Digital DJ Tips reader MM asks: “I’m preparing my transition from DVS to controller and I’ve got a major problem: real estate. In the past when I would set up even small bits of additional gear, there’s been precious little space. I have my eye on a tank of an all-in-one controller, but how do you guys fit one into smaller booths?”
Digital DJ Tips Says:
Ah, space in the DJ box: it’s the one thing we all can’t have enough of. It’s a tight enough squeeze even for just one DJ, but when you throw in the now-commonplace practice of lining up three to four DJs a night that have to do switchovers, you begin to realise why a lot of DJs would just prefer to bring some USB sticks to plug into the venue’s CDJs.
But fear not, there is hope! Many a digital DJ has had this problem with DJ booth space (it’s one of the biggest selling points of boutique DJ controller company Faderfox in the 2000s), and I present you with a couple of options:
1. Use a keyboard stand
You mentioned that you’ve got your eyes on a large controller (eg Denon DJ MCX8000, Pioneer DJ DDJ-RZ), which will probably take up most of the desk space occupied by the venue’s DJ gear (I’m guessing a pair of CDJs and a DJM mixer). What I’ve done in the past is I take along an x-stand used by keyboard players – it’s relatively lightweight and easy to carry so you’re not sweating bullets heading into the show, plus the width is adjustable so you can set it up in narrow floor spaces. You can get a basic one for under US$20.
Pair this with a controller flight case with a glide platform for your laptop, and you’ve got a complete DJ set-up that’s right in front of you, all that’s needed is to send your Master output to the venue’s mixer. It’s like setting up another DJ desk in the booth or beside it for more real estate.
For a more professional looking solution…
2. Get a portable DJ booth
There are a variety of stands and fold out cases that function as surfaces for your DJ controller and laptop. One of the latest we’ve seen is from Gibraltar Radius pictured above, which is made of steel tubes that you can quickly assemble and strike down when it’s time to head out the club.
3. Use a two-tier laptop stand
If you can’t be bothered taking along a keyboard stand or portable DJ booth, the simplest solution is to get a laptop stand like the Magma Control Stand that’s got two platforms – one for your laptop, and another for your DJ controller. You plant the stand’s feet under the venue’s existing CDJ/DJM and it raises your laptop / controller set-up just above the CDJs.
It’s going to depend on what controller you’re using though, but the Magma Controller Stand in the photo above can hold an entire Traktor Kontrol S8, so if you’re going for something along that size, this is the laptop stand to get.
So those are three ways of adding some DJ booth real estate. Of course you could just ask the sound tech to ever so kindly disconnect and move the CDJs to make way for your controller, but just in case the venue won’t allow it (or he’s just in a really bad mood), taking along one of the aforementioned options is always a good backup.
How do you set your DJ controller in a cramped DJ booth? Any set-up tips to give our reader? Share them below.