Professional audio equipment is something that every DJ or budding DJ needs. With professional audio equipment a DJ can mix, record, and produce his or her own music at any time. There are a lot of components considered to be professional audio equipment, from mixers and speakers, to audio editing and recording software.
Professional audio equipment is purchased from many high street retailers, electronics shops, and department stores. You can also find a large selection of professional audio equipment online at many different electronics, stereo, and DJ websites, and eBay has a large selection of professional audio equipment to suit every style and budget.
There are many facts that should be taken into consideration when purchasing professional audio equipment. The type of equipment needed depends on what you want to do. If you want to mix your own tunes, then a mixer is an essential, however if you simply want to play music then turntables and CD players are more important.
Choosing the Right Professional Audio Equipment
Regardless of whether the planned performances are in front of a huge crowd or a smaller group of friends and family, ensuring that you have the appropriate type of professional audio equipment is the first step. With so many different components available, it can become quite confusing trying to decide which components are best for you.
Vinyl or Digital
Deciding to go vinyl or digital is probably the biggest decision which needs to be made. If a DJ prefers the traditional ways of DJing, then vinyl is the right choice. However, the vinyl option is not as portable or modern as using digital music and CDs through digital media, hard drives, memory cards, or MP3s. With the different digital options, a DJ is able to move huge collections of songs and music from place to place quickly and easily.
Package Deal or Separate Components
Professional audio equipment is often purchased two different ways. Each piece can be purchased separately, allowing the consumer to mix and match components as needed. Or a DJ can purchase a package deal which has all of the main components in the same box and for a single price. Most professional DJs choose to purchase components separately so that they can customise the system to their individual needs, but most amateur and hobby DJs usually choose to purchase a package deal. Once the decision has been made whether to go vinyl or digital and whether to purchase the pieces separately or as a package deal, it is time to decide exactly what components to purchase and use.
If a DJ plans to spin vinyl, then a turntable is a necessity. When purchasing a turntable, the type of tone arm and how much torque the motor has impacts the overall performance and sound. Because of this, it is always better to purchase the best quality turntable possible.
Direct Drive vs. Belt Drive
A belt drive turntable is usually less expensive than a direct drive table, however, it is slower at getting up to the correct speed. If a DJ scratches, then a direct drive turntable is a better choice because speed recovery is faster. Also, because the torque from the motor is transferred straight to the platter, a direct drive turntable allows the DJ to manipulate the record more than a belt drive turntable does. When purchasing a turntable, regardless of whether it is direct drive or belt drive, compare the torque speeds and choose the turntable with the higher torque.
Start and Stop Switches
Good quality turntables have start and stop switches or buttons which allow the DJ to easily adjust the starting and stopping points of the music. This allows a DJ to slowly wind down a song rather than having it stop abruptly, and then start a new song up quickly as opposed to having a few seconds of silence between songs.
Speed and Pitch Controls
Normally, playback speeds are set at 33, 45, or 78 rpm, and a good turntable has all three options. However, if the turntable also has a pitch control, the DJ is able to slow down or speed up the music by almost 10 per cent. This is an ideal feature for beatmatching one song to another.
Shaped or Straight Tone Arm
Which style of tone arm is best depends on the type of DJ. If a DJ plans to scratch, then a straight tone arm is the better choice because it has a better tracking ability and is less likely to skip. However, a straight tone arm increases the wear on a record and decreases the quality of sound. If a DJ does not plan to scratch, then an 'S' shaped tone arm is better because it has improved sound quality.
Line, Phono, and Digital Output Options
Normally, turntables have a phono output, and a mixer with a phono input is needed. However, some turntables have a line level output option which sends an amplified signal and is usually connected to the line input section of a mixer. The last option is a digital out, but most turntables do not come with this option, though it is available on some and is a great option for direct recording onto a CD burner or computer.
A mixer is the main component of any DJ's configuration. The mixer connects all of the other components together and has many features and functions that allows a DJ to customise sound.
Almost every component you plug into a mixer is given its own channel, and every channel has a separate set of controls. A basic mixer usually has two or three channels, and that is oftentimes enough for most DJs. However, if a DJ plans on connecting multiple turntables, CD players, and other components, then a mixer with more channels is needed.
Inputs and Outputs
There are two main types of inputs, and what type of input determines what components can be connected. Because of this, it is better to find a mixer that has both types of inputs available. Some higher quality mixers also have inputs for various sound effects. Below is a chart which shows inputs and their connections.
Outputs are used to send the sound from the components to the amplifier. Inputs and outputs also include ground posts, which are used to reduce the risk of a ground loop.
Mixers come with many different controls and some are standard on almost every mixer, and others are not quite as common. Most of the time, above every channel is a 'gain' control, which is used to control the various input levels. Most mixers also have an equaliser with knobs or sliders which allows a DJ to adjust the different tones such as mids, treble, and bass. Some mixers even have a kill switch which enables a DJ to completely turn off the highs, mids, and lows.
Faders and Crossfaders
These are usually sliders which allow the DJ to manually fade the volume in and out. Channel faders control the volume for each channel, whereas a crossfader allows the DJ to fade out one channel at the same time while fading in another. It is advisable to purchase a mixer which has a replaceable crossfader, as they do tend to be used a lot and wear out over time.
CD players have improved greatly over the past few years, and because of this, many more DJs are either using them instead of turntables, or adding them to their DJ set-up alongside the turntables. When purchasing a CD player for a professional audio setup, there are a few details which should be considered.
Tabletop vs. Dual Player
A Tabletop CD player has the room for a single CD and looks very similar to a traditional turntable. A dual CD player usually has one unit on a small rack with two CD slots and a separate unit on the rack with mixer controls. While both options are very similar, a DJ may prefer to use the tabletop player because it looks and feels a lot like a turntable.
This feature is useful for mixing songs or extending a song. Looping allows the DJ to select a certain section of a song rather than playing the entire song. The DJ normally selects start and end points, and then plays the loop by pressing a button. Most CD players with looping also have a reloop button, which allows the DJ to play the loop repeatedly.
Shockproof memory is essential for any DJ. It helps to ensure that the music does not skip. Some higher quality CD players offer slots for data storage using removable memory cards, and this allows the DJ to store music to play at a later time.
Some of the higher quality digital players offer a fader function which allows the DJ to crossfade over to a certain channel without having to press the play button. The fader automatically stops the player when the DJ fades out the channel.
CD players allow much more pitch flexibility than regular turntables. Pitch control allows the DJ to manually adjust the playback speed to easily match the beat of one song to another. Higher quality CD players offer a few different pitch options. Below is chart which describes pitch options.
How It Works
Allows for very precise pitch adjustment
Ensures the pitch stays the same at different speeds
Key or Master Lock
Allows the DJ to manipulate the tempo without changing the pitch
There are many different things to take into consideration when purchasing a CD player for a professional audio setup. When possible, choose one which has as many pitch options as possible.
Other CD Player Features
Depending on the brand and style of a CD player, there are many other options available including the following:
- Special effects, such as filter, phase, and echo
- Cue points enabling the DJ to move to specific parts in a song
- Eject lock
- LCD displays
- MP3 functionality
CD players vary a great deal in price, and a lower end player should at least have a good design and be able to perform basic functions adequately. A higher end player should include features such as sound effects, looping, and scratch effects.
All-In-One Package Deals
While purchasing each of the previously mentioned components separately may be appealing to one DJ, it might be a little overwhelming to another. Fortunately an all-in-one package deal includes some fantastic professional audio equipment and is a great way to get all of the necessary components in one place and at a reasonable price. Most all-in-one package deals include a set of turntables or a dual CD player, a mixer, headphones, and all of the cables and wires needed to connect everything. Typically, speakers and amplifiers are not included in all-in-one package deals and have to be purchased separately.
Buying Professional Audio Equipment on eBay
eBay has a large selection of both new and used professional audio equipment available, and the user-friendly interface makes browsing and buying professional audio equipment on eBay simple and quick. To begin your search, you should go to the eBay homepage. From there, or any other eBay page, you can use the search bar to type in some specific keywords describing what type of professional audio equipment you are looking for. This can be something as simple as the component you need, such as a turntable or CD player, or you can narrow your search down to a specific brand. Some search examples include "Panasonic turntable" or "Technics CD player". Of course, the more general the search is, the more results will be returned for you to browse through. You can then refine your search further using the categories to choose brand, condition, model, and many other choices depending on the item searched for.
If you find a listing that you like, but it is missing some vital information, you can contact the seller directly and ask any necessary questions. To do this, simply find the "Ask a question" link on the items page.
There are many different facts to take into consideration when purchasing professional audio equipment to make your music sound great. Not only do you have to decide which types of components you want to use, but then you have to decide on the features and functionality within the components which you prefer. If this all seems a little too daunting or confusing, there are all-in-one package deals available which allow you to purchase everything you need to get started at one time for one price.
Regardless of whether you plan to purchase each component separately or prefer a package deal, eBay has a wide variety of all types of professional audio equipment to suit the professional DJ and the home hobbyist. Shopping on eBay also allows you to take your time browsing the many different makes and models available and easily compare different components side by side in a relaxed, no-pressure atmosphere.