iPod wedding
July 2, 2005 9:21 AM   Subscribe

How can I use my iPod to dj my sister's wedding?

About a year from now my sister is getting married. We recently attended a wedding that had a truly horrible dj, and decided to try to get out of spending money on djs if we can. Ideally I'd like to use my ipod to play music for the party. What sort of equipment do we need to do this? Alternately, does anyone know of any djs in the Albuquerque, NM area who have at least a little bit of Bowie and Supertramp in their repertoire?
posted by Sara Anne to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If I were doing this, I'd make a playlist of the music and transfer it to the iPod. Then I'd plug the iPod into a cable that terminated in two RCA outs.

Now you need a large PA system. These can be rented from the same places that rent you DJs, only much cheaper.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:03 AM on July 2, 2005

Make sure you have a backup iPod (or laptop or something) with the same content there in case the one breaks. She will kill you if there is no music at all during the wedding.
posted by about_time at 10:06 AM on July 2, 2005

From disc jockey to digital jockey.
posted by ericb at 10:17 AM on July 2, 2005

I worked for an independent theater group and helped to DJ between short plays with my iPod... we just hooked it up to a PA system and went from there. It was really easy, but note that it takes a little practice to switch between the iPod and a mic if you're using the PA for any announcements or speeches. My iPod did crap out one night--it froze. We had a backup, but were able to reset it before we needed music again. I'd definitely recommend a backup for a really important event. We also found that moving the iPod around a lot could screw things up--just another thing to keep in mind.
posted by hamster at 10:33 AM on July 2, 2005

Sounds like a great idea. Though I wonder if the MP3 or ACC formats might reveal their limitations when amplified over a large sound-system? The formats sound great on my iPod's headphones, but I've never heard such files amplified to the levels needed to cover a ballroom.
posted by herc at 12:09 PM on July 2, 2005

the big problem would be song selection -- you can't cue up a particular song next without having a pause after the current song (although I must admit I know little to nothing about ipods, so correct me if i'm wrong here). You can solve this by buying another iPod and getting a mixer, or bringing a laptop and using its outs as well (or using a mp3 DJ program on the laptop).

also, keep in mind that if you choose to actually "DJ" this event, that's all you'll be doing for the entire wedding -- which probably won't be much fun. I'm guessing your plan is to just set up a playlist and let it go, which I suppose would be cool too, depending how strongly the bride/groom feel about music at the wedding. Be prepared to deal with people's lame requests.

I guarantee you there are GOOD DJs wherever you live. It's just that i'm sure few of them work for those mobile DJ companies. go to your favorite club night and ask the DJ if they would play a wedding for you. The downside is that it's unlikely they will have typical wedding songs, and depending on where they play, they might not be used to having to play shit requests for people.

Though I wonder if the MP3 or ACC formats might reveal their limitations when amplified over a large sound-system? The formats sound great on my iPod's headphones, but I've never heard such files amplified to the levels needed to cover a ballroom.

as long as it's 192 and above it should be ok. 128 can sound a little gritty, but in my experience this is actually LESS noticeable on most PA systems (as a lot of systems don't seem to be built for flawless sound, but LOUD sound.)
posted by fishfucker at 12:38 PM on July 2, 2005

someday soon...

posted by hellbient at 1:06 PM on July 2, 2005

fishfucker's got it. You really need two audio sources [2 iPods or 1 iPod + 1 CD/Turntable/Laptop] and a mixer to be an effective party DJ. Otherwise, you can't choose songs on the fly and avoid pauses in between. The sound quality sould be no problem with decent mp3 or aac files; you'd certainly notice the encoding quirks more on headphones or studio monitors.

The plus side of hiring a professional DJ is that many of them will also have a mic and some sort of disco light setup, if you're into that.

hellbient, that would be sweet.
posted by ijoshua at 1:36 PM on July 2, 2005

One iPod won't do it -- you definitely need 2 iPods to fade songs back'n'forth; as a DJ your main mission is to avoid dead air.

You could use iTunes on a laptop though in party shuffle mode, with the crossfade turned on. That would have the advantage for you of being able to set up a playlist and actually *enjoy* the event.
posted by omnidrew at 2:26 PM on July 2, 2005

...and if you don't have a mac laptop, you can use a windows (or hell, unix) laptop and winamp or xmms. I'd much rather DJ from a laptop than an iPod. Having the eq alone is worth it.
posted by devilsbrigade at 5:47 PM on July 2, 2005

Best answer: My brother just did exactly this for our wedding last month, and it worked fantastically. We actually set up the playlist ourselves, and since both Robocop_is_bleeding and I have iPods, we put the playlist on both of them just to have a backup one in case something went awry. We got a mixing board and some speakers, and that was it. The sound was surprisingly great, I was worried that as herc said the format of the music would lose something over the big speakers, but it didn't. When we set up the playlist, we did so trying to set pacing for sets of songs, and my brother was able to hang out away from the dj table for a while and enjoy himself, so I'd recommend doing that if you want to be able to stop playing dj for a bit during the event.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 5:57 AM on July 3, 2005

Hey, don't know if it's too late -- once topics slip down the page they're rarely visited again. This being said, I have idea that could help...

So you wanna DJ the wedding w/ an Ipod. But you want to avoid the inevitable gap between songs. Here's a thought:

Make a mix on iTunes, using it's cross-fade feature to have the songs blend one to the next.

Then use a program like Audio Hijack to capture that audio as one large file. Sure, that may present problems of its own (can't easily skip forward, for example...). But it would give you the ability to have 1+ hours of music seemlessly transition from one to the next.
posted by herc at 11:29 PM on July 10, 2005

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