A mixer is a console on which various types of audio are mixed to produce a unique sound or song. DJs use mixers to cue various audio sources and transition from one to the other using a crossfader. Multiple channels are required for the various types of equipment that a DJ uses in a performance. The audio sources could include CD players, turntables, or a digital music player. Each channel can be controlled individually with channel strips.
In addition to the channels, a mixer has other controls, including an equaliser, line switches, and cue controls. The typical mixer also features knobs for low, mid, and high frequency ranges, as well as balance. When choosing the right mixer for your DJ business, it is important to consider your requirements, as well as your style of deejaying.
Audio equipment outlets and professional music retailers carry a variety of DJ mixers. When shopping at a retail outlet it is important to remember that although a customer may be able to sample equipment before purchase, your choices are limited to the mixers the shop has in stock. Shopping online in an open marketplace such as eBay allows you to choose among a wide selection of DJ equipment to find the right mixer for your DJ business.
Where to Start
A sensible place to begin when searching for the right DJ mixer is to first determine the number of channels you need to mix simultaneously during a performance. For the DJ needing to connect two turntables and two CD players, a two-channel mixer would suffice. Each channel is controlled individually and some mixers can go as high as six stereo channels for mixing and connecting a number of audio sources.
Because crossfading is a crucial part of the mixing process, the crossfader should be seen as an essential part of the mixer. Choosing a mixer with a durable crossfader ensures that the equipment won’t let the DJ down midway through a performance. A high-quality crossfader is one that is hardwearing without losing any sound integrity. As crossfaders begin to wear out, the sound begins to bleed and break up.
The manufacturers of high-quality faders include Penny & Giles, Pro-X Faders, and Rane. Magnetic faders and optical faders do not use contacts. Therefore, they have a tendency to outlast their rail system counterparts. Rail system faders have to be regularly cleaned and replaced.
The other controls you should consider when selecting a DJ mixer are less crucial than the crossfaders, but they should be carefully considered nonetheless. The mixer control include switches, EQ controls, and cue controls. The table below details the characteristics of each type of control. A DJ should be aware of these when choosing a mixer.
Type of Control
Should be durable but replaceable; a scratch DJ should look for adjustable line switches
Can be either knobs or sliders; look for large enough space between each knob; there can be a delay in amount of time after knob is moved until sound is adjusted
Look for option to listen to full mix in headphones before being displayed on mater output
Each of these controls is important to the DJ’s performance, so it’s important to understand the requirements of a particular DJ style. The various deejaying styles have different requirements. Depending on their style, a DJ may use one control more than another. Reviewing the mixer requirements in relation to the deejaying style helps you in narrowing down your search.
DJ Style and Choice of Mixer
The mixer is the key component of a DJ setup. The different types of mixers on the market have a variety of characteristics geared toward specific styles of deejaying. The deejaying styles listed below are just basic categories. Should a DJ perform in various styles, it may be necessary to buy more than one mixer. The features and functions depend on the requirements of the DJ. Popular, commercial grade mixers include Rane, Ecter, Vestax, Allen & Heath, Stanton, Numark, Korg, and Pioneer. While these are commercial mixers, they are widely available online.
Battle DJ or Scratch DJ
This type of DJ performs in deejaying contests. A scratchboard is a type of mixer that works well for this style of deejaying. Hip hop DJs often use this type of mixer. A scratchboard uses vinyl records to create the scratching sounds common to hip hop music. The manipulation of the turntable is a part of the scratching technique. In other words, the DJ moves the record back and forth to create the sound. Scratching can cause heavy wear and tear on the mixer’s crossfader. For this style of deejaying, it is very important to choose a mixer with a durable crossfader or one where the crossfaders are easy to replace. Additionally a scratch DJ should search for a mixer with at least two channel inputs. A crossfader with curve control is a feature favoured by fast-scratching DJs.
The club DJ does not typically scratch, therefore a different type of mixer would be better suited to this style of deejaying. Dancers in a club rely on the the DJ’s performance to keep energy levels high. A club mixer has to allow for quick song cues because as one song ends another needs to begins. This keeps the music flowing without interruption. The common features of club DJ mixers include sound filtering, equalisers for each channel, and automatic beat detection. When searching for a club DJ mixer, be sure to look for units that have more the than two channel outputs. These mixers also go by name like ‘bedroom mixer’ or ‘dance mixer’.
A DJ who requires the combination of a scratch mixer and club mixer should consider a general mixer. General DJs require the capability of both the scratch mixer and the club mixer, as it is necessary to use a combination of the features depending on the DJ’s performance. This mixer has three or more channels and allows for the inclusion of special audio effects. This type of mixer is also called a house board mixer.
Similar to a general DJ, the mobile DJ has to be prepared for a variety of situations. A mixer for a mobile DJ, a DJ that works parties and weddings, should be equipped with at least five inputs. The extra inputs are required for any last minute requests that may necessitate the connection of additional audio sources. For example, should you need to quickly switch from a digital music input to a CD player or turntable, the extra inputs allow for this quick changeover. The mobile DJ who works parties or weddings may also require an input for a microphone. Be sure the mixer you purchase is equipped with an input for microphones.
How to Buy a DJ Mixer on eBay
To find the right DJ mixer on eBay, begin with a generic search and input it into the search bar on the homepage. A general search allow you to peruse all of the available listings for a specific category of mixer. Simply enter the keywords ‘DJ mixer’ into the search bar. Should these results prove to be overly general, you can enter more specific searches depending on your needs. For example, you can search by mixer type, such as ‘scratch DJ mixer’ or by specific model, such as ‘Rane TTM-56S’. The more keywords entered into the search bar, the more targeted your search is.
When considering a listing for a DJ mixer, carefully review all of the listed specifications and features. If you are looking for particular features, be sure that these features are listed among the product details. This ensures that you select a DJ mixer that is appropriate for your style of deejaying. Sellers should provide all of the necessary product details required, but, if you have a question about something that is may be missing from the item description, you can contact the seller directly to inquire about these specifics. You can find the contact link for the seller on their profile page.
The mixer is the base upon which all other DJ equipment is built. Without an effective mixer, the DJ is not be able to perform to the standards required. Mixers vary depending on the type of DJ style and the features necessary to perform in that style. Begin by assessing how many channels are required to effectively use your DJ equipment. A two-channel mixer is the most commonly selected option and is often recommended for a beginner.
The types of DJ mixers available can be categorised according to the styles of deejaying: general, mobile, club, and scratch. Each of these styles has varying requirements. However, for a beginner, searching for a mixer for the purposes of a general DJ allows one greater latitude when performing. When shopping for a mixer, keep your specific requirements in mind so that you select a DJ mixer with the appropriate features. Along with the right DJ mixer, you find a whole host of deejaying equipment, both new and used, on eBay.