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Connecting Gear

How to connect it all, so you can hear music!

This stuff is covered a lot fuller in the book!

Chatper 11 of the book is dedicated to setting up, connecting, and troubleshooting connections

Ok, this is just a tiny little page to touch on how to connect kit together. It really is very simple, so I'll keep it short. The book has a bit more in depth info about each of the connections, and goes through various different options of connecting what to what. But, if you follow the basic princinples below, you'll be fine

The one thing I do want to add in here is a proper video about how to properly set up your tonearm. Please check back once in a while, and it'll be up here soon

Phono cables - colours and connections

Unless your equipment has digital connections, it's likely that everything you have will be connected using RCA plugs (RCA plugs are often called Phono plugs, but to avoid confusing with the phono input on the back of a mixer, I'll carry on calling them RCA).

If you look at the pictures below, the first one is of a pair of RCA plugs. The second one is the back of a (very basic) mixer. Notice how the plugs, and the connections on the mixer are coloured. It's simple - plug the red RCA plug into the red connection on the back of the mixer.

A pair of RCA plugsThe backo of a Numark Mixer

Connecting Turntables

Turntables are unique in their connection in two ways. The first is that they are the only items you'll ever connect to the PHONO input on the back of the mixer (take another look at the picture above, notice how both CH1 and CH2 have a PHONO and a LINE connection). Also notice that above the word PHONO, there's a silver screw. This is a GROUND connection, and is the other reason that turntables are unique, as they're the only piece of equipment that utilises that too.

Most mixers have just a single screw for the ground connection, rather than one for each channel, but it's really important that you connect the thin wire that comes out of the turntable to this screw. Otherwise, you'll get a deep humming sound, and some static pops and crackles.

The last thing to do is look at the controls on the mixer. There will be a switch on it which says "Line/Phono". If you switch this to one side, it will select the PHONO input on for that channel (which you will have plugged your turntable into) - and the other side will be for LINE inputs (which I'll explain next). Switch this switch to PHONO for both of the channels that you've connected your turntables to. And that's it - your turntables are now connected

Connecting CD decks, MP3 decks - simply anything other than turntables

Everything other than turntables uses the LINE input on the mixer, so connect them to the inputs marked 'LINE'. There won't be a ground connection to attach - and you just need to flick the switch on the mixer to 'LINE' to set those channels to the LINE input.

If you only have a two channel mixer, yet you have two turntables and two CD decks, you can still connect everything together. Each channel has the PHONO and LINE input, so you can connect a turntable and a CD deck to each channel - then flick the switch for that channel to choose what one you're going to use. It's better to have four channels, with each channel having one of the inputs, but if you can't stretch to that yet, then connecting into both inputs is still ok.

Connecting the mixer to an AMP or Recording device

Connecting to an amp or recording device is pretty much the opposite of connecting to a mixer.

On the back of the mixer, you may have two outputs - MASTER and REC. (some of you may also have BOOTH - which is the output to use when you have a monitor (speaker) in the DJ booth).

To connect to an amplifier, use the MASTER output. This means that when you change the MASTER output control on the mixer, the signal sent to the amplifier will also change. You'll need to look at the inputs on your amplifier in order to make sure you have the right cables, but as far as the mixer is concerned, just connect a pair of RCA plugs to the RED and WHITE Record outputs on the mixer (remembering to connect RED to RED and WHITE to WHITE). If your amplifier has multiple inputs, just make sure not to connect to the PHONO input - it's a LINE signal you're sending from the mixer - even if you're using turntables.

If you have a REC output, this is what to use to connect to a separate recording device (tape recorder, CD deck, computer etc). When you adjust the MASTER output control, the REC output isn't affected. So, if the phone goes during your mix, you can turn down the MASTER control, and still know that there's music being sent to your recording device. As with the amplifier, connection is simple - just connect the RCA outputs of the mixer to the inputs on the recording device (likely to also be RCA inputs).


Stick 'em in the hole marked headphones... pretty easy.

If you're using a pair of headphones with a small jack on the end (rather than the big ones that the mixer expects), you may need to buy an adaptor to change the connection from small to big. You get these at nearly all electrical stores.