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Reminders of the "DJing From a Technical Perspective" class at the European Blues Invasion 2014

Stefan Stefan, 2016-03-30 10:52:18

Hey people,

in the long text you will find some reminders of my "DJ-Tech" class at EBI. Enjoy and feel free to write me at stefan@swing-rambler.de.

Conclusion of the Discussion: What is the job of a DJ?
- selecting songs that fit the flow and mood of the party (reading the crowd)
- know your songs - be prepeared
- have fun (because you do your job better when you have fun)
- listen to the event organizers because they are the people who hired you
- take care that the best possible sound comes from the speakers <-- that what this class was all about

About cables and cords:
When you hear a hum or other noises from the speakers most of the time the source is a bad cable. To connect you sounddevice to the mixer use only high quality cable. If the cable costs less than 15 €/$ it is certainly not high quality. In general for cable size does matter i.e. the diameter.

Same applys for the jacks and plugs.

If possible (depends on your sound device and the mixer at the venue) use XLR-Cables. They have way better shielding und XLR plugs to not shortcut when drawn.

About your sound device:
The soundcards build into notebooks are made for use with headphones or with a home sound system. They are not made to be used for a public adress system (PA-System = big sound systems used in larger venues). Another problem is the drivers and the latency. Most end user soundcards have slow sound processors and bad drivers.

You should get a dj soundcard that has ASIO-Drivers (or CORE-Support for Mac) and at least 4 channels - 2 channels (left and right) for main output and 2 channels for prelisten. Examples for good DJ Soundcards are: Reloop Play DJ, MixVibes U-MIX 44, ESI UDJ6 or ESI Gigaport HD+.

About file formats:
Bad MP3 Files produce bad sound. When you rip CDs yourself use the lossless .wav or .flac fileformats. When you rip to MP3-Format use always the highest quality. Check your existing files for the used bitrates. You should use files that have at least 224 kbits/sec preferable 320 kbits/sec. Lower bitrates are more likely to produce bad sound and clipping when you raise the volume.

About the mixer:
Get comfortable and practice using the EQ knobs of the mixer. They are your main weapon to adjust the sound quality that comes out of the speakers.

About what software to use:

  • WinAmp and Itunes --- the "Player" category
    • Pro: Easy to use.
    • Con: Cumbersome or no prelisten. No controll over transitions. No replay gain.....      

  • Silverjuke --- the "Party Juke Box" category
    • Pro: Still easy to use. Prelisten and play in the same software. Can be locked from accidential stops and alteration of the play list.
    • Con: Only basic transition controll    

  • DJ Software --- the "Pro" category
    • Examples: Mixxx, Serato, Traktor, Virtual DJ
    • Pro: Full controll over playback and transitions. Pitch and keylock - you can slightly alter the speed of the song without loosing key. CUE-Points to save marks in the song to start the song at that spot f.e. to skip a very long talk intro. Effects - if you are brave and carefull enough to use them - f.e. reverb/hall or delay. Software EQ -f.e. to use with a DJ controller. Full replay gain - means you don't have to touch the volume controll all the time even if the songs are recorded with different volume levels.
    • Con: This programms cost money (except for Mixxx) - some of them a lot (Traktor and VDJ Pro). Some need a DJ-Controller (f.e. Serato). They need more attention and concentration than a player.