Learning how to use an amplifier for DJing is not a very complicated subject. That being said, using an amplifier for DJing does require a bit of knowledge so you do not blow up your speakers or electrocute yourself. The following tips will make your performances more professional.
- Match your speakers’ wattage to your amp. If your speakers can handle 500 watts, that means your amp should pump out at least 500 watts per channel. A little more is actually preferable, as you can always dial back the volume on your amps in order to not blow them up. If you are underpowered in your amp-to-speaker-wattage ratio, your sound will be muted and distorted because you aren’t kicking enough power to move your cones. Too much power, however, and you will blow your subwoofers, which will make the latest hip hop joint sound like a farting walrus.
- Banana plugs are easier. “Banana plugs” is the name given to speaker cable tips that sort of resemble a normal power cord end. There are two long, rounded metal tips that are usually color-coded and slip right into the input jacks of most pro amplifiers. You are using a pro amplifier for DJing, right? If you are just starting out, then you may be using a consumer stereo receiver or really low-end amp which relies on old-school speaker cables that connect via raw, twisted wires. Please pay attention and connect the copper-colored wire to the red terminal on the amp, and the silver wire to the black terminal. Otherwise your sound will be horrid and you may electrocute yourself while jiggling wires to figure out what is wrong.
- Always turn on your gear before you turn on your amps. This means to get your mixer, turntables, CD player, etc. powered up before you turn on your amplifier. Why? To avoid damaging your speakers and freaking out the people who are there while you are setting up. If you do not do this, you will hear some seriously loud pops, clicks and buzzes as you turn everything on. You will also receive some seriously dirty looks.
- Always turn off your amp before you turn off your gear. When you break down, do the reverse and shut off your amp first. Again, if you do not do this, and you have your amp cranked up, the horrible boom that will result when you power off your mixer is capable of serious eardrum damage. Not to mention making you look completely unprofessional since you do not even know how to properly use your amp when DJing.
- Don’t be afraid to turn the volume down. Clean sound is better than a distorted, obnoxiously loud clatter. When your speakers start to distort, turn the amp down a bit, or else plan on shelling out $500 for a new set of speakers real soon as your subwoofers will be tattered pieces of paper from all the low-frequency abuse.
Professional DJs can tell you that running distorted sound is one of the easiest ways to spot a newbie (and piss off paying clients). Loud is good, but you must learn how to use an amplifier for DJing properly, or you will give people headaches. Following the tips above will be a good start on getting up to a professional level in the craft of DJing.
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