How to Set Up a DJ Deck System

Written by christopher tebbutt
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How to Set Up a DJ Deck System
Set up your DJ equipment using a variety of leads. (turntable image by Catherine rogers from Fotolia.com)

Whether you are a budding amateur or professional DJ, having the correct equipment that has been set up correctly is paramount to your craft. In order to practice your skills and take enjoyment from your experiences, you will need to be able to hear your musical tricks and see the sounds your fingertips are creating. In order to achieve this, you will need to correctly connect your turntables, mixer, amplifier or speakers. Once this has been completed, you can begin to impress your fans, friends or bedroom's four walls.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 2 turntables
  • Mixer
  • Amplifier
  • Speakers
  • RCA leads
  • RCA to 1/4-inch jack leads

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Connect your turntables to the stereo inputs on your mixer. Mixers have two stereo inputs, one each for the left and right channels. With your mixer placed in between the two turntables, attach the white RCA (phono) lead between the left hand turntable and mixer's left stereo channels, and the red lead between the right stereo channels.

  2. 2

    Attach the ground leads, which are secured to your turntable, to the mixer by loosening the mixer's ground connection screws (marked "PHONO GND"), securing the lead's U shape clip in place, and tightening the screws back up. Do not remove the screw completely.

  3. 3

    Plug the appropriate leads from the left hand turntable's phono connections into Channel 1 of the mixer (marked "PHONO 1", left and right) and plug the right hand turntable into Channel 2 (marked "PHONO 2", left and right). Unless instructed otherwise, turntables plug into phono inputs.

  4. 4

    Place your slipmats on to the turntables, with the centre holes over the turntable's small vertical rod, and place the vinyl on top. Plug each turntable into a power supply, and turn the power on.

  5. 5

    Connect your needles to the turntable as per the manufacturer's instructions. Follow the manufacturer's instructions again to set the tone arm, anti-skate and height adjustments. Some needles are mounted on a head shell, while others are mounted on a head shell then connected to the tone arm. Others are built on a single platform so you just need to connect it to the tone arm.

  6. 6

    Connect RCA leads between "MASTER OUT" on the mixer and either the "AUX IN," "RCA IN" or "CD" receiver on the amplifier, speaker or other device being used to amplify sound. Your amplifying device will have a quarter-inch jack connection if it does not incorporate an RCA connection. If this is the case, you will need an RCA to quarter-inch jack lead, which is connected from "MASTER OUT" to the quarter-inch input. Ensure that the left "MASTER OUT" on the mixer is plugged to the left quarter-inch connection on the amp and the right channels are also matched successfully.

Tips and warnings

  • RCA inputs tend to be colour coded, with left inputs being white and right being red. Your turntables leads are marked the same so ensure you have connected the colours.
  • Different needles and needle settings are required for specific styles of DJing (beat mixing, scratching, etc.), so ensure that you have researched the equipment and followed the correct instructions for your style. However, all needles and cartridges fit all turntable tone arms.
  • If your turntables are supplied with rubber mats, it is recommended to replace these with slipmats as they tend to be of better quality.

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