So you want to be a DJ, but have no clue what you’re doing? Are you a complete noob? Well then, this article is for you. This is the first of a series or articles that will help explain some of the basic questions that seem to come up from time to time in the forums.
First. what does all that gear do?
It all depends on what it is exactly you want to do, but here are the basics that will point you in the proper direction.
You are going to need some sources of audio. The turntable (record/phonograph player) has been the standard for as long as DJing has been around. If you have turntables, you have to have a cartridge/needle to pick up what is on the record. As technology progresses, so do the opportunities, which is where CD decks and MP3 decks come into play. Some of these new decks will play strictly CDs that are in the format a store bought CD comes in, whereas others play MP3s solely, and some play both formats. Once again, it is all in what exactly you’re looking for.
You also have to be able to do something with the sound. Ever see those massive mixing boards for rock bands or music studios? DJs use a much smaller scale version of that, dubbed the DJ mixer. They usually come anywhere from two all the way up to six channels, meaning you can connect anywhere from one to six different sources. The main difference between the massive mixing boards and DJ mixers is the addition of some DJ specific features, like the cross fader, and a revised layout designed to be simple to use in low lighting situations.
Now that you have the sound source, and something to manipulate it, you need an output source; in other words, you need something to make the sounds come to life. An amp, stereo receiver, or all in one shelf system (for home applications) works just fine. At home, a decently powered system will be just fine, however, larger events will require high wattage amps and powerful speaker (such as at a rave or club). Of course, once you secure the power source, you need speakers to round out your system. Once everything’s hooked up, you’re ready to rock and roll.
There are a few DJs out there (and I emphasize the word few) that prefer to mix on a computer. There are several programs out there that allow you to “mix” mp3s or wavs on your home PC. My personal experience really has not been good with these programs as they can be somewhat hokey, and not accurate at all. If you have no money, and what to get into DJing, it’s a good place to start and get some theory going, but in my opinion, (and most others) it is quite beneficial to get some hardware going.
This should help you get started, and answer a few questions you may have about what’s needed to become a DJ. There will be several more articles going in depth and picking apart what all the equipment is, as well as some more interesting stuff that will be of interest to the newbie DJ.
Written by: Damon Chambers