Starting a DJ business?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Stanley Design, Aug 7, 2004.

  1. Me and my father (mostly me) have decided to start a rental/DJ'ing business, because I love to buy lots of amp equipment and would love to make some money off it to buy more haha. But what I need to know is what do I need to do this?

    Right now I own...

    Two 118 cabinets with ports.
    Two PA 115 cabinets with horns.
    A yamaha 215 bass cabinet with port "holes".
    a 200 watt 4 channel head for the PA speakers.

    Tell me if my train of thought is on the right track when I get the idea to sell the PA head, buy a 8-16 channel mixer and then a 1000w - 2000w power amp to run everything. And also get two 410s.

    So the stage setup would then look like this...

    A stack on the left with the 215 w/horn on top, 410 in the middle, 118 on the bottom, the exact same on the right side, and the 215 in the middle between them on it's side.

    Then of coarse I have those coloured spotlights to go above those, I'de be getting a smoke machine to go on one side of the 215 and a bubble machine to go on the other side, I'de set my strobelights on top of it and whatever else have you.

    Am I on the right track, or doing this all wrong? I hope I didn't just make a complete fool out of myself, I do that a lot.
  2. Hmmm...

    Have you run sound for any bands before?

    Have you DJ'd before?

    The DJ business, IMHO, is a lot different than sound or PA rental.

    If you've never done either of these before, you'll be spending a whole lot of money, for what? Making money in a business isn't easy. You need a good--and I mean good--game plan. Just deciding "I'm gonna buy some equipment and get into the PA/DJ thing" isn't going to work.

    For a PA/sound business, you need:
    -A big truck
    -A good place to store your stuff
    -More amps
    -Microphones, mic stands, mic cables
    -Lots of extras like cables and speaker stands
    -More than 8 channels. 16 is more like it, 24 is better.
    -Lots of time and some help to set up and tear down the PA at the start and end of a show
    -Experience running sound
    -Somebody that'll pay you for your services. Do you know any bands that need sound and are willing to commit to you?

    For a DJ, you won't need the monitors and mics (well you'll need one mic) and you won't need a big 16 channel mixing board, you need a scratch mixer for a couple of CD players and a couple of turntables. And did I mention the boatload of CD's and records? And did I mention EXPERIENCE in DJ'ing? A good DJ is an artist.

    And -again--somebody who will pay your for your services.

    I've got a small sound business going myself. This is not an easy field to break into.

    Now I know you're thinking "aw he's just being negative". Well sure I'm being negative...because the reality is that this isn't easy, and you aren't there with a well defined business plan yet or with the experience end. How do I know? Well, you aren't sure of either DJ or PA--big difference, you haven't set a real goal yet. And your lack of experience shows, if you think a 2x15 cab and a pair of 4x10's will be part of your PA. And if you think a single 1000 watt power amp will suffice.

    I hate to pee in your Cheerios but you're blindly moving in a very expensive direction. Try to decide what you want to do--DJ or run sound--and find a way to get experience with people that are doing it for a living. Then when you have specific questions on mixing, amps, setup, whatever, I'll try to help. :cool:
  3. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    look up for good advice - btw 410's are not PA cabinets
  4. I'm not doing the whole rave scratch pad dj thing, just like school dances and such where I have the equipment and basically just run it letting everyone have a good time listening to music, that's all they ever have around here.

    I'm not sure how to copywrite my music to be all legal and stuff, I was sort of planning on having thousands of songs in outboard memory through a computer in a large alphabeticle and theme friendly list, but that part is something I dont have to figure out for a bit since I need to know how to do it legally.

    Basically I just need to know how much firepower I'm going to need as far as speakers go and power. The largest school in my 1 day driving area is at the most 1500 students. I have more then a little know how, and my friend used to do this for a living but I haven't been able to contact him yet.
  5. Also the shows I would be renting equipment to are local punk scene shows, which around here at the largest I've ever seen or heard of 300 people.
  6. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    More power will help. Just go with 2 mains and 2 subwoofers to start out with and build on that. More power and a large truck is a definite necessity. A guy who recently graduated from my high school does prosound stuff, and it's relatively simple... he has 2 mains and 1 18" subwoofer. He probably has more stuff, but that's all he uses for most of his school gigs. 1,000 watts is enough to start with, but you're definitely going to need more in the future. CDs and such are a must, of course. He used to burn all of his songs, but now that he's running a legitimate or semi legitimate business, I believe he uses all paid-for CDs.
  7. I've decided to keep my two 118's, get two mains, all at 8 ohms, get a crown power amp to run two channels at 1500w @ 4 ohms. I have 25 stage lights, I'm going to get all the stage effects goodies and stuff. I'm trying to find all the cd's used from an old dj company hopefully. I have a trailor to store all this in to haul behind my truck.
  8. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    Have you ever tested your current equipment? Go into your backyard and host a small party as a test. Use burned CDs for the time being and see how things sound, get some experience mixing, etc. Don't buy any new stuff unless you're sure you really need it and you want to persue this line of work.
  9. Yeah I've taken my two 118's out on my back deck and ran them at 310 watts @ 4ohms, they sounded pretty alright, not too too crisp though, I settled the knob pretty low on it and didn't need much power at all it was already bouncing off the other houses. I'm thinking of getting the mains and power amp first off because even if I dont stick with this I can hang onto those and use them for personal use.
  10. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Keep in mind, that if you charge money, the people paying you will expect quality fairly equal to that of others who are for hire. Make sure you are comparable in quality before charging money for your service.

    I know of a new photographer who got sued for taking substandard wedding pictures about a year ago. A little cheaper service means nothing if the people expect comparable quality.
  11. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Keep in mind that running sound for pre-recorded material is very different from running sound for live music. CD's are very compressed compared to a live band, so you can get away with a lot less headroom (smaller amps) than you can mixing live sound. It's also a lot easier to blow speakers when playing CD's, since the average power level can be lot higher due to the heavy compression. If you're using the typical power amp to speaker capacity ratio of 1.5~2 (i.e., a 1000 watt amp to drive a 500 watt RMS speaker), when you're playing CD's you need to watch your clipping very closely.

    CD's with lots of deep, thick bass (electronica, reggae, etc.) can blow subs really fast.