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chewie
08-16-2012, 07:45 AM
I am thinking about becoming a dj. I am looking to do graduation parties, back yard parties pretty much anything but weddings or clubs. Is it necessary to be able to mix and use turn tables? Can I get away with some laptops, amplifier and speakers? What would be some decent equipment to buy to get started?
Thanks,
Jerry

JackStalk
08-16-2012, 09:45 AM
Short answer: No it isn't really necessary to be able to mix and use turntables if you're a mobile DJ, I see lots of them that don't even beatmatch. I've even seen some experienced ones running a room strictly off of the laptop. It is highly recommended that you use CDJs/controller/turntables with your laptop because a well-executed party requires seamless mixing and the ability to hold the energy of a room. For the price of a decent laptop, you can afford CDJs or a controller. I personally still use CDs but a good beginner setup would probably include a laptop, traktor/serato software, and a piece of hardware to control it. I would recommend active speakers, they already have a built-in power source so you don't need to carry an amplifier. Here was my first setup, other people will argue that CDs are outdated but I enjoy using them:

Gemini CDM-500
2x Behringer 215D speakers

DJ Highline
08-16-2012, 11:22 AM
Hate to break it to you, but if you become a mobile dj which is what it sounds like you want to do, you are going to have to do weddings. Weddings are the bread & butter of mobile work and is probably one of the most lucrative ways to make money as a DJ, that and corporate work. People are only willing to pay at best a couple hundred dollars for the type of parties you mentioned but are willing to pay $1K+ for good wedding & corporate DJs.

As far as what you need, I woukd say a decent controller, laptop, software, wide range of legal music, decent powered speakers & a wireless mic.

st3rling
08-16-2012, 01:50 PM
Are turntables necessary? No. Is mixing necessary? The technically correct answer is no, there are lots of mobile entertainers that don't know how to mix. But when you start doing more functions and playing more music, you will find yourself in situations where they expect to dance and not having the music mixed leads to a less than satisfying experience. In today's world, I have no idea why people put up with hiring DJ's that don't know how to mix for an event that has current popular music being played unless their budget or resources are limited. You'll find that it is far better to know how to mix and use it when you need it. Why purposely lower your value compared to your competition or count yourself out of gigs that you could be playing if only you knew how to mix? Especially when it is really not that difficult.

As for equipment, to start with until you develop your personal preferences or business needs, I suggest an all-in-one controller hooked up to a laptop (or not, if it can do it). Push the sound through powered speakers on stands, and I agree that a wireless microphone is probably a good investment if you want to go after functions like graduations and such. But just that alone, you should be good to go if you practice enough that you know how to use your gear backwards and forwards. One thing I highly recommend though that is not thought about until after you have a bad experience is having backup equipment. Unfortunately, it seems like most of the time you find out something doesn't work AT a gig. Not good for business. You don't have to have a total other setup, but think about what you might need should something go wrong.

Best of luck!