Your Questions: Should I Buy My Own Lights & PA System?

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equipment lights mobile DJing renting equipment
Last updated 28 November, 2017

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A mirrorball is enough to turn a living room into a dancefloor, at least for one night.
A mirrorball is enough to turn a living room into a dancefloor, at least for one night.

Reader Sid from New Delhi, India writes: “I am a bedroom DJ, and I got interested in DJing a couple of years back, as I love music and was really curious to see what were the possibilities outside of the band I played in. A CD-DJ course and a couple of ’20 minute sets at random parties’ later, I got really hooked onto it. Digital DJing happened because I couldn’t really afford decks and a mixer, and last year, I got myself a Behringer BCD3000. I have set myself the target of playing at least one gig in the next three months, and at least three to four gigs this year – even if they’re just house parties. I just love music, and want to play out.

“Now this is where the problem starts. I am not quite sure if a successful party is just about the music. My question is: how important are lights? From my time in clubs, I think lights play a pivotal role in creating mood and suspense, especially during long breaks. Without lights, how can I still keep my party interesting and fun? How do I make long breaks not sound monotonous without lights and strobes?” If all this goes well, I want to take it a bit further and go semi-pro and do weddings / parties with my own equipment. Do I need to buy all the equipment (lights, speakers, amps, dancefloor etc) or is renting these things fairly common?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Yes, at least some lights are important. Having said that, some of the more underground parties I’ve been to have had nothing more than a strobe. A strobe and a dangling lightbulb. Ah, the memories…

But yes, lights always help with atmosphere – you don’t need much for a house party, though. Even a mirrorball can work wonders. Just something moving. If you’re playing as a mobile DJ, you are usually expected to have your own kit, but it’s worth checking with the venue you’ve been asked to play at as if they’ve got a better set-up than you already, you may be able to use theirs and save yourself bringing your own along. This can go for lights as well as sound. You’ll always bring your own DJ equipment though – laptop, controller etc. – to mobile gigs.

I have often hired PA and lighting gear in the past. You will end up doing this when you are booked to play a mobile gig that is in too big a venue for your gear to cope with. (I used to hire lights for my club events when we put on parties in non-club venues.) Sometimes, the company will bring it and install it all for you, and come and take it away again at the end, which is useful. I’ve never heard of anyone renting a dancefloor before! (Presumably, your talking about for outside events.) I can’t speak for your part of the world, but here this would be the job of the event organiser, not the DJ. Maybe DJs who’ve rented dancefloors can correct me here…

Finally, I wouldn’t get too hung up about lighting. After all, when was the last time you heard someone on the way home from a club or party remark: “Yeah, it was a great night, but the lighting could have been a bit better?”

If you’re going to spend money on sound or lights, spend it on sound.

How important do you think lights are on the dancefloor? How do you get the atmosphere going at your house parties? And have you ever hired a dancefloor?! Let us know…

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