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Thread: Starting out on a budget.

  1. #1

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    Default Starting out on a budget.

    Hi everyone, Ive been put forward to do an event, ainít worked one in about 20 years and the problem is I donít have any equipment. Iíve been looking at renting something out but I thought about it and thought for a bit more I could buy a setup and maybe start up a business!

    Iíve seen a quite a lot of gear, a lot of unknowns brands. However, lately Iíve seen a few setups on eBay close to me.

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F202765821477


    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F183929691630


    Wondered what peopleís opinions where on some of this gear?

  2. #2
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Opinions? Short answer- Avoid! As a general rule, kit advertised as a complete rig on Ebay is people who thought they could make loads of money just for pressing play. Once they find out it's not a licence to get paid for playing your fave music, and getting drunk, away it goes on Ebay

    Not got a lot of time currently, but if you can find DJs near you, that's a good place for advice, seeing and hearing kit, and often surplus gear. Also good might be a DJ shop, if it's got s/h gear, and a person who's not just a box shifter.

    Keep asking questions, it's the best way. More later.
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk

  3. #3
    Benny Smyth's Avatar
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    What budget do you have to play with, and what do you have already? I'm assuming that you have a laptop of some sort?

  4. #4
    Imagine's Avatar
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    I came back into this game several years ago after a rather long sabbatical and one very important lesson I learned.....buy cheap - buy twice (actually in the case of my original QTX speaker setup.....several times ).

    With most of the kit, it really IS a case of you get what you pay for.

    As Benny says though, what sort of budget are you looking at? Your PA will probably be by far your biggest outlay

  5. #5

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    I came back in to this game in 2015.

    I had a disco in the late 90s, which I had sold, so was starting with nothing (other than music).

    I went to a local DJ shop and the information they gave me was so valuable. They saved me a lot of money in the long term.

    So I'll pass on their advice.

    Spend as much as you can on the speakers. You can't easily 'upgrade' speakers - so don't buy the wrong ones now. Get the right ones that will last you 5 years.

    Don't spend as much on the lighting - you can easily add more in the future.

    Here's what I did - I went out and got my bookings first. Rarely does a booking come in 'last minute' - most book months in advance. 10 bookings gave me deposits of £1,500 which covered my advertising etc. And I knew from the remaining balance, that I had about £3k coming in.

    So a few weeks before the disco, off I went to the disco shop with my credit card and spent just shy of £6k on new kit. It was all good stuff. But I knew I could pay off that credit card quickly with the gigs I had coming in.

    Some of it is even in use today - the speakers and DJ booth remain! Things like the lighting I did upgrade, but I hadn't spent much on that, and it does retain its value quite well.

    Do your research. Buy what's right for you - not what some other failed DJ is selling on eBay.

    For me, I bought the Evox 8 speakers because of their portability, as well as their incredible sound.

    Look at what space you have in your vehicle - assuming you have a car, you already have quite a restriction on how much kit you can take out!

    ** Just an addition after re-reading your post... rent the kit for the first gig. Don't approach setting up a business as an after thought. If you want to do it, then do it, but do it properly and be aware of what's involved. Maybe rent the kit for this one (even if the rental of the kit is the same cost as what you are charging) and get a feel for doing this again and see if you still enjoy it.

  6. #6
    Imagine's Avatar
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    I'll reiterate what Gavin said about the speakers.....that's the biggest part of what we do. The worst thing in the world is to have them go pop mid-gig.

    Whilst Gavin has the Evox 8's, I have several different systems (mainly for different types of function)

    * Yamaha DXR15 (they're beasts and will EASILY cover a huge room full of people). They have a known issue with the internal cross-bracings but if you want a LOT of sound - these will fit the bill
    * Yamaha DXR8 coupled with Yamaha DSR12 subs. Don't be fooled by the size - this is the PA system I use for most marquee weddings of up to a couple of hundred people
    * Maui 28 - a "stick" system which punches well above it's weight for the price
    * EV Evolve 50 - these are a very expensive system at just shy of £2k per side, but they're actually my main weapons of choice

    ALL of the above are active systems (the amps are built in). The beauty of this is that there's less to carry around, the amps are matched to the actual drivers inside and most of them have fancy gadgetry to ensure you can't actually blow them up (that's not true of all actives by the way). Also, if one doesgo belly up, the other side should still be working.

    The most important thing I learned with PA systems though (apart from you really DO get what you pay for), is go and listen to them for yourself. You have to stand between the speakers for 4-5 hours a night and if they don't sound good to you.....it'll be a long night.


    Quote Originally Posted by djxkott View Post
    Wondered what peopleís opinions where on some of this gear?
    WOW - just had a look at those. Although I've seen pictures on the interwibble of some questionable setups....those ones take some beating! I'd avoid those like the plague to be honest.

  7. #7
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Good advice from a couple of " born again DJs " there, Wayne and Gavin.

    Benny makes a valuable point, playout. Do you have a truckload of CDs, or a hard drive full of MP3s? If it's CD, then you will need players and a mixer. These are not expensive s/h, as many people are ditching them as they go digital.

    If it's MP3, then a controller with a mixer of some sort built in. It's possible to pick these up for not a lot, as even the cheaper end of the market offers satisfactory and reliable use from quite a few brands.

    While I basically agree with my colleagues above about active speakers, a slightly left field suggestion here. If you want the most bang for your buck, ( and the chance to ditch your gym membership ) a pair of Peavey Hisys2 speakers, or the newer UL series with 15" drivers,and a whacking great amp will cover most gigs you're likely to get for quite a while.

    Good advice already, keep asking questions, and letting us know more info, and we'll get there.
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Imagine View Post
    * Yamaha DXR15 (they're beasts and will EASILY cover a huge room full of people). They have a known issue with the internal cross-bracings but if you want a LOT of sound - these will fit the bill
    I've a mint pair of these in my garage, not used since buying the Maui 28's. The DXR's they are powerful and sound great. I've used these with a crowd of 350 (Only playing to the dance floor though)

    Quote Originally Posted by Imagine View Post
    * Maui 28 - a "stick" system which punches well above it's weight for the price
    Cannot go wrong with these either, all good choices.

    Depending on what types of gigs you plan on doing, you may need more than one setup. (Do you want to take big speakers to a smaller gig? I don't)

  9. #9

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    Speakers wise, my first set were second hand actives. If you can't afford to buy decent speakers new (not alto TX, not Mackie Thump & definitely nothing cheaper than those) look for second hand deals on used speakers. eBay isn't the place to go for those. Instead look on gumtree & Facebook marketplace & for heaven's sakes audition them before you buy. Test them at LOW volume. For why? Any damage to voice coils that isn't catastrophic probably won't show at higher volumes. Listen for the sound being distorted at low to mid volumes. If they sound at all raspy, AVOID. The same would apply for used passive speakers too. Brands I'd favour.. RCF, Yamaha, Ev, QSC, dB or LD Systems. FBT can be a good shout 2nd hand too.

    Lighting wise, you could do worse than a couple of Chauvet Gigbars .

    You'll probably need some kind of booth. Tabletop DJ setups are generally regarded as very poor these days (but mostly by DJs not customers). Booths by Equinox often crop up on the second hand market in good condition & won't cost the earth.

    Oh & whatever you do, PLEASE don't sling extension leads on lighting or speaker stands. Buy enough IEC cables of the right length to reach your kit from the floor, or use daisy chaining features of fixtures, or else shove a power splitter box at the top of stands, with short cables going to your lights. Nothing but nothing spoils the appearance of a rig more than cables going at all angles to gear.

    I like Gavin's advice though.. rent, or stack up some bookings before buying your kit. That's a good call

    Budget wise.. you'll be lucky to get yourself a respectable starter setup for under 1500 quid. As Peter said already steer clear of the 'complete disco setup' sales - the gear always seems to be shonky overpriced TAT.
    Last edited by Nakatomi; 30-08-2019 at 08:41 AM.

  10. #10

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    Valuable advice, thank you guys.

    Iíll be using a pc with carrots virtualturntables. I used to use this software back in the day. Iíve looked at quite a lot of other software available now but itís all so commercialised. but Iím back on this VTT, itís second nature for me to use it considering I ainít touched it for years.

    My music collection has manage to survive emigrating and moving house several times, I have about 2tb of artists and mixes.

    and I still have custom mp3s and cue / samples all still backed up, in my younger years I use to record myself with audition then some nights just play the recording and spend the night chatting. Back than nightclubs were so much different.

    Literally within 10 minutes of reinstalling it, it all came back to me and I was reliving my younger years with the belters from the late 90s.

    Haha

    Iíve been quoted about £200 to rent a system,

    Here is last quote I got


    600 watt PA system - 2 x Electro-Voice ZLX12P 300 watt active speaker £75
    1300 watt PA system - 2 x Electro-Voice ZLX12P 300 watt active speaker & 1 x ELX118P 700 watt active sub £100

    Lighting T-bar stand with 3/4 standard disco lights £50

    Now Iíve never heard of electro-voice I will research them and probably get the most powerful. Thereís going to be about 200 people.

    My budget to buy, well as little as possible. But Iíd say £1000

    But agreed I should buy new, I just saw those full setups and I guess felt intrigued I could start a business cheap .

    I have seen some McKay thumps, they seem to have a lot of good press but I guess it ultimately comes down to hearing them.. and that lays the problem. I can hear them in a shop, confined & everything sounds perfect. out there in a big room itís going to be a different story.

    I think I will go with your advice and rent, see what happens with the gear.

    So thank you guys for your insight, it would have been extremely embarrassing spending money on system having a great night and then it dying!

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