DJ Toolbox

September 15, 2013 by Mobile Beat

DJ Toolbox

is where entertainers share the tools that help them achieve success-tools of all kinds. If you want to share yours, please send us (rb@mobilebeat.com) descriptions of your tools, how to use them , and why they are mb151_085essential equipment for your business.

NICK DUVE

ELITE ENTERTAINMENT OF CENTRAL FLOR.

ORLANDO, FL

My “Book of Lists” – Yes, my play lists are saved and archived in my DJ software (Virtual DJ) but I’ve found it very helpful to bring my “book of lists” with me to every gig. It’s a three-ring binder and includes lists I see in Mobile Beat, DJ Intelligence and my favorite play lists from successful events. You never know when you need help finding that perfect song. It took me some time putting it together but it was time well spent.

Table Cover/Skirt – There is nothing more annoying then showing up to an event and the client or party center forgot to supply you with a table skirt. Although I require the client to provide one in my contract, it doesn’t always happen. I purchased 6’ and 8’ table covers ($50-$100) from Ultimate Support as backup.

Wix.com – Many of us have spent much time and money on professional, easy to navigate websites; but I now use Wix.com. I was able to easily build a beautiful and professional website without having to understand HTML and at a fraction of the cost. I can easily make changes and integrate just about anything into the website. The cost is around $12 per month.

iPod loaded with most-requested music – I found it a good idea to include the DJI/MB Top 200 most requested tracks on an iPod. This serves as my backup if my computer goes out or if I am having any technical issues. These 200 songs only take up about two gigs of space. I also include the client’s requests, just in case.

Gig Bag and Back Up Equipment – There are a ton of good gig bags, but for me, I wanted to find one that I could fit some of my essential equipment in, such as my backup mixer, extra cords, computer, external hard-drives, head phones, batteries, aspirin, gum and everything else I might need at a gig. I purchased the BRLCONTROLW REDLINE SERIES DJ GEAR BAG. The cost was around $150 and it’s the perfect bag for me.

Insurance and Contract Documents – I always bring a folder that carries all my insurance and event contract documents. Many larger hotels or party centers will ask for your insurance information for their records prior to the event but it is always good to keep a copy with you.

DJ ROCKIN’ BOB

LUBBOCK, TX

When I think about the single most useful tool in my set up, what tool is key to the success of any event (aside from me) I would say it is my PA system. With my sound system, my VOICE is carried to the far corners of the event and my MUSIC is played for all to enjoy. I recently purchased a pair of QSC K-12s and KW-181s. They are UNBELIEVABLE! They are strong, durable and I love the sound that comes out of them!

My van is absolutely indispensable. I can pack a crazy amount of gear inside. I don’t always have to unload when I get home (I welded bars in the windows) and I have a FULL wrap on the van and let me tell you what: People see that thing all over the place.

DJ Event Planner has been a great tool to help me organize my calendar, whether it’s gigs, meetings or even dates for me personally. Not to mention the online tools for the party organizer or bride to log in and update new information. Because DJEP is so connected with all that I do, I can receive updates instantaneously. I really also enjoy the “Check Availability” feature I get to add to my website.

My last “can’t live without it” tool would HAVE to be my smart- phone. The world would come crashing down around me without this wonder of technology! I can get all of my DJEP info, hotspot for that bride who just has to check her email, download that “must-play” but completely obscure request, and I can even control my DJ software!

JOE BUNN

JOE BUNN DJ COMPANY

RALEIGH, NC

Pioneer DDJ-S1 -Yes, I know that Pioneer has issued the DDJ-SX, but I prefer this simple controller. I used turntables when I was younger, then switched to the CDJ-1000s when they came out. The beauty of this controller is that it incorporates many of the features and functions of the original 1000s.

QSC K and KW Series Speakers – I really love these speakers, and having been in the game for over 25 years, I’ve used everything. For 99% of my gigs, I take two K12s on stands and then place the KW181 (18” sub) underneath my table. They are powered, not super- heavy, they sound great and get plenty loud! I also love all of the inputs on the back of the K12s.

All Apple Everything -I don’t want to start a DJ World War about Mac vs. PC, but I will say that I haven’t used a PC in my office or at a gig in about seven years. I just love that Macs are so rock solid. The Macbook Pro has never let me down at a gig, and that’s where it matters most. I also use iPods for backup, iPads for client meetings and taking notes, iPhone for everything, Apple TV for streaming music, Airport Extreme for creating a wireless network in our office for our clients and DJs. You could say I am a brand loyalist.

Odyssey Cases and Bags – I love the all-black sliding-shelf road case for my Pioneer DDJ-S1. It not only looks great, but is completely functional and keeps me from having to bring a separate laptop stand. I also am infatuated with my Redline Series gig bag. It has tons of pockets and space for a laptop, stand, pens, cards, adapters, headphones, and much more. I’ve taken mine all over the country and beyond, and it holds up!

Ultimate Speaker Stands -For my QSC speakers, my choice of speaker stand is and always has been Ulimate. I prefer the Telelock version for easy up and down. If you keep them in the dual-pocketed Ultimate stand bag, you can keep them in great shape for a long time.

Rock ‘N Roller Cart – I honestly think I would have gotten out of the game a long time ago if not for two things: Serato and this cart. I literally take my entire rig in with the 18” sub and my suit on top in one trip! You can’t beat that! Trust me, your back will thank you.

DR. SHOCK JOCK

WHOKNOWSWHEREVILLE, USA

Radio Shack/Realistic Selectacom FM Wireless 3-Channel Intercom System – This is so cool for the office. I rigged one up by the door so I can hear if someone is walking up. One on my desk, and one goes with me to any other room I’m in. The extension cords are a hassle, but hey, it’s worth it.

VIDEONICS Sound Effects Mixer – Ive got 51 different sound effects. My favorites are breaking glass and screams. Either of those two are hilarious when you sneak it in during the bridal dance. Highly recommended.

Meteor Probeam 150 – Not only is this the best lighting fixture ever made and the only one I use, but it is a great conversation starter. At every gig at least one person comes up to me and says “Dude, that is so Woodstock.” Which not only allows me to give them a business card, but also lets me direct them to YouTube videos I took at the festival.

A Copy of A Different Spin: The DJ History Book – Supposedly the guy who wrote the book mentioned me, but I’m a busy guy and don’t have much time to read. So I pack the book with me for those times during a gig when nature calls and I need to do a quick exit while leaving “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” playing, and I can catch a few pages at a time.

STEVE MOODY

STEVE MOODY’S ENTERTAINMENT CONNECTION

RIDGELY, MD

iPad – Like many other entertainers, my iPad has become a huge tool in my box over the past few years. Honestly, it seems like I’m always finding great new ways to use it. Of course there are all the basics like taking notes with clients during meetings and having them go directly into their account in our administration program. It has also made sharing my PowerPoint presentation during the sales consultations much easier. I love not having to carry along a full-size laptop.

It is so great to be able to walk into a meeting with just that small little case. The iPad also gives me the ability to record our brides and grooms for custom voiceovers and play custom edits of their song requests for them at meetings. Additionally, having a wireless connection also allows me log in to our website in order to show them how to use the planning tools. It totally takes the guess work out of it for them and makes their planning process with us much less stressful.

At actual events, the iPad has come in handy since I downsized my ceremony/ cocktail-hour mini sound system. The djay app has been a huge help—again, no second laptop needed for this second sound system.

Like most of you, we spend a lot of time in preparation with our wedding couples. However, every once in a while, someone special to the bride may come up and request a song that she did not include on her list, maybe a song that they used to sing together when she was young. How great to be able to instantly download that song from iTunes! The guest is happy, the bride is happy, and it makes us look like a million bucks in their eyes.

How about this one: “Hey DJ can you play___?” and they don’t know the exact title of the song—nd you have no idea of what they are talking about. How wonderful to be able to jump onto Google and type in the words they do know in order to find the song. If they know a chorus of the song you can even have them say it into the Sound Hound app in order to find it.

In all honesty, there are just too many uses to list but would really like to share one last thing. I have my website, business Facebook page, WeddingWire and Knot review pages all book- marked. So whenever someone comes up and inquires about my service, I can easily pull these pages up and wow them with five-star reviews, video testimonials and much more. I can let the business speak for itself and not have to toot my own horn.

Education – Though not a tangible piece of equipment, I can not put enough emphasis on how continued education in our industry has helped me to improve my craft—from national and regional conventions to workshops and one-day symposiums. I was raised by my mom and grandparents and I can still hear Pop telling me to get as much education as possible. There are so many things in life that can be taken from you. No one can ever take your knowledge! I only started attending industry events a few years ago and my only regret is that I did not do it sooner. I spent the first 18 years of my career never understanding the first thing about how to run a business. I was totally performance-focused and just sort of winging it. If you are reading this magazine and have not yet attended an industry event, I encourage you to take the steps to make it happen. You are reading Mobile Beat right now—what a great start. Get yourself there!

Microphone…Technique – I feel that so little value is put on one of the most important tools of the trade. Think about it. There are a handful of entertainers in our industry who truly have the ability to hold an audience in the palm of their hand for an entire evening…and they all have one thing in common: their microphone. What kind do you need: Shure, Audio-Technica, Sennheiser? Truth be told, it could even be the infamous Radio Shack model that most of us started with back in the ’80s, LOL. We all know that there are certain entertainers that could stand in front of an audeince with the cheapest of mics and still come across sounding like a million bucks.

Every DJ service is different. We all specialize in different types of events. In my case, over 95% of my company’s business comes from wedding receptions. That being said, great microphone technique is a must.

I’m just throwing it out there: I would rather spend several hundred dollars on a microphone technique workshop for my staff than buying them all the most expensive mics on the market. Of course you want a decent sounding mic. But keep this in mind: In general, most event guests are able tell the difference between bad and good sound quality, but truly lack the ability to hear the difference between good and great. Their ears do not hear the same things that ours do. Generally, most guests are not listening the way that we listen. My staff all use mics in the middle price range (Shure and Sennheiser) but I would suggest that the way they are used far outweighs the brand name.

Spousal Support – No, not alimony! Having the emotional and practical support of a spouse goes a long way in our industry. Those who have their support may accidentally take it for granted from time to time; while those DJs who do not have the full support of their spouses encounter bigger roadblocks in their business and professional lives.

When God put my wife, Lori, in my life, I had no idea she would actually become such an important part of my business as well. When my company expanded from single to multi-op over the past few years, it became immediately obvious that I would not be able to do it alone. Who better to help than my best friend? I know that it may not be for everyone but it truly works for us. We have been able to raise our young children without outside childcare during the day, and have really made something special for our family.

Lori takes care of all of the behind-the-scenes parts of our business like payroll, keeping in touch with the venues, organizing equipment needs for DJs, and so much more. However, the biggest asset to my business and our life together is that she fully supports me and the business that I have worked so hard to build since 1989. She attends conferences with me, takes her own notes and then compares and adds them to my own. She helps keep me focused on the priorities of the business (otherwise I would be buying every new cool toy that comes out, instead of putting a priority on things that will make the most money for the business in the long run!). Her support is priceless, and it’s probably the best tool in my toolbox. We have gone through a lot together. We have had some lows, but all of the fun and exciting parts of the business as well. It is great to have someone to share it all with. It has been so much better not having to go it alone.

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Mobile Beat (1552 Posts)

This is the general editors account for Mobile Beat Magazine and Website. Who reads Mobile Beat online and in print and attends Mobile Beat events? DJs, VJs and KJs to start with, especially those who own and operate mobile entertainment services. They provide music, video, lighting and a myriad other entertainment choices for corporate events, wedding receptions, dances and innumerable other gatherings.


Filed Under: Business, Everything Else, Issue #151, Personal Development, Profiles, Weddings