Digital DJ Tips reader and beginner DJ Elepziaz writes: “Next week I might get my first professional and serious gig where several DJs are going to play before and after me. The club provides 2 CDJs and a DJM-800 but I would like to use my Midi controller (Denon DN-MC6000) and my laptop which would be easier for me and would make feel more comfortable rather than using gear I really don’t know how to operate that much. So the question would be, how would I connect my DN-MC6000 in the DJ booth if there is already another DJ playing?”
Digital DJ Tips says:
You need to find a spare “line in” or “CD in” on the back of the club’s mixer, and plug your DJ controller’s main output into it – take a torch in case it’s dark back there, and if appropriate ask if there’s any particular one they’d like you to plug into. Note the channel you’ve plugged into, then on the DJ mixer, typically at the top of that channel’s controls (ie above the fader and EQ knobs for that channel) there’s normally a toggle that lets you select the correct input – if you plugged into “line in” on channel 2, then you switch the toggle switch on channel 2 (above the channel 2 fader and EQ knobs) to “line”. That means your controller’s output is now coming through that channel.
Make sure the EQs are set flat, the gain is set so with your controller outputting to just below the “red”, the same thing is happening on the club mixer’s EQ (ie you’re driving it to just below the “red”) and as soon as you open the fader for that channel or move the crossfader across, your controller will be live to the world over their system. If you press the “headphone cue” button for that channel, you should see your output on the VU meters to be sure it’s coming through, or you could ask the current DJ to check on his headphones for you.
If there are no spare inputs, you’ll need to unplug the CD player the DJ before you isn’t using – ie the CD player that his last record isn’t playing on – from the back of the mixer and replace it with yours (or unplug the leads from the back of the CD player and leave it plugged into the back of the mixer if that’s easier), so you can mix into his last track without a pause.
Can be a bit nerve-wracking, especially when the other DJ casually tells you the track has 60 seconds to go and you’re on your knees with a torch between your teeth! you should always be courteous (after all, he’s DJing – how would you like to be treated?) and ask if you get stuck – it’s better than throwing the club into silence, after all.
Finally, avoid accidentally plugging into a “phono” input (they use the same plugs and sockets). You won’t do that twice – it’ll be ten times as loud and very distorted!
Have you got any hints and tips to add to these for setting up and using controllers in busy DJ booths? Any disaster stories? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!