Essential Equipment for the Mobile DJ

Working as a mobile disk jockey (DJ) presents a number of challenges that the resident club DJ doesn’t have.One of the biggest issues is the need to carry all of that essential DJ equipment wherever we go.

I’ve worked as a DJ onboard cruise liners, in a hospital, on the radio and in various clubs but these days I make my money as a mobile DJ. Each week I get to visit new locations and meet a whole new crowd of people. I’ve played in some fantastic locations including castles, stately homes, tents, gardens, onboard ships and yachts and even one night in a well known London museum. It’s the variety that I particularly like about this work, but lets get back to the challenges.

One of the biggest problems that us mobile DJs must overcome is the need to carry all of our equipment to every gig. The club DJ only has to carry his tunes, maybe as records or CDs, whereas I need a medium sized van to carry all of my gear.

These days I can afford to take along an assistant who helps me to setup and break down my sound and lighting systems at each gig. But only a few short years ago, before I started to charge a decent fee, I had to carry all of this equipment myself. The important factor to consider when selecting DJ equipment for mobile use is compactness. It should ideally be small and as light as possible.

The DJ speakers that I use are the powered variety. This means no need to carry power amplifiers and much simpler system setup. These mean fewer cables to worry about and less that can potentially go wrong. For the past two years I’ve been using a really excellent pair of active JBL PA speakers and these have proved to be worth their weight in gold.

Another key consideration is lighting. Club DJs rarely need to concern themselves with club lighting systems as these are generally already in place and often have their own dedicated operators. Working as a mobile DJ means doing it all ourselves. But luckily these days there are some compact DJ lights that use LEDs making them relatively lightweight, low power and cool.

But I think the most important piece of DJ gear is the music. This is music media, not equipment, I hear you say and you’d be right. But I’m actually referring to the medium which can be vinyl records, CDs, DVDs and these days MP3 files. This means I need to carry turntables, CD players, a DVD player and some sort of MP3 player. I tend to stick to just one CD player, a pair of Technics decks and my laptop computer. I route all of these through my excellent DJ mixer and I’m just about ready for any requests, from Mantovani to the Wombles.