April 18, 2017 at 11:18 pm #2549951
I am 16 years old, a junior in high school and a student at the local community college for recording arts technology. I am very familiar with most DAW’s, (I prefer Logic Pro X and ProTools), microphone techniques, basic signal flow, and some other production and live audio techniques. I currently work at a local fast food joint, but want to get started in some kind of music. Can I get started DJing locally without spending all my savings on equipment and software?? And is it feasible to try to start this kind of business while still working 3-4 shifts a week at the fast food place? Any suggestions would be a huge help! Thanks.April 19, 2017 at 7:36 am #2549991
Hi this is a good idea when your are still this young, safe money don’t go to fast and buy any equipment. Go to the shop and look what the price is work extra hours to get the money then go buy it. Take time with the DJ equipment practice in your bedroom, if you done the first mix and recorded it give it to a friend and ask him how does it sound. If you have a lot more confidents tell your friend if it his birthday you will go and play music for his birthday as a gift. then the other people will look at you and then you can tell then what the price is to go and be the DJ at there party’s.April 19, 2017 at 9:05 am #2550001
Chuck Van EekelenModerator
Hi Ethan, this post is almost better suited for the Introduce Yourself forum, but I’ll leave it here.
In any case, welcome to the forums. Good to see you are looking at ways to bring your love for music into practical use.
I’d try to get a beginners starter controller (search the forums for our list of “suggested” controllers) and invest in the “How To Digital DJ Fast” course. It will get you ready to play out at friends house parties and such in 6-7 weeks, by showing you how to do it and how to practice it best. Assuming you own a laptop, all you need more is a set of decent headphones and you could already be starting. Monitor speakers are very nice to have (or any other kind of speaker that let’s you hear the master out) and you probably have a set of those already being in sound engineering.
Since you can practice at any time of day/night and it’s better to practice 1/2 to 1 hour a day rather than 1 or 2 longer sessions during a week, there shouldn’t be too much problems finding the space to practice your DJ-ing.
As said, move towards playing your first live gig asap, as Phil Morse suggests as the first step towards DJ-hood: “book your first gig, even if you haven’t started on DJ-ing yet”. This will give you a deadline that will help with practice and preparation discipline as you know in a number of weeks/months you WILL be out in front of people to do your thing.
Having a sound engineering background (I feel) is a bonus being in the DJ world. You will have some background info others might lack and probably a bit deeper understanding of technology and sound manipulation (like EQ, FX).
The flipside of the coin is that you are easily tempted to treat it as an audio engineer than as a creative DJ. If you can balance those you are off to a good start.
Hope that helps some.April 19, 2017 at 7:33 pm #2550061
Thank you! That helps a lot. How important is it to have live-audio-grade speakers to bring to gigs? Have you found that most venues would have speakers for a DJ to use? Obviously there is a huge advantage to having your own setup, especially with just knowing your equipment inside and out compared to having to learn a new system at every gig, but while I’m just starting out how important is it?April 20, 2017 at 9:42 am #2550121
Chuck Van EekelenModerator
Unless you are a full-fledged mobile DJ with a full calendar and generally a narrow bandwidth of audience size, I’d hold off on buying PA speakers for now. If they expect you to bring the speakers, judge what you need, get it from a rental company, have the venue pay the rental fee and negotiate a kick-back with the rental company (10-25% depending on how often and how much you work with them). That way you get pro grade gear, no worries about paying a substantial amount of cash up front without the knowledge that you will actually rent them out enough to make it a good business decision. Finally you can always get the right gear to match the event, venue, expected crowd size.
Frankly, especially with your background/interests, PA’s are so simple. Everything is active speakers today (nicer from a redundancy point of view too). So the only two questions are speaker placement at a gig and routing of cabling. Master out from controller/mixer to either subs then top (if you have subs) or straight to tops (no subs) or tops then subs (depending on where the filter is – usually subs).
I don’t subscribe to the notion of “huge advantage” of owning. See previous remarks on that. Since a few years I have my own 1x 18″ sub, 2x 12″ set with an additional 2×12″ set of tops (same brand – different model), which let’s me play most venues as a mobile DJ. But sometimes I would like to bring something smaller and I still end up renting gear for bigger events. At the end of the day it was good business sense, but still a close call. And I was established when I got the gear.
What I would recommend if you do have some money, is get a pair of smaller (say 10″) used active PA speakers with stands. No big cost up front and not too much room needed for storage. You could even use them in your practice room. This will allow you to go for “next-to-no-money” house parties and such (be sure to get something paid though! if only gas money), which are a great way to get your feet wet and your first in front of a live crowd experiences.April 26, 2017 at 1:52 am #2551701
A sneaky approach is to get your first paid event before you buy anything. Locking up a first gig at $300-450 is not unreasonable, and that’s all you really need to get started. Even less if you already have a laptop. On top of that, getting your 50% deposit helps cover your controller up front. A used Mixtrack Quad can also be picked up for ~150 on eBay, here you get a 4 channel controller that will work out of the box with the free versions of Serato and Virtual DJ.
If you’re too nervous about picking up a gig before you have hardware or experience, then you’ll just need to hustle some more at work to scrape together $150!
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