Bad sound is your enemy. No matter how skilled you are as a DJ, incorrect volume settings will always be one step ahead of your great sets and mixes.
Imagine yourself at a nice bar with a DJ spinning the latest and hottest tracks everybody loves to dance to.
Music is fantastic, but the sound is maxed out and distorted. You try to talk with your friends and hear what they say and it becomes a torture. Eventually, you end up stepping away from music full of your favorite songs.
A DJ’s priority should always be maintaining a clear sound in the venue as well as entertaining audience with good music. And that ” clear sound ” comes with proper settings on your equipment.
Let’s talk about what you can do to avoid any possible distortion or overload on your speakers.
First of all, most powered speakers have limiters on their amps, so you can’t go over the limit and blow them.
The only reason sound gets distorted and deformed is that it is turned up from the source of music.
Your source is your DJ software. It’s digital, not analog and definitely not amplified. Increasing the channel gain on your software should be your last choice in order to get more volume. In fact, individual gain controls on your decks are meant to adjust the loudness level on both sides while mixing.
That’s why DJ mixers have the main volume option. If it’s your digital DJ controller with own audio circuits, the main knob or fader controls the built-in audio interface level. On an independent DJ mixer, same thing.
You may say, “Well, what about the channel gain on my external mixer ?”. Good question.
Stand alone mixers are a different story in terms of volume settings. Unless they are integrated with your software, all audio control is separate from it. So, my statement applies only to digital DJ’ing.
The best way to set the volume on your DJ set-up should be from the end to the beginning which means starting with your PA system and ending on your software.
Your final sound supply (PA system) needs to be set as high as possible. In that case, you have the option of turning it up on your mixer when needed, without draining your volume sources.
How would you know you’re not overloading your initial sound level ? Of course by checking the LED vu-meters on your mixer section.
Green, yellow and red. Three colors on it. You should not go over yellow. Red means distortion. So, first thing to do is avoiding the red section of LEDs on your mixer.
Channel gain knobs on decks need to be right up in the middle. You can bend it a bit during transitions if there is gain difference between tracks. Don’t forget to reset them after loading the next song.
Your best source for adjusting the level is the main volume called “Master Level”. Using it will keep you away from any possible sound deformation.
As I mentioned before, red color needs to be out of your way on each and every gain and volume source on your set-up.