If you are even somewhat immersed in the world of DJing and EDM, then you probably have heard of the term “live set” and “DJ set”. To be more specific, many people like to debate which one is the best experience and which DJs have the best live sets, among other things. However, there are also a bunch of fans that do even know what these terms mean! If this is your case, then you are in the right place!
So, what is the difference between the two? The difference between a live set and a DJ set is that in a live set, the DJ is actually making new music on the fly using live DJ gear like a midi controller while in a DJ set, the DJ is simply mixing pre-recorded tracks.
As you probably guessed, more than 90% of the sets a DJ plays are DJ sets, and this has to do with the difficulty associated with playing a decent live set. Many DJs shy away from them because of this and also the fact that you need more equipment like midi controllers, real instruments and more to play a live set, which might not be feasible depending on the DJ in question.
Anyways, there is a lot of confusion with this topic. Many people think that unless the DJ is using live instrumentation like playing a keyboard, the DJ is playing a Dj set, but that is not true. A live set simply means that the DJ is creating a completely new piece of music that isn’t just a remix of another piece. This might mean using software to add sound effects, drum beats, etc.
If you want to know more about the topic, including the best live set DJs today, please check below!
As I said above, there is a lot of misinformation about this topic. Many people think that a live set means that the DJ is actually mixing different passages live, but this is not the case. A live set means that the DJ is making new music on the fly, using several means.
The DJ could use live instrumentation, for example, a live guitarist or a drummer, and it would be considered a live set. However, the term most commonly means that a DJ is using his laptop, mixer, and a MIDI controller to create completely new music on the fly, adding in sound effects from the mentioned gear.
Because of this, playing a good live set is significantly more difficult than playing a DJ set, and because of this, many DJs abstain from doing so. While DJ sets tend to be almost always played in big events, there are many smaller venues where playing live sets is more common, and there is a small, but a sizable amount of hardcore fans who will only attend these events exclusively.
If you are a new fan and want to learn how to distinguish a live set from a DJ set, then let me tell you that there are several ways to do so, including:
While there are several other ways to distinguish live sets from DJ sets, these are the main ways that I personally use when I’m listening to a DJ live. As I said above, there are some DJs that play live sets very often or almost exclusively. To learn more about this, check below!
What type of equipment is commonly used in live sets? As you learned from reading above, DJs playing live sets create completely new music, employing several different types of equipment to do so. Among the most common gear used to play a live set, we can mention MIDI controllers, turntables, synthesizers, and Ableton, among other gear. Many also like to incorporate things like drums, vocal, and even some more traditional instruments, like saxophone or violin.
Are live sets common in big EDM festivals? Since EDM festivals are often the events that generate the most revenue among pretty much everyone associated with the show, the people in charge of the events tend to pressure the DJs to stick to DJ sets. This is why live sets are not very common in these big events. Also, one of the other reasons why they are not as common is the fact that DJs playing live sets tend to use a lot of extra gear, which might be too cumbersome to be playing in a big festival. Also, there’s the chance that the event organizers themselves might ban them from the performance.