What’s The Right Height For A DJ Desk?

Phil Morse | Read time: 4 mins
Dj Gear DJ gear height
Last updated 17 February, 2021

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As DJs, we spend a lot of time “behind” our decks, and so getting the height right is important.

If your DJing hobby runs from weeks to months to years to decades (and I hope it does, or already has!), you can accumulate a lot of stress on your body that can lead to back problems long term.

But also, it just isn’t fun to not want to DJ because you can’t get comfy! You don’t want an aching back stopping you having fun.

So in this article we’ll look at the right height for your decks, look at the heights specified by pro DJs at clubs and festivals, and consider how you can easily replicate this in your home.

There’s also something else to consider that’s nothing to do with the height of your desk, but that is vitally important, so we’ll cover that off too – and I’ll give you a big extra tip, something that I learned the hard way. Let’s go…

The right height for your DJ set-up

First, let’s be clear that we are talking about standing up behind your gear. Yes, you can DJ sat down (and indeed, that is exactly how I plan my DJ sets: sat at the dining room table with a controller), but for actual DJing you want to be standing up, for lots of reasons.

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It’s more dynamic. You can dance about if you feel like it. It’s easier to imagine you’re in front of a crowd (don’t laugh at this: visualisation is key to effective practice, and to preparing yourself for DJing in public). And of course, you may actually be DJing in front of a crowd, as in, livestreaming your set.

So we’re talking about the right height for a standing-up DJ set-up.

To start with then, what is the “standard” festival height?

The answer is: 40” (102cm) for males DJs, and 36” (91cm) for female DJs. That’s your starting point, assuming around a 4” (10-11cm) size difference between average males and females.

Measure the height of your kitchen work surface from the floor. That is likely to be somewhere between those two measurements. It’s a good starting point too, as of course the kitchen is one place in the home where we spend a lot of time working stood up. So if you feel comfy chopping onions in your kitchen, you’ll likely feel happy performing fader chops at the same height on your DJ gear!

right height for DJ desk
DJ Ollie’s IKEA DJ desk… read on for more details.

How to get your decks at the right height

You will have a good idea now of the right height for your gear. The thing is, how to achieve it? Here are a few ideas:

  • Buy a custom deck stand or fold-up booth – This is obviously the best choice, and there are all types available, which will not only bring your decks to the right height, but also hide your cables and generally make everything look cool! Here’s our review of a stand from Glorious, as an example
  • Go the “IKEA route” – IKEA is the unofficial provider of deck stands for the masses! Many items of IKEA furniture can be used for deck stands, including the desks they sell that can be adjusted from standing to sitting, which were introduced when the stand-up desk craze hit a few years back. Such a desk can be a smart move if, like me, you like to plan your sets comfortably sat down, too. Here’s one we particularly like, from DJ Ollie
  • Buy a keyboard stand – Keyboard players also play stood up. Keyboard stands can be adjusted, too, so if you want it 36” or 42” tall, you can do it. Just buy one that’s meant to be used stood up, not sat down. You will need to think about some kind of surface, though, unless you have a very wide DJ console and don’t need to put anything else on the stand. There are loads of stands on Amazon, and I have seen people using an old door for the surface…
  • Use your ironing board! – No, really. It’s like a keyboard stand, with a built-in level surface. Fully adjustable, too. I have DJed more than one party on an ironing board!
  • Use the box your gear came in to raise the height of your table – Simply putting your DJ controller or console onto the box it came with may be enough to raise it to a comfortable height for standing at, when put onto a ”normal” table

What else is important?

Once you’ve got the height correct, you need to think about two other things:

  • Being able to “tuck in” properly so you don’t have to learn forward – If you cannot get your legs right up to the platform, and if you can’t tuck your knees and feet slightly under it, you may find you have to learn forwards even with it at the right height. Leaning and hunching are not good positions to DJ in long-term, so make sure your solution lets you do this
  • Being able to have your laptop at the right height – This is especially important if you wear glasses and sometimes struggle to read the track titles and so on (all assuming you’re a laptop DJ, of course). You don’t want to be hunching just to see your laptop screen. Getting a decent height-adjustable laptop stand is a good move here
right height DJ desk
The Crane Stand Elevate is a good choice to get your laptop in a more comfortable position for DJing.

As long as you can get the height right, make sure you have room to step up properly to the surface sorted, and get your laptop within easy view, you’ll avoid all the issues DJs find short and long-term with bad posture when DJing.

Finally…

Oh, and the final thing I said I’d share? For years, I used to DJ with one headphones earcup on, one off. I’d hold the “on” earcup to my ear with my shoulder.

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This “one shoulder up, one shoulder down” posture really messed with my back after 15 years of playing in clubs every week, and cost me an awful lot on medical fees to sort out.

So don’t undo all your good work getting your DJ gear to the right height by getting into a stupid bad habit like that!

 

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