A DJ Q&A with SoundPro’s Derrick Ramirez and Luis Mendoza
Posted by Carolyn Scott , VP of Marketing at SoundPro on Nov 4th 2021
DJ’s – working all types of events – are harnessing new generation gear, and skillsets, to raise the bar for memorable live event experiences.
DJ’s have been part of the music world for years. Back in the 50’s, it was all about radio and spinning records for broadcast. The 70’s made DJ’s famous for their electrifying live event performances, bringing techniques like turntablism and scratching to clubs everywhere. Today, DJ skills (and gear) have evolved into something very sophisticated - it’s no longer just about spinning music. Great DJ gear (and skills) provide captivating audio, video, and lighting experiences in a multitude of settings.
I recently sat down with two of SoundPro’s team members to discuss how the DJ market has evolved. Derrick Ramirez and Luis Mendoza are both experts on DJ gear, practices, and understand the market inside and out. They shared how DJ’s take their game to a higher level, along with what pro AV organizations in house of worship, corporate, or educational settings can learn from today’s new generation DJ practices, to harness more fun and live event magic for any event for business, school, or church.
Luis Mendoza, aka DJ "Like Dis" in action.
Carolyn: Almost everyone is familiar with the part of the DJ market that includes weddings and clubs. Has that core part of the market bounced back after Covid disruptions?
Derrick: Weddings picked back up sooner than clubs. Clubs and concerts are now starting to pick back up. DJ’s for college and professional sports teams never really slowed down. And that’s a bigger thing that you might think, since sports are such a huge part of the economy.
Luis: I know DJ’s that are busier now than they have ever been. I think the flood gates opened. The events that were rescheduled and the new ones this year have DJ’s working more than ever. We’re seeing strong demand for products like Pioneer DJ and Rane controllers and Chauvet DJ and ADJ lighting gear, along with many other brands and products. I see this growth continuing.
Carolyn: Have you seen more “crossover” with other markets? For example, do you see more “corporate AV” users, or integrators, looking for DJ-type of systems?
Luis: I have noticed that corporate AV users and contractors/integrators now often want smaller go-to options. They might still do larger AV systems, but they want the option of gear that is scalable and can cater to both a small application and a larger one. They look for flexibility and portability, and a sophisticated DJ-type of rig can provide that. Churches often have DJ systems now, for the same reason, even if they call in outside DJ’s for events. They typically have the gear to do it, but they like to have an actual DJ for the event.
Derrick: For the home automation market, clients are requesting not just a home theater, but they want to turn their house into their own concert/club-vibe experience for private social events. Since so many people have hybrid home + office spaces now, that trend is getting traction from both directions.
Carolyn: Why should a customer buying DJ gear plan their strategy, and budget, differently now than how they did it in 2019, or in 2020?
Derrick:If you don’t have the right partners and sources, DJ gear is one of
the hardest categories in the AV industry to find product availability. If you
don’t plan well ahead, you might be forced to make old gear work or pay for
used gear at new gear prices. I think that SoundPro's approach makes
learning about and buying DJ gear go more smoothly. The fact that Sound Pro is
experienced in all categories of AV equipment makes DJ customers feel
comfortable trusting our opinions on purchases.
Carolyn: The DJ world includes a lot of different kinds of gear: Controllers, Mixers, Media Players, Headphones, Lighting, PA equipment, and Accessories. What categories from the above list need more attention and advice from the SoundPro team, for customers looking to discover the best options and price?
Derrick: The supporting equipment behind a DJ rig is where some DJ customers, especially new ones, may not know what is available to improve their rig, such as speakers, microphones, and PA accessories. DJ’s focus – as they should – on their curation of the music but making that music a joy to hear (even at loud levels) requires having the right tools to match your PA gear to any room. This includes controlling bass, mid, and treble frequencies, as well as reverberation and other room-specific parameters.
Carolyn: Great point Derrick, and mobile DJ’s who do weddings and parties, and really a lot of different kinds of gigs, need a PA system as well as the mixing gear. What’s a top trend in quality, affordable, mobile speakers – self-powered or passive?
Derrick: Powered Speakers that MAP between $599-$999 are currently a popular request from DJ’s. Those fit into most budgets and includes brands such as Electro-Voice, Pioneer DJ, and RCF. And if the gig requires more PA system than that, the venue likely has it already installed or a larger production company is hired for the event. We’re good at knowing sweet spots, as well as knowing how to get you the best deals in those sweet spots.
Carolyn: Luis, as an experienced working DJ – what's the top thing that a corporate AV person, or a church AV person, might learn from a DJ?
of music. I have done all types of events, and I think what makes a great DJ is
creating the vibe with music to add to the event and making the client/guest
happy. It may seem obvious, but in the corporate world, and in houses of
worship, it’s easy to be so focused on the message that they forget the music,
which makes everything better! And getting the right mix of music for
everything from a soundtrack for a presentation to a big in-person party or
awards ceremony is an art as well as a science. And the science part is where we
can help. With our DJ experience, we truly understand DJ pain points, along
with the best solutions.