A Moment in the DJ Booth

For the first time, I got to be in the DJ booth while a DJ spun his CDs!

I got the opportunity to teach at Carribean Gardens on Fridays with Ruby because her partner was out of town. Ruby informed me that the owner knows I was showing up so it was easy to introduce myself when I got to the club before Ruby.

Although the lesson was from 8:30 - 9:45 no one showed up for the lesson. Not letting time waste by, I took the opportunity to connect my laptop to a machine with a bunch of dials and sliding switches so that I can play the music I had.

With the software that already crossfades the songs automatically, I was adding songs one after another for quite some time. Ruby informed me that the DJs wouldn't show up until 10:00pm anyway so playing my own music would be a good idea if anyone shows up early.

The club has two DJs, one that spins Salsa/Merengue music and the other Hip-Hop and Reggaeton. They showed up at 9:00, earlier than expected, however they said I didn't have to move out of their way on their account.
Playing with the knobs (High, Mids, and lows) were probably the best thing for me. I found from the DJs that Highs are for the voices in the music, lows are bass, and the mids well are...mids. I think they told me what it was but I didn't hear them correctly.

The DJs complimented me on my music and asked why the music was coming in sharp from a laptop. Laptops, I'm told, are really crappy in sound delivery to a club sound system; because they have a hissing sound and/or there's not enough power behind the music. They also told me a story of how a DJ was invited to spin music at the club one time. He started with CDs but later switched to music from his laptop. He was kicked out of the club right there that night after a couple of songs.

My first laptop was a Sony laptop that cost me $4,000. I used this laptop to teach at my dance studio with really poor sound quality. The audio never came in clearly and the bass was very low. After that laptop was stolen, I bought a Compaq laptop at Office Depot for a mere $700 after taxes.

I instantly had a bunch of compliments at my dance lessons from the regulars,  congratulating me on improving the sound system (I had talks of upgrading the sound system at my studio). I informed them it was my laptop, and from then on I realized my laptop had very good sound quality.

Although the sound from my laptop was clear, I wasn't sure whether or not it had the power behind the sound because I didn't pump up the music up loud until the very last song; a song that I hadn't approved for quality yet.

All of the salsa music on my laptop go through a sound quality test as not all music ripped to mp3 are the same. Some are low, some are hissy, but some are very sharp. All low grade music gets put in a separate section for me to edit in the future. The Reggaeton song I played I never got around to.

Anyway, I don't have the ear for being a DJ yet but I have a better idea than before! I learned some interesting things though from them.

I found that it's great having two DJs because one can take a break while the other spins. DJing the whole night takes a lot of work, and the better DJs will be sure not to play songs in the same order every week.

Some DJs bet with one another on their music selection. If they start spinning some salsa music and a few couples show up, and they plan to change the music to say Hip-Hop, they'll bet with one another on whether or not the switch will kill the crowd or bring more out.

At 2 minutes a song and a club that will open for over 4 hours, that's a lot of music to mix between. That's about 120 songs per night!

It's rare to find a DJ that is strong in all genres of music. Some DJs are strong in just salsa and Merengue, while some are strong in just hip-hop. Having two DJs in each genre makes a big difference.

So, now I know for sure that my laptop can hold itself up at a club. Whether or not it can properly crossfade or blast the music I'll find out next Friday when I teach again.

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