From ear buds to noise cancellation and cup positions, lets talk Headphones!
Why do DJ’s need headphones? Well, so they can sample upcoming songs and play with queue marks and beat matching prior to the actual transition that the crowd hears. In the headphones, the DJ is listening to a closed signal that the audience cannot hear.
– Here are a few of my favorites –
Over the ear with collapsible cups to help queue in one ear and hear the crowd and exposed sounds in the other ear:
What do DJ’s use headphones for?
- Confirm beats per minute match
- If the upcoming song is sped up too fast, it may sound bad. Think of a song that is 100 beats per minute (bpm), sped up to 130 bpm. That song may just sound too fast for people to like. Don’t mix that song directly over. Pick a new one!
- Confirm beat timing (ex: 4/4 time vs 6/8 time)
- Music is composed in different rhythms. Mixing a song that is 3/4 time to a song that is 4/4 time can be quite challenging. It can be done, but it takes a quick transition and maybe effects to pull it off cleanly.
- Matching the tune and tone of a song to the upcoming song is sometimes important, depending on the genre and feel that you want to portray. If a song is in the key of A minor and you switch to a song in the key of B sharp, it might not flow well.
- Some songs have shrieking peaks that are not good for transitions. Some are good for transitions. Most of the time a transition is a chorus part of a song that doesn’t have too much peaking or dead spots.
- Scratching and sampling
- Some DJs get sample happy with Air Horns and effects. Try not to annoy your crowd with too much fluff.
- Queuing up a scratch point on a song and playing with it before delivering it can make all the difference in the world. Most of the time you should do this before the gig to know what you like to scratch to. Doing it on the fly requires a few practices in the headphones before flipping that fader across the first time.