As a mobile DJ since 2001 I can tell you certainly a lot has changed over the years. Lately one of the biggest problems is simple: the market is full of bad DJ’s, and consumers are noticing. Why pay a so-called “DJ” when you can do it yourself? While there may not be much of a difference between an IPod party and a bad DJ; there is a MASSIVE difference between an IPod party and a truly experienced and well trained DJ.
[EXAMPLE] So you have a pre-mixed IPod with all your favorite songs ready to go; you borrowed your friends speakers; you’re all set for your wedding!
But keep in mind, your IPod setup may have a few problems:
My friend Alan Au is a DJ with 25 years of DJ’ing under his belt; he still plays out a lot today and loves his job. Alan puts the IPod argument best this way: “If you know your audience so well you can pre-program an entire night, you could be making big money; more money than a DJ you didn’t book because you thought they were too expensive. A wedding typically has the broadest age range and range of music needed to entertain your audience. Yes, if you program the whole night on an iPod, it will represent what you and your fiancé like: but that may not be what it takes to create a celebration.”
IPods do not come with a truly high quality professional sound system: You will have to rent one. Do you know how to pick properly? There is a huge difference between speakers. Playing your favorite tunes to 200 of your friends requires audio equipment that’s designed for – well – high sound volumes. A proper DJ system of quality speakers should blow your audience away, with volume to spare.
IPods cannot run a sound system: Dedicated subwoofers with proper crossovers, appropriate speaker placement, acoustic understanding of the venue, and knowledge of what to do if anything goes wrong is key to proper sound management.
IPods are not microphones: Your guests are not going to hear your wedding ceremony without a little help. Discreet, clear sounding clip-on microphones will solve this problem and allow everyone to actually hear what is going on. A handheld digital wireless microphone that limits feedback and allows your guests to speak clearly during toasts is essential for your wedding.
IPods cannot make announcements: Real DJ’s are not nervous in front of crowds and will not only get people’s attention, but will do so in a classy, elegant and appropriate way. Having a calm but confident MC will limit lags in your event and keep the party going.
IPods do not understand volume control: Song volumes differ, as does the need for certain times of the night to be loud vs. quiet. Again, a true professional DJ will manage volumes effortlessly to the point you do not even know they are doing it.
IPods cannot read a crowd: Despite your best interest, sometimes you need to deviate from a plan, or come up with a last second request, or mix quickly on the fly as the crowd responds. This is a DJ’s most important job. You can have great sound equipment, a great attitude, make wonderful announcements and play music all night – but if it is not the right music at the right time, the party will fall flat on its face. The technical aspect of playing a huge variety of music that entertains everyone’s musical tastes is a DJ’s biggest challenge, and your events greatest reward. Trying to keep dozens of peoples musical wants fulfilled at the same time is no easy task.
IPods cannot coordinate with your vendors: This is a major factor for the success of your event, yet most guests have no idea this is even happening. Well experienced DJ’s help keep the flow of the event smooth, especially at weddings. From proper timing of introductions, to coordinating with the caterer, planner, special dances, cake cutting and even the last call times, flow is important. The bride and groom should be the center of attention at a wedding, never the DJ.
IPods do not come with lighting: Some venues have a few dance lights already installed, or some string lights overhead the reception. Professional DJ’s will have advanced lighting that can be synched on the fly to their music, and color changing uplights to make literally ANY room look like The Bellagio. These atmospheric effects will wow your guests and take your party to the next level!
Hiring a truly professional DJ should not be a painful experience. It should be an exciting time that ends with you seeing your investment paying off in the form of a spectacular event. Enjoy top notch sound, happy guests and a celebration that made it all worthwhile. Do not stress about putting your music together, do not stress about a budget DJ. Relax, hire a professional and watch them do what true professionals do: perform at a high level of excellence.