discouraging dj rant
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  1. #1
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    Sorry in advance but this is my first big rant on this forum...

    Last night I had an issue arise at a gig and it kinda put me in a bitter mood so I wanted to rant here and see opinions from team djtt. So I show up to a bar last night to play (using an s4 setup) and the bar manager brings me a pile of cables/wires, an old ass mixer, old amp, and had two big speakers already placed with no connections running to them and then leaves assuming i'm putting it all together. Well I wire everything up how I see it should run and I get no sound out of the speakers. So the manager and his friend come over who also cannot figure out how to fix the sound issue and we all try to mess with the connections.

    Well the manager's answer was that the talent usually set up all the equipment so he didn't know what to do with troubleshooting.. They then started blaming my equipment which I argued I used everywhere with no issues at all so I pulled out my ipod and told them to get music playing from this to the speakers and we still couldn't get sound... well long story short I called it quits after an hour in of trying to get the set-up going and didn't get to play out at all and it was such a busy night for the bar . The manager said I could have another night soon and blah blah but it just pissed me off that so much pressure was on me as the dj to know how to do all the sound connections, etc. Has anyone else had this issue with a venue before where they assume you should know how to do all things sound related and not just know how to set up your own equipment...

    One more rant while i'm on this, lately in my city it seems like everyone is becoming a dj and it seems like more and more people are competing for the same spots I usually play at. Do you all ever have issues with other djs taking gigs from you, replacing you, etc.? Prime example is this club manager I use to play for is now becoming a dj and using his power with his own club to get gigs all over the city, easily, since he is already well known in the scene. Just pisses me off that I have to work so hard to land a couple good gigs when this guy who cant mix for shit gets gigs just on who he is alone... Sorry for this rant feel free to say whatever, last night really just bugged me out because this was my first gig out in over a month and I was really looking forward to it and had such a good turnout of fans to come support and had to let everyone down... =/

  2. #2
    Tech Guru keeb's Avatar
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    Unless you're a sound tech or a mobile DJ, you shouldn't be expected to assemble their system for them. As a DJ you should be able to walk into a venue and have a pair of RCA inputs waiting for you - that's pretty basic stuff. That said, old or not, it sounds like they had an amp and two speakers so... What was the issue? Also, expect this type of behavior from bars. They don't always deal with DJs, and a lot of times the talent will bring in their own sound system since that talent includes bands, MCs, etc. Hate to say it though, this is partially your fault for not checking out the venue before the night of your gig - you may not have been able to do a sound check, but knowing what you were in for as far as the system goes would have allowed you time to prep and figure it out.

  3. #3

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    my personal opinion is... YES, you should know how to plug in and play all kinds of equipment mixers/amps etc basically its inputs and outputs, just gotta know whats what and have the right connections, a dj should have every connection/cable under the sun in my book. you never know when your gonna need a something, and having them could make the difference of playing a gig and getting paid or not...

    i understand the rant completely but you just gotta learn to roll with it and adapt...

    i had that same issue before in a bar, i couldnt get there amp working, but i had the back up of owning a full complete mobile system, and after i realised i was getting no where with there amp, the land lord was giving me the look like it was my fault his amp was blown,
    it was going to be a very busy night for him and he was starting to panic, i just said, hold on a few minutes, ill be right back,
    i went and got my own (passive) speakers and stands etc, and 5 mins after that, i was playing out to the crowd.
    and it ended up been one of the very best nights the bar ever had.

    regarding the other thing, yeah, there is always some people out there that can get places because of who they are,
    and everyone wants to be a dj now a days, but that has always been the case.
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  4. #4
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    The issue was that whenever I plugged my set up into their mixer it wouldn't give an output to their amp + speakers.. Whenever I plugged my headphones into their mixer I could here my music so I knew my setup to the mixer was fine.. the issue was coming from the mixer to amp however and that's where it was all a mess. But I guess you guys are right on being prepared, just sucks that I wasn't prepared for this issue. At least he is giving me another opportunity to play. A live band will be performing at the bar tonight so i'm going to go in a little early and meet the band's sound guy and see how he configures everything and see if they even get the sound working at all because I was under the impression last night that the amp was blown.

  5. #5
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    I feel you bro! This happened to me too. Just once. After that, I had a clause written on my rider/contract to protect me from being blamed for other people's sound systems. What I do now is have everthing sound checked by their people 1 hour before my I plug in. (If I'm openning, of course.). Then sound check the system myself. But I always get 50% of my payment before I play.

    There's no way to get around other DJs taking your spot... like everything it's all a competition out there. The more you can offer and more unique you are from the crowd will bring you work.

    One thing I've learned is never burn bridges with anyone. I'm sure this club owner/dj can't be at two places at once. Sure he can't mix, but there's more to working a crowd. Maybe he can work a crowd really well.

    Prime example - I took my daughter to a club because she was doing a school project on me. I gave her the headphones a told her to pretend she's mixing. She was dancing, mimmiking what she's seen me do at home, fist pumping, looking at the crowd... everything... except touch the decks. At the end of the night, people were comming up to her, giving her hugs, telling her how awesome she was, and "keep up the mixing, and one day....blah,blah,blah".

    After 6mos of prep work and practicing this b****h takes my gig?! LOL!! She mixes ok, but not like her pops.

  6. #6
    Tech Guru keeb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dj sterilize View Post
    The issue was that whenever I plugged my set up into their mixer it wouldn't give an output to their amp + speakers.. Whenever I plugged my headphones into their mixer I could here my music so I knew my setup to the mixer was fine.. the issue was coming from the mixer to amp however and that's where it was all a mess. But I guess you guys are right on being prepared, just sucks that I wasn't prepared for this issue. At least he is giving me another opportunity to play. A live band will be performing at the bar tonight so i'm going to go in a little early and meet the band's sound guy and see how he configures everything and see if they even get the sound working at all because I was under the impression last night that the amp was blown.
    You're still making a mistake going there night of. I would suggest bringing someone with you who knows what they're doing or taking photos of the setup to someone who does and, ideally, test your gear on the system before the night in question. And honestly, if they're letting the talent set up the sound system for every gig, I wouldn't be surprised if you aren't getting sound out of the mixer because the band who played there took out the connections to the amp and set them up with their gear. Figuring out cabling can be intimidating, but it's not actually all that hard. Also, for what it's worth, mixer -> amp -> speakers is about the simplest setup you could ever possibly run into, so if you're having trouble with that you might want to spend some time learning about this stuff.

    As for this other guy getting gigs - that's how it works. You could be the best bedroom DJ in the world, but if you're not making connections to get gigs to begin with you're not going anywhere. Even if you're more talented, managers are going to hire you because they like you, not just because you're more talented than DJ ____. "It's not about what you know, it's about who you know. Also, this club manager in question probably has a fair following if he's been in the scene a while - getting people to show up sells drinks. That said, talent will generally help you keep gigs after you have them in the first place instead of getting replaced by the next young hotshot.
    Last edited by keeb; 03-22-2012 at 03:25 PM.

  7. #7
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    well I would normally go before the night of to check out the equipment but whenever I spoke to the manager I told him I would prefer RCA connections and he said that it would be fine so I was under the impression that I would plug RCA in and be ready to go the night of.. I didn't expect to get thrown into that mess though. But lesson has been learned and i'll just have to kill it even harder next gig I get to play there..

  8. #8
    Tech Wizard benjackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dj sterilize View Post
    well I would normally go before the night of to check out the equipment but whenever I spoke to the manager I told him I would prefer RCA connections and he said that it would be fine so I was under the impression that I would plug RCA in and be ready to go the night of.. I didn't expect to get thrown into that mess though. But lesson has been learned and i'll just have to kill it even harder next gig I get to play there..
    Sorry to hear about your situation man, but when you say the gigs are few and far and other djs are ready to jump into your position at a moments notice, its up to you to step it up and be better. Be more hireable and play better sets.... to do this you have to be ready at all costs (even going in early to setup )

  9. #9
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    Seriously, You should know how to setup a basic rig like that and also fault find if you need to.
    The sound system is as much a part of your setup as your mixer. Being able to say (for example) I have traced the problem to your amp and have tried a,b and c to fix it. Sounds a whole lot better than saying dunno... shall i come back another day
    .There are tons of resources on this sort of stuff and it isnt overly complex. Google and learn

  10. #10
    Tech Mentor shr3dder's Avatar
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    Every DJ should be able to setup and fault find that sort of setup. It blows me away how many DJs now have no idea about the basics of this sort of shit, I'm not aiming this at you dude, your right the amp could've been broken but still I've seen/heard of DJs not even knowing what an RCA is...

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