People usually suggest this idea because they want the non-headphone wearers to have fun too. They don’t realize how much fun Silent Disco is to watch. But, here is the thing: Silent Disco is only fun to watch in silence.
When there is only silence, it is incredible to watch the people dancing to (seemingly) no music. It is a crazy fun to be NOT wearing the headphones at a silent party because it LOOKS so weird!
But it only looks weird if you can’t hear music. The silence creates cognitive dissonance that is hilarious. By having audible music playing for your non-headphone wearing guests, you are depriving them of a really good time.
Audible music coming from loudspeakers takes away from the headphone wearers because some of it bleeds through the headphones.
Don’t get me wrong; Our headphones do provide sound isolation (some call it noise cancellation) but it is only due to the headphones covering the ear. In other words it is not much.
The headphone wearers will only hear a little bit of the loudspeakers but it will be enough to diminish the experience.
Now there is nothing wrong with having a small speaker playing quiet background music while the headphones are being used. The wearers won’t hear that and it won’t disturb them. . But if you are having a DJ with big speakers play music at any sort of volume that DJ’s usually play- that will ruin the headphone experience.
There is nothing worse than hearing two songs at the same time. -Also, remember that Big speakers used by DJ’s also provide knee shaking bass that people actually “Feel” in their body. The headphones don’t have that. So, even if the headphone wearers don’t hear the high frequencies from the big loudspeakers, they will feel the low frequencies from the big loudspeakers and again that will cause a significant decrease in any pleasure the headphone wearers are feeling.
Another important aspect of the Silence is that it motivates people to try the headphones.
They want to hear what everyone else is hearing. They don’t want to miss out. And if they have their own audible music from loudspeakers, that pressure to put on the headphones is taken away.
In closing: There is nothing wrong with a regular DJ just playing loudspeakers. I do that for a living. There is nothing wrong with Silent Disco, but it does require silence.
Loud and silent simply don’t mix.
There is definitely something wrong with trying mixing the two party formats. It is all around a totally bad idea.
A DJ is not necessarily needed for the following five reasons.
Reasons to hire a DJ (Not):
A DJ brings the equipment: – Not needed for silent disco because you’ve rented the equipment from me.
A DJ supplies the music and the music player – Not needed because you can use your phone and a pre-made Spotify playlist (one device playing music for each of the three transmitters that I send you – maybe 1 phone, 1 laptop, and 1 tablet -each running three different streaming music accounts)
A DJ decides how loud it should be – Not needed because each headphone wearer has their own volume control to adjust at will.
A DJ decides what _ONE_ song to play that everyone has to listen to. – Not needed (as much) because you will be playing three different playlists simultaneously and your guests can choose which of those three songs they want to listen to. -Also, because of those three simultaneous choices, human nature chooses the best of the three songs instead of judging the one song.
The Last reason to hire a DJ is so that they can do announcements. Unfortunately, I have to tell you that even with three DJ’s it can be difficult to do announcements effectively with silent disco. The reason is that unless all three DJ’s announce the same announcement at exactly the same time, guests are probably not listening to the channel that the DJ is announcing on and also, they may not even be wearing their headphones at all when the announcement is made. For that reason, even with live DJ’s silent disco is not a good format to use when announcements must be made.
But remember, without a DJ, You do need to supply music and a music player for each transmitter.-For example: Your phone streaming a Spotify playlist. (Or Apple Music or Tidal or Amazon music or YouTube Red or Pandora or music already on your device) Or your laptop or your tablet or your ipod or your mp3 player. If you are familiar with the premium version of streaming services, they offer really good playlists already made and they make it very easy to create your own playlist. Spotify even offers cross-fading between songs. (in the settings)
Tips to DJ a Silent Disco Party:
Set the source volume while wearing the headphones at 50% volume.
Some dancers want their music louder than you do.
If you set the source volume while your headphones are turned all the way up, your guests can’t make the music any louder in their headphones.
You want to set the source volume with your headphones only half-way up so that your guests will be able to turn up significantly farther than that.
Make sure the source volume is the same on each channel.
You want the source volumes the same on each channel so that dancers don’t have to readjust their volumes when the switch channels.
Set the source volumes while wearing the silent disco headphones.
Switch between all three channels. If one channel is quieter than another, adjust the volume on your phone, tablet, or computer until that channel matches the others.
Don’t split out the channels by genre.
You want to have fun songs from every genre on every channel.
Half the fun of silent disco is switching channels and the social interaction between the dancers trying to get each other to join with them in listening to their favorite song.
If you make each channel predictably different, you split your crowd and rob them of the fun of their interaction between each other.
Use mostly fast, fun and/or singable songs.
There is something about silent disco that makes people want to have fun, jump around, or sing-a-long.
Play songs that are fun, fast, and singable that lend themselves to that type of behavior.
This is not the time to play songs that are serious, sad and/or mid-tempo.
Use as many genres as possible.
This is not a night club atmosphere where you want to stick to just a few genres and keep the beat the same through the whole night.
With silent disco, guests want you to mix up the playlist.
As alluded to above, silent disco is not the place for serious dancers. It is the place for serious fun. The way you achieve that is by playing favorites songs from all over the map.
Learn more tips for putting on a silent disco party with this guide.
You can absolutely use your own DJ. Most of my clients do. The transmitters are built into a briefcase so that all you have to do is plug in the electric. No wiring or changing settings is required. You plug your audio playing device(s) into the cord(s) coming out of the transmitter(s) and you are ready to party.
Set-up of my equipment is literally the time it takes to open the briefcase and plug in the power cord. “Done.”
From there, you plug into the provided aux cord and set the volume in your audio device. (It is set up to accommodate phones, computers, tablets, iPods and mp3 players of all types. I provide two other types of adapters to accommodate most professional DJ equipment.
Note that I make sure you get the equipment at least two days in advance so that you have time to do a sound check and call me with any questions.
How long does shipping take?
Shipping is anywhere within the USA within five business days. I am in New York State, so, if you live close by, it takes less time. *Of course I have to receive payment far enough ahead for it to clear before I ship. **As noted in my website, shipping is free. And that is both ways.
How it works:
Payment – I need to receive the rental fee and security deposit before I ship your equipment. Once I receive the equipment back without loss, you get the security deposit back. We would also sign a contract that says how much each lost or damaged item costs in case of loss.
The equipment – you get three transmitters so that headphone wearers can choose between three channels of different music. They can switch anytime during the party and they have their own volume control too.
The music – I have put on these parties using 3 DJ’s(one broadcasting on each channel),1 DJ(That 1 DJ broadcasting 3 different songs on the 3 different channels), and also with no DJ at all(just the devices playing 3 different playlists automatically, 1 to each channel, the playlists were set up ahead of time)
You rented our disinfected headphones and now you are wondering, what music to play at your silent disco party?
If you, like most people who rent our headphones, are using phones or tablets with playlists from Spotify, Apple Music or similar services, this article will help you to choose which songs to put on your playlists.
If you are a live DJ or manipulating your playlist during the party, these same principles apply.
What is the single most important thing to consider when choosing awesome music for your party playlist?
Below is a curated playlist from Spotify that works every time!
Notice how familiar the songs look? That means your guests will know them and be able to sing along.
In Silent Disco, your guests want to sing along. Always. That is the single most important metric for silent disco song selection.
The above Spotify playlist is long enough to use on all three channels. Start at the beginning on one device. Start a third of the way through on a second device. Start it two-thirds of the way through on your third device.
Remember that you need to have three different streaming accounts or a family account.
Most streaming platforms only allow one simultaneous stream per device.
Should you have assigned genres to each channel?
We think it is more fun to mix it up and just play anything that is uber popular on any channel.
So, play the most popular songs on all of the channels without regard for genre.
It is a popular playlist strategy to assign each channel a general genre as a guideline. It is believed that this makes it easier for the guests to stay in the mood.
People say that it helps them to keep the channels straight in their heads and it helps the playlist creator/DJ’s to keep from repeating songs from channel to channel.
They may choose top 40 for one of the channels, retro for another and dance-able rock music for the third. (This is just an example. In a more urban setting, you might need old school rap, R&B or a Latin channel.)
We think it is more fun for your guests when you mix it up on each channel. It encourages more togetherness by preventing people from splitting up according to genre.
Let me give some perspective from a traditional DJ dominating the room with loud speakers turned up to eleven.
When a DJ is using a traditional sound system, they have the benefit of being the only music in the room. The listeners don’t have the option of switching to a different channel. This gives the DJ more leeway in song selection.
If listeners don’t care for the song, they may leave the dance floor, but they are not going to turn it off by switching the channel on their headphones.
This is THE game changer that is driving the rapid rise of Silent Disco as a party medium. Suddenly it is up to the listener instead of the DJ to decide what song they are going to listen to. When you look at it that way, it is no surprise that Silent Disco is so popular!
It is the same model we’ve seen on TV and radio. Thanks to the Internet and streaming services we all expect to be able to choose our own media. Why should it be different at a party?
But even a DJ with a traditional sound system needs to play something the crowd knows if she wants to be asked back again. It is a rare club where the DJ can get away with playing unknown music and be able to keep people on the dance floor while doing it.
But with three channel Silent Disco parties, it is important time three to play something the crowd knows, because anything else is simply ignored by judicious use of the channel sector switch.
You’ve got to understand that the mind of the partying listener is always wondering what is on the other channels. They are always worried that they might be missing an awesome song that is playing right now!
So they switch channels every 30 seconds. And when they do, you have only moments to capture them. If they land on your channel during that boring instrumental part, they are gone to the next channel. Hint: If you are DJ’ing live for Silent Disco, queue up past the boring instrumental part!
If they land on your channel while it is playing a song that they don’t know, they are switching channels. You’ve lost them to your channel (for at least thirty seconds).
Play something they know!
There are several ways to “Know” a song. You could know the melody and the beat. It is even better to know the words to a song. The ultimate best way to know a song is to know the moves too!
A perfect example of a song with awesome moves that everybody knows, is the song, “Shout.” Yes, it has fantastic opportunities to sing the words back to the performer (or DJ), but it is those classic dance moves drive that song over the top! Anyone who sees those dance moves, even if their headphones are set to a different song, knows what song those people are dancing to.
If that song is not on your list – you are missing a huge opportunity.
Now “Shout” is a superstar on the list, but there are a gazillion others that are far more subtle. Examples are any songs that ask you to do anything with various body parts. If it is not in the lyrics, it might be from a music video or movie soundtrack.
Gangnam Style is an example of how a music video can create moves for a song. We don’t even know what many of the words are, but it was the moves in the music video that made the song memorable. It was those same moves imitated by dancers that made the song so much fun on a dance floor.
Everybody knows how much fun it is to sing along to a pumpin’ song and it is even more fun to be singing and doing the moves in perfect time with your friends. Nothing could be better!
So choose songs that have memorable lyrics and moves.
Play songs that they ALL know!
The bests songs are songs that everybody at the party knows. If you play a song that only half of your guests know, and follow it with a song that all of your guests know. The latter will be more fun even if it is not near as good of a song.
Let me say that another way. The quality of the song matters less than the number of people who know it.
Play the best song ever written -but known by few, and your dance floor will be empty. Play a sub-par song – but one that everybody knows, and your dance floor will be packed!
One last word: It is tempting to allow a friend with a phone to run their playlist for awhile. We caution you to first take a look at what they are about to play. If she has a list of songs that your guests don’t know, don’t let her play them.
Your party is NOT the place to promote obscure music or to enlighten your friends about the newest songs. Your party is for having fun. Your party is for bringing people together in a celebration of life.
What is it really like when you go to a silent disco and why doesn’t it look like fun on YouTube?
Silent disco looks really stupid on video. It just does not translate well.
Silent disco even sounds stupid when you try to tell someone what it is like. At the end of the day, the old cliche is true. “You’ve just got to experience if for yourself!”
And yet, here we are! I’m going to attempt to tell you what it is like in spite of the odds against me.
So, against your better wisdom, you have finally given in to three months of nagging from your best friend. You are going to a silent disco tonight!
Your friend is all excited and you are about as comfortable as an earthworm stuck in the middle of the road as the sun is coming up.
You get there and there is a line. You hate waiting in lines!
Your friend explains that they have to check you in at the door to assign you a pair of headphones and hold your ID in order to make sure the headphones don’t get stolen.
Great! Not only are you going to feel stupid once you get in there, but you have to wait in line for the privilege.
Hopefully nobody will recognize you while you wait.
Finally you get to the head of the line. They hand you your headphones in exchange for your ID. They start to explain how the headphones work as your friend interrupts saying she’ll take care of that. What?
You can’t just listen to music? You didn’t need instructions for your ear buds! What kind’ve archaic headphones are these that you need instructions?
There is a channel selector, a volume wheel and a power switch.
Each time you switch the channel the headset changes color. There are three colors; one for each of the three channels.
The sound quality is surprisingly good.
Being able to set your own volume level is a game-changer for clubbing.
You are so used to having the music uncomfortably loud that it is almost jarring to be able to set it yourself.
Your friend turns to talk to you but you can’t hear her. As you stare at her quizzically, she beckons for you to remove your headphones.
It is shockingly silent! You can talk to your friend without raising your voice!
You find that you can also set the headphones around your neck and hear the music at a low volume while you talk to your friend.
Then you start dancing and that is where the magic happens.
You never knew you were such a good dancer until you tried it with headphones on!
For some reason, your inhibitions disappear when you are wearing headphones!
Somehow your ego is protected by the headphones! They surround you with courage and take you to a place that feels like no one can laugh at you!
You can’t remember ever having this much fun dancing!
Your friend appears to be listening to a different song, and you can tell because her headphones are a different color then yours.
She beckons for you to listen to her channel. You beckon for her to listen to yours.
A hilarious babbling of beckoning ensues with each of you trying to mime louder than the other. You start cracking up! -Having fun in spite of yourself!
You learn that half the fun of silent disco is trying to convince your partner to listen to the same channel you are listening to.
When it comes to songs that have a sing-a-long chorus or a particularly recognizable dance move, you start to over-emphasize everything in an attempt to draw in your partner to your favorite channel.
You find yourself cracking up against your will! There is such a cognitive dissonance to the whole thing!
Soon you’ve forgotten all of your worries of the day and have slipped through the silent disco portal and in an alternate headphone world of hilarity!
Some Silent Discos employ three live DJ’s and each DJ supplies the music for one of the three channels on your headphones.
This leads to an implied competition between the DJs, each trying to get the most people listening to their channel.
Because the headphones change color according to the channel being listened to, the whole room full of bouncing headphones keep sweeping back and forth from color to color.
Because each headphone is on top of a dancers head, it is like one big ever-changing human light show.
This is another source of fun as you make requests of your favorite DJ and/or watch your favorite DJ attract listeners and then lose them.
This drama between DJs is significantly more fun than the typical criticizing of the DJ choices in a traditional clubbing atmosphere.
The sheer number of music choices is a delightful break for our collective attention deficit disorders.
Not only are there three different songs playing at any given time but the DJs tend to switch more often in order to hold their listeners.
Don’t we all just love listening to the first two choruses of a song and then clicking on another favorite? Well now you can!
Add that to the DJs switching songs much more often than they would if they were working alone because of the other two other DJ competitors, and it is a music lover’s paradise!
It is exhaustingly fun! At the end of the night your stomach hurts from all the laughing you did and you feel as relaxed as if you just finished a marathon!
You come home and try to tell your friends about it. They don’t want to hear about it. They just don’t get it.
You can’t figure out why they don’t believe you when you tell them how much fun it was! Then you realize, -that it just doesn’t transfer well.
They’ve just got to be there themselves!
The following video clip from a New York City Silent Disco party gives a pretty good idea of the what the experience feels like and looks like. The language is English once you get about a minute into the video.
Let’s talk about what a silent party is (a.k.a. silent disco) and why you might want one.
A silent party/silent disco is where everyone is listening to the entertainment (or audio from any source) by wearing wireless silent disco headphones instead of by listening to loudspeakers.
There are many variations of audio that people might be listening to but the common denominator in all of these silent parties is that only the people wearing headphones can hear the entertainment.
Some of these headphones can pick up more than one channel of audio. If you have that type, it means your guests can choose from multiple audio entertainment sources.
The headphones that we rent are the three channel type.
Why would you want to host a silent party?
If you need to obey noise ordinances, but you still want to have audio entertainment at your party, then silent disco headphone systems are the best way to go about it.
Even if you want to have a party in your backyard, but you don’t want to annoy your neighbors, keeping the loud music in your guest’s headphones is a great idea!
We see the same type of thing in apartment building parties. You can’t have loud music without pissing off the people who live above you, below you and beside you.
Silent disco headphones are the perfect solution to keep your guests entertained and your neighbors happy at the same time.
Silent disco headphones are also a quiet solution for wedding receptions in quiet places.
Wedding receptions that are in parks, museums, on beaches, and in busy vacation spots often need to keep the noise down or quit early. Again, silent disco headphones are an ideal way to keep everyone happy!
Even weddings on hotels often have to end the loud music at a certain hour. Silent disco headphones can be the perfect way to keep the party going after-hours.
Headphones can be an ideal solution in a variety of other silent applications.
We have seen people use them to watch a movie in their backyard. If they use headphones with multiple channels, guests can have their choice of which movie they want to watch!
These work great at conferences. If your silent disco headphones have three channel options, you can host three separate breakout presentations in the same room. Guests can stay right in the main room and choose which presenter they want to listen to.
Exhibits at trade shows that use audio presentations can use them so that visitors of the exhibit can hear in spite of all the ambient noise around them.
They can be used by translators. Only the people that need the translation would wear the headphones.
And of course at music festivals in town, there could be three performance stages right next to each other. Visitors could choose which performance they want to listen to and onlookers without headphones on could enjoy relative quiet.