We all know that you didn't become a DJ to be speaking in front of a crowd and become a master of ceremony (MC). But I wanted to find out if it was beneficial to use the mic as a DJ and if so, how to do it. That's why I did some research and compiled some of the best tips to say on the mic as a DJ.
So, do you have to use a mic as a DJ? It depends on what kind of DJ you want to be. You don't have to use a mic but it can be very beneficial to the vibe and your branding, if however, you're a wedding DJ or at a corporate event it's an essential skill to have because you host the night.
If you have your own microphone.
Plug the mic into your DJ controller. This is the most commonplace in smaller venues to plug your mic in. Don't forget to turn on the channel. This is a fine way of doing it but there isn't a lot of control over the mic although this is usually plenty enough.
In bigger venues, they often have a mixer that you can plug your mic into this gives you greater control than the standard knob on your DJ controller since it often has an equalizer as well. Be aware you have to control your mixer and DJ controller separately to fade each other in and out.
A very common mistake people make when holding a microphone is that they cup the microphone which means that they are holding their hand around the grill part of the microphone. This, in turn, will make your voice sound a lot different and worse.
To counter this it can be very handy to point out someone who will make you aware of how you hold the microphone when performing. A simple sign will do to make you aware you're cupping the microphone.
Holding your microphone correctly can be hard when you're first doing it. It's also about balancing your microphone to have the right distance and angle to your mouth.
The correct way to hold a microphone is at a distance of 1 - 2 inches (2,5 - 5cm) and at a 45-degree angle. This will result in your voice hitting the microphone the correct way which in turn results in a very clear recording.
When you hold a microphone next to a speaker the microphone starts to pick up sounds from the speakers and then plays that sound through the speakers again which results in a very loud high pitch noise. This is really something to keep in mind because it will just destroy the ears of your audience.
Something you can do to counter this effect is turning off the monitor speakers facing you when you're activating the microphone.
If however, the monitor speakers are facing the crowd all you have to do is just take a step back from the monitor speakers and do essentially what is the opposite to pointing at the speakers.
It's very important to do a soundcheck before you talk. A simple soft tapping of the microphone on a surface will let you hear if the microphone is working without the crowd probably finding out that you've tapped it. You can then do say something like 1, 2 check 1, 2 at an average level to make sure the microphone is at the correct sound level.
But this can all be not important if you're shouting in the microphone. At all times when you just want to speak, do not shout. This will make the sound coming from the speakers sound really harsh to the crowd and will hurt their ears. Not something you would want!
When you're ready to speak to the crowd it's important to introduce yourself and to say your name. It's no need to have a very long introduction but you can say something to hype the crowd. Most of the time though a simple introduction will be enough.
Sometimes with an enthusiastic vibe, it may be very easy to curse a bit. But be aware of your surroundings and your crowd. Maybe there are younger ones which means it's not the best time to curse. This is just more of a general tip of keeping alert to your environment so you don't say things that might sound inappropriate to your crowd.
One thing to really respect is that mcing is the whole other skill than Djing, and that has to be respected. A good MC will be a great value to DJ sets and a bad MC can really break the performance. You can ask every Drum and Bass person and validate the statement. So that means it's important to be aware that MCing is a hard skill to acquire and many fail to master it.
The key thing here to takeaway is that you keep the things you learn from DJing is something separate from the things you learn when MCing or using the microphone as a DJ.
Maybe the general most important thing is that you should practice. Especially if you don't have a natural sounding voice when improvising. There are a lot of ways to practice which I will explain in the following subheading.
A great way to practice is in front of a mirror. Try to envision you talking to a crowd. Hold something in your hand that will mimic a microphone. A great budget option I used to make when I was a kid was a microphone out of an empty toilet roll and some crammed up aluminum foil. If you want to get real fancy I've included a tutorial on how to make an aluminum foil microphone.
In front of the mirror, you can really clearly hear yourself talking and the mirror will spot out any visual flaws when you're talking. This will make practicing very effective since you can easily identify your mistakes and learn from them.
Although you're limiting yourself only having yourself look at you MCing there's another way to let others judge you and give you feedback which brings me to my next point.
Whenever you are comfortable to speak in front of a mirror it's time to pick up the microphone when you're performing a live set online. This lets other people view you and you can ask for direct feedback that you can implement in your future live sets.
This is also a great way to get people to know you and your branding. This will make you have a better connection with your audience.
But still, the most important thing is that you should practice a lot. A great method of practicing doesn't outscore many practicing hours. Practicing is value.
The worst thing is to have a DJ sounding very unnatural and insecure. It's the show of the DJ and he has to sound like he knows what he's doing. So the first thing to do is to just relax.
Every mistake you can make will probably be forgotten a few seconds later. You might get a couple of laughs but that's not the end of the world. Everyone makes mistakes and that's okay!
However, something you should really train is to sound confident. Sounding insecure is not some mistake like stumbling over your words of saying the wrong city because it's throughout your whole set when talking to the crowd.
This will really annoy the crowd and it's important to practice a lot so you will sound confident. Especially if you know you're struggling with this. For more natural speakers who know how to improvise it may be a little easier but the key thing is to do what's best for you.
It might feel like an empty silent moment when you're not talking (although the music might be playing). But something very important is to not talk too much. A lot of beginners try to fill in every silent gap in between their sets. This is something that is very annoying and makes you sound like you want to have all the attention focussed on you.
You need to relax and enjoy the moment itself when there's a silent part. Saying something every few songs is more than enough and the amount you should talk really comes down to how the crowd responds. If they don't respond you should talk less and if they respond enthusiastically you can sometimes say a bit more.
It's better to write something down because that makes you remember things better. But that's not the only thing why it's important. If you, for example, need to introduce the groom and the bride forgetting their name may be a very painful act. This is why you always need a form of backup to rely on in case you can't rely on yourself.
You should also prepare what you want to say to make it more natural and smooth sounding. There's also another aspect why you need to prepare your text which is followed up by the next point.
It's good to have a clear understanding of what you want to say before you say it. It's very annoying if you are just spitting out some random lines and things. If there's no clear goal of something you're saying, hyping up, giving information. There's no point in saying anything really.
In order to hype up the crowd, you have to be enthusiastic. This is best practiced in front of a mirror. Imagine someone talking very monotone. That's not very much hyping you up, right?
That's why you need to be aware of being enthusiastic when saying something to the crowd. Keep in mind that you will need to sound more enthusiastic than you might find comfortable for a normal environment.
Being professional at all costs is also something to keep in mind because you never know what impolite statements can do to your career. Of course, you will be just like yourself but remember to always be professional.
Something that will make you really hard to understand is when you're talking too quickly or too slow. Although too slow will probably never be a problem, talking too quickly can be. It's needed to talk slowly for the audience to understand you. You need to slow down your speech and the moment you think you sound stupid, it's slow enough.
Something more advanced is having a go-to line for every environment which means that you should have a line for when DJing at weddings, festivals, parties, you get the idea. Having a go-to line will ensure you can save yourself if you don't know what to say.
This is more of a general tip I have for you as a DJ and not solely for DJs who want to use a mic. To have interaction with your crowd you have to make eye contact with them. It's also important to smile and have fun while doing it. The crowd will feel your energy and feed off it.
You should know when to speak and feel when the crowd will appreciate your input on the microphone. if you feel that the crowd is not reacting to your statement, for example when you're putting out a line to hype up the crowd and you get no reaction.
You can then try it a few moments later but if the audience still doesn't react you might save yourself a lot of pain and effort by waiting some more and not speaking at the wrong moments.
If you don't have a microphone you should unplug your headphones and plug them in the mic socket. You can now use your headphones as a microphone. One thing you have to keep in mind is that only one cup of your headphone works as a microphone and the other one doesn't. This is because the microphone connection is only making contact to the wire that's going to only 1 of the 2 cups.
Everyone has some sort of accent and most of the time it will get noticed by the crowd. To be professional you need to speak clearly and without your accent. The only thing when it's good to have an accent is when you're known for your accent, in that case, maybe you should overdo it a little.
The last thing that you can do that will instantly make you a little better MC, is investing in better gear. By buying better gear you will be able to sound clearer and better to the crowd. Who doesn't like better audio quality?
The most important part is, of course, the microphone. Having a better microphone will mean that the crowd will understand you better and will enjoy the music quality better. The Shure SM58-CN is one of the best performers for the money coming in at $99.99. If you're in for a new microphone, this is a great one to get. The link is an affiliate link to amazon which won't cost you anything more.
Microphones tend to pick up unwanted sounds. From hard popping into the mic to heavy breathing and wind. Windsocks counter these sounds by absorbing unwanted sound to make you sound cleaner. They also protect the microphone from dirt, water and protect it from damage when you accidentally drop your microphone. The only downside is that they tend to get very dirty and fall apart after long use. That's why I've linked to a set of 5 very cheap windsock covers which is an affiliate link to Amazon which won't cost you anything more.
It's important to have the right cables to bring to your set. The right length is also very important because you can always tie your cables up but you can't enlarge your cables. You have to find out yourself what cables you need to be sure to be prepared with the right cables for your microphone.