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Soundman to DJ

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  • Soundman to DJ

    First post here (DJ forums). I'm a sound tech with lots of live audio experience, but I want to put my system to work and try to make some money. I'm thinking about becoming a local, portable dj for weddings, corporate events and parties.

    I'm at a bit of a loss as to where to start. I see dj schools listed online, and I've just started going to dj forums.

    The weddings I've been to where they had a dj simply had a guy playing recorded music (requests), through a small system with some dance lights. Is this a place to start? I've watched some Youtube vid's showing the real DJ's in action - which looks fun and interesting. I'm just looking for some advise here.

    I'm partial to using digital equipment, but I see many are using the dual analog decks. Is there a consensus?

  • #2

    I think it depends what you enjoy.  The weddings I went to had DJs but they basically were playing songs I think the couple mainly had requested.  I think if you wanted to be a performance DJ that will take some time to learn the craft with dual turntables or controllers.  I think digital computer based mixing is the place to start unless you feel a strong urge to go old school.  Im using virtual dj and paired with a Hercules Deejay Trim 4&6 really dont feel I need much more that a good sound system to go with it for what I do. I have the basic pro version for 99 bucks or you can go 300 bucks and get the professional version and can use with about anything including controllers and such. I believe many mobile DJs use virtual DJ more while Serrato is mainly used at fixed locations like clubs I have been told.  Some use tractor which I'm not that familiar with.

    Virtual DJ is pretty easy to learn but you have to get a good soundcard if you want to really use it properly.



    <div class="signaturecontainer">Dan Snyder is bad Karma<img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/poke.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Poke" class="inlineimg" /></div>


    • stevegarris
      stevegarris commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks! I've been doing a lot of reading (forums) and I'm pretty sure I'll be using a computer, so I'll try to get informed on sound cards. I'll look into virtual dj.

  • #3
    Hello,thank you for your information. I am also interested in live audio program.Can you informe me which type of digital equipment are you use.


    • #4
      I have several sound systems ranging from small sub/sat to large multi cab three way systems and was in the same boat in wondering how I could put them to work more. I started off with a pair of turntables and scratch mixer into whatever system fit the room. I quickly added CD players and eventually ended up with a computer and a controller, ditching any physical media altogether and haven't looked back. I use virtual DJ Pro and an RMX Hercules USB controller. The Hercules also serves as a four channel sound card, two for left and right out and two for headphone cueing, absolutely necessary if you're going to be doing any beat matching and song blending. It's generally a way better sound card than is on your laptop. For media I use about 40TGB of music on the laptop, an outboard 1 TB SATA drive and a subscription to Content Unlimited, an internet based paid streaming site through Virtual DJ.

      If you're going to be doing weddings and the drink and poke bar on the corner, what I use will likely be enough to get the job done. Those people don't want you mucking up the songs they know and love with your "artistic scratching interpretation" of their song. Always have the songs you know you're going to need on your hard drive(s). For those you don't, Content Unlimited and a good internet connection will give you access to what you need, but it's not a sure thing and you need to check the track before you play it blindly. Because it's a shared service, some weird mixes and completely unexpected versions can be found there as well. And while almost anyone (including me) will tell you that DJing an entire night from Content Unlimited is a really bad idea, I'll admit I've done it successfully, albeit with the hard drives as a back up. I also highly recommend a dedicated iPod with a good selection of your typical playlists on it as a backup to the backups to limp you through in case you computer goes down. It's saved my bacon a couple of times.

      If you're doing weddings, take a quick cruise through the Craigslist Events section under Services, to see what you're up against. In my area I have to compete with every idiot hooking an iPod up to a pair crap on sticks and calling themselves a DJ. Or worse yet, renting a system out where the user hooks their iPod up and that's the entertainment for the evening. Yet they'll drop three grand on flowers. But that's another thread altogether! Anyway, that shouldn't be your competition. You have to bring a lot more to the table and be able to sell it. You should be able to MC the event as well and be able to tell or ascertain ahead of time with your purchasers how much or how little you need to be involved. If you're doing bars, you're up against the internet jukebox. Any song you want for a buck. You've got to bring more to the table, motivating the party and steering it in a direction the bar owners want it to go.

      On top of the above points, there's lighting to consider. Lighting a band is completely different than lighting a dance floor for either of the above situations and another money pit.

      If you want to be a "real" DJ, yeah turntables, samplers, loopers, keyboards; all part of the deal. So is a lot of dedication and time.

      What am I, writing a book?!! Sorry for the length. Anyway, just my take on it.

      Added: Wow, not quite zombie thread status, but close! I gotta start checking the dates on these things. Or maybe just close the computer and go outside!
      Last edited by trevcda; 03-08-2014, 11:35 AM.
      I love to sing, and I love to drink scotch. Most people would rather hear me drink scotch.


      • stevegarris
        stevegarris commented
        Editing a comment
        Wow dude - thanks for this excellent & thoughtful advice!

        Yes I'm aware of the Craigslist competition. I'll probably book my first gigs there just to get them under my belt. I think I need to start looking at laptops, and then building a music library. Your equipment advise sounds very good.

    • #5
      My advice is get away from Craigs list as soon as possible. So many people there have crap systems and will work for almost nothing. I am not a real DJ in that I don't do scratching and such but its mainly because when I go to a club and hear house I'm bored within 30 minutes. To me a good DJ is someone who keeps the party going and plays good music that the client wants.
      <div class="signaturecontainer">Dan Snyder is bad Karma<img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/poke.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Poke" class="inlineimg" /></div>