So you’ve got a new DJ controller (and software), and naturally you can’t wait to start spinning tunes on it. Maybe you’ve bought a copy of How To Digital DJ Fast and are itching to start learning. The temptation is to read the quickstart (if that), get the software loaded, plug it in and start DJing away.
But there are loads of reasons why that’s not always a great idea. I know it’s boring, and it feels like work – but reading the manual is important, especially when it comes to complicated DJ gear and software. Here’s why:
- You’ll get going faster. Can’t get something different to come out of your headphones than your speakers? It’s in the manual. Audio coming from your laptop, not your DJ controller? It’s in there too. Controls not doing what they’re meant to? The manual! You’re getting the idea: Drivers, audio configurations, mappings – all of these things often need your understanding in order for you to get your DJ gear working right
- You’ll be less likely to think your gear is faulty. I have a confession to make. When I got my first DJ controller, I didn’t read the manual, and so I didn’t discover the jogwheel sensitivity controls on the back of the unit. Hence I couldn’t work out until actually ringing the company why the jogs weren’t working right. I was convinced the unit was broken! Don’t embarrass yourself like I did: Read the manual…
- You’ll be more confident. If you know everything your gear can do, you’ll be far better placed to use it properly. What if you accidentally hit a keystroke, or a combination of controls, and something happens you’ve never seen before, or that you can’t reverse? Now, what if that happens when you’re actually performing a DJ set? By learning all the functions of your controller, it’ll be less likely to surprise you when you least want it to…
- You’ll outgrow your kit more slowly. So many people say “I’m bored of my controller” when it’s got a whole host of functions they don’t even know about. Even the simplest DJ controllers have a few tricks up their sleeves. As well as reading the manual, why not search for YouTube videos on your model, and see what other people can show you? Squeezing every last drop out of your gear rather than continually lusting after the next big thing is good practice, and will make you a better DJ
- You’ll be able to help others. There’s nothing nicer than helping someone out with a problem, and the more people you help, the more help comes back to you when you need it most. Why not become and expert on your controller, and chip in on the Digital DJ Tips Forum or elsewhere when people pop up with problems or issues? You’ll feel good, make friends, and get more help yourself when you need it… and all because you bothered to read the manual in the first place
Extra tip: As often you don’t get a printed manual any more, reading the electronic file can be that bit harder. Don’t be put off: email the latest, biggest PDF version from the manufacturer’s website straight to your Kindle or iPad and read it there. Or print it out if you have to (that way you can write on it too) – set the printer to two pages a sheet and double-sided if you can to save paper and ink costs.
It’s true that manuals can be a bit “dry”. If you find yourself reading the manual to your new DJ controller and thinking “OK, so now I know what these controls do… but what should I be doing with them?”, then may I humble suggest you take a look at our How To Digital DJ Fast course? It’s designed to show you what to do with the gear you’ve got, and is the logical next step once you’ve read the manual.
Is there anything that mystified you about your DJ controller… until you finally read the manual? Is there anything that still mystifies you about it even if you have read the manual? Now’s your chance to tell us…
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DJ Controllers: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide 2014
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