Tag Archives: equipment

Peanuts

Pay peanuts and get monkeys

… as the old saying goes!

I witnessed this on a rare Saturday night off recently to attend a party as a guest.

I am not one known to openly critic ones work, however as I was on the other side of the DJ booth for a change, I thought I would offer some words of wisdom to any budding DJ that is starting off and wants to make a good name for themselves or even to a client that is looking to book a DJ for their event…

To the DJ: Always arrive on time or ahead of time

As we arrived at the venue around 7PM, I overheard the party hosts beginning to panic that their DJ hadn’t arrived yet. Trying to ease the situation, my wife did state I was a DJ, however I was not in a position to openly step in to assist as my equipment was at home.

I was a little concerned for the party goers as well. They were expecting their DJ to start at 7:30PM and finally once confirmed with the venue owners, were then told that he wouldn’t get there until 8PM.

This is not a good start in my books, I would always aim to arrive on the allocated time that has been agreed with the host and/or try and arrive earlier to make sure everything is in good running order before the guests arrive. It was fortunate for the DJ that there was an in-house sound system, lighting rig and a DJ booth, however you should never assume all is in working order.

To the DJ: Dress for the occasion

Look presentable. Arriving in a scruffy hoody, jeans and trainers does not set a good image to your business or to your clients.

As it was the party was fancy dress, so I would either get involved with the theme or in smart attire (and I am not talking a full blown tux; shirt, smart jeans and shoes is generally acceptable) to show that you are a professional. Whenever I am playing I wear my own branded shirts to show a) I am proud of my business and b) a chance to get repeat or future bookings from clients whilst advertising my brand.

To the client: Do you know what you’re paying for?

Do not always look for the cheapest DJ/Entertainer. I would ask the following whilst making your booking:

  • What type of equipment do you have?
  • Are you insured?
  • What happens if you cannot make my event? What back-up measures have you got in place?
  • Are you willing to meet up to discuss my/our party plans and music selection?
  • Do you have any reviews from previous customers that I/we can see?
  • Any extras you can offer to make my/our event special?

If the DJ/Entertainer is able to answer the above honestly and confidently, then make your own judgement call on if they are best suited for your event.

Showing intent to meet up with you, shows that they want to offer a tailored package to suit you and your guests needs. At A.C.Knell Entertainment, we never treat our bookings as the same, each night is unique and is usually down to a combination of the music, equipment we use and the guests as well that make the night a huge success.

There are unfortunately like a lot of tradesmen, cowboys in our industry as well. We worked with Dominic Littlewood and Melinda Messenger for Channel 5’s ‘Cowboy Traders’ a few years ago when a rogue Wedding Planner had stolen a couple-to-be’s money for their wedding day. It was great to step in and be able to provide them with an evening reception to remember for all the right reasons.

Reviews

Word of mouth of reviews are very important when looking for a DJ for your event. We take great pride in each event hosted and have some fantastic reviews from customers we have hosted events for over the years; as seen on our Facebook page which has been built up: https://www.facebook.com/pg/A.C.Knell.Entertainment/reviews/?ref=page_internal

You can read more or post your own review linking back to our earlier article on How did we do?

To the DJ: Learn how to read your crowd

This usually comes with years of experience. I am not saying you need a Psychology Degree to analyse people’s behaviour, however get a general feel for what your client and their guests want in advance. Ask them to produce a playlist of their top 10-15 or ‘must-have’ songs for the occasion. A.C.Knell Entertainment offers the right music selection for all events with a diverse library of over 100,000 songs from 1950’s – present day.

It can be easier said than done when you have a mixed age group, however I would advise not sticking to one specific genre of music for too long as this may end up clearing your dance floor.

Interact with the crowd, show that you are approachable and not just stuck to a specific playlist. Use the microphone where appropriate however use it sparingly as well.

To the DJ: Sitting down on the job

A big no in my books! Does not look professional in the slightest and makes it look like you do not want to be there.

Unless you had a legitimate reason for sitting down, such as you have a leg injury as an example, I would try and avoid this at all costs. You’ll end up looking like a Bingo caller instead.

To the client: How was communication on the lead up to your event?

If the DJ has gone above and beyond answering any questions you had on the lead up to your event, then that is great.

It shows they have a general interest in your occasion and are not just taking the booking on for the money.

We hope the above helps when making your own enquires and thanks again for reading!

A sound investment

Corny heading I know right?

However for any DJ to be successful at what they do, they must have a decent PA system to play out to their party guests.

In recent years I have been using the Cerwin Vega Intense INT152 600W Speakers which has been rated in the top 5 for Passive Wooden Speakers. If you are looking for a premium brand, there are a few companies that I can recommend:

As I move into larger events across Sussex, Surrey, Kent & Hampshire, it is key to look into finding the right system for you. Some of the questions you should ask when looking to invest in a new system I have listed below:

Passive speakers or Active speakers?

There are pro’s and cons for both…

Passive speakers require a seperate amplifier to be connected and offer power to the speakers. You need to make sure that the amp is powerful enough to support the preferred output you have chosen. This means you do not need to use additional power points to power these, however you will end up lugging around an amplifier in the meantime.

Active speakers are independently powered with the amplifier contained within the speakers and/or bass bins. You will need to make sure there is sufficient power points available at the venue for this, however the added benefit is you will no longer need to move around a standalone amplifier as this will offer a portable solution with microphone or mixer inputs directly into the speaker itself.

How powerful is the system and/or how many people can this cater for?

The output of a speaker system is very important whilst doing your research. It is key to understand what type of events you usually cater for and how many people are usually in attendance. On average this can range between 80 – 150 people normally, with larger events looking at 350+ people.

I have recently invested in the HK Audio Linear L5 Club Pack from DJKit.com which boosts a massive output of 4400 watts. Now obviously I haven’t had the chance to push this to it’s full potential yet, however early signs show that it has a large throw with the sound across the room, which leads me to my next point.

What size of venue do you usually perform at?

This is extremely important with the acoustics of the room. If you are using a smaller system (for example with an output of 400 watts) this isn’t exactly going to carry well in a large concert room. Assess the type of venues that you normally perform at and make a call on what system will best fill the room.

What manufacturer warranty/guarantee is available with the system you are looking into?

A good quality PA system does not come cheap. If you are playing in the public domain you should realistically look at spending anything from £600 upwards. The RRP on the HK Linear 5 Club Pack that I’ve acquired is £3,839, however the system also includes a 5 year warranty should there be any unforeseen issues that you encounter with usage.

Cables are equally important!

Investing in a new system alone is not enough, you should look at sourcing good quality speaker cables or leads that are compatible with your PA. This will make all the difference with the output of sound.

I have included a little video below unboxing the system I went for and from the first initial test at an event I hosted last night (Saturday), it definitely outperformed my expectations:

Thanks for reading and feel free to ask any questions on what you’ve seen!

The future of the DJ

It has been a while since I have posted on here, so apologies you haven’t heard from me in a while.

As a DJ that has been in the entertainment industry for 15+ years now, I have seen some significant enhancements in Disco equipment and technology to improve and enhance ones set.

Starting on the decks

Back when I first started (and probably more of a novelty thing), I experimented on vinyl. Many would argue the pro’s and cons of mixing on vinyl. The pro’s being the quality of the sound and that authentic crackling noise you would expect to hear, however on the flip side, the con’s are protecting your collection. This could lead to a degraded sound over time depending on how scratched the record turns out over time.

When I went professional and due to the format of my collection, I started on a CDJ system. The mobility of playing a collection of CD’s as opposed to vinyl’s meant you could transport about four times the music with ease.

Entering the digital revolution

I then entered the digital revolution and began to ‘digitalise’ my complete music collection. With the introduction of Digital controllers, with manufacturers such as Pioneer, Numark, Denon leading the way this meant organising your music collection and transporting it to your next gig never came easier until now.

You could now cue up requested songs from your clients without finding your way through your vinyl and CD collection and like many DJ’s this was always tricky to keep a relevant filing system on these.

Some ‘traditional / old skool’ DJ’s would argue that technology cheats the system and there is little or relevant skill in adapting to new technology, however as I read on a DJ forum the other week:

‘If a palette of bricks were delivered to a warehouse, would you really stack them manually by hand or use a forklift to assist you?’

Don’t forget it’s not just about using technology to your advantage. You need to be able to read a crowd and can keep the dance floor consistent throughout the night. This comes with experience and the more gigs each weekend should help you with this if you are aspiring DJ looking to learn the trait.

So, what’s next?

An abundance of cables… hopefully!

I would quite confidently state that the setup and dismantle for each event usually involves cables and lots of them. Cables to plug into a mixing desk, speakers, microphones and lights.

Wireless microphones are already on the market and improving all the time. In fact, I use a good quality microphone receiver complete with 6 x wireless microphones for corporate functions, wedding speeches or even Karaoke events.

What I would like to see is more integration with stage gantries and lighting with perhaps a wireless system to not only reduce the time it takes to setup and dismantle at the end of the night, but improve the appearance of your setup at any event.

More touch screen devices to control your playout system. In recent years we have already seen a decline in Desktop and Laptop PC/Mac sales with the rise of mobile devices and tablets being the primary device in most households.

This brings me to a cool video I saw (quite old now, so imagine what is next) that demonstrates a new style of controller.

Where do you think technology will take us next? Feel free to have your say.

Thanks for reading!