Of course, both your skill as a DJ and your knowledge of your music library play a big part in how good you sound to your audience. Now, your choice of mixing console and software also play a big part in how your set comes together. However they still only make up part of the total performance, and are all left without any strength if your sound reinforcement isn’t up to scratch. So often DJs simply overlook the PA system that’s provided and make do with whatever they can connect their gear into, but at what cost? If the final product of all your hard work is delivered to the audience by a sub-standard system, it all seems a little pointless. This is why many DJs are turning their backs on house systems and investing in their own PA that’s voiced for the music they want to play.
Obviously, it’s not a necessity when playing in the larger clubs or events and the installed systems are more than adequate and deliver incredible sound with plenty of volume, but for playing in smaller venues that are not necessarily set up for DJ work, it can be advantageous to be prepared with your own PA system. I learnt this 20 years back when we began paying sets in warehouse venues that required us to turn up with records, decks, PA and lighting, not to mention finding a power source to get it all going.
Back then, I started by hiring PA systems, as it seemed like it would cost a lot of money to outlay up front. It didn’t take me long to realise that investing in a good, portable PA system was going to save me a lot of money and allow me the confidence that comes from always working with the same system that I knew how to set up and get the most from every time.
When I consider the systems we were using 10 and 15 years ago, quite a lot has changed since then. Now, the volume has increased, and the size and weight has decreased considerably. Not to mention the price-tag on larger powered PA speakers now makes it an actual possibility for DJs to own their own systems that can deliver big sounds.
Last month I road tested the Black range of powered speakers from Alto Professional and was quietly surprised with the power and sound that the different combinations of speakers and subs offered. What was even better was the wireless control interface that allows the user to adjust EQ, volume and dynamics with an iOS device from anywhere in the room.
This means that you can be in the DJ booth and control the settings on a speaker that is across the room from you while you play. Get a track going and you are able to walk around the room to hear how it sounds. Whilst doing this lap of the room, you can adjust the tone and volume to suit your needs. This was unheard of when I got my first PA system. Back then, all control had to be undertaken from one central location where the mixing console was located.
A system like the Black Series doesn’t require a mixing desk when running a DJ setup. You simply take the signal from your console into the sub and then split it out from there to your mid/high boxes and piggy-back as many as you want for spread and volume. The crossover is taken care of in the electronics of the sub and you can then take control from your iPad or even from your phone. This allows you to run with a combination of speakers and increase or decrease the size of your sound depending on the venue and event.
With such great control and at a very affordable price these days, it isn’t any wonder that so many modern DJs are investing in PA systems of their own to complement their mixing setup.