When starting out as a DJ the most important, and probably most expensive decision you will have to make is where to buy your DJ equipment from. Unless you have a few thousand pounds to spare at once (lucky you if you have) then you may have to build up your equipment as you go.
Having gone through this process ourselves then we thought we might share our experience, as well as the pitfalls, so hopefully you might get on the right track as cost effectively as possible.
So in the beginning you literally have nothing at all. You are going to need something to play your music on and something for your guests to look at so the list on the left is a good place to start.
Now a word of warning. There can be any number of dodgy, warn out and completely obscelete bits of tat to be found in the second hand market. We remember going to see a local DJ to chat about buying some of his old equipment. Now this guy was in his sixty’s and his old gear probably came from the same vintage! To top it off he wanted stupid prices for this stuff that he agrued was still perfectly usable. He may well have been right but the lights, for example, were old lights that used bulbs. Most modern lighting is LED with much lower power consumption, much less likely to get hot and therefore much less likely to burn out. Most LED lights can run for 100,000 hours until the LED’s burn out. Old lighting using bulbs may have only lasted one or two gigs before the bulbs needed renewing.
When you are looking at second hand audio (amps, speakers and mixers) you have got to make sure you hear them working. If the drivers in the speakers have gone then the music will sound like it is being played through a ripped plastic bag, really muffled and dull.
Similarly if the amplifier has been overworked, or poorly maintained then the sound will be muffled and the unit may get hot very quickly and cut out.
All these aspects need to be considered when looking at second hand equipment.
Some good signs to see can be inspecting the outer case of things like an amplifer or speaker. You would expect to see a few marks in line with the age of the item. However if they have been bashed about then this may be an indication as to the overall care taken with them.
Remember that the equipment should have been PAT (portable appliance tested) once every year. A sticker should be dsiplayed on the unit and a certificate detailing the test should be available also.
Buying DJ equipment from a retailer
Looking back at the very first ‘new’ equipment we ever bought we have to say that the high street retailer Maplin was a popular place for us to go. This was especially the case if we needed the odd emergency connector failure or needed some new bulbs. Sadly the recent news that Maplins are now in administration means that route may not be open anymore.
If you have time to look around one of our favourite retailers has been Why Buy New. They specialise on great deals for brand new stock and also in supplying ‘B Grade’ stock also. The fact that a light or an amplifier has a scratch on the case was never much of a problem for us as long as the item saved us some money.
Why Buy New also feature reviews and video’s for many items which can be invaluable when you are looking at how lights look for example.
So the message is if you are looking to buy DJ equipment there are a few places you can look. The internet is a great place to do your homework and also to buy gear on some great deals.