Thursday, December 4, 2008

An Introduction to DJ Equipment

An Introduction to DJ Equipment
By []Adam Miles

Historically, a DJ setup has consisted of two turntables, a mixer and some speakers. But today, thanks to new technological innovations, DJs can choose from a selection of different means of playing their music. They can use turntables, CD turntables, computer software or any combination therein. Each of these categories are described more in detail in their own sections.

Turntables - While these might look like those things your parents played records on, the similarities end there. DJ turntables offer several features not found on a regular turntable. The most important of these is the ability to increase or decrease the speed that the record is moving. This lets you match the tempo of two songs so that you can blend them together.

CD Turntables - These are CD players that play regular CDs. However, they also allow you to change the tempo of a song so that you can mix it into another. Many DJs today prefer this type of turntable because it allows them to use CDs rather than vinyl.

Computer Software - Some DJs have moved beyond turntables and solely use software to mix their music. This is still a new area of DJing and lots of the older DJs look down on people who use this method. However, many of the famous DJs are now solely performing with software such as Ableton Live.

Mixer - A mixer has at least two audio channels which will be connected to whatever you are using to play your music. This allows you to control the volume of each song. The mixer also has a fader which allows you to fade from one song to the other. A DJ further controls the music by using a Mixer's EQ. An EQ can increase or decrease certain frequencies of a song; its treble, mids or bass. A DJ can make a mix sound very smooth with proper adjustment of these levels.

Headphones - All DJs need a good pair of professional headphones. Those old walkman headphones are not going to cut it - the professional models pack increased volume and the sound separation you will need to follow a mix. DJs use headphones to listen to their mix on a separate channel of the mixer that is not playing over the speakers; this allows them to get their mix sounding good before the crowd hears it.

Cartridges (aka Needles) - If you are using turntables, you will need these. They attach to the tone arm of the turntable and slip into the groove of the vinyl records. They are what translate the vinyl into sound. If you are using needles that are too old and worn out then you will damage your records and the sound will be horrible.

Digital DJing - This is a new area of DJing that has been catching on like wildfire. Just about every club and touring DJ today is using some digital DJing tool. Unlike software only techniques, there is no stigma attached to this category. This is because the digital DJing devices hook your computer up to whatever type of turntable you are using. It merges both the old school with the new. For example, Serato's Scratch Live is a hardware device that you plug both your turntable and laptop into. It then can map an mp3 from your laptop onto your turntable, allowing you to manipulate the mp3 in real time just like you would a vinyl record or CD.

Come visit my site to learn more about DJing -

Adam Miles has been DJing for over a decade and is interested in helping others learn more about becoming a DJ. Come stop by his website at to read more in-depth tutorials, equipment reviews and to ask questions in the forum.

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