How to hook up multiple speakers for DJ use

Written by joshua reed stuart
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Active speakers make good monitors and DJ speakers because of their ease of portability and set-up. Multiple speakers can be connected together to form a monitor set-up for the DJ and a four-way "quadraphonic" style club system. When putting a speaker system together, the mixer should be turned on before the speakers. When powering down the system, turn the speakers off before turning off the mixer. This will reduce popping and damage to the speakers.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Speakers (preferable active)
  • Mixer/DJ Mixer
  • XLR cable
  • 1/4" TRS to XLR connector
  • RCA to XLR connector
  • Sound source (CDJ, turntable, laptop)
  • Amplifier (if not using active speakers)

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    Monitor Setup

  1. 1

    Connect the two main output speakers to the left and right output channels of the mixing console.

  2. 2

    Connect the third (and/or fourth) speaker that will be used as a monitor to the auxiliary outputs on the mixer. This will be marked "AUX," "Booth" or "Monitor" on the mixer and labelled on the connections on the back of the mixer. You might need a one-quarter-inch TRS to XLR or RCA to XLR adaptor to make this connection.

  3. 3

    Once you have your speakers connected, turn on the mixer. Turn on the speakers.

  4. 4

    Set the output levels for the CDJ, laptop or turntable to your main outputs by turning up the main volume fader.

  5. 5

    Turn up the monitor or booth send (fader or knob) in the main mixing sub of the mixer. Set a reference level just below 0dB for sound check.

  6. 6

    Turn up the monitor channel send (fader or knob). This is most often above or near the EQ potentiometers of the channel strip.

  7. 7

    Adjust this send up until you hear it in your third monitor speaker. You may need to adjust the auxiliary send up and down to achieve an appropriate monitor level.

    Four-Way System

  1. 1

    Connect one speaker to the left main output of the mixer. Looking at the stage, set this left main output speaker on the house left side of the stage (stage right in theatre parlance).

  2. 2

    Use a long XLR cable to run to a second speaker in the back of the room on the left side. If the room is much bigger than a small club, you may need a delay unit to synchronise sound at the back of the room.

  3. 3

    Repeat the same process for the right main output of the mixer.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are using passive speakers with an amplifier, you will need to add this step as a first step to each process:
  • Run an XLR cable from the corresponding output on the mixer to the input on the amplifier and then run a secondary XLR from the amplifier to the speaker.
  • Insert this step ONLY if using passive speakers with an amplifier.

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