Distortion … Here is the definition of the word : ” Any form of deformation on audio output compared to its input “.
Or, we can simply call it ” very high and overloaded audio signal level “.
A DJ’s priority is maintaining high quality and clear sound as well as playing good music.
Choosing your digital tracks’ encoding level and keeping your sound under control during performance are major factors defining the sound clarity and quality.
How can you avoid distorted sound as a DJ ? By following some simple guidelines.
We should start from the very first step which is our music library. I mean music files we have.
I’m sure you all purchase legal music from reputable sources. This is great, cause it ensures that you receive very high quality encoded digital tracks. If you rip music from CDs, make sure you choose the best encoding option as well (at least 256 kbps or more). This means there is minimal loss in audio transferred to digital format.
Why am I saying all these ? If audio is not at its ideal level from the source, then you can not correct it on the way no matter what you do.
There are different sound level sources that you pass onto the other when you DJ.
It originates with audio file gain, then mixer channel gain, channel volume fader, mixer main output and finally amplifier volume level.
The one and only sound level you should max out ( if you really have to) is the last ring on the chain which is the amplifier.
In fact, I would recommend doing it at the very beginning of performance. Here is why.
Amplifiers do not alter the sound source and most of them have limiters. As long as it’s not distorted on the way, your main volume will always be clear.
So, here is the trick. If you don’t overload your mixer’s audio, you’re in good shape. How will you know it’s not ?
Red lights on your mixer’s vu-meter mean sound is clipping and getting distorted. Always keep below red. Green is ideal. If you have to turn it up, either use mixer’s main volume or the amp’s.
Distortion is one thing DJs should stay away. High quality and clear sound is how your audience enjoys music you play.