Custom DJ Console

Custom DJ Console in action at a recent event

Custom DJ Console in action at a recent event

I’m constantly amazed at the number of DJs around the world who have approached me about my console, and flattered by the number of DJs who have constructed their own version, crediting me with the inspiration for their design.  I’m pleased, as my DJ console really isn’t anything particularly special and I built it in my shed with no joinery or building experience when I couldn’t find what I wanted from any of the DJ console manufacturers, especially here in New Zealand.

UPDATE! 27 June 2015

I’ve just built the MkIII version of my console, as I’ve left the MkII version in Queenstown with a couple of Bose L1 systems and some lighting to help streamline the work I’m doing there. Read more about the new custom DJ console HERE.

If you’re looking at this page with interest, you’re probably a DJ yourself as it’s not going to be of much interest to most people. I’ve had so many requests from other DJs however, I thought I should put these pictures up.

I built the console from scratch to a design I visualised in my head. The top and bottom are plywood, the sides are customwood (MDF) and it is covered with an industrial carpet. All wiring and interconnects are hidden internally and the whole console weighs remarkably little, which was a primary concern to me.

The skirt, which was made to order by a local curtain-making firm attaches very quickly with velcro to complete the set up. If I was having the skirts made again, I’d get them a couple of inches taller so they cover to the top of the console, but other than that they are spot on. With the right sort of stand, I can even hide the Bose B1 or B2 bass bins under the console for a truly sleek look!

Here’s the basics;

  • 800mm x 400mm x 200mm (about 32” x 16” x 8”)
  • 4mm plywood top, bottom and internal shelf. 4mm is 5/32 inch (= a bit over 1/8 inch)
  • 12mm MDF sides. 12mm is almost 15/32 inch (about 1/2 inch)
  • Make the entire box, glueing and screwing pieces together. By making the box first, you guarantee that the lid will fit perfectly.
  • Decide carefully where you want the cut to be (to make the box into a base and a lid) and cut it.
  • Strengthen as required.
  • Glue on carpet, fit wiring, plugs and other hardware.
  • Go out and earn money (charge yourself out at a professional, liveable wage rate and NEVER undercut other DJs).

The hardest components to find were the lift-off hinges which allow the lid to be removed. To answer an often-asked question in advance, sorry I don’t make consoles for other DJs, mostly because I’m in New Zealand and the shipping and construction costs would be disastrous, but partly I am not set up to do this.

Any joinery company should be able to build something for you cheaply enough. All you need to do is decide on the most effective layout and also consider how you’ll carry it- where the handle needs to go. Think also about how you’ll be transporting it.

Will you be freighting your DJ console anywhere?

Will you need to fit it in your small sports car or your partner’s coupe?

Will it fit on your trolley and will it pack nicely with the rest of your equipment?

Will you be carrying it up stairs?

If you’re building it with an internal PC rather than a laptop, is it easy to patch into your network to update as required?

The New MkIII DJ Console

I’ll update this article as I complete the new work station, but here’s where I’m at now.  This new DJ console will have more functionality than my last one, yet is around 20% smaller.

I’ll have quick surface access to stereo and mono outputs (depending on which Bose sound system I’m using), dual sound cards, stereo booth output, twin wireless mics, DMX wireless lighting control, HDMI video output and masses of input options.

Best of all, it will fit on the passenger seat of my car. I left my old console, two Bose sound systems and some lighting in Queenstown as my work down there has become so regular. In the second photo, you can see the console in partial completion in readiness for an event. I’m thinking I might switch to XLR for the stereo outputs on the right. On the left I have XLR mono (zone output), XLR out for DMX lighting and IEC mains power. the antennae are for the twin radio microphones and I’ve got wireless DMX built in there as well as the option for Bluetooth audio input coming soon.

I’ve still got to carpet it, build a facade, make the lid and attach the handle. I’m also going to make a frame with shock absorption so it can sit on top of the Bose B2 Bass Module instead of the keyboard stand, hiding the subwoofer for a more stealthy visual appearance. I’ll post more pictures as I complete the project.