This post answers all the questions you should consider when putting on your own silent disco headphone party.
A linked table of contents is below for your convenience:
What is a silent disco headphone party and what equipment is required?
The term “silent disco” refers to a party where you can’t hear the audio unless you are wearing the specialized silent disco wireless headphones. Because of this, it looks like people are dancing without any music.
The word “disco” in the term, refers to a silent disco being a ‘dance’ and does not refer to the disco genre. All types of music are used
What equipment do you need?
In order to put on a silent disco, you need the special headphones for each guest. You will also need silent disco transmitter(s) to broadcast the music to the headphones.
These days the headphones are rechargeable. They arrive fully charged and will operate ten hours on a single charge. So, unless you are doing multiple events, re-charging is not necessary.
The transmitters are about the the size of your hand and don’t require user adjustment. They are just plug-and-play and usually included with the headphones.
You will also need to supply the music. That could be your cell phone, tablet or laptop streaming a playlist from Spotify or Apple Music. It could also be a live DJ or even a band.
As of the year 2020, most of the silent parties in America use three channel headphones. The person wearing the headphones can change which channel they are listening to with a switch on the headphones.
Each channel on the headphones corresponds to a different transmitter. So, a three channel system would have three transmitters.
Ideally, the silent party host supplies three music sources. They can be cell phones, tablets, laptops, DJs, bands, etc. Each music source is connected to one of the three transmitters.
We’ll talk more about the equipment and the music requirements below, but first:
Are the headphones disinfected and Covid-19 safe?
We only use these coronavirus certified products that are on this list from the environmental protection agency to clean and disinfect the headphones between each use. If you own your own, you should do the same.
If you rent the headphones, rest assured that rental companies are bending over backwards to make sure the headphones are safe and germ-free. We were doing that long before the Covid-19 scare, but as you can imagine, we have doubled down our efforts.
Also, remember that according to WebMD, those RNA strands can only last up to 5 days on a hard surface. So, to make sure that you are double safe, we not only fully disinfect the headphones but we give them a 5 day time-out between rentals.
If you rent your headphones, you will want to double check with your vendor regarding their disinfection standards, but here at Silent-Disco-Rental.com, your safety is first priority.
Is a silent party really silent?
When the party first starts up, they really are weirdly silent. It is a surreal and other-worldly oddity that has to be experienced in order to understand how absurd it feels.
But once the party heats up, headphone parties are definitely not silent.
While they are still eerily silent compared to listening to loudspeakers cranked up to ten, your dancers will be singing slightly off key to music that only they can hear.
They will also be laughing out-loud, talking to each other over the headphones and jumping up and down with their favorite dance moves.
Silent parties don’t have any noise from loud music, but the crowd noise can be significantly boisterous.
As you know, people who are having fun usually make noise, so ultimately the volume level will depend on the number of guests you invite.
What is the ideal space for a silent party? Should the range of the wireless headphones be a consideration?
The first thing that people ask me when they are trying to decide where to hold their silent headphone party is the range of the wireless headphones.
The headphones that we rent out have a range of 300 meters (or 328 yards). For reference, a football field is 100 yards. So, the headphones will still sound great more than 3 football fields away from the transmitters.
These are not the Bluetooth headphones that you are used to. They don’t drop out when you get thirty feet from your cell phone.
The type of wireless that silent disco headphones use is in the FM range and is therefore unaffected by walls and windows. This means that the headphones won’t lose any music quality or volume if you go upstairs, downstairs, outside or even around the block.
This means that the room size/orientation is less important for silent disco than it would be for a traditional music party. You don’t even need a specific party room because the headphones still work fine outside of the room or even outside of the building.
It is very important to have your silent party be ‘silent’ outside of the headphones.
Much of the motivation to wear the headphones is the silence outside of the headphones. That same silence is much of the appeal for wearing the headphones.
The best way to ruin a silent party is to have any audio available outside of the headphones because that gives people the option of not wearing the headphones.
If a TV is playing or background music is playing outside of the headphones, you are taking away much of the attraction of the headphones and some guest won’t wear them.
Where to get the equipment. (Should you rent or buy?)
If you are that person who is putting on parties every month, buying the headphones would be a great idea. We sell them for as little as $33.00 per headphone.
But if you are only putting on one or two parties a year, it is much easier to rent. The rental company takes care of the storage, the cleaning, the recharging and the disinfecting of the headphones for you.
Most of the rental companies will also take care of the repairs and make sure your are receiving the latest technology.
Rental companies like ours make sure that you receive the equipment several days before your party and are on hand for you to do a soundcheck and to help you with any set-up questions.
More about the equipment below, but you can find more details about our rental process here.
How to set up the equipment. (It is easier than you think)
When you rent the equipment, set-up instructions are included, but it is literally plug-and-play.
The video below shows one of our transmitters.
Live DJ vs Streamed Playlist. (Do you need a professional DJ?)
Before Spotify, Apple Music and the many music streaming platforms that are available these days, you needed a DJ to supply the music and the sound equipment.
These days you can make your own playlist(s) and you can find playlists that others have made including nearly any song that has ever been recorded. The music is digital quality and can be streamed on your phone, tablet or laptop at the press of a button.
So you don’t need a DJ to supply the music and when renting the silent disco headphones and associated transmitters, you don’t need a DJ for their equipment either.
You can connect your cell phone directly to the transmitter. No other equipment is required.
What about the DJ’s expertise at setting up the equipment? Well, as mentioned above, you already know how to use your cell phone, and the transmitters are just plug-and-play.
How to set the volume levels for maximum guest satisfaction.
As mentioned above, each headphone has three channels and the listener can switch from one channel to the other at any given time.
You will connect a music source to each of the transmitters which will, in turn, broadcast to the headphones.
For the example below, let’s assume that one of the music sources is your cell phone.
There are two very important volume-related tips/best-practices.
The first practice is how to make sure your wilder guests can turn up the music as loud as they want.
The solution is to set your source music loud enough so that it sounds really loud to you even when your silent disco headphones are turned down to the halfway point.
In other words, if you are using your cell phone for the music source, turn the headphones that you are wearing down to at least the halfway point and then start turning up your cell phone.
While wearing your silent disco headphones at their 50% volume, turn up your cell phone until the music is as loud as you can stand.
Leave your cell phone at that volume during the party so that your rowdiest guests can turn up their silent disco headphones way louder than you would ever want to turn up yours. That way, you’ll never get any complaints that your guests “couldn’t get the music loud enough.”
The second practice is how to assure that each channel is broadcasting at the same volume.
As we mentioned above, your guests will be switching channels on their headphones frequently. They don’t want to keep adjusting their volume each time they switch.
The solution is to make sure each of the music sources are set at the same output volume.
Don’t change the volume of the cell phone we just finished setting in the example above, and instead, match the other two devices to that one.
What type of music works best?
At silent disco parties, songs that participants know the lyrics to, can sing along with, songs with defined movements and songs that are in the ‘rave’ category with a powerful ‘bass drop’ work the best.
Silent disco is not particularly well suited for slow-dancing, serious songs, mid-tempo songs or relatively unfamiliar songs.
If it is a serious song, it needs to be one that everybody knows and can sing along with. Overall, the headphones work best with ‘fun’ party-style songs.
Obviously, what defines a ‘fun’ party-style song is your guests at your party. Choose your playlists accordingly.
We do not recommend having a different music genre on each channel.
In fact we highly discourage separating the channels by genre because in-turn, it separates your guests by genre and lowers their interaction with each other.
All three channels should have genre mixed playlists in order to maximize the fun and interactivity had by your guests.
Because the headphones show which channel they are picking up by the color of the LEDs on the earpieces, you can see which channel your friends are listening to and they can see the same of you.
This interactive element between your guests makes switching channels and encouraging your friends to do the same half of the fun! In order to maximize this amusing communication between your guests, you want all three channels to be equal in their appeal to everyone present.
How to keep the headphones from walking away.
Whether you rent or own the headphones, you don’t want people taking them home or losing them. Here are some ideas to help you hang on to them.
Obviously this is not going to be a problem with close family and friends. These ideas are for those instances when you may not know the guests.
- Hold onto their driver’s license while they have the headphones. You can keep the licenses in alphabetical order for quick return after the party.
- Have staff at the entrance and exits so that nobody enters without picking up a headphone and nobody leaves without relinquishing a headphone.
- Some vendors have RFID tags on the headphones and scanners to keep track of who has which headphone. – Beware that this will be an extra fee and not all vendors offer it.
- Number the headphones with a sticker and write down each guest’s name next to the number of the headphone they have.
- Hold onto their student ID in exchange for the headphones if it is at a school.
Do you need a light show?
A light show is extremely optional because the headphones themselves provide a human light show that is far more interesting than a mechanical light show ever could be.
Not only are the dancers jumping up and down to the music, but as they switch the channel they are listening to, the color on the headphones changes too.
in 2020, most of the rental headphones available light up according to their selected channel.
The headphones that we supply light up in the colors blue, red, and green depending on which channel they are on.
In the rare event that you actually have three DJs and each DJ is covering one of the channel colors, it is nice to have their DJ station lit up with the color of their channel but the same effect could be achieved with color coded T-shirts on the DJs.
In cases where the music is supplied by streamed playlists on personal devices such as cell phones or laptops, a light show is really not needed.
How much will it cost?
Pricing for a live DJ, support staff or a band varies widely by location and name recognition, so I am only going to cover equipment costs in this post.
First the price to purchase and then the price to rent:
Purchasing smaller quantities can be as little as $33.00 per headphone and $129.00 per transmitter. The headphones use rechargeable batteries and require dedicated chargers. The chargers charge 16 headphones at a time and run $27.00 apiece.
We sell headphone packages here.
The cost to rent varies by vendor, but expect to pay between $4.00 and $8.00 per headphone. As you can imagine, the rental price per unit goes down as the rented quantity goes up.
To further confuse the issue, some vendors charge $50.00 to $100.00 more for the rental of the transmitters will others include the transmitters in the rental price of the headphones. .
Some companies include the shipping in the headphone price, while others charge for shipping on top of their rental fee.
Our prices at Silent-Disco-Rental.com include shipping both ways and all three transmitters. So there are no extra fees when you rent our headphones.
In many cases there will be a security fee that you pay up-front and get back once the rental is over.