Last time in A Beginner DJ’s Guide To Monitors, Part 2: Positioning Your Speakers, we covered the basics to make sure that having got yourself some decent speakers to use in your DJ practice room, you know how to set them up properly.
This time, in the last of three parts, we’re going to look at how your room acoustics affect what you hear from your speakers, and some things you could consider doing to improve the overall “sound” of your room, in order to minimise any annoying issues.
Three tricks to making your room sound great
All of these three tricks are aimed at achieving the same thing as last week: Reducing the annoying effects of bounced or reflected audio, which can remove power and clarity from what you hear, and colour the sound in your listener position in other ways too.
- Move closer to your speakers – Before rearranging your room, adding any kind of acoustic deadening materials, hanging velvet curtains from your door, or anything else we’re about to suggest, try simply moving closer to your speakers (ensuring you preserve the triangle shape we spoke of last week between the speakers and your head, of course). This will have the effect of reducing the reflected audio you hear and increasing the direct audio, giving you a truer, clearer sound
- Use anything at hand to deaden obvious reflective surfaces – we’re not talking mirror-type reflection here, rather anything that will reflect sound back at you! So back walls and side walls are clearly bad, as are hard floors and ceilings. Breaking their big flat surfaces will help a lot. Ceiling-to-floor curtains, bedding, big plants, bookshelves (full), carpet, rugs and so on will all massively improve your room acoustics
- Kill corners – If your bass is boomy and indistinct, chances are you have a corner issue in your practice room. Bass in particular tends to skulk around in corners, and the best way to deal with it is to kill the corner. Corner furniture units are a good option, but anything that can break the 90 degree angle will help
No need to go crazy…
There are two plus points here for DJs. Firstly, many of us practise in our (often small) bedrooms. That’s great, because much of the above (if not all three, at least to an extent) happens naturally!
While it’s important to get ‘true sound’ for DJing, it’s not as important as for serious music producers
Secondly, while it’s important to get “true sound” for DJing, it’s not as important as for serious music producers, who often go to great lengths fitting acoustic diffusers, bass traps, and specialised absorptive materials to deaden reflections. For decent beatmixing and making reasonable sounding mixtapes? Thankfully you don’t need to be quite so careful.
By the way, I’m a little embarrassed to say that currently Digital DJ Tips has the worst room acoustics we’ve ever had to endure. We’ve added two rugs, a big sofa and blinds, but we need much more to deaden this office, which currently echoes like a library!
This has been a necessarily short introduction to how to monitor your music in a DJ practice studio, but if you’ve taken anything away from it, I hope it’s that it is definitely worth considering carefully everything to do with your speakers.
Do so, and it will be to the direct benefit of your DJing, and without doubt will make your practise sessions much more fun – whatever speakers you can afford, and whatever type of room you have to practise in.
Have you tried weird and wonderful tricks to deaden and improve the sound where you practice? Are you a producer who’s gone to greater lengths than spoken of here? Or do you have a bedroom that’s so cluttered it’s just about perfect for DJing in anyway? Let us know in the comments!
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