DJ gear is made up of a combination of electronic equipment that is used for playing, producing, and mixing music. The setting and location that the DJ uses the gear in plays a large role in the components chosen. DJ gear is used at concerts and parties; in clubs, music studios, and even karaoke bars. Standard DJ gear includes a pair of turntables, mixing consoles, and headphones. Some accessories such as speakers, amplifiers, disco lights, and fog machines are used in live entertainment venues to enhance the listener's experience.
DJ gear is available for purchase in complete sets or as separate components. The novice DJ may benefit from purchasing their DJ equipment as a complete set. However, more advanced DJs that know precisely which components they require may benefit from buying individual pieces as it allows them to customise their set. When purchasing used DJ gear, buyers should familiarise themselves with the various components and learn what to look for when buying used equipment. Used DJ gear can be bought from specialist shops and online at retailers such as eBay.
Components of Used DJ Gear
A complete set of DJ gear includes electronic devices that not only play music, but enable to the DJ to mix and manipulate sound, as well as creating and adding effects. Whether in the music studio or at a live performance, DJs use headphones to hear the music that is being played to the audience and the track that will be played next. Headphones provide audio cues that give the DJ the ability to mix tracks and add effects instantaneously during live performances.
DJs also need a sound output system if performing to a live audience. These sound systems are usually composed of amplifiers, speakers, and subwoofers. Finally, the DJ requires the music itself. DJs have become accustomed to using vintage vinyl records, CDs, and cassettes, as well as newer technological mediums like digitally formatted music files played from computers and tablets.
DJ turntables are designed to play vinyl records that are mixed by the DJ. Unlike standard audio turntables, DJ-specific equipment allows the DJ to create sounds and effects by physically scratching the record. There are two types of turntable drives, belt and direct. The main difference lies within the manner that the records are spun on the platform of the turntable. Considered traditional or “vintage”, belt drive units use belts to spin the records around at a preset pace, but over time they lose the ability to rotate. The more technologically progressive move has been towards direct drives. For direct drives, the platform is driven directly from the turntable motor. This drive is preferred by DJs because it provides more control over the ability to start and stop the record.
Another important feature of the turntable is its tonearm, which the long piece that holds the stylus, or needle, which is used for tracking the grooved patterns of vinyl records. The height and length of the tonearm can be adjusted, as well as the anti-skating mechanism. This mechanism is responsible for providing the balance needed by a tonearm to prevent skipping during playback. The tonearm also has a counterweight built into the end of it to balance the needle or stylus.
DJ audio turntables typically have a pitch control button. This allows the DJ to reduce or increase the pitch up to eight percent by simply changing the rotation speed. The standard disc speeds are 33 and 45 rotations per minute, depending on the record and turntable being used.
Turntables are often thought to be out of date by some DJs, especially with more technological platforms such as CD or MP3 players becoming the industry standard because of their simpler design, mobility, and the ability to use digital editing software. DJ decks offer similar controls and features to turntables, but have the ability to play two CDs at once. These decks can be used to create new mixes, as some models can loop and sample tracks. An even more modern innovation is the digital turntable deck, which can be connected to a laptop or computer that has sound engineering and production software built into it. Whether in the music studio or performing live, the DJ is able to use the latest technology to perform
DJ Midi Controllers
DJ midi controllers are similar to DJ decks as they can be used to edit, create, or produce music via an external source. Midi controllers use digital technology that allows much of the DJs mixing to be controlled with software. This software contains an array of different functions that a DJ can use to scratch, edit, mix, and otherwise alter music. Some of this software has features that allow a DJ to make and produce their own music.
DJ mixers are electronic devices that mix the audio. Mixers are the focus of the DJs creativity and vision. With many options available for a DJ mixer, the buyer should research and become informed about what they require. Some features that a buyer should consider are how many outputs, channels, and sound effects are desired. Also, the buyer should consider the size that they want, as DJ mixers can vary from compact and mobile to large and bulky models, often associated with nightclubs and concerts. One option that buyers can consider is rack-mounted mixers that have the ability to be stacked on top of other devices to complete the DJs gear, while keeping it organised and making an efficient use of space.
Headphones are essential for DJs, as they provide the ability to listen to music that is playing now and music that will be playing next, as well as allowing the DJ to plan how to mix them together to create a seamless link. DJ headphones are designed to reduce and even remove external and environmental noise so as not to interfere with the music they are currently working with. The headphones are able to do this by providing an airtight seal around the earcups, which prevents audio leakage. Along with the closed back design, these headphones can deliver the premium sound that the DJ needs in order to perform.
DJs often use stage lighting and effects to enhance their audience's experience. With some skill and sophistication, a DJ can coordinate a light show to correspond with each song, creating an even more sensational performance. DJs interested in entertaining their audience with an auditory and visually stimulating performance have the option to add lasers, snow or fog machines, mirror balls, moving heads, star curtains, strobe lights, UV lights, and DMX controllers that synthesise a light show that coordinates with the music.
DJ Sound Output Systems
Live performances require the use of sound output systems that amplify the audio that the DJ is playing. Sound output systems usually consist of an amplifier, several types of speaker, and subwoofers. Amplifiers are an electronic instrument used to generate the power needed for the sound output system. Speakers and subwoofers either require a direct source of power, or are directly powered by the amplifier. The speakers and subwoofers a buyer purchases depends on the kind and size of audience they will have, where the music will be played, and what kind of music will be played. The bigger the speaker and subwoofer, the more power they need to perform correctly.
Some DJs like retro audio equipment, whereas others are known for their high tech gear and for being on the cutting edge of technology. When selecting appropriate DJ gear, buyers need to bear in mind the environment in which they will be performing and the type of music they will be mixing. DJs performing at a wedding or corporate event require different gear to those performing at a nightclub. However, there are some common components that can be used. Turntables, DJ mixers, and headphones, are the keys to creating quality sound. So, the used DJ gear needs to be in good condition.
When buying used DJ gear check the equipment thoroughly, either in person or by looking at photographs and asking the seller detailed questions. Some DJs change their gear frequently, so used DJ gear can often be found in like new condition at far less than the retail cost. eBay is a large online marketplace that offers a wide selection of used DJ gear.