DJs wear headphones for various reasons. Cueing is one of the obvious reasons. Some wear it as a fashion accessory. However, the choice to wear DJ headphones or not depends on the individual. Experienced DJs may not need to wear headphones often as compared to beginners. The article will discuss some of the reasons why DJs will insist on wearing headphones.
It is the work of the DJ to listen to mix songs. Choosing a good song and reading the crowd is not an easy task. It is important to ensure that the songs blend. It means that the speed/tempo and the beat must fall at the same time. As one of the songs plays to the crowd, the DJ will be listening to another song that he/she wants to include in the mix. The DJ will then attempt to match the beats and tempo of the incoming song to the song currently playing without the multitude hearing the incoming song. As soon as the songs match, he/she will increase the volume of the incoming track making the two songs simultaneously audible. This is one major reason why DJs use headphones. Headphones help with finding the right moment to play the song harmonically and rhythmically. It also helps if the DJ does not remember or know the song. However, there are software’s that may help the DJs to cue.
Blocking out the noise from the crowd
The DJ is not worried about the response of the crowd in most instances. His/her main agenda is ensuring an artful transition between songs in a set. The noise from the crowd is a large distractor too. A noisy background may affect hearing as the DJ makes his selection.
As a fashion accessory
Veteran DJs can mix easily without headphones. Based on today’s digital standards and online opinions, one would be criticized for mixing without headphones. In the past, DJs did not headphones. It can be attributed to the fact that most of the tracks were close in tempo thereby cueing, and headphone use was not necessarily. Also, DJing without headphones calls for a lot of skill and expertise. It takes a lot of skill to understand what songs blend without cueing over the speakers. Beginners should stick to using headphones to avoid making blunders.
How DJs operate without headphones
- It is possible for a DJ to play music without headphones. How is that possible? Here are a few possibilities:
- He/she may have a preset set ready. This means that the tracks have pre-chosen in a specific order.
- The DJ may be playing a pre-recorded set
- There are software’s that can be used to play and check beforehand if the tracks sync perfectly. The DJ may be free to make his selection while playing. He/she can look at the waveform and figure out time that will be taken to launch the next track without necessarily worrying about how the tracks will mix.
However, the result may be crappy at times. It is important that one listens to the next track in the set before launching it. Also, one will be sure that is the right track and determine how well it will mix in the selected time. Serato, Virtual DJ, and Traktor are some of the tools that can be used.
Situations that impossible not to use headphones
Where turntables are involved as it would require beat matching. As a matter of fact, even an experienced DJ cannot beat match without headphones.