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Author Topic: rant1: what is it with DJs?  (Read 7602 times)

Merlin

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rant1: what is it with DJs?
« on: April 23, 2004, 05:43:26 pm »

Hi folks, the first of two posts from me tonight:

What is it with DJs?
I've walked into a situation where the whole system was messed up gain structure wise, and the graphic was smiley face with most of the faders all the way down, and the processor [JBL DSC260] was all set wrong, crossover points and gain and limits etc all over the place.

I tuned it up, found a couple of cables that had one leg shorted to ground, sorted out the phase etc etc etc, basically got it working "right". Sounded great with the graphic bypassed, so I demo'd it and told DJ, manager and owners if they wanted to make slight little tweaks to the graphic that was up to them. The before and after effect was stunning - clean and undistorted, louder than before with the limiters on the DSC260 just occasionally flashing red with a couple of red lights on the DJ mixer.

They all said "great"...

Tonight I go back; he's running the DJ mixer with all three eq pots cut - around "8 o'clock" on highs mids and lows. The input of the CD channel is clipping, the channel and master faders are all full up, he's DJ'ing and mixing with the gain knobs. The 260's limiters are all red all the time. All the patrons are up against the back wall; the area in front of the PA is deserted. I know that most of you reading this will know what it sounded like.

Do they just like it like that?

sheesh.....
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Merlin Zener
Piano, Synthesizer
Thailand.

Beefcake

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Re: rant1: what is it with DJs?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2004, 06:16:07 pm »

I don't know man...i think you're building up a stereotype there. I think that you need to have a little meeting with that DJ and teach him a few things...unless he "knows" what he's doing. It might just be that he just doesn't know what he's doing.  Rolling Eyes
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Beefcake

Alex_C

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Re: rant1: what is it with DJs?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2004, 06:22:34 pm »

Quote:

Do they just like it like that?


I have seen several DJs at a local club, which has a speaker 'system' (2 cabs on poles) installed with a 7-band EQ. They turn all the bands up to full. I can only assume that they prefer their newfound 15dB preamp to the good old gain control, complete with its bumpy frequency response Smile. They also love to turn the bass up on the 3-band so the clip lights are full on and the voice coils are bouncing off the backplates.

Oh well, I won't be complaining unless I have to work with one of them - or replace their drivers!

Alex

P.S. I should just add that my intention was not to stereotype (Beefcake beat me to hitting the 'post' button here!) - I have seen many good, perfectly competent DJs who know how to use their equipment, and aren't afraid to ask for advice if they are unsure.
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Travis Valois

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Re: rant1: what is it with DJs?
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2004, 12:27:55 pm »

I dabble in both fields, so I see both sides of the story.

An associate of mine who DJ's doesn't do that.  We've worked together on both live gigs and DJ'ing gigs that he knows what to touch, and what not to.  

He has a decent ear for sound, and knows when the system is being pushed too hard.  He won't go anywhere near the system eq or the system crossover and asks me to do any adjustments on those.  

Now on a different slant, there's a different DJ that comes in one night a week.  He had a habit also of setting the graphic to a "smile" and defeating the 40Hz hi pass on the crossover.  Needless to say, one 18 had about 4/5 of the surround ripped, and you could see where the others have been pushed to hard. (small club...using all direct vented subs).  When he is DJ'ing, half the system will go thermal as well.  I got management to straighten him out about playing with the eq, so at least he doesn't touch it anymore, just cranks the snot out of it instead, and it sounds terrible.  Plus he's using burned disks that weren't made properly.


If more DJ's knew what to touch and what not to, repairs on a lot of club equipment would be unnecessary, because they wouldn't be blowing up equipment.  If you don't want them to touch it, lock it up, put a security cover over it.   (I've had to use rivets to put security covers on in the past on installs!).  Does the DSC260 have a lockout feature? (I've only used the DBX driverack units)If so...make use of it...it's there to prevent tampering.  Club/bar management should know exactly what is being done on their system.  I keep the club updated on any anomalies that I find (as to them being willing to pay to have IT repaired properly is another issue altogether).

In my town of about 70,000, there's maybe 3 or 4 dj's that know how to make proper use of their systems.
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Merlin

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Re: rant1: what is it with DJs?
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2004, 04:43:45 pm »

short_circutz wrote on Sat, 24 April 2004 23:27


[...snip]
 Plus he's using burned disks that weren't made properly.


don't get me started...

Quote:


[...snip again]
 Does the DSC260 have a lockout feature? (I've only used the DBX driverack units)If so...make use of it...


oh yes, you can lock individual programs, or the whole unit.
Also, you can set the limiters on each band output so the drivers won't fry - as far as that goes, the system is bulletproof.

But if the input of the channel on the DJ mixer is clipping, no matter what you've got after that, it's gonna sound like shit.
Garbage in, garbage out.
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Merlin Zener
Piano, Synthesizer
Thailand.

Michael Prasuhn

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Re: rant1: what is it with DJs?
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2004, 12:25:25 am »

Well, as Beefcake pointed out, it's uhh, not going to get any better, unless you uhh. how to say this..tell them? Seriously if you do see something drastically wrong, it is somewhat your responsibility to try to take that problem up with them, instead of complaining about it to others. If you haven't tried to educate them, how do you know that they won't learn. Maybe you have and you didn't mention it, I don't know.

Anyway, to the whole DJ/rig tweaking/BE tuning system issue/concept, people really do need to use more common sense. Making certain control available to an individual requires, (yep, you guess it! The "R" word) responsibility. To give control to individuals, whether it be a DJ in a the smallest night club, or a BE on an arena sized rig, without either a) knowing the persons qualifications b) having previously worked with the person, or c) keeping a close eye on what they do, is rather foolish. I'll be honest, some would disagree with me here, but without one of those three qualifications, someone should not be using the system level tuning devices, which includes, comp limiters, graphic EQs, crossovers, DSP settings, or amp levels.

Back to the DJ in a dance club issue, here's the way I see it. There really is no reason to give any DJ of a even a decent to mediocre system, a graphic EQ. They are working with prerecorded tracks, that have probably been mastered in some form or another, and there really is little live element to it, to require precise adjustments. Most world class dance clubs present the worlds best DJ's with little more than a mixer, input devices, and level control of their booth monitor.

Some of the more elaborate systems I've seen include a feature that I don't particularly care for, but it beats the alternatives, which is a bandpass/EQ adjustment panel. Some installers, most notably Phazon, have been regularly installing a 3 knob panel that is connected to the external input on I believe a BSS digital processor. It is usually labeled Low/Sub, Mids and Tweeters. These are frequently used to control the bandpass levels. Using these knobs to control parameters in a DSP is a very wise handling of the situation, because it is pre limiters, and can also have a defined range of adjustment, I.E say only +/- 5 dB or so. I like this because it provides a sense of control to the artist, with safe limits and in a controlled manner. Also, this technique provides the desired result with less filtering than an EQ would produce.

Anyway, just some thoughts on the issue, anyone that cares to may correct me on this, Paul Bell perhaps?

-Mikey P
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Michael D. Prasuhn
Freelance audio engineer and technical director/IT
http://mikeyp.net

Sawdust

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DJs are entertainers
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2004, 05:07:11 pm »

DJs are paid to be entertainers, not PA specialists.

There are basically two types of DJs, the club DJ and the Mobile DJ. The club DJ entertains by mixing and scratching to create new sound textures on the fly. The mobile DJ entertains by orchestrating a party and being the master of ceremonies for weddings and corporate parties. In between, you have the DJs that do both. They try to bring a club-like experience into school gymnasiums and other small venues. But even in this capacity, they are mostly judged by their ability to keep people dancing.

When DJs look to better themselves, they look to increase their entertainment value. Lights and sound help differentiate people to some degree but the industry has proven that improved MC capabilities earn the wedding DJs bigger bucks and improved mixing capabilities give the club jocks greater recognition. In other words, understanding sound reinforcement doesn't reap them much in the way of greater income. Heck, the club jock deals with an installed system. He can just blame the club.

I gave an audio seminar a few months ago at a National DJ convention in Las Vegas. Guess where they scheduled me; 8am on the last day following an all-night party at Studio 54. Nevertheless, I had about 20% of the convention attend. The key piece of advice I tried to instill upon them was not to use or buy anything they don't fully understand.
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Sawdust

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Re: rant1: what is it with DJs?
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2004, 05:24:51 pm »

I should have added that just because DJs are entertainers it doesn't excuse them from not understanding their own PA gear. It is part of the service. I was just trying to express my opinion on why most DJs lack that knowledge.
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Eric Wong!

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Re: rant1: what is it with DJs?
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2004, 05:47:20 pm »

Ive been to many 'clubs' and the sound is downright aweful at most.  Even with the finest equipment, I've heard a Phazon system sound like crap on one night but on another night sound good.  I've heard many EV systems that were driven so hard it made my ears bleed.  Alot of the times I even question the installs, some obviously put in by non-professionals.  I plan to open a night club at some point in my life and one thing that will be for sure is my system will be setup right where the DJ cant F with it.  

But yea most Djs are paid to be entertainers, but even then some of them do a aweful job.  I cant think of how many events (weddings, parties, school dances) where I thought "i wish i was running the sound' cause either the sound sounded aweful cause their equipment suxed, or the material that was being played was bad or both.  Im  a 'lite DJ / SR person' I do limited DJ and SR work, I mainly enjoy having a PA system that I can use whenever I want but this DJ still has a head for SR and sound quality to try to break the stereotype.   Cool
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Merlin

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Re: rant1: what is it with DJs?
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2004, 06:20:08 pm »

Sawdust wrote on Tue, 27 April 2004 04:24

I should have added that just because DJs are entertainers it doesn't excuse them from not understanding their own PA gear. It is part of the service. I was just trying to express my opinion on why most DJs lack that knowledge.



Good call.

You expect a guitar player to be able to tune their guitar; if a DJ has enough intelligence to learn how to beatmix and sometimes even hit loops etc on the fly, then surely they should be able to learn how to run their own desk.




ps.
But anyway: why can't they just hear it's wrong, and fix it?
That's why I asked: do they just like it like that?

I remember some TV show where a guy had a Harley, and some other guy tuned it "right", but the guy put it back the old way, cause he liked the way it sounded when it was running too rich...
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Merlin Zener
Piano, Synthesizer
Thailand.
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