in various venues. However, as you notch more performances, you likely will need to tweak your setup.