A standard club will utilize equipment such as: turntables, a mixer, special software for music, headphones, and a sound system of some sort to produce electronic music. A lot of times, they don’t carry all of this. Sometimes, clubs will just have the PA system and expect you to bring the rest. It’s important to call ahead to see what you’ll need before you go.
Playing at a venue after getting your first club gig is nothing short of exciting for an upcoming DJ. It serves as a chance to expand their horizons and to help them get their brand out there. Clubs and club owner tend to be a hard nut to crack. Most DJs often fail at their first time, especially if they are unaware of the equipment present in clubs.
We recommend that you do plenty of research about the gear the venue already has, and then decide what you might need to truly boost up the audio quality. In addition, prepare yourself to adapt and change. Playing at home might be a piece of cake, but playing on an unknown turf is something else entirely. It can be quite a challenge.
You should be prepared to handle extreme noise, rude guests, low lighting, and loud music.
When you look carefully, most professional club DJs have made huge names for themselves in the mainstream media industry. They include Calvin Harris, Avicii, Diplo, Marshmello, etc. They started off as small-town DJs who used to play dance music or EDM.
As a Club DJ, you should know what your clients expect from you. Most Club managers require their DJs to play dance music, however, it does not mean that you should follow those instructions to a T. You should try to adopt a specific style or genre. The style should be unique to you, and your mixes should sound a little different than those of other DJs.
The best part about playing at a club is that they have their own equipment. Some of the top DJs travel merely with their USBs and their mixes. The club is often already decked out with the latest gear. You may still prefer to travel with your own setup along with your own laptop. Entry-level DJs might need to bring their own PA speakers and lighting, as they might be unfamiliar with the gear at the club.
We recommend that you familiarize yourself with some of the most popular equipment from their line such as the Pioneer DJM 900 NXS 2 Mixer or the Pioneer CDJ mixer. Some clubs even have older versions of the products. Practicing on these will help you understand how the equipment works.
On the other hand, not all clubs will carry these expensive devices. You would do well to visit the venue beforehand and familiarize yourself with the controls.
High-end clubs usually include some standard equipment such as the previously mentioned PioneerDJ. This is because the PioneerDJ gear is responsive and has a layout that most DJs are familiar with. Plus, the brand is known for its reliability and durability, so the equipment tends to last longer and can easily brave the harshness of touring.
PioneerDJ might be the industry standard currently, but it looks as if it will be soon dethroned by Denon DJ. Their SC5000 Prime Media player seems to be challenging the PioneerDJ premium gear. The equipment is also at a more affordable price. In fact, it seems to be more technologically advanced with a touchscreen interface. The best part is that the Denon allows you to import any rekordbox sets so none of your Pioneer formats has to go to waste.
In addition to that, the brand comes with amazing features such as an onboard track analysis as well as a 4-deck setup with only 2 decks.
A classic traditional setup at a club will include:
While controllers have made the life of DJs much easier, the ban on laptops in most clubs seems to have discouraged DJs from using them. Controllers completely eliminate the use of mixers as well as turntables. Most controllers require a laptop and a DJ software to operate. It is very popular because it helps DJs cut down on the size of their traveling pack. Moreover, controllers are much more affordable than the traditional DJ setups.
Take a look at our top picks for the best dj controllers
The Pioneer DJ DDJRX is the perfect way to go if you do not plan on using the industry standard gear provided at your club. You should note that you might need to keep the laptop plugged in at all times to play the music. The best part is that it can be plugged in directly to the PA speaker system.
Check out our guide for the best dj speakers
Another alternative can be the Kontrol S8 from the Traktor. This controller is quite versatile as it allows you to mix all of the elements of songs and not just the song itself. This gives you independent control of the music; you can turn up the bass or tone down the treble as you see fit!
There is no doubt that DJing at a club can be fun and exciting. You might come across a piece of equipment you have never seen before, even after years of experience. This can be both a positive and a negative. You might be overwhelmed by the new technology.
Or perhaps you can turn it into an opportunity for yourself to learn how to handle different types of equipment. You can do so by showing up early and learning hands-on! Then there’s always the last option: bring your own equipment if you’re a newbie and have only ever handled the equipment you currently own!
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