Home DJ Vinyl Mixing for Beginners quick set up guide

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Home DJ Vinyl Mixing for beginners - a basic guide to equipment and setup.

Buying DJ equipment for home "bedroom DJ's" can be expensive, I will try and outline the basic setup you need and can expand on if you like.

Homemix make beginners sets that are are quite good - pro's might poo poo them but I have found their equipment very respectable for the price afterall a beginner doesnt really want to fork out £600 per turntable and then discover they arent really into it. Start off basic and work your way up if you enjoy it - the setup is modular so you can change one piece at a time and slowly build up your equipment to the level you want.

The basic setup:

  • 2 DJ Turntables (not regular turntables as I will explain below)
  • Mixer Deck
  • Headphones
  • Amplifier & Speakers
  • Microphone (optional)
The reason I say DJ turntables and not regular turntables is because DJ turntables (or decks) have more control features that you will be required to use. A standard home record player is just designed to play the record at the set speed from beginning to end a DJ deck has a few more controls.

If you are buying a pack the Homemix pack would be like this:

Which would give you the most basic set up to get you going. Homemix is typically available from the highstreet stores like Argos and can of course be bought off eBay! I have found the headphones to be so terribly cheap that the only thing they are good for is binning so this might want to be the first thing you purchase extra to start upgrading.

Setting Up

Assuming you have the basic setup like above the set up is quite straight forward - dont be afraid of all the connections on the back of the mixer! Basically your mixer has 2 channels - 1 will be record deck one and the other record deck 2. So you will have a connecting lead from the first deck to input 1 and the second deck to input 2. Dont forget to attach your earth leads which will stop the static hissing you can get from records. The connecting leads will look like this:

The plugs are colour coded with the inputs so red to red and white to white. The earth connection will be a small thumb screw.

You will now need to connect your mixer to your amplifier - this will be with a similar lead to the record decks but without the earth lead as it is not required when connecting to an amplifier. The lead will have the same plugs (called phono or rca plugs) as below:

Again they are colour coded to keep it simple.

You dont have to have a professional or expensive amplifier - if you look on the back of your home stereo you might have an "AUX IN" which will let you connect your mixer to it and use your home stereo as the amplifier. This is a good option if you are starting out as you can always buy a dedicated amplifier and speakers later on as you get into it. A normal separetes amplifier like the one shown below is ideal as you can choose the power and model you want. You can then buy the size and power speakers to suit.

 


You now just need to plug in your headphones and microphone into your mixer and you are ready to go!

Testing your set up

Make sure everything is plugged in and turned on. You will need to turn on each deck, mixer and your amplifier. Put a record on each deck and start it playing (both at once).

If you have set it up correctly you should hear one of the songs - if you can hear both mashed up together slide the mix control to the left so you just hear one.

If you cant hear anything check:
  • Mixer source selected is phono (as some are selectable)
  • Your volume is up enough
  • Your amplifier is on the right source eg AUX in
  • Check the leads
  • Check the power
Once running slide your mixer from left to right to make sure both channels are up and playing. Also check you can hear through the headphones - you will be able to select one or other or both through the headphones independantly of the speakers.

Fine tuning the turntables setup

Now you have set-up correctly you need to adjust your turntables so they play properly. You will notice the extra controls on the DJ turntables over regular turntables - you should have:
  • Pitch control (speed control)
  • Anti-skate
  • Arm Weight
  • Start / Stop
As well as the normal:
  • Speed selection (33.3 & 45rpm)
  • On / Off control
To start from normal the Pitch control should be set as zero, set the arm weight to mid-point and set the anti-skate control to 1 / 2. Play a record if it plays ok, adjust the pitch control up to max and then down to minimum you should hear the record speed up then slow down. If it skips or jumps slightly adjust the arm weight higher and put the anti-skate up to 3/4. The arm weight is for keeping the stylus down on the record and the anti-skate is to stop the stylus from wanted to fly towards the centre of the record.


Experiment and enjoy!!
 
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