dubplate madness
February 12, 2007 10:00 PM   Subscribe

djFilter: Looking for some direction and pointers getting my start as bar dj.

I'm looking to get a start in DJ'ing around town primarily playing the rounds in the trendier (see also 'dive') bars of downtown. My current home setup is a single Stanton t.80 with a Stanton SMX.201 2 channel mixer. I'm going to pick up another Stanton soon to try my hand at live mixing.

Now here is where I am a bit lost; do venues typically supply the tables and mixer in your DJ'ing experiences and if so, how big a deal is it adapting to each venues setup? How do I go about getting some time at a bar to prove my worth? (I'm guessing a recorded full mix?)

Any horror stories or advice for someone looking to ply his vinyl collection to the inebriated masses would be much appreciated. thanks
posted by ronmexico to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm assuming you are missing some sort of 4x4 electronic music here...because if you were doing top 40 you wouldn't care much about tables....

A good venue will have house tables and a mixer. You should buy technics 1200's -- any decent club will have them as they are still the industry standard and you'll want to be used to them. I would recommend not getting a Stanton and instead saving for two technics. The time to learn the difference between Stantons and Tech's is not when playing live =).

Expect the venue's setup to suck, with crappy monitors (if at all) that you won't be able to hear and old needles. So practice accordingly - turn your monitors away, mix w/o headphones for awhile, have a bunch of friends over to distract you, etc. If the setup turns out good you will be pleasantly surprised.

Bring your own needles and headphones, and don't worry if your first time goes poorly. Mixing live is completely and totally different from bedroom dj'ing.
posted by rsanheim at 11:01 PM on February 12, 2007

If beatmatching is at all important, I would invest in used technics 1200's rather than any other model. That way you will already be familiar with the decks you will find in any venue (assuming they do have decks). The pitch slider response time and the feel of the platter is different, and it will make a huge difference for beatmatching stuff that needs a lot of long blendy mixes.

Regarding decks - places that have regular dj nights usually have their own decks. If you like the atmosphere at some smaller bar/cafe and are willing to lug your own decks down every week- by all means offer your idea to the owners. Also sometimes you can get in on group dj gigs. For instance, I played at one in Chicago a few times where a resident dj brought his turntables every week, but offered up timeslots for other local guest djs every week.

Regarding the process of getting gigs - you can try just handing out mix cds to random places. But the bar dj scene seems to be usually small enough that a lot of them already know each other and it's a fairly tightly knit circle of regulars (depending on the size of the city i guess); if this is the case in your town, you will get a lot further by hanging out at weekly events and venues that you like and making friends with the other local djs and music lovers. Maybe try waiting until your second visit to a venue to try giving your mix to the resident dj, but first focus on making friends with them and asking them lots of questions about the secne and their experience gigging in the city.

If it's a bar that doesn't have a dj night yet, then it never hurts to ask the owners directly, but you might have to bring your own equipment.

on preview - a lot of what he said^ ;)
posted by p3t3 at 11:12 PM on February 12, 2007

First of all, thanks for the responses.

rsanheim, yes depending on where I can DJ at my range of collection goes from Drum and Bass to Indie to Northern Soul. Some beat matching across the board here and there.

Concerning the technics, a local store is selling a 1200mk2 that i was considering so you've both pushed me in the right direction to go for that.

posted by ronmexico at 6:44 AM on February 13, 2007

as long as you dont throw the technics out your window or anything, it should last at least a few decades without having to replace any major parts. mine are over 10 years old and work as well as the day I bought them. plus they are worth at least $200 a piece used, should you decide to sell them later. pricey tables, but well worth the investment, as any dj will tell you :)
posted by p3t3 at 7:00 AM on February 13, 2007

I'm going to go against the grain here and recommend that you don't buy turntables. Granted, I've been DJing for about 18 years and I do own a pair of 1200's but they just aren't necessary any more. For just a little more you can get a pair of Pioneer CDJ's which are also standard in all good clubs and many good bars. Rip any records you have that you'll ever use again to MP3 and burn them to CD. Some of the newer gear even lets you dock iPods.

Or get a halfway decent laptop and some good mixing software. Most mixers have extra audio channels you can plug into.

Take it from an old timer...records are heavy and expensive. Your DJ cred will depend on your music selection and your mixing ability, not your media format.
posted by DefendBrooklyn at 10:03 AM on February 13, 2007

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