by Neil Smith – The Dandy DJ

Can we all agree that a live event situation is not an ideal listening environment?

There’s usually tons of ambient noise (conversation and other environmental factors), the lion’s share of our audience is not usually anywhere near true center, and quite frankly, those in attendance are not usually there for a Pink Floyd experience.

So why the insistence by DJs on stereo sound for live events?Mono Waveform

I’ll give away my age a bit by recalling an old Memorex cassette tape commercial where a guy turns on his stereo, pops in a Memorex cassette tape, proceeds to recline in a lounge chair directly between the speakers and then the awesome fidelity suddenly blows this guy’s hair back like a wind tunnel and even blows his cocktail into his hand! I envision that this is the mental image many DJs get while thinking about their sound.

Is good sound important? Of course it is! But consider the environment!

If you’re running stereo at a live event and some people are near one speaker but nowhere near the other and you play a selection that has things split hard left or right, those people are going to miss a major chunk of the music! Often if someone locates near a speaker it’s because they want to experience that aspect of the event more.


Each speaker has the exact same program coming out of it and provides a more uniform experience for all in attendance. It’s also more versatile. If I’m set up in a corner and am not centered between my speakers; instead they are both run to the side of me (one near, one far), I don’t have to run a super long extra cable to the far speaker. I can just daisy chain it from the first one. It might be just one tiny extra little thing, but add that to a ton of other tiny things and they add up increasing your setup and teardown time which can impact a venue wanting you to return. They rarely care about how good you were. They always care if you made them wait at the end of the night when they are ready to leave but your slow butt is still packing up from being an overachiever!

This is just what works best for me. I’m a wedding and corporate event DJ. I get squeezed into odd places and my environment is always changing. Staying in mono just makes sense in my situation.

If you’re a club DJ and work where house speakers are always focused directly down onto a dance floor, odds are that stereo is the right call in “that” situation and will greatly enhance the experience.

But for most other settings, my opinion is that running in mono is the better call all around and many DJs can provide a better experience for their clients and save themselves just a little bit of extra time and energy at most events by embracing it.