This is Part 1 of 2 in a blog series about the TRUTH in quality equipment
Who uses high quality equipment vs. the DJ that says he uses high quality equipment
There are people that own a few speakers and a CD player and they call themselves professional DJs, Professional A/V companies or Professional Bands.
What can the consumer do to understand what type of equipment a company, DJ or band uses to perform?
Two key elements for sound are: 1 the DJ’s speakers Part 1 and 2. The DJ’s mixer Part 2 of 2 (which the sound goes through). Some DJs don’t even use a mixer. If they don’t use a mixer then I would recommend you look to someone that has an appreciation of basic sound design and understands the benefits of a DJ mixer. We can save that discussion for another time.
Let’s start with the Speakers: Part 1 of 2
The best commercial speakers made are called Funktion One speakers. There are NO AV or mobile DJ Company in Dallas carries these speakers. These speakers are cost prohibitive for all mobile DJ companies including my own. They are awesome and if you have a chance to visit a nightclub or other venue that use Funktion One speakers, take the opportunity. It will improve on any DJ or live band experience. All speakers have some distortion in them, except for Funktion One. The speakers are so expensive and heavy it is cost prohibitive for a mobile DJ to own them.
Commercial Speakers vs. Consumer Speakers
There are commercially available speakers (systems geared towards heavy use in a commercial setting) and consumer speakers (speakers that are adequate for use in the home).
Once you start looking at commercially available speakers many of the brands you are familiar with don’t carry the same weight or strength of the product. A perfect example of this is BOSE. Bose makes some products that are great for consumers and good for projecting a lot of sound in a compact speaker. Although, if you ask a knowledgeable sound engineer (that is objective and doesn’t have monetary benefits by recommending Bose speakers) they will tell you that BOSE isn’t good for commercial use. You can Google Bose and quality and find out.
To make it simple, BOSE basically cuts the highs and cuts the lows of the music and magnifies the mid range. My understanding of how the human ear works, our ears already accept too much mid range and filter out the extreme highs and lows. This is why a dog can hear low or high sounds that we cannot pick up. At the end of the day there is a misconception that BOSE is great. There is one thing that BOSE is great at. BOSE is great at marketing. If you truly want a true representation of sound reproduced don’t choose BOSE unless you prefer having your music altered.
All of the degreed sound engineers I know laugh when I tell them about DJs that talk about how awesome their BOSE system is. If those DJs only did enough research to understand quality sound reproduction vs magnifying one element of three in sound reproduction. If you don’t believe me, call and ask a degreed sound engineer that is not on the BOSE payroll or receives financial benefit for BOSE.
Other brands I would avoid include Behringer and B-52, Gemini, and Harbinger. Typically you get what you pay for. Although, BOSE is the exception and they are quite expensive. BOSE needs to pay for all of their marketing and their infomercials therefore a mediocre speaker is much more expensive. If you don’t believe me, pick up a phone book, find a random sound engineer call them and ask them about speakers and about BOSE.
The brands I would recommend for mobile use are QSC, Mackie, JBL, Yamaha, and EAW. Google them and look at reviews from people who own them and magazine reviews of their equipment. JBL has a great reputation for live music and bands. Where Mackie is very popular with DJs and electronic music.
So when a band or a DJ says We use the best equipment this gives you an opportunity to understand if they know what they are doing or if they are blowing smoke up your..
We’ll talk about the DJ mixer board in Part 2 of 2 segments of this conversation.