In my opinion, you need to buy a microphone 3rd. First is the DJ Controller (with the assumption that most people already have some music to use).. get comfortable with it, have fun, hone your skills.
Second is the loudspeakers to perform with at a party or event (upcoming blog post about loudspeakers!) and 3rd is a microphone.
Every DJ needs a microphone.
You don’t have to use a microphone a lot. A lot of the time you’ll be delegating that to someone at the party.. the party host to make a quick announcement, the best man to give a speech, the whoever for whatever.
Your responsibility is knowing WELL in advance of the party that there won’t be performance issues with the microphone when it is go time.
After you buy the microphone, setup all of your gear in your living room or garage and test it out. A LOT. Make sure not to get too close to the speakers or the quality will degrade (as feedback protection kicks in at a high level).
Loudspeakers should be positioned evenly to disperse the sound across the crowd and bounce off of the back wall. Ideally, the speakers should be about 5-7 feet off of the ground. This setup will provide optimum sound coverage in a 10×10 or 20×20 room and allow for minimum feedback protection in the microphone.
Alright, alright…. get to it! I know. Here are the good deals and proper mic’s to get.
Wireless mic’s make things a bit easier. It’s relatively cost effective to buy 2 so I’ll show a couple of good options with good reviews..
While buying wireless mic’s makes life a bit easier, it does add a couple of extra considerations. (1) Battery management for the wireless microphones. You don’t want the mic going dead or near dead during use or just before the gig. Always have battery spares available! (2) You’ll need a power source for the wireless receiver and then the cable going from the receiver to your mixer or DJ Controller. (3) Choosing the right broadcast channel at the gig location is necessary ahead of the gig. Do this as soon as you get your speakers and system turned on. “Microphone check. Check, check, 1, 2, 1, 2. Check. Microphone check.” You get the gist.
There are some cheaper wireless microphones out there on fixed frequencies. I don’t recommend them due to the fact that at some location you will run into interference issues on that fixed frequency and they won’t work well.
What is feedback?
Feedback is a party or event no-no and will have you scrambling to fix an issue that never should have happened during the party. Feedback can also damage ear drums in the perfect storm of a problem. This is the number one reason to not just buy a $12.99 microphone. At a minimum, budget around $30 for your Mic. The better the quality of their design, the less chance you’ll have issues with it.
(SCIENCE, yo!) The microphones job is to send electrical signals of what it is hearing to … the controller or mixer where the signal is amplified and then sent out the loudspeakers. Yup, you guessed it.. the microphone hears what is coming thru the speakers too. Quality microphones have a feedback detection feature that helps to eliminate the sound loop (it knows what it hears near and far and cancels out the far signal thru the mic). The more that feature has to do it’s job (REALLY loud music or environment), the more it degrades the voice speaking thru the microphone. In most cases no-one will notice what is happening. However, try standing and speaking / singing thru your setup to know what to expect during a party. Try it with just speaking and no music as well as with music playing.
Can’t I just use a standard $12.99 wired mic? Well, you can. It could be a nightmare during a live gig if you run into any distortion or feedback problems.
In case you want to, make sure to research the proper cable type (the quality mic’s may not be sold with a cable). Usually there is an XLR female to male cable that works with most setups. However your setup might need an XLR to 1/4″ cable.
What else could the microphone come in handy for?
Happy Hour karaoke? Yup, you could add on some popular karaoke features to your setup and be a multi-purpose DJ. Play a few hours of karaoke line-ups and then DJ for 3 more hours and call it a night.