Headroom / Connecting your setup to the club mixer
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  1. #1
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    Default Headroom / Connecting your setup to the club mixer

    Hey everyone,

    Recently myself and a group of DJs started a night at a local club. There are four DJs, including myself. The other 3 all mix on CDJ-400s and a DJM-800 provided by the club. I'm the only digital DJ, mixing within Traktor and my sound comes out of an Audio8.

    The DJM has four channels, so two are used for the CDJs, and my Audio8's master out connects into a third channel. I was just wondering what the best way is to turn up my volume to match the output of the CDJs.

    After the DJM, the sound is routed to an amp as well. So my opinion was to turn up the amp first off to about 75%. On the DJM, leaves the volume sliders at about 70%, and on the DJM master volume knob, turn it up to around 70%. Then run the CDJs and Traktor to get the sounds to the same volume by first adjusting the sound on the DJM, and then if need be, turn it up within Traktor itself (last resort).

    Is that correct? From what I understand, you want to give yourself as much headroom as possible (i.e. turn up the amp first and foremost) and then adjust the volume on the DJM and then Traktor, since with digital you're working with a very low ceiling.

    BTW I keep the limiter on in Traktor.

  2. #2
    DJTT Dominator JesC's Avatar
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    will get back to you shortly, Mr Devil had a good thread awhile back..
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru Monika.mhz's Avatar
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    It all depends on where you've made your soundcheck unity at.

    Many mixers are designed to have unity @ 70-75% though. Just keep that in mind.
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  4. #4
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    I can tell you how to do it just with the mixer, really, and how it all works, but I have never learned how to put it together with the amp. I always just spin in clubs where that's set and they don't let me touch it.
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  5. #5
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    Leave the amp where it's at. Without question. That element should be left to the club owner, and you should be able to get good levels with your other options. Ideally it's good to leave the mixer's master out where it's at as well. Set the master in your dj program to a level where you have enough headroom for the most blasting mix you'd attempt, with your volume faders set full on. Next thing to do is to get volume equal to the cdjs using a combo of your soundcard output volume and the club mixer channel you're in, aiming for around 70-75% on both. If one needs to go lower, I'd say lower the sound card first, but it really depends on the equipment and it's response. If you still need to go higher, turn up the soundcard and/or mixer fader, but DON'T send either into clip or solid red all the time. If that's still not enough, use the club mixer's master out.

    All of this is null and void if the amp and/or mixer is tuned badly to begin with.
    Hope that helps!
    Last edited by Zac Kyoti; 03-12-2009 at 04:36 AM.
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  6. #6
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zac Kyoti View Post
    with your volume faders set full on.
    Why is this a good idea? Seriously...

    You shouldn't set your volume full on cause this is the most logical and easiest way to give yourself an extra boost in... volume. Pretty much everything, in my opinion, should be kept at 70%. This will give you enough head room for an energy boost, a killer mix, or for a track just mastered a little low. If you can set the DJ mixer to a loud enough volume then set it and forget it. You're going to be too focused on your gear.

    If you can get your master output to a killer volume then set it and forget it, you're going to be too focused on your mixing.

    Use your Volume to control the energy cause it's right in front of you. If you need extra head room then tweak the gain to make the incoming volume louder for the outgoing volume. If you use Auto-Gain in Traktor this gets a little tricky but a "Soft Takeover" function could work in your favor, if they fixed it (haven't upgraded to 1.1.1 yet).

    Nothing should be set at max, cause that removes the headroom option. If it is at max it should be so you can get a boost, and then pull it back.
    It's the FAQ. Read it.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DvlsAdvct View Post
    Why is this a good idea? Seriously...
    I think you may have misunderstood me mate. The question was about setting up a digital rig to have a matched average volume with the cdjs/turntables. I wasn't suggesting playing with your volume faders full on all the time, I was describing the process of setting initial levels to leave yourself plenty of headroom for the mix. IE, you want to know that when you do give the volume that extra boost, you won't be clipping anything.
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  8. #8
    Tech Guru Monika.mhz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zac Kyoti View Post
    IE, you want to know that when you do give the volume that extra boost, you won't be clipping anything.
    You need to do that by setting "unity" at 70%. by doing your initial setup at 100% you're setting "unity" at 100% meaning if you go below that to 70% you're going to be quieter than everything. by all means soundcheck yourself by pushing to 100%, but unity should ALWAYS be run with headroom.

    gain knobs just don't have enough force to give you extra volume.
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  9. #9
    Tech Mentor tomii's Avatar
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    good question Miyuru

    Thanks

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  10. #10
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    I agree completely. Really, I should have been clearer with what I was suggesting. Levels need to be set to leave you the headroom not to clip things when you are pushing it to the maximum sound level you're planning on going. The missing line is: After you know where that is, get your rig balanced with the cdjs in terms of terms of the average volume level you play the channel at - Meaning, if you play with your fader at 70% for the most part, make sure that that level matches the cdjs average level (After tuning the system to leave yourself the headroom we're talking about).
    Also I know what you mean when you say "unity", but I think it's better defined as an average SPL, or volume over time. Unity generally refers to the point at which there is no increase or decrease in signal strength in a circuit between source and output. So a fader or gain knob will have a unity gain point (commonly around 70%, though every circuit is unique) where it's essentially getting "the most" out of the input signal, without reducing headroom either. Unity=optimal performance from the given circuit. That's why I was saying it's the thing to shoot for when tuning the system (even if we all wanna turn it up further, lol!)
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