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What Are the Best DJ Speakers?

Posted By — March 10, 2017

One of the best investments any serious DJ can make is in a good set of DJ speakers. Cranking up your music nice and loud is one of the main privileges that comes with being a DJ, but when you crank up your speakers, you want to make sure that what’s coming out of them sounds amazing.

Choosing the right pair of DJ speakers can be a challenge, however. There are many brands out there that claim to make the best speakers for DJs, but of course not all of these claims are true. In order to determine for yourself which speakers are best, you’ll want to take some time to educate yourself on the basics of pro audio sound systems. Here are a few things to be aware of when you’re searching for the best DJ speakers for your needs.

Studio Monitors vs. PA Speakers

When you start looking at high-end speakers, you’ll probably see a lot of studio monitor style speakers for sale. While you could certainly benefit from owning a pair of studio monitors (especially if you’re interested in the production side of EDM), these aren’t the types of speakers you’d want to bring [...]


An Introduction to Gain Staging for DJs

Posted By — February 24, 2017

There’s something pretty amazing about loud music. That feeling of bass pumping through your bones is a feeling like nothing else in life. But making things loud isn’t just about cranking your levels. In fact, cranking up all of your levels is the last thing you want to do if you want your music to sound good. To understand how to make music sound good at loud volumes, you need to grasp the basics of gain staging for DJs.

Gain vs. Volume vs. Trim

Modern DJ setups give you several different places to control the volume of your signal. These volume controls can go by different names, but they are essentially all ways of controlling the level of your audio signal. The difference in these names refers to whether the signal is in the input or output stage.

When an audio signal enters your DJ mixer, you have the option of controlling the input level via a gain or trim knob. Gain refers to increasing the level of an audio signal, while trim refers to decreasing the level, but on many mixers, these terms can be used interchangeably to refer to the knob that controls the input level.

After the input [...]


The Pros and Cons of Spinning Vinyl for DJs

Posted By — February 10, 2017

Music technology may come and go, but when something great comes along, it tends to stick around for a while. That’s been the case with vinyl in recent years—although CD and digital sales have been plummeting recently, vinyl sales rose by almost 26 percent last year, according to BuzzAngle Music. With so much interest in LPs, are there advantages to spinning vinyl for DJs? Here’s a run-down of some of the pros and cons.

Pro: The Sound

Most vinyl proponents say that they spin records for one simple reason: because they sound better. Yes, LPs might not be as technically accurate as a good WAV file, but there’s something about that vinyl warmth that just can’t be replicated.

Con: The Sound

While vinyl might sound better to some people’s ears, the truth is that there are downsides to the vinyl sound as well. When it comes to music that was invented in the digital age, pre-digital technology simply has a hard time keeping up sometimes; a high-energy EDM genre like dubstep, for example, with its extreme highs and lows, presents a major challenge for the mechanics of vinyl playback.

Pro: Scratching

For turntablists and hip-hop DJs, vinyl is essential [...]


3 Essential DJ MIDI Keyboard Skills

Posted By — January 27, 2017

One of the great things about DJing is that you don’t need to be able to play a musical instrument in order to play great music (in fact, some might argue that a DJ controller is a musical instrument in itself). At the same time, there are certain advantages to understanding some basic music theory, especially when it comes to something like a DJ MIDI keyboard controller. Here are a few essential keyboarding skills that any DJ should learn.

1. Triggering

The most basic way to add a DJ MIDI keyboard into your setup is to use the keyboard in the same way you would use a DJ controller. With some basic MIDI mapping, you can set up a MIDI keyboard to control functions such as your transport controls, cue points, pitch/tempo controls, effects controls and so on.

The advantage of using a DJ MIDI keyboard rather than a DJ controller is that it can allow you to control multiple parameters at once. For example, you could control both your pitch and tempo parameters at once by pressing down multiple keys at the same time. This frees up your other hand to control a filter knob, for example, or find a new cue [...]


Exploring EDM Subgenres: The European Scene

Posted By — January 13, 2017

When you think of EDM right now, some of the first people to come to mind might be European DJs like Tiësto, David Guetta, Hardwell, and Armin van Buuren. DJs from all over continental Europe have played a major role in shaping many EDM subgenres, and remain a dominant force in the world of dance music today. How did European genres become so dominant in EDM? To find out, we need to go back to Germany in the late 1960s.

The Rise of the Synthesizer

In 1967, a German musician named Edgar Froese founded the group Tangerine Dream. Their groundbreaking second album, Alpha Centauri (1970) was a merging of space rock and electronic music that relied heavily on the sounds of keyboards and synthesizers. That same year in Düsseldorf, the band Kraftwerk was founded as an experimental rock band. By 1974, their sound had changed to embrace synthesizers and drum machines.

Kraftwerk’s albums Autobahn (1974), Trans-Europe Express (1977), and The Man-Machine (1978), as well as Tangerine Dream albums like Alpha Centauri (1970) and Phaedra (1974) became important influences for a number of early American house and techno pioneers, and laid the foundations for the rise of electronic music all over the world.

Euro Disco

The [...]


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