I — Milonga DJ sound technique


When DJing a successful milonga, there are a number of technical issues that are important to take into account. The main of these are: (1) media quality, (2) player and organising software, (3) equalisation, (4) output from computer to speakers. If all of these aspects are well seen to and tuned together, you should be secure of the best experience from the music. Aside from that, of course you will need to study the music and its «denceability» in order to make a great milonga. We will be introducing these 4 aspects here and will be covering them in detail in later posts.

(1) Media quality

The media we have available, the digital files with tango music, form the basis for a quality performance. There are things you can do later on, in equalisation, to improve on a bad file, but that can only tackle smaller problems. It is thereform important to make sure you are working with the best available material. In that respect it is important to work with reletavely high-quality files in general, to know where they came from initially, and to choose the best among many possibilites.

(2) Player and organising software

Tango DJs use a wide array of software to organise their music and to play it in milongas. Many programs are up to the task and it depends on individual style which programs function best. I will not address this issue in detail, only recommending some options that I myself have found useful over the years.

(3) Equalisation

Tango music, the files we work with, have originally been transferred from old shellac or vinil records into different formats. A few more recent ones are based on magnetic tape masters. Most of these files therefore have interferences and faults that need to be corrected. Sometimes this has been done in the transfer process, but that correction is non-standardised and often worse than if it had not been made. Another aspect that it is important to take into account, is the sound quality of the speaker system and the sound characteristics of the space itself. These are the issues a DJ is faced with in a live situation and good equalisation software (before the digital-analogue conversion) or hardware (after that conversion), and knowledge in how to use it, is therefore necessary in order to get good quality sound in our music, which is much more enjoyable for our dancers.

(4) Output from computer to speaker system

When working with digital files as sources for our music, there are a few stages needed to bring the material from the computer out to the dance floor. The first of these is the DAC, the equipment responsible for translating the signal from the digital file into analogue waves. The second is the amplifier, and the third part would be the speakers themselves. If you want to do analogue equalisation, that would come between the DAC and the amplifier, as might a house mixer preset for the sound characteristics of the space. Unfortunately some equipment suitable for blasting pop music does not do tango music justice. It is therefore important, if you have the chance to control this, to choose equipment that can provide a well balanced spectrum of music to your dancers.

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