Coming to you from Los Angeles with another HOW TO Tip related to “How to hire a DJ” or “How to hire a wedding DJ” topic.
For some context, Hey Mister DJ has won the Bizbash “DJ of the Year” award along with “Best DJ in Los Angeles” from California Wedding Day, as well as tons of positive reviews & 5-star ratings on Google, Yelp & The Knot.
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to add some “wow” factor to the DJ setup and room appearance is to upgrade your standard DJ setup to a premium setup.
We work mainly in Los Angeles and around Southern California for weddings, corporate events, fundraisers, and other engagements. Since LA is a premium market, there is an expectation for every aspect of the room, lighting, and décor to reflect and represent the overall quality of the event.
Thought and care are often given to researching an experienced, professional DJ that can deliver the right vibe, but clients sometime forget to ask some equally important questions:
When clients or guests enter a room, they are making judgments about what type of experience they will have primarily based on sight & sound. Therefore, if an event is DJ driven, it is natural for people to check out the DJ and draw conclusions based on how the DJ booth and setup appear.
When booking a DJ for your wedding, corporate event, or Bar/Bat Mitzvah you should take some time to find out what type of gear they bring and what kind of setup they have.
Speaking of DJ gear, read my article about why it’s crucial to make sure your DJ has proper backup HERE.
A DJ booth setup doesn’t necessarily have to be extravagant to look impressive.
Two turntables with colored vinyl and a cool mixer can look great, but there has been a recent trend in the last few years of DJ furniture and more modem setups and facades that can add greatly to the overall room décor and make a statement that says “your DJ is a pro and ready to rock this place” so get ready!
Let's explore some options ranging from basic to high end:
-Table cloth is not good
-Cables are exposed
-No speaker stand covers
– Gear is too small
-Too much empty space on table
– Should have a Façade
In both situations, a tabletop or full-length façade would fix most of these issues.
On the left everything is messy and unorganized.
On the right, they have done a good job making it look clean. but because the gear is entry-level, it’s tiny and looks unimpressive.
It would be much better to cover this setup so client guests can’t see the gear and make judgments.
Again, the setup on the right isn’t that bad, but if you paid a lot of money for your DJ you will most likely want to see a more impressive setup, and not feel like you could put this together yourself with a quick trip to Guitar Center.
MIXER & TURNTABLES
Many clients like the classic look of the Technics 1200 turntables & mixer (exposed) which will never go out of style.
For many years there have been digital turntables from several companies but Pioneer really perfected with the CDJs and then Rane up leveled the concept (in my opinion) with the Rane Twelves.
One fun thing about vinyl is that you can do different colors or have custom platters made which add some flair to an exposed setup.
See a couple of our setups below:
Many DJ gear companies also make controllers (all in one units) that have the job wheels or the appearance of vinyl.
I personally own the following setups:
Pioneer S9 &S11 mixer
Pioneer Rev 7 Controller
Pioneer DJM 1000 Controller
I like to mix & match my gear depending on the client, venue and what fits best but I LOVE my custom vinyl Simon Platters from Digilog Designs!
TABLE TOP & FULL LENGTH FACADE
On the left is our table-top façade, which works well on a standard 6-foot table. The right side is our full-length façade and white modern column array EV speakers for a more sleek look. Most façades have interchangeable fabric, so you can switch between black or white to fit the room.
Another fun option when using a full-length façade is that you can light it from behind with LED lights which can match any Up lighting that has been down around the room or truss lighting. Lights can be static or pulse to the beat of the music.
Another very popular look is the DJ Furniture/Console look. They come in many different styles & designs make by pre-fab companies, but may DJs also custom design their own to be unique.
Personally, we love the look of the Danny Max Infinity Console and own the one on the left below.
This only works well for certain events where a stripped down & minimal setup works. Some DJs (like myself) that still need a place to put paper timeline, water bottle, extra hard drive and other items might add a 6 foot table with full length façade behind this console.
Credit: Dimitri Soteropoulos
Big fan of this guy’s work.
You can see how nice and clean it still looks with a façade behind for a bunch of gear. Also shown are white speakers and the Astera LED Tubes.
VIDEO DJ BOOTHS
Another impressive setup option that I love to use is a custom video DJ Booth. This includes an LCD screen built right into the booth. It’s on wheels and has the entire DJ setup (mixer, video switcher etc) built in for quick setup.
This booth has MANY advantages & options but here are a few we use it for:
Display wedding monogram
Music video mixing
Karaoke lyric display
Ours was made from our friend DJ Toad which you can see below:
Most mobile DJ companies (us included)also provide a wide array of lighting & video screen options which will compliment the DJ booth setup and also wash your dance floor nicely.
You can see an an article I wrote all about why dance floor (and room) lighting is so important here:
Why Dance Floor Lighting Matters
DECOR & RENTALS
Finally, another option we see at some of the more high-end events here in Los Angeles, like premiere or wrap parties, fundraisers, and celebrity events, is to use a décor or rental company to provide the DJ station.
If there is a professional event designer, event planner, or DMC (Destination Management Company) involved, they may take care of dressing up the DJ booth area.
Here are a couple of my favorites from past events I’ve DJ’d here in Los Angeles:
TRUST ME when I tell you I’ve barely scratched the surface of DJ setups.
DJ’s worldwide are getting creative and taking more pride in their setup than I’ve ever seen before in 20+ years of DJing clubs & events.
A excellent reference page to check out is this Facebook Group:
Amazing DJ setups
It’s mind-blowing how many different DJ & lighting setups you’ll find reflecting the style and personality of each DJ.
They have inspired me to level up my game.
Constant work in progress and also can be VERY EXPENSIVE!
Clients: Please take that in mind when hiring your DJ and comparing packages.
It used to be the primary factors for DJ pricing were as follows:
#1 Years of experience
#2 Level of talent
#3 City or market
Now, the DJ setup and presentation are (in my opinion) starting to crack the top 3 and, more important than ever, to be unique and give that “WOW” factor to your event.