Most professional DJs bring their own equipment to a gig, regardless of whether it takes place in a hotel, rave bar, techno house, or a beach club party. But going from one place to another can be hard on any equipment used by DJs and musicians alike. To make your tools last longer, you need to protect your investment.
Gathered here are a few tips to keep your kit in tip-top shape and ready for your next performance. The ideas listed here are beneficial for any DJ and type of gear, whether you are an expert using high-quality DJ equipment or are still just starting out with a basic set.
For djs using turntables, it’s best to have spare turntable accessories and vinyl record copies.
1. Back up your equipment
It is rare for every single gig to go smoothly. There is always the possibility that your laptop could fail or your files will refuse to play for one reason or another. Given all the potential issues that could happen to your media, it is essential to have backups.
Create as many copies as you can of what you intend to play during the event. Depending on your budget and resources, you can burn your songs onto a disc, clone your hard drive, upload a copy in the cloud, or bring a backup laptop. The objective is to always have another option ready in case your primary equipment fails.
2. Invest in protective bags and cases
Bags and cases are just as important as the gear they hold. It is a sin for any self-respecting DJ to carry any of their tools naked, regardless of the size. Do so and you risk damaging your gear before your gig or in between performances.
Whether you have a gig at home or abroad, it is worth buying some protection for your stuff. Options include backpacks and specially designed carry cases for your DJ controller, vinyl records, or even your headphones, among others.
3. Take inventory
Most DJs accumulate gear over time, which may sometimes make it difficult to keep tabs on what they have and are bringing to the party. Some keep their older equipment even after buying upgrades. There are also other professionals who may have multiple pieces of the same item, as in the case of external hard drives or USB sticks.
As a creative artist, you may bring different items or use distinct settings at each venue. Given the various setups, it is worth putting together a list of what you plan to bring. Making this list reduces the chances of forgetting to bring an item to the event and prevents you from accidentally leaving your gear at the venue.
4. Elevate your tools
Get some stands to raise your equipment. Elevating your devices keeps any accidental spillage from landing on your keyboard or other electronics, whether it is from your drinks or sweat.
When picking a stand, make sure it locks into position and tightens. You wouldn’t want your laptop or other tools to fall from your stand.
Other than the stand, you can also invest in a keyboard cover. Aptly named as such, it keeps any liquids, or even gooey solids, away from your machinery. A cover is cheap and easy to install and should be part of your list of protective gear.
If the venue has one, take advantage of a DJ booth wall or shield. The crowd can sometimes get rowdy and start throwing items towards the stage, including water bottles or food. Much like drinks, these items can damage your tools, so make good use of the DJ booth as best as you can.
5. Sign up for insurance
You need your gear to work at any event or venue. However, a lot of things can happen during an event. You could lose your equipment, or they could get damaged while you are working.
Any damage or issues to your equipment can make it more challenging for you to do your work at the quality you expect of yourself. Protect your livelihood by getting your gear insured.
Much like getting health, life, or car insurance, it is worth asking around to get the best rates. Basic insurance won’t cover your needs, so look for coverage from insurance agents and companies that specialize in insuring DJs or musicians.
6. Buy gaffer tape
The design of the DJ booth and where you place your equipment can determine how safe your setup is for the event. Your laptop could fall off the stand, cables could get detached, or other equipment could fall off the booth. Something as simple as gaffer tape can secure your gear to the surface.
After the event
Once the gig is over, check your inventory to make sure you have everything in your possession before you go. Thoroughly inspect your booth to make sure that you haven’t left anything behind. You wouldn’t want to pay for a new set of headphones because you forgot them at the party.
It is also worth cleaning your equipment as soon as you are able. Wipe your equipment clean using microfiber cloths to remove any particles of dust, debris, or moisture.
By following these tips, you can keep your gear in good condition for years to come.
Amrit Shivlani is the Founder and CEO at Music Majlis, a community-driven e-commerce platform that offers a wide variety of musical instruments and equipment for every musician and sound professional. The company’s goal is to make music-making, recording, producing and mixing accessible and available to everyone.