Over To You: When Is It OK To Go Into The Red?

Christian Yates
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 23 March, 2018

Unfortunately, this is a very common sight in DJ booths around the world.
Unfortunately, this is a very common sight in DJ booths around the world, even among the most experienced of DJs.

Digital DJ Tips Platinum Facebook Group member Jeremy Knox raised an interesting topic for discussion this week: “I’m not sure if I’m missing something, but I have noticed an increasing amount of videos of DJs redlining in the mixer, and not just for a moment, but for their whole set. This includes big name DJs at festivals and clubs. Whilst Pioneer mixers are generally run fairly ‘hot’, my understanding has always been to keep in the amber. What gives?”

Digital DJ Tips Says…

It’s never a good thing to be constantly in the red. That leaves you with nowhere to go volume-wise and the output is going to be distorted. No one enjoys that. I always monitor the levels and try keep things in the low to mid-amber. It might flash into the red for a second or so, but I try to keep this to an absolute minimum during my sets. It is especially important to keep the volume down when playing the warm-up.

I have also seen many “top” DJs redlining the mixer throughout the set, and all I can say is that they just have no idea what it sounds like on the dancefloor. That being said, I have often taken it upon myself to go and tell them that it is distorted or too loud, and they have always thanked me and taken it down a notch.

I think that a lot of beginner DJs use these videos that you mentioned earlier as training tools and this just compounds the problem. Some people think that louder means better and I guess we all make that mistake at some point. Where I live as, I guess, everywhere, this is a common issue and the main reason why I always carry ear protection with me whenever I go out.

So, over to you: How often do you dip into the red? Do a lot of DJs in your area often redline the mixer? Why do you think they do this? Let us know in the comments below…

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