Over To You: How Should I Set The Sound Levels At My New Gig?

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 28 November, 2017


Keep your master output out of the red at all times to make sure you make a good impression.

Reader Chandler Shortlidge writes: “I have a gig coming up at a new club next month. I have never used my Xone:DX for a gig besides my weekly gig where I use all of my own stuff – speakers, cables, etc. I’m pretty sure I’ll be the opening DJ, so I’ll make the first beats of the night, and I want to start on a perfect note, that is, not really loud or soft. How will I know how high or low to have my master volume knob? I am hoping that someone there will help me out, but I’m not counting on it, and I want to look professional.”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Technically, you need to ensure you’re not driving any system “into the red”. I am sure you’ll be playing through their mixer via a spare channel, so set your gear up so the master output VU on your Xone:DX is never into the red, ie much above 0dB. Then, adjust the club’s mixer so the EQs are all level on your input channel, and the gain is set to 0dB or at least again not peaking into the red. If you need to adjust EQ, take away, don’t add. So if it’s not bassy enough, turn the mid and treble down, not the bass up. Get the pattern here? Keep everything out of the red!

From then on in, it is a case of managing the volume to suit the crowd arriving and so on, again by using the master volume on the club’s mixer, or the volumes on their PA gear, depending how the club is set up. Again, make sure this isn’t clipping (going into the red).

For me, I’d go and see how loud they have it right at the start at another night when you’re not playing, and don’t be scared to leave your DJ booth and go for a walk around the venue… several times if need be, while you’re playing. It’s a sign of a pro!

What can you add to this to help Chandler keep the levels right and come across as a professional at his first gig in this club? Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.

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