When was the last time you had your hearing checked? Did you know poorly configured sound can permanently damage a persons hearing?
Other than a few of the more humbled among us, most of us truly believe we have pitch-perfect hearing and the inherent ability to tweak our DJ systems’ sound to sonic perfection.
“Everyone just sets up their sound quality to their expectation and call it a day” – DJNTV Mike
To the contrary, those years of loud music pumping through your speakers (of which you are typically positioned a mere few feet away from) and your headphones have most certainly done some irreparable damage to your ear holes.
With this and your client in mind you should know what safe levels are and, generally speaking, what frequencies ‘good sound’ lives at.
In the world of professional sound a ‘real time analyzer‘ (RTA) is used to measure frequency and frequency levels. By using one you know visually if you need to add more or less of a certain frequency or frequency range (for example, more or less bass).
To achieve the highest quality sound from your system you should invest and test with an RTA. The good news is you don’t have to make room in your rack for another piece of hardware.
RTA apps are thankfully plentiful and available for both iOS and Android. Keep in mind RTA apps are not as accurate as traditional RTA hardware due to the lack of a specifically calibrated mic — but still much better than your own ears. Sorry.
Using an RTA app (Search the app store. Here’s the RTA app I personally use on iOS) the ideal results are achieved when you can get your frequency levels the same across the board (However, frequency levels will not appear perfectly smooth across the top due to inherent peaks and valley’s produced).
After using an RTA app for sound calibration if you prefer a bit more bass due to your specific speaker setup you can ease it up a bit for more low-end punch.
RTA apps range on the app stores from completely free to $30. Mike from DJNTV suggests DJs start with a free RTA app to get an idea how they work. There are also a number of tutorial videos on YouTube that explain in great detail how RTA’s work and how to achieve the ideal sound output from your system.
Watch the video above for some great bonus DJ advice, specifically what Mike carries in his ‘Emergency DJ Kit’