From The Ground Up: 2 Different Kinds of Rigs

July 25, 2014 by Stu Chisholm

Continuing with our catch up…

Monday, July 14th, 11:30 PM
Confirmed: my power steering is shot. I had to go to my buddy “Big John’s” house to do my co-hosting stint on a podcast he produces (“The Glowing Dial,” a show featuring old time radio broadcasts), and the power steering started whining again about halfway there. Before leaving his place, I tossed in another bottle that silenced it for the rest of the day. One more thing that needs to be fixed. Sent a text to my mechanic.


Wednesday, July 16th, 9:00 PM
Wanting to explore my options, with my former co-worker’s “go to a DJ store” admonishment ringing in my ears, I trucked on over to my local Guitar Center which has a fairly decent sized DJ area. Once again I explain what I’ve got in mind. Once again I get glazed-over eyes and huddles of salesmen trying to figure out what to do with the weird old DJ guy who wants to spin from tablets.142-3830 At the end of it all, I again get no answers. The sales kid demoed a single iPad-based rig with a very cool looking mixer that is thinner than a 3X5 card. and I might’ve been pretty impressed if I was spinning a club where scratching and beat juggling were staples, but I’m more concerned about my upcoming wedding reception gig.  Me: “Does this have a mic input?” Sales clone: “Um… no.” I leave him to his quick cuts as I wander the DJ room. Again, it’s packed with more controllers of every brand conceivable. Some have docks for laptops, desktops and iPads, and even for iPhones or iPods! Some are huge monstrosities with gigantic turntable-style wheels with motorized platters. Others are small, with minimal features. None look like the vision I’ve had in my head since I first got the idea. I gave my pal Nick Auger a call since neither he nor his brother called me. Got his voicemail box. Sent a “don’t forget about me” text to my mechanic, too, and then I exited the store with that now familiar feeling of frustration. Time for some food.


Saturday, July 19th, 4:00 PM


Spent the morning on a side project: TV shopping with my wife. Since the same stores also sell computers, I perused their tablet inventory. My requirements for a tablet or laptop are that it be rugged so it can take the abuse of life on the road that we DJs dispense. Secondly, it’s an absolute must to be able to see the screen in daylight. Having done a bit of research, I discoverd a fully ruggedized tablet online that is in use by the U.S. military: the Xplore technologies Ranger X. There’s also a Windows version called the Bobcat. In each store when I mention these brands, the salesmen have no clue what I’m talking about. I went over to a display computer and called up the Xplore website. “You’re going to have to go online for that one,” I’m told. Peachy.

Coming up next: a lightbulb moment!

Stu Chisholm Stu Chisholm (52 Posts)

Stu Chisholm had been collecting music since he was about eight years old and began his DJ career in 1979. After much hard work, trial-and-error, and a stint at the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts, he studied the DJ arts with famous Michigan broadcaster, Bill Henning, at a local college. Stu interned at Detroit’s rock powerhouse, WRIF. To his radio and mobile work Stu later added club gigs at Detroit’s best venues, and voiceover work. He has shared his extensive DJ experience through his Mobile Beat columns, as a seminar speaker and through his book, “The Complete Disc Jockey: A Comprehensive Manual for the Professional DJ,” released in 2008.

Filed Under: Mobile DJ Business, Sound Engineering for Mobile DJs