The mixer is one of the most important pieces in every DJ’s gear. It is responsible for making a smooth transition from one track to another and allows the DJ to listen to a song in the headphones before introducing it into the mix. It can work with CDs or vinyl discs played on turntables, or use digital sources, stored on thumb drives, hard drives, or laptops. It is basically the star of the show, and most DJs are interested in buying more advanced models that can allow them to make use of modern effects.
However, DJs are not known to perform in super clean environments, and at the end of the show, the gear will not be as sparkles as it was at the beginning. This is because the buttons get in contact with all sorts of contaminants, starting with dust, which can find its way between the keys, especially if the event is held outdoors, and ending with the fine grease and skin cells on your skin. Moreover, if you play into a club where smoking is allowed, this will stick to the gear. Or some beer may get splashed on your keys.
The point here is that the gear is gradually getting dirty. You may not notice it after your first or second gig, but one day, you will get it out in the full sun at a wedding and feel the full embarrassment when noticing the grease and dirt stains. Nonetheless, this situation can be avoided if you take care of your equipment on time and properly, and we are here to help. We’ve prepared a simple routine that will help you turn your mixer into a brand new machine, so get ready to shine again.
Why Is Important to Keep Your DJ Gear Clean?
- Professionalism – If you consider yourself a professional, then you should know that appearances are of the highest importance for a person that is performing in front of a crowd. You should never show up at an event with a dusty and grimy mixer that reeks of smoke. This if you ever want to get called to another gig again. Instead, you will want your equipment to always look like new. It should shine and be another beautiful piece in the event’s design. Only amateurs show up with sloppy preparations and ruin the fun.
- Performance – Have you notice that if you eat while working at your laptop, crumbs can get under the keys and make some of them hard to push or even unusable? The same goes for the mixer, which can gather dust, smoke, and even sweat in a dangerous mix that can make your keys more difficult to use. In time, this can wreck your equipment. But what if this happens when you are in the middle of a performance? Wouldn’t that be embarrassing?
- Hygiene – The way you take care of your equipment says something about you. If your equipment is dirty, people will assume the same about you. Plus, you use it in clubs or at parties, where tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people gather around you. It is impossible not to get some foreign saliva or sweat on it, so you will want to sanitize it after each gig to avoid catching some nasty flu that will keep you from performing the next weekend.
How Often Should You Clean Your Mixer?
How often do you use it? If you are booked at least two times a week, weekly maintenance is recommended, along with light wiping after each gig. On the other hand, if you are just beginning and your gigs are still rare, you should still perform the cleaning after each gig but resume to do the big cleanup once a month or earlier if the gear looks particularly dirty.
The after-gig cleaning would imply using a soft cloth to eliminate all the signs of grease and sweat on the spot. Never pack your equipment before making sure it has been cleaned, or you will bring the dust inside the box. Then, when you get home, do a second cleaning session with a microfiber cloth, insisting on the spaces between the buttons, the knobs, and the sliders.
Maintenance Step by Step
Once a week, make time to inspect your mixer and do a thorough cleanout. It is the secret to keep it impeccable all the time. Thus, you can always be prepared if a gig appears out of the blue.
What Do You Need?
- Microfiber cloth
- Soft cloth
- Vacuum cleaner
- Compresses air can (Optional)
- Lubricant (Optional)
How to Do It
- Step 1 – Surface Cleaning – Use the microfiber cloth to eliminate dust, grease, and soil that can come out easily. When you get to the channel faders and other crevices, use the vacuum cleaner to gather the dust gathered inside. Remember: if the mechanism is clean it will immediately respond to your commands. If it isn’t, you may discover that an essential button is jammed right in the middle of a gig.
- Step 2 – Grease Removal – For this step, you will need the soft cloth, which should be damp. Wipe the mixer with it to remove all the older grease stains that cannot be wiped out with a dry cloth. At the end of this operation, your mixer should be shining again.
- Step 3 – Clean the inside of the crossfader only if it is making a cracking sound – This situation can emerge from time to time and it is the only moment when you need to open the mixer:
- Remove the crossfader from the mixer by unscrewing the exterior screws.
- Detach the crossfader from the fader plate.
- Remove the slider knob.
- Blow all the dust that has accumulated inside the crossfader over time. You can use a compressed air can or by blowing it yourself.
- If you’ve bought lubricant, it’s time to pamper the crossfader a bit. Take a small amount and spread it on the mechanism, then move it to help the grease spread.
- Set the crossfader back in its place and tighten the screws. Test if it works properly.
- Now you are ready to roll the beats.
How Not to Do It
- Don’t use abrasive cloths or hard brushes when performing maintenance. They can scratch the surface of the equipment and make its colors to fade.
- Don’t use chemicals to remove grease. A damp cloth is usually enough to remove any persistent stains. However, if you have spilled something on it, you can use a solution of water and mild liquid soap to remove it. Still, the cloth should be damp, not wet.
- Don’t use a vacuum to clean the crossfader. The suction may be too strong and mess with the components. Blow the dust yourself or use a compressed air can.
- Don’t leave your equipment out of the box when not in use. First, because it will get filled with dust and dirt, and, secondly, because it will be more exposed to food and beverage accidents. Moreover, you can tip over the stand where it is placed and wreck it badly.
- Don’t open the mixer if it is still under warranty, as this can void it. If you hear noises coming from inside or it doesn’t seem to be functioning properly anymore, take it to an authorized service that can perform a checkup without voiding the warranty.
Good care will keep your gear in excellent condition, so when you feel you’ve outgrown it and need to replace it with a more up to date variant, you can sell it to a beginner and still recover a part of your initial investment. But, as we have explained, this isn’t the only reason for which you should always keep a cloth in your pocket. Clean equipment will bring you more money, this is the truth. As in any business, talent is important, but it isn’t everything. You need to look professional. Your clothes need to look impeccable and your equipment as well. Moreover, you need it to function perfectly every single time, and periodical maintenance is the only way to ensure each gig is a great success.