Can you DJ without speakers?
The simple answer is YES!
You can DJ without speakers by using a pair of headphones.
Open Back headphones would be great.
You can DJ without speakers, but it depends on who you are DJing for.
If you are DJing in your room and practicing your transitions, effects, scratching, and whatnot, you can DJ without speakers if you have a pair of headphones.
Why Do You Want to DJ Without Speakers?
Well, if you live with roommates, you probably want to keep the sound at the down low, you can DJ using headphones.
If you are using a laptop with a DJ controller, you can use your laptop as the main out for audio, but it is not going to sound great.
Plus, as a DJ, you have to hear everything clearly so decreasing the volume will not be enough.
If you need to practice your mixing at home without disturbing the people around you, you are going to have to rely on a good pair of headphones.
If you are a beginner, using headphones can also help you with splitting the sound by using the split cue option, meaning, you can split the sound from each platter to rehearse how you are going to transition onto the next track without the audience hearing you mixing in the background.
You are the only one hearing each track on your headphones simultaneously.
Plus, not to mention that studio headphones are cheaper than studio monitors or speakers.
Everything You Need to Know About DJ/Studio Headphones
DJ headphones are different from normal headphones.
Because DJs tend to only use one ear most of the time, DJ headphones are made to be more flexible than headphones for listening to music.
Why Do DJs Use Only One Ear?
If you have ever been to a club or music festival, you're probably wondering why sometimes DJs only use one ear for DJing live.
The reason is pretty simple.
They are using the headphones in split cue mode, so they can mix two or more songs smoothly.
In split cue mode, they can hear both tracks playing simultaneously, while what the audience only hears is one track on the speakers or PA system.
The reason why DJs only wear one headphone ear is so that they can monitor the sound coming out of the speakers.
DJ headphones are also meant to be used and abused when you are playing live DJ sets and using standard headphones this way is not a good idea.
What Kind of DJ Headphones Should I Choose?
In my opinion, you should go for an open back pair, so that you get more breathability and more air, allowing you to wear them longer without feeling too hot.
Openback DJ headphones however are not meant for listening in public because the sound is not trapped inside such as on-ear headphones, causing you to annoy people around you.
Can I Use Closed-Back Headphones?
Yes, you can use closed-back headphones.
However, they do have their disadvantages when it comes to mixing.
This type of headphones trap air and creates unwanted echoes and reverb, producing an inaccurate sound for mixing.
Although, they can insulate sound around you and create a soundproof environment.
Advantages of Mixing with DJ Headphones
Here are some of the pros of djing without speakers that you'd love:
By mixing with headphones, you can mix any time of the day and not bother your roommates or neighbors even when it's late.
By using DJ headphones when mixing live, you can use cue mode and transition to the next track smoothly.
However, I suggest you rehearse using cue mode because you might get confused.
Most DJ controllers have a cue mode, but you can still mix music without it.
When you get really good at mixing, you won't really need headphones when mixing live especially if you have mastered cueing and assigned hot cues on your tracks so you know exactly where they start.
If you are a beginner and on a budget, you can start with using headphones.
Since you are not going to pay and mix in front of a crowd anytime soon, mixing with headphones can be a good start.
There might be some advantages when using DJ headphones for mixing when practicing or when playing live, but this option does have its fair share of disadvantages as well.
Disadvantages of Mixing with DJ Headphones
Unfortunately, there are also some disadvantages to djing without speakers – let's take a look:
Wearing headphones and having loud audio blasting through your ears for hours can hurt your ear health.
Because headphones will keep your ears in an alternate position, it can be really uncomfortable.
Trust me, do not attempt or dream of having ear fatigue.
It hurts like hell, and I suggest that you take a break from wearing headphones when mixing or when doing anything involving wearing headphones for hours like gaming.
If you need a break from wearing headphones, you can mix with other speakers such as your computer's speakers, your TV, or you’re mobile phone, as long as you have the right audio connections.
When mixing with DJ headphones, there is a high chance of phrasing when the shape of your sound becomes plotted over time.
When two tracks are out of phase, the most common reason is the tracks clashing, and you might not hear the bass clearly for beat matching.
Here are some of the most common questions I get asked when it comes to DJing without speakers:
Yes, as long as you get one with high quality and fidelity so there is no latency.
If you plan on using this type of headphones, make sure you get authentic AirPods since they don't have latency.
Yes, all you need is a DJ controller like Pioneer DDJ-20.
This controller works great with both iOS and Android devices with apps like EDJing, WeDJ, and Algoriddim DJ.
In summary, yes you can DJ without speakers.
You can use headphones, but make sure they have high quality, or battery yet, save up fo some small powered bookshelf speakers or studio monitors!