Essential gear and things for djs.
Years of djing and managing shows has taught me what you should and should not do, from a production standpoint. I've wanted to create this list for some time, so I'm going to list some things that any serious dj should have if they are playing out on the regular. Trust me, you'll need these things when you're in a pinch. I am strapped with these items all the time and it makes life so much easier.
You can never have enough power strips. Many times, the places you gig at won't have any, you might be playing with other djs with extra gear and you just never know. I use the Furman SS-6B surge protector. It's has a 15ft cord, it's made out of metal, it has a circuit breaker and EMI/RFI noise attenuation. These things are built like a tank and never fails. I have two of these at all times. You can purchase them at Guitar Center.
Also, I keep a Phillips Travel Power Strip in my dj bag. For its compact size, it packs three outlets and a 10" cord. This is a life saver when you are playing somewhere and there's only one spot left on a power strip. My peeps at Turntablelab carry a Monster Cable joint that's just as good.
Like power strips, having multiple cables (of every configuration) is a must. XLR, RCA, 1/4" and even an extra 1/8" for an ipod comes in handy. I use Live Wire cables from Guitar Center, which I highly recommend. The cables are thick and have metal headshells. These are beasts compared to the usual thin plastic cables you see often. They are pricier than your normal cables, but you get what you pay for. What makes this brand even better, is that they have a lifetime guarantee. They fail, you take them back to Guitar Center and you get a new pair for free. You can't beat that!
Oh yeah, having cable adapters (1/4", RCA, etc.) with those cables is a good look too...
I. SWEAR. BY. THIS. I've been using this for years - way before computer programs came into the picture. If one of your decks is playing in mono, more than likely the contacts in the tonearm or headshell are dirty. If you are using backline gear or in-house club decks, this is the norm. The culprits are djs that lick the contacts on their headshells to get a better connection. I know that it's a quick fix, but in the long run, it will corrode the contacts in the tonearm. So to alleviate the problem, it has to be properly cleaned. This will do the trick and save your ass at the same time. If you're on Serato, YOU NEED THIS. If the decks are not putting out a proper stereo signal, you are screwed. Lastly, if cleaning the contacts doesn't work, you might have a bigger problem, like a shorted rca cable.
You can get one of these great pens from Turntablelab.
You gotta have this to tape down anything, especially cables on the floor/stage/ etc. I have avoided many drunk people eating it with this. I never work a big festival without it. A total no-brainer. You can get this from any music equipment shop.
Ah, the pleasures of lugging gear. It's so good on your back! If you know me, you know that my back is pretty messed up from years of carrying gear around. So I had to find a solution to ease my back. After some searching, I found the Multi-Cart R2 Micro at Guitar Center. I can put my entire dj rig on it - turntables, mixer, effects, cable bag and powered monitor with no problem. You can roll over curbs with this and it folds into a small size for storage. It's the best $100 I've ever spent! It's a big help when you are parked a good distance away from the venue.
In my opinion, having your own powered monitor is important. When doing gigs locally, you should do this. Obviously, having no monitor makes the night a long one. That said, if you're going to have your own, get something that's good.
I use a Yorkville 100KW Power Wedge. It has 100 watts of power, separate treble & bass controls and multiple audio connection options. I've used this model for over 10 years and it's by far the best monitor ever. It's super loud, sounds clean and doesn't overheat and clip like Mackie and JBL monitors. Look into getting one!
I guess that's it! Here are some other random things to keep in mind...
- Extra headphones.
- An extra set of needles.
- Extra Serato/Traktor/Torq control records.
- Power adapter for dj computer program interface.
- A flashlight (thanks, John!).
- BE NICE TO THE SOUNDGUY!!!
I hope this helps out and your gigs become a much smoother and less stressful experience!