It’s not quite the man vs. machine throw-down we saw on a recent run of Jeopardy, where an IBM bot named Watson wielded his brain like a samurai warrior, but the iPod vs. DJ imbroglio continues its thorny path, sending shudders of future-shock up the spine of any self-respecting console connoisseur.
New Jersey DJ Greg Hollmann, owner of Ambient DJ Service, offers 10 reasons why a professional DJ is a better choice for a party than an iPod:
10) MP3 files played on an iPod tend to be recorded at varying volume levels. Without somebody monitoring sound levels on the device, volume levels may rise and fall dramatically from song to song. For songs with long fade-outs, there may also be uncomfortable gaps of dead air between songs. A professional DJ monitors volume levels and brings in the next song without awkward dead air.
9) DJs know how to trouble-shoot their equipment. If technical issues arise at an iPod wedding, lengthy delays or awkward moments could result.
Pre-programmed set lists on an iPod may not reflect what’s happening on the dance floor. Imagine a four-song dance set that hits the airwaves just as the salads are served. A DJ not only plays the right song, but plays it at the right time for maximum impact. A wedding reception oscillates with energy waves, and DJs are masters at riding these waves, adjusting the tempo and volume when appropriate.
7) Renting a professional sound system is not inexpensive. For example, my company would charge at least $400 to rent two powered speakers and a wireless microphone. Delivery/pickup and provision of an on-site attendant would increase the fee accordingly.
6) A rented sound system will likely feature lower-grade components than the top-shelf equipment that a wedding DJ would bring. The reason being is that companies are wary of leaving their best gear with clients who have limited knowledge on how to operate it.
5) Assuming that the song is on the client’s iPod, guest requests can be fielded at a party. However, there will be dead air as the song is searched for and cued up—possibly de-railing the dance floor. DJs not only bring large music collections to a party but will cue up and mix in the requested song without dancers missing a beat.
4) The prep work involved for a successful wedding reception party does not disappear—it merely shifts from the DJ to the client and their appointed audio-visual person. Music must be acquired and organized in a logical manner. Particularly for weddings, do clients really want to be inconvenienced with all of this additional work when there are other more important details?
3) For our wedding DJ services, prospective wedding clients regularly ask us about backup equipment: “Do you carry backup equipment? What happens if your laptop breaks during a gig?” For those who use iPods for parties, the same question must be answered. If an inebriated guest spilled a drink on the iPod, what would you do? Do you really want to gamble with one of the most important celebrations of your life?
2) Your appointed MC (if any) most likely does not have experience in running a successful wedding reception. At the hands of an experienced wedding DJ, the reception will be seamless with announcements made on-point and guests never wondering what comes next. Remember, there are no “do-overs” for once-in-a-lifetime moments such as the announcing of your first dance as husband and wife!
1) An iPod is a machine devoid of personality and life experience, while a DJ is a unique, talented and flexible individual who can think on his or her feet and solve problems.