Budget controllers have lowered the barrier to entry for digital DJing. They’re a great way to get started, though they often lack advanced features that could be key as you become a more experienced DJ. One feature that’s rare on a budget controller is an auxiliary input.
An auxiliary input lets DJs plug in another playback source. This is useful as an emergency backup or for switching between DJs. You’ll find some sort of auxiliary input on most high-end controllers, but with just one cheap accessory called a piggyback cable, you can add an aux input to any controller.
What’s a piggyback cable?
A piggyback cable looks like a normal RCA cable (the red and white audio cable) on one end and is a combo male/female on the other end. That combination end is what makes this cable special and can be used to create another input that feeds directly into your speakers/PA system.
Using a piggyback cable is easy: just use it in place of the regular RCA cable you use to connect to the venue’s mixer or PA system.
Uses for the extra input
Using just one additional cable can give yourself another input that can be used in multiple useful ways.
Emergency back-up input – If you run into issues with your controller and it has a built-in auxiliary input in most cases that input may not work correctly. By using this method the auxiliary input is not dependent on the controller working. So no matter if your computer or your controller has issues, you always have a free input to put something on in an emergency situation.
Extra input for DJ switchovers – Playing a gig with multiple DJs using different laptops can be tricky on a budget or mid-range controller that only has one USB audio interface. The extra piggyback input allows DJs to input something like an MP3 player or smartphone to serve as a way to play something while switching out laptops.
Daisy chain multiple controllers – If you are playing a gig with multiple DJs who all have their own controller, a piggyback cable can be used to connect multiple controllers to one input on the DJ mixer/PA system you are playing on.
Piggyback cables are cheap and it makes a lot of sense to have a pair (or two) in your DJ bag. I’ve had them for years: They allow me to connect a pair of turntables or CDJs to multiple audio interfaces without having to unplug and replug cables in the middle of switching DJs.
Because piggyback cables cut down on the hassle and stress of DJ changeovers, they’ve become a priceless part of my kit, and after figuring out a way to add them to your set-up I’m sure you’ll feel the same way too.
Do you use piggyback cables in your DJing? If not, how do you manage to do DJ switchovers without killing the vibe or breaking the flow of the music? Let us know below.