A clean DJ Setup can be presented in a myriad of ways. First and foremost, the question comes from the setting. Whether it’s a club, wedding, private event, or corporate gig, remaining “clean” speaks volumes to not only the DJ and the current event but also the craft as a whole. As the old saying goes, “Presentation is everything!” Many will debate the necessity of the “little things”; however, there is no debate among the majorly successful. Take a moment to look at any big brand name for the club or wedding side, their setups are “clean”.
Like anything, do your research and that includes analyzing what others are doing around you. Each market is different, and there is always someone “new”; however, new does not necessarily mean “bad”. In the basics, you want to focus on a simple (yet potentially time-consuming) concept: cable management. This applies doubly for lighting trees and T-bars. The last thing you should want to see is exposed and hanging cables. These cables suck the life from what you are trying to accomplish.
It could be the difference between appearing “professional” or “cheap”. How you present yourself directly relays to how guests may view you. With all of the mixing skills in the world, it will not hide the exposed wires behind your head! Guest may stay on the dance floor and love your set, but they may not hire you for their events because you and your setup did not “look right”. It is important to remember that every event is an advertising moment for the guests in attendance.
We should not forget about the other cables on the floor. The cables can appear like a jumbled spider’s nest once you begin connecting all of the DMX and XLR cables. Even though there are some wireless options, we will not go into that here. To remedy this issue, people use a couple of different methods. One is known as gaff tape (or gaffers tape). This is NOT duct tape! Gaffers tape is designed for temporary use, and it is resistant to moisture. Duct tape is for semi-permanent use; therefore, the strong adhesive is not recommended for floors as it may leave a residue or damage your cables or floors. Also, you would want to ensure these cables are managed for a liability reason as well. You do not want to trip over a cable and cause a compounding problem, and you do not want anyone else doing this either!
Another alternative is some sort of tie-down. This approach can be achieved through Velcro-type fasteners, zip ties, strings, etc. Securing cables in this method prevent the drooping cables from the previously mention t-bar or a trussing system. It is also recommended to do this with speaker cables as well. Some people will loop cables around the tripods or poles, but this approach still leaves exposed wiring.
To Façade or Not To Façade?
Let us start a real argument! Do you NEED a façade? The simple answer is no! You do not NEED a façade. With proper cable management, you can get by just fine without a façade. Some DJs like to show off their skills with an exposed tabletop, and they choose to run their cables downward to maintain their clean appearance. You can accomplish this with lighting and speakers as well. However, the façade is designed to do exactly what the name entails: present an outward appearance to conceal the less pleasant. There are some standard 3 panel, 4 panel, and 5-panel facades that come in white or black which appear to be the industry standard.
These are placed in front of the DJ’s table to cover the table area and any exposed wires which saves time and effort. However, there are many available options for facades like Dragon Frontboards, tabletop only facades, led curtain style facades, and modular systems like the Pop Up Façade. Expanding on the available options, there are DJ Booth options as well like the Pro X Mesa Media Table, ADJ Pro Event Table, Toadmatic Rolling Booth, and hybrid systems like the Prox XZF-DJCTW Control Tower or Bunn Command Center. All of these achieve the same goal while presenting very different looks and styles.
So why should you care about a look or style? One word: branding! On the business side of DJ-ing, one should consider their “brand” or their “look”. What do you want people to visually remember when they see you? Do you want them to remember you scratching decks on your exposed tabletop? Do you want them to remember your all-white or black elegant look? How about the clean corporate party presentation that you put together? These are questions that you should ask yourself as it relates to your brand.
Choose your niche to conquer! This point goes back to taking the time to see what other people are doing. You should not attempt to recreate their look, but find something they are not doing and create your own branded appearance. There are debates on the appearance of logos on your tables, facades, or front-facing televisions, but we will save that debate for a later date.
Pick your favorite DJ or entertainment company in the club world, the wedding industry, or the multi-operational staffing sections. What do they all have in common? An established brand! This does not happen overnight, and it does not happen by accident. This is a conscious and intentional effort by the DJ’s and the companies to achieve this standing. Consequently, this typically relates to their frequency in bookings, the number of referrals, repeat business, overall brand awareness, and their online SEO.
Their branded “clean” setups can be found on their company accounts on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media pages as well as their affiliated personal landing pages that are tied to the many back linked listing found across the internet. They are “booking the look”! Sure, a nice setup is not enough to achieve this, you still need to be able to perform your DJ duties, but this could aid you in getting more gigs than you may want to admit. This is the nature of the clients. They want their events to be “Instagram-able”, and you behind your decks should be something you would want your customers posting on social media.
The Real Cost.
Ah yes! The cost! How much does it cost to look “clean”? This is something you can spend infinitely on when you want to include a variety of options. Wedding DJ’s may need a few looks depending on their market and their customer base. Whereas wedding DJ’s may need very little to achieve their clean look depending on the requirements of the clubs or bars. There is not a definitive answer. Velcro cable ties are relatively cheap. Rolls and rolls of gaffers tape can be expensive after a while. A standard façade may cost around $100, but after that, the choices and design ideas are really on each DJ and the branded look he or she may be attempting to achieve. In the end, it is all on you! I challenge you to ask yourself, “Is your setup clean?”
We’ll see you on the flip side!