What Are Booth Monitors & Do I Need Them?

Booth monitors – also called booth monitor speakers – are speakers set up in the DJ booth so the artist is actually able to hear the sound that’s being sent out to the crowd. Here, Guestblogger, Amar Amlani (DiceDJ) explains why booth monitors are so essential and what you need to look out for when setting them up and using them.

Why Use Booth Monitors?

In a big club or venue and at festivals, there will always be a very slight delay between what the DJ hears and what the audience hears. So, while you’re busy beat-matching to set up the next track with one ear, your other ear will be bombarded with the current track playing through the PA speakers – and if there’s even a slight delay between the two, it can be disastrous for your mix.

This is where booth monitors get important. Booth monitors are always set up so that they’re pointed at the ears of the DJ, so they can hear the sound that’s being sent through the PA system and out front to the audience, without any latency. A lot of DJ mixers will even feature a dedicated volume control for the booth monitors and a separate set of outputs for plugging the monitors in, so the DJ has full control over the levels. So if you need to give your ears a rest, have a quick chat with the promoter or take an unwelcome request, you can quickly push the volume down in the booth without affecting the PA sound. Another bonus of booth monitors is that you can really enjoy what you’re doing; really get into the flow of your set and put on a better show.

Different Booth Monitors

Generally speaking, there are two different types of booth monitors that you’re most likely to come across: standing speakers and floor monitors. Standing speakers stand vertically on a stand, table or floor, and are pointed straight at your ears. Floor monitors are set up on the floor and have a slanted design so that the speaker is pointed upwards and towards your ears. Both versions can be set up in ones or twos (so in mono or stereo). At smaller shows, you tend to only get a single booth monitor, while at larger shows and festivals you’re likely to get at least a couple of monitors of a higher quality or even an entire speaker array so you get the ideal booth sound.

Active & Passive Monitors & PAs

In theory, you could actually use any kind of speaker as a monitor, but specially designed monitor speakers will always give you a good audio image. These monitors have a narrower audio range because they’re specifically calibrated to make vocal or music monitoring as clear as possible. There are some PA speakers that can also be set up as monitors, and you can recognise these models easily since the cabinet will often have a tilted side so they can be placed on the floor. And, just like PA speakers, you can get both passive and active booth monitor speakers. Active models have an integrated amplifier, making them really flexible and really convenient when playing at smaller events and parties.


What Are Booth Monitors & Do I Need Them?

Alternatives to Booth Speakers

Since they work so well for bands, more and more DJs are using a set of in-ear monitors. These are earbud-style headphones that you can not only use to monitor the sound being pumped onto the dancefloor, but to seal your ears and block out the noise of the club. In-ear monitors remove the need to set up booth monitors, and via your mixer, you can choose what you want to hear: one or multiple channels, the master output that’s going to the PA speakers, or nothing. A side-bonus of using in-ear monitors is that you can keep the volume low and protect your ears – a definite advantage if you’re doing a lot of shows.

See also

» 7 tips for preparing your DJ set
» The Ideal DJ Lighting Setup
» How To Make a Solid, DJ-Contest-Worthy Mixtape

» Studio Monitors
» PA-Speakers
» PA Speaker Systems
» Floor Monitors
» DJ Booths
» All DJ Gear

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