How to Set Up a PA System Outside


I like to set up multiple microphones during a live P.A. event. I have one microphone on the stand plus one for the dj booth.  I spread out the speakers as far as I could to cover more ground.  I do not put the speaker at full volume. I typically put it at 50 percent and max out at 75 percent.


More often than not there are different people who speak at different volume levels. Every time someone speaks, you may have to adjust the volume based on how loud they talk into the microphone and how close they have it to their mouth.


Also it is a good idea to tape down the cabling and wires. I always do a sound check before I tape anything down in case I have to use different cables or a different microphone.  It is good to have more than one extension cord in case one needs more cord to reach the power.


I use microphones that are always on, but I am able to turn them on or off from the mixer I use. It is good to turn them off when people are talking to each other before the ceremony not knowing it is on, because the audience can be able to hear them talk other business.


Also it is good to be aware of how hot it is. Certain speakers may have issues since it is really hot. It is good to keep speakers in a shaded area and if not some speakers have weather proof covers. It is good to take an extra speaker, since the elements may cause the speaker to overheat or get wet.  Heat can be an enemy, but also rain can be a party pooper. 


June Playlist 2018

Marshmellow and Anne Marie Friends 

Ariana Grande No Tears Left to Cry 

Drake  Nice for What

Calvin Harris  Dua Lipa  One Kiss

Taylor Swift  Delicate

BTS  Fake Love

Selena Gomez  Back to You

Clean Bandit ft Demi Lovato  Solo

Madison Beer  Home with you

Cardi B  Bad Bunny J Balvin  I like

Kanye West  Yikes

Childish Gambino  This is America

Shawn Mendez  In my Blood

Rich the Kid  Plug Walk

Cardi B  Be Careful

Ella Mai  Boo’d Up

Lil Baby and Drake  Yes Indeed

Nicki Minaj  Chun-Li


New DJ Tool (Pioneer DDJ-sr2) to Have in Tool Box


Before I get into my new toy, let me explain the beauty of a controller. Back in the day, the dj had to use a mixer and hook it up to two turntables that were connected with multiple rca cables. Then the mixer would connect with the speakers and then the gig had music. Usually it would take about 45 minutes to set up solo.  A controller contains a mixer and turntables as one. So the use of rca cables is unnecessary and set up takes half the time.  Gotta love technology!


My controller of choice is the DDJ SX2, which is the industry standard for mobile and nightclub djs. This is a four-channel controller. I take this guy everywhere. As his backup I would take the original Pioneer controller DDJ-s1. Since I never needed a back up, I would never use my original controller. I decided to get a newer back up in the DDJ-sr2, which is a two-channel controller. This looks like the little brother of what I use now.


The ddj-sr2 is smaller and lighter than his bigger brother. With this controller, it can be powered by usb or with a powered plug, which could be a lifesaver incase one runs out of outlets. If a venue has a professional sound system, this controller can be connected to it with ease.


It can also be used for a wedding in case multiple set ups have to be ready at the same time for the ceremony and the reception. If both events happen in the same venue, the guests can leave the reception immediately and be greeted by music when they enter the next room right away.


Tech Museum as a San Jose Venue


A few weeks ago, I did a prom in downtown San Jose. The Tech Museum was the venue. When you think of the Tech Museum, one thinks of hands on activities of interesting concepts. Every few months they do change the theme so if one goes a few times a year then they do not see the same exhibits twice.


If you do not know, the Tech Museum can be an event venue that can be rented out. Three floors were used for the prom. One floor had the appetizers and fantastic food and drinks. The middle floor was the dance floor. And the top floor, prom goers could get their hands on the Tech toys, which drew lots of interest.


I was in awe of how helpful the staff was.  They helped me secure VIP parking and were very accommodating with the logistics with the location. I even got a phone call from the events manager to get important details. 


Single Op DJ Business Versus Multi Op DJ Business

Single  Dj Operator Business (one owner)


When a business is ran by a single operator then it’s the owner that the client speaks with and it’s the owner of the company who shows up to the event. The client knows whom they are going to get. Typically the company will have one set up with a possible back up. I am a single operator business and I have my main set up, but I can set up like an outside ceremony and have my main set up for the reception plus can do the cocktail area if needed.


A Multi Operated Business (fewer of these but own the market)


When a business is ran by an owner and may speak with the client and owner may do the event but can send another dj to do the event.  The person who the client spoke and gave details about the event may not be the same person who shows up. If a group has mulitipe events, one dj can be awesome but at the next event can be done by someone who is not as great.  I have seen ads on craigslist for djs to join multi op dj companies who ask for no experience and will train. Do you want that  inexperienced person to do your event?


Which is better?


A Multi Op dj company may have more online reviews and a bigger presence online. It helps having more help on the phones booking wedding venues as their preferred vendors thus increasing more gigs thus earning more of an online presence. But then again one dj may be good and the other ones in the same company may not be as talented.


A Single Op dj clients know what to expect since they are at every event, so there are no surprises and less chance of miscommunication. A single Op dj is the owner of the company and puts in the work. In an ideal world, a multi op dj company would be the best option since they have multiple djs and if the dj could not make it then they could have a replacement and lots of back up equipment but the level of talent is not consistent. If I had to hire an multi Op dj company I would request the owner to do my event, since I know s/he would be passionate with their work. Anyone who has talent  and passion would establish their own dj company. A growing relationship can evolve with a Single OP Dj company since communication is with the same dj and s/he will be there to share the important event with the client.


The Perfect P.A.  System: The Microphone and Cables Part 3


The industry standard is the Shure SM58. Everywhere any live events happen this microphone will be there. They range from 90 to 110 dollars new. They are built be rugged and used for outside or inside use. Some SM58 microphones do have an off on switch and one is always live so the volume can be adjusted with the mixer if the microphone needs to be off. 

Wireless Microphones are handy to have around too if one does not want to have the cable extend onto the floor. Shure does make a good wireless microphone. It is really easy to use. The user has to sync the microphone with the receiver and its good to go. Shure makes hand held microphones and lavalier which can be connected to the body incase the person does not want to hold to a microphone. Be ready to have new batteries handy incase they run out. Typically I have batteries handy and a wired microphone connected to the mixer just in case.


When it comes to cabling, the xlr microphone cables are the way to go. They came in different lengths and for some reason if the cabling is not long enough then they can be connected together so it can reach where it is supposed to go. I invested in short 3-foot cables, 6-foot cables, and 25-foot cables. The beauty of these cables is that they can be used for microphones and speaker cables. Xlr cables can be used to connect multiple speakers.


Running a Race? Why Not Spin at One.

During the New Orleans marathon, I thought the dj had the coolest job on the course right next to the volunteers who hand out the finish medals.  The closest race I saw was in San Francisco. I filled out the form online and figured why not. A short period time later I got a voicemail inquiring about my services. They wanted to know my specifications of my dj set up to make sure I was legit. Once I was verified then I was given a contract and mailed the instructions of the event.


The day before I scoped the scene to see where I was playing at to check logistics. I was checking if I needed to park far away and run to my event if needed

I had to get up really early just like a marathon. I set my alarm at 4 since I had to get ready and load equipment and head to San Francisco. Waiting for me was my stage manager who made sure I was fed and hydrated during the event and to fix any issue if any arose.  The police officers were very helpful and one suggested I park behind the set up, which made life so much easier.  The race provided me a powerful generator that fed my four speakers. I was able to walk down the street and hear the clarity of the music.


I got to play a lot of top 40 and jock jam type of music. I know music plays a big part for motivation. When I ran my marathons and felt a little defeated I would hear a good song that would push me toward the finish line. Overall it was a good experience and would do again. 


The Perfect P.A. System: The Mixers Part 2

Mixers are the brain of the PA system. A forty-dollar mixer can work but at the same time people get what you pay for. The professional mixers I recommend is the Yamaha MG06X and his bigger brother Yamaha MG10XU.


The MG06X is the size of an ipad. You can connect multiple microphones to it and have so much control of the gain, highs and lows. Also it has buttons to mute out a microphone if needed.  A 2 dj setup can be connected with this mixer. The beauty of this mixer is it can be added with another music system and it gives you more headroom to add more volume if needed. Each channel has a gain and then the master gain can be increased. If a dj decides to just play music and use microphones off his dj set up it sounds a certain way. Most controllers do not focus on the clarity of the microphones. They have other attributes it focuses on. But if the microphones are connected to the Yamaha mixer, it is so much clearer and it gives the option of multiple microphones. The mixer can be purchased for 120 dollars.


The older brother Yamaha MG10XU is a force of nature. Four microphones can be connected with the mixer. The highs, lows, and mids can be manipulated plus it has 24 effect programs that can add to the channel such as delay, flanger and echo. This mixer is so much bigger than his little brother so you would need more space for it.  This mixer can be purchased for about 200 dollars.


Both can do the job and it depends on how many microphones are needed and how fancy somebody wants the effect to be.