• Tim

    Also about it being preferable to stack mid/highs rather than using cabinets side by side/cluster – e.g. line array. When people move around (in the horizontal plane), time delays between the two mid/high units cause comb filtering which can mess up a good balanced sound at different places in the room!
    Distorted sound and overly shrill mid-highs are my bug bears.

  • Guest

    He’s bright and yet can relate to us in simple terms. He’s funny too!

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  • teknik1200

    The sad thing is when you are trying to mix, everything is green, and the shmuk running the show thinks it’s your job to turn it up!

  • NND

    If you like Pioneer you would love TAD as used in Air Studios mastering room, if you see them advertised at any show go and have a listen or read more about them at http://www.nunudistribution.co.uk/products_tad.php

  • http://www.purpurasonido.cl Nick Hill

    love the interview, thanks Tony

  • Num Izi

    i don’t have an f1 rig i have an electrovoice rig.. and i am sick to the back teeth of trying to explainto dj’s
    that gain, beyond zero, on the input channel is more and more distortion the further you go …and that a system, with no limitation on the output , can only go to zero on the output or you will overdrive and clip the amp… if i have set the threshold of a limiter to accept a greater output from the mixer…then that will be the amount that i tell you, maybe 3 orange lights… but never red !! and still NO MORE GAIN THAN ZERO !!! on the input !! gain is NOT volume.. !!! should dj’s have to produce a certificate of gain structure understanding before they can play ? and do they also know that some mp3′s can have up to 90% of the information missing ? wave is really the minimum… mp3′s are nothing more than tissue paper pretending to be canvas … “see through sound” mick jaggers’ lips and keith richards’ wrinkles is not the rolling stones …

  • Ricky

    One of the most interesting articles I ever read!

  • http://traktortips.com/ Traktor Tips

    Ahhhh – Gat decor – awesome track!

  • Jojo

    I would really like to know the true story behind this.

  • NJP

    20000 degree air? Plasma? Controlled by magnetic fields?

    People being killed with bass whistles?

    Can anyone explain any of this to me?

  • J.sto

    I kept digging and found this video to be stellar. Bad sound is a vexation to the soul..

    • Richard Schmidt

      Thanks for sharing!

  • hunter

    I think a case could be made for VERY limited and strategic use of red lining: such as if you are closing the night on a bang for a particularly memorable event. Clipping, as we all know (or should know), clips the signal, therefore causes distortion. As the Tony Andrew points out, distortion can be good in small amounts. Therefore, I think this could be a tool to be used in VERY limited situations.

    • hunter

      Before the hate rolls in, let me qualify what I mean by limited. I mean like a part of a track, maybe two.

    • Richard Schmidt

      It’s got use like any other effect, I think (delay, reverb, beatmasher, etc).

      Effective in small amounts.

  • Steve

    Fantastic article. Great insight. DJs running in the red is a pet hate of mine.. ignorance at its best.

  • Immon

    I met Tony on Saturday evening. He stared me out while I was DJing! Had a good chat to him afterwards. Here’s the proof! https://twitter.com/iamimmon/status/455796577664135168/photo/1

  • Guest

    I met Tony on Saturday evening. He stared me out while I was DJing! Had a good chat to him afterwards. Proof attached.

  • Mauri Moore

    I found a solution for all the djs using mixers in red .
    In my club i put them on the stage (outside the dj both) , I can control the levels from the main mixer . MOst of them are using all in red , but i will start to select who will come back in the future . To be a dj is not only about music , A good dj should know about levels .

    Keep it simply : RED = SHIT -

  • HSSL

    my dad always told me not to trust dudes with rat tails, but a good read nevertheless.

  • Luis Martinez

    Good choice in test track ;)
    Gate Decors – passion

  • chris

    i use for testing >> Massive Attack – mostly “Teardrop” or “Angel” <> Zwischenspiel Notre Dame <<

    • chris

      and if you afterwards playing some >> glory box . from Portishead << and the girl is going crazy ….. krächz …….

  • MAMware

    “There was this French bloke at the turn of the 20th century who built a giant whistle that produced sub-bass frequencies of around 7.1 or 7.2 Hz. The first time that he got it to work, he liquidized himself. It just turned his insides to mush—poor bugger.”
    say what?

    • MAMware

      “It vibrates specific organs. It vibrates our bones. It causes minor molecular rearrangement, and that is what makes it so potent as a force in dance music. ”
      say what?!

      • Richard Schmidt

        Yeah. Then he mentions chakras and it all made sense. I would like to know how much energy it takes to shake atoms apart at sonic frequencies (UV radiation does this, but audible frequencies…?)

        • MAMware

          please describe to me what you mean to “shake atoms apart at sonic frequencies”

          • Richard Schmidt

            Sorry I should have said “shakes molecules apart”

            I was thinking of high-energy electromagnetic radiation (like gamma waves) which speakers don’t produce but which are known to cause ‘molecular rearrangement’ aka cancer.

            At audible frequencies you can move the molecules (vibration) but you can’t rearrange them…? It seems like there needs to be enough energy at the right frequency to separate chemical bonds

    • benwa

      wonder if he meant this french bloke?

      http://davidszondy.com/future/war/infrasound.htm

  • Pero Naliv

    The problem with the “red” is also that DJ doesn’t believe that the house sound engineer will set up the levels right. That happens also, the engineer is some rock / metal dude who doesn’t dig club music at all and thinks that it can be quieter because “it’s not a band” or simply doesn’t give a f””” , so he set it up and go for a beer, happens a lot ! and then DJ’s push the output to the max… It’s all about the trust and having a good main sound engineer, who will meet with the DJ’s, talk and have fun with them, and assure them that the level will be sufficient without the need to go into red…

    • KoenraadVDS

      Problem with rookie (and a lot of professional dj’s, they get more confident as their set passes and they keep pushing up the master after every song. Then the master is at zero, after that they play their channels louder and last resort is turning up the bass and highs for every channel :p. At that point, everybody is too drunk to even notice the painful loudness. I always set up an external compressor/limiter in the amp rack when setting up. Also, screw the front shut of the amp rack. A drunken dj will find and turn every knob to the max :p.

    • Zanzibar

      Yes absolutely… pulling off good sound in a venue is a team effort. If you have a shit roadie running the sound, doesn’t matter how much care you put into your levels at the DJ Mixer!!!

  • Shawnyd

    Wonderful Article! I would love to hear more on this topic. Possibly include a signal flow process from device to device that Tony Andrews recommends. Thanks for such an awesome article.

  • jscro

    I could read interviews with this dude all day long.

    • Leetenant

      Me too! He’s bright and yet can relate to us in simple terms. He’s very funny too!

  • Joe Santiago

    Great story, I’ve had the pleasure of playing on funktion-one systems many times. There is nothing like the pants shaking feeling of one of systems in a booth. This was one of the best stories I have read on DJTT in a while. Keep it up guys, awesome work!

  • TheAppleFritter

    An entire article about Funktion One and then you’ve got KRKs in the image at the bottom.

    lol, smh.

    • Dan White

      Yeah, in the section about *bedroom* DJs – who probably don’t have the $$ for a Funktion One

      • TheAppleFritter

        Well that’s obvious Dan.

        My point is you spent an entire article talking about the importance of audio fidelity and then you give KRKs their space to continue being sold as the go to monitors for producers starting out.

        They are WOEFUL.

    • Jeffery

      LOL :D Rokits suck BIG TIME! Yet I see them on various tables, and even some larger studios. Again kids, Rokits SUCKS! Fake sound with lot of fake bass…

  • http://www.mixcloud.com/sevenkami/ Sevenkami

    Great article, thank you!

  • KoenraadVDS

    Pioneer mixers still have 9 db of headroom above the red +10db mark. So if you see channels hitting the red mark, it is not going to sound distorted. Pioneer dummyproofs their mixers. However, pushing the gain all the way up, and then push the master in the red will make me want to kill you.

    • Ezmyrelda

      As soon as somebody dummy proofs something somebody else will build a better dummy.. I still see many people gleefully using all of their red LEDs.

      • Ryan Ruel

        Who cares if they have headroom, you just don’t go there. There is NO reason to play in the red EVER. If you want it louder, turn up the master volume knob. It’s right there to the right…

        • Ezmyrelda

          You accidentally replied to me. I agree with you.

        • John

          so what if the master is at the maximum too and you need a couple of DBs more to make it sound right in the club ? Pionner DIGITAL mixers wont distortionate at all even if you are in the red.

          then the good analogue mixers such as Hallen and Heath sound warmer if you know how to handle a subtil distortion by being a tiny bit in the red. Dont be afraid of distortion, just learn how to use it ;)

          • Mauri Moore

            Distortion is always BAD , be afraid to use your mixer in red

          • John

            lol yes be afraid of your shadow too

          • Oli

            “Pionner DIGITAL mixers wont distortionate at all even if you are in the red”

            Yes they do, use your ears.

            “then the good analogue mixers such as Hallen and Heath sound warmer if you know how to handle a subtil distortion by being a tiny bit in the red. Dont be afraid of distortion, just learn how to use it ;)”

            Are you suggesting you can improve the sound of a professionally produced, mixed, and mastered track by adding distortion across the stereo buss, on the fly, in the club? If you’d care to share some tips on how you do this I’m sure we’d be grateful.

          • John

            Dear Oli, Pioneer new digital mixer definitly dont distortion in the red, and about adding some natural compression in your mix and warm subtil distortion with hallen and heath just “use your ears”, as you nicely suggested me.

          • John

            “Are you suggesting you can improve the sound of a professionally produced, mixed, and mastered track” , so this shows Oli is just pushing the play button but is certainly not DJing, wich means mixing as long as possible 2 tracks, and yes being a tiny bit in the red with hallen and gheath is a natural, warm, real time mastering solution of you whole mix. thats why good DJs will always p^refer analog gears

          • Lucke

            Pioneer do not distortion !

          • Jurk

            And you do not english apparently…

          • psy/OPs

            there’s.. uh, there’s no such word as distortionate. distortion occurs when something begins to distort.

          • connerz

            pioneer djm 900 mixers distort and do sound terrible in the red! having done my dissertation tests on this! allen and heath have a much lower gain structure with better parts rerason why the distortion sounds nice compared to the pioneer but trust me the pioneer sounds terrible compared to both the allen and heath xone 92 and the formula sound mixers recomended by tony andrews himself!

          • John

            I repeat, the new digital pioneer just CANT have distortion if you are a bit in the red, now sure, maybe some artifacts if you totally overload the machine, but really I just can not understand how a digital machine would saturate ?????

          • Zanzibar

            If you use up all the headroom on a Pioneer mixer, it will digitally clip. This is a form of (typically very unpleasant) distortion… so yeah they definitely will *distortionate*.

    • Mauri Moore

      NO NO and NO , read it again please .

      • KoenraadVDS

        Read the manual dude. I’m not saying you should play in the red. I’m saying if it hits the red +10 marker every once and awhile, it IS NO WHERE NEAR distorting. I’m speaking for Pioneer nexus mixers only. Thank you for your constructive comment. -_-

        • Mauri Moore

          I have PIONEER djm900 , best way to use it is around 0db , more is bad .Tested with sound engineer so many times . The leds are there for something , why so much people wants to don’t use the leds ?

          • KoenraadVDS
          • John

            Do you mean to say that 0 on the output level meter equates to +4dBU output level?

            This is the level that the amplifiers are expecting, and are optimised to receive. This is the level you should be sending out.

          • Oli

            Yes mate, spot on! Exactly as Pioneer recommend in the instruction manual. What a coincidence!

          • KoenraadVDS

            Don’t know a single audio dude in the game who stays in the green line and doen’t go in the yellow. I’ll be leaving it at that. You can use incoming signals a little hotter and turn down the master or turn down the trims and turn up the master. it’s the same thing. Just set your USB output level accordingly when recording.

          • john

            leds are there because they did a mixer that LOOKS LIKE an analogue one

        • Oli

          Not trying to be rude but perhaps you should read the manual again:

          page 24, troubleshooting, distorted sound, turn it down to 0dB on the channel and master.

          Pioneer spend heaps of cash developing mixers, I think it’s fair to say they know what they’re on about when they give advice on how best to use them.

          If you don’t respect your audience and give them the best possible sound quality, don’t expect them to keep coming back!

          • John

            Oli, those mixers are digital, how the hell would they saturate ?

          • http://www.djbis.com Bis

            Proof that you probably should go do some reading on the subject of Distortion. Analog or Digital, equipment can be saturated. Digital is not “warm” when saturated. It’s harsh. Stay out the red as general rule of thumb. If you DJ in a proper club the sound system has been designed for optimal performance with the house mixer, you don’t have to think you know what sounds better out on the dancefloor, the engineer already do that for you, and when he designed the system he hoped you would stay out of the RED.
            If you don’t feel it’s loud enough, maybe you need to raise your DJ booths critical listening space volume: The monitors!

          • md

            I work in the club industry as an installer and tech. True, formulasound and anh mixers sound far superior and warmer than the pioneers and the mic preamps are leagues ahead. All pioneer djm mixers have horrendous mic inputs which still route through the booth monitors? !?!?!

            As for red lining. Imo Only djs who’ve been doing the job 20 years or more know how to control a mixer. You’re common club dj in the UK is 99% of the time in the red from 10 pm till 4am. FACT. I see it week in week out, as a tech I turn the djs gains and master down in front of them. Some appreciate it, some get moody. It’s me who looks after the kit not them.

        • paul

          ive tested the pioneer djm 900 nexus and as soon as you hit the red it effects the frequencies within the music! there gains are ridiculous and go for days! allen and heaths are cleaner with a much lower gain structure which results in a better sounding output from the mixer in the red! formula sound are also far better than the pioneer nexus mixers! the sound quality of the pioneers are poor! if you want i can upload smarrt images of comparisons between these three mixers and the pioneer comes out last and by a long way! the only reaon pioneers mixers are industry standard is because of the use of the effects, beat sync, midi and the ease of using the pioneer cdjs linked up with the mixer. this is all directed to wards artists that cant actually mix or prefer to mess about with effects for an hour rather than beat match! sadly the best sounding mixer will never be used the most as its not as cool or convenient for djs to want use`

          • KoenraadVDS

            If you have the time to upload your findings, that would be great. It’s however not a comparison of mixer quality :p. If I find some time, I’ll test my djm 850 (same internals as 900 nexus) and see how loud volume can get before it changes the waveform.

    • Zanzibar

      Thank you for saying this… I always want to say as much but don’t for fear of drawing the ire of all the people who READ IT ON THE INTERNET SO I KNOW BETTER MAN. High end DJ mixers have headroom for a reason. You can kiss the red with no problem. Even a little bit of digital clipping (*gasp!*) can sound good on the transients depending… But yes, if you have some noob ass DJ riding the mixer flat out in the red this is terrible. But it’s such a pain in the ass to have some know-it-all roadie come up to my mixer and pull the master down and give me a dirty look because I’m kissing one bar/led into the red on a kick once in a while. Fuck off!

      • Rob

        Only time I ever have to turn anyone down is if they are driving my amps into clip or making my speakers distort.

    • Rob

      With digital sound the volume is just a binary number, the number of bits sets the peak this number can be. If you increase the gain to far (which might take a lot) it will push everything up to this limit. You will loose dynamic rage clip the sound. If you really pushed the gain your waveform would simply become a flat line.

  • Sam

    such a well documented article! thank you & respect!

  • YV_Miami

    Makes me want to get a Funktion One at home :)

  • chris

    only if the guest is happy, one may expect as an organizer with a reward

    (Scotty, Antaro – VuuV)

  • Ezmyrelda

    It always drives me insane to see people running into the red in demonstration videos.. I mean.. can they be so ignorant of their own sound system that they can’t turn up their amp to get more sound? I mean even if a little distortion is nice.. You should be able to understand where that sweet spot is on your mixer and consistently hit it.. I seriously doubt that spot is right at the clip indicator on every mixer.

    Great article… Absolutely top notch.. Editing seems to be getting better too.. Keep up the great work.

    • Oli

      I feel you pain dude, it’s a shame that new kids coming into the DJ game see all these guys on Youtube with red lights all over the place and think this is how it’s done. At least it makes it easier for us to stand out as seasoned pros!

      I’ve noticed on Pioneer’s promo videos that their artists are keeping the levels in check these days, seems the tide may finally be turning!

      • John

        playing in a club is a totally different thing Oli..

  • Fatlimey

    The quality of your articles recently has been stellar. Keep it rolling DJTT.

    • Leetenant

      2nd that!

  • LongTimeLurker1stTimePoster

    Great feature, very well done. George Benson. Ha! Will have to toast with Dad to that one, as he’s the one who introduced me to that world. We’ve always used Dire Straits “Money for Nothing” as our reference track, mostly for reasons he mentioned as well (highs of Sting, crack of drums, and that ‘perfect’ distortion on that signature riff). Looking forward to more like these.

  • LongTimeLurker1stTimePoster

    Great feature, very well done. George Benson. Ha! Will have to toast with Dad to that one, as he’s the one who introduced me to that world. We’ve always used Dire Straits “Money for Nothing” as our reference track, mostly for reasons he mentioned as well (highs of Sting, crack of drums, and that ‘perfect’ distortion on that signature riff). Looking forward to more like these.

  • LongTimeLurker1stTimePoster

    Great feature, very well done. George Benson. Ha! Will have to toast with Dad to that one, as he’s the one who introduced me to that world. We’ve always used Dire Straits “Money for Nothing” as our reference track, mostly for reasons he mentioned as well (highs of Sting, crack of drums, and that ‘perfect’ distortion on that signature riff). Looking forward to more like these.

  • LongTimeLurker1stTimePoster

    Great feature, very well done. George Benson. Ha! Will have to toast with Dad to that one, as he’s the one who introduced me to that world. We’ve always used Dire Straits “Money for Nothing” as our reference track, mostly for reasons he mentioned as well (highs of Sting, crack of drums, and that ‘perfect’ distortion on that signature riff). Looking forward to more like these.