FAQ – My DJ Mixer Settings Expanded By Request

June 18, 2018 by Brian S. Redd

I did a video yesterday on how I set up my mixing board, because there were some questions that people were asking me. And I showed them the 0db rule, which is what I follow to try to get the cleanest signal possible out of my mixing board, which sends the cleanest signal to my speakers, achieving the best sound that I can get out of my system. A lot of questions came up, a lot of people had some concerns. So I’m going to do a more in-depth video today to try to help you out.

The first thing I’m going to do is on my master volume. I’m going to set it to 8 — or 3:00 o’clock on the dial — and I’m not going to touch it. Now let’s put a track on. Now, I’m going to put a record on. But this could be anything. This could be an MP3, a music video, a CD, it doesn’t matter. And notice, right here, these lights jumping up and down, these are called pre-fade level meters, they’re into the red. I’m going to go ahead and bring my line fader up and you’re going to see what this sounds like.

Now, that sound is distorted. So what I want to do is bring my trim or gain down until I’m only filling the green, none of the amber, definitely not the red. And when I do just the green, it’s hitting 0db on the meter. Now let’s bring the line fader all the way up and see what happens.

You’ll notice that although we’re hitting 0db here, we’re going into +3db on our main level. So the way we make that go to 0db as well is we bring this down to 8. And now, it’s nice and level. Now, some people have argued that, well, all you have to do it adjust your master to hit 0db and everything’s fine. Let me show you why that’s problematic.

Let’s go ahead and bring this back up where it was. We’re going into the red. And bring our fader all the way up. Bring our master down until we’re just hitting 0db here. It absolutely true that our output is 0db on our mixing board, but the problem is, the signal that we’re sending to our master from our line is still distorted, because we’re way up here. So for that reason, we got to bring this down here and then bring our master up to 8. Bring our line level down to 8 and we’ve got 0db all the way across.

Let’s go ahead and throw another track on. Forgive me; I’m walking around the tripod to do this. All right. Now let’s bring a cross fader over. Back on the trimming game, come down here, 0db. Now, if I would have done this before I brought the cross fader over to hit 0db, check this out. If I bring this down to 8 and I bring my cross fader over, it’s nice and even, right? We’re jumping up a little bit because I’ve got to constantly adjust this trim for the track volume. That’s just what you got to do as a sound engineer. Now we’ll go back. A little louder now. We got to bring that down. A little louder here. We got to bring that down. Nice and even.

Now let’s do something else. Let’s bring the volume down. And this is what you use to adjust your volume. Once you get everything set up 0db, 8, this is what you use to adjust your volume, is your line fader, going no further up than 8. Because, again, if you go further up than 8, you blow into about +3db on your master.

Let’s put another track on over here. This is a different record. But again, it could be a different MP3, a different music video, a different CD, it doesn’t matter. I haven’t touched the trim. Let’s put the record on. Now look what’s going on here. We’re only hitting like -5db. We’ve got to adjust our trim again. For every track we’ve put on, we have to readjust our trim, because it’s going to be different every single time.

Go to 8, bring the fader over. Whoops. Seems we jumped up. We got to constantly stay on that. [inaudible]. Loudest point of the song is going to determine where the highest point of this meter goes. Now, something else I want to point out is that my EQs are flat, that’s how most people do it. I do it a little different. But that’s a different video. This is actually the preferred method, a flat EQ, meaning they’re all facing straight up at 12 o’clock.

Now, I want to stress this. This is any mixing board. This is any MIDI controller for DJs. It’s going to be the same principle. If you have a different set of lights on your mixing board or your MIDI controller, but you only have one set, there is a way to toggle it where you can either go line or master and I’ll you how to do that in another video.

Now, there are some DJs out there who like to do this kind of stuff. But notice when you do that, you go +3, because you’re hitting 10, even if you’re hitting 0db on your pre fade level. Here’s a way you can still achieve 0db and throw your faders up and down as far as you want, I guess. Take a piece of tape and lay it right across your faders here, lining it up at 8. I’m going to do it close enough here, because as you know, I’m a one-handed DJ. I’m doing my best. That’s 8 o’clock right there — or not 8 o’clock, but 8, rather.

Okay, if I lay that all the way across, line it right up with 8, I should still be able to do this and hit 0db here on my master as well. I used to see people put screws in here back in the old days of scratching on the old mixer, so you literally just stick something there to be a break. But the tape method isn’t bad. So I hope this video helped somebody.

The last thing I want to show you is this. Okay. I’m going to put another record on. And I want to show you one more thing that I showed in the last video. You do get a +3db gain when you’re running both records at the same time. It’s jumping up a little bit. Although these are hitting 0, or less than 0, sometimes that has them jumping up beyond. That’s going to happen when you’re in the mix. But it’s negligible. A +3db on something like that is not a big deal. It’s not going to affect you too much. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. But you do get that +3db gain when you’re playing two tracks at the same time, even if the lines are at 0db.

Well, there you go. I hope this video helped somebody. I hoped I answered some of your questions. If you have more, please feel free to ask. If you have a different method, you don’t like my method, that’s okay, we’re still friends. I just want to show you how I do it and how you can achieve the cleanest output possible from your mixer, getting the best sound out of your system. Thanks for watching. Practice and enjoy.


Brian S. Redd Brian S. Redd (56 Posts)

Although he can be seen Djing in places like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or even the UK & Europe, DJ Brian Redd is proud to call Milwaukee home. Brian specializes in mobile events such as wedding receptions, corporate events, quinceañeras, parties and special occasions. He has also been a resident DJ at several major Milwaukee night clubs and also performs at Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival. From the beginning Brian has had a passion for music. His talent emerged at the young age of 13 when he was asked to DJ at a local skating rink. After realizing his calling he progressed on to weddings and mobile gigs and by age 18 he was DJing regularly at nightclubs. He understands people & what motivates them music wise, which helps keep them on the dance floor. Brian has been recognized for his work in various DJ publications both domestic and abroad. He has made a name for himself in the DJ community where he is known and respected as an industry consultant. This recognition has led to his contributions as a writer for Disc Jockey News. A true international DJ, Brian travels worldwide to not only perform but to educate and share industry ideas and concepts with DJs everywhere. His career has gone to the next level working with industry leading manufactures bringing new products and services to his peers helping them become better DJs.

Filed Under: Digital DJing, Sound Engineering for Mobile DJs