Can you share some wisdom with us on the importance of outputting the DJ mixer at the correct decibel level?
Well, this is a subject that winds me up to no end. Mixer manufacturers have tried to make it as simple as possible for DJs. Mixers always have a simple traffic-light system of green, orange, and red—and yet too many DJs, including famous professionals, completely ignore the system.
Green means the sound is working well, orange means you are getting close to distortion, and red means you are clipping the output stage of the mixer. How much simpler can it be? DJs who run flat out into red are basically unbelievably ignorant. In some ways, it’s insane because sound engineers such as myself have done all this careful work to achieve near perfection of sound in a nightclub, and then some unaware person slams it into red.
Why is red such a bad thing?
All electronic components can only deal with so much power before they become saturated and produce distortion instead of linear clean sound. If you run it into red, eventually it will meltdown electrically and cease to work. So in order to protect expensive soundsystems, pretty much every club in the world places limiters on their soundsystems. So while the DJ thinks, “Let’s turn it up by pushing it into red,” in reality it won’t be any louder on the dance floor because the limiters will prevent that from happening. All you are really doing when you push a mixer into red is distorting the music and insulting the people who give us a living—the clubbers.
And another galactic wisdom from Tony Andrews.