Take Your Set To The Next Level With One Or More Of These Insane DJ Lights
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Your mixing and beat matching are second to none, you’ve got scratching down to a fine art, you have your finger on the pulse of music trends, and you know what beats fill the dance floor — all the rudiments of a great DJ, and yet… something’s missing.
You’re an amazing performer, but your shows seem to lack the flash and flare of your contemporaries. No matter how much you practice, you still can’t seem to create the energy you see at your friend’s shows.
Well, if it’s not your DJ chops to blame, then it’s a good chance that it’s something more tangible, something like your light show... or absence of one, anyway.
Lighting can make or break our shows, so although it has nothing to do with our abilities, it’s an important performative aspect to consider, which is why I’m hooking you up with this list of the 5 best DJ lights around.
Incorporate some of these luminous hype men into your set, and you’ll achieve that electric atmosphere you’ve been seeking all this time.
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
It’s best to approach your lighting the way a painter approaches their canvas. Start with a mellow foundation that you can build upon with more prominent details later on.
This moody foundation should always be established with a PAR light, and this Chauvet PAR is the best in the business.
Featuring full DMX-compatible RGB color mixing, you don’t have to settle for one color, rather you can program the light to shade shift and evolve with your set as it plays out.
Then again, if you’re still finding your light designing feet, you needn’t program it at all, as it arrives with sound activation mode, meaning it can sense your beat and will create a corresponding light show automatically.
It also features an auto mode for instant pre-programmed light sequences out the box.
But the benefits of this PAR don’t begin and end with its lighting potential, it’s also an incredibly practical object.
The space-friendly, slimline design makes it highly portable, perfect for the touring DJ, and it’s easier to store once the tour comes to a close, too.
- Full RGB — No filters required.
- LED — No waiting for it to cool down after your show.
- Slimline profile — Portable, space-friendly in storage.
- Automation — Sonic and auto-activation mode make it usable out the box.
- Price — A full array will cost you.
We all know how effective a strobe can be in a club gig. It can single-handedly take the energy of a show to the next level and beyond, but only if you find a good one, and the Shocker Panel, my friend, is the best!
Featuring four discrete controllable zones, you can take what is a fairly one-trick-pony lighting effect, and add some nuance to keep things fresh.
This prevents your audience from feeling like they’re being battered over the head with a single form of illumination.
The LEDs are insanely powerful, guaranteed to give you that true frame-by-frame strobe effect that makes a show such an otherworldly experience for the audience.
And thanks to the preset sequences, you don’t even need to know much about programming to start using this light.
Once you’re ready to take more of a hands-on approach to your lighting, the D-FI support means you can control them wirelessly with a DMX controller or even link multiple Shocker Panels together to create articulate slave/master or chaser sequences.
Putting the icing on the strobe cake is the virtually indestructible die-cast housing, ensuring it can handle the rigors of club gigs, no matter how wild they get.
- High power — True stuttered visuals.
- D-FI support — Wireless control makes setup a breeze.
- Auto mode — Enjoy pre-programmed sequences right out the box.
- 4 zones — Create nuanced strobe patterns.
- Die-cast enclosure — Can handle the club scene.
- Price — The Shocker Panel isn’t cheap.
Forget about buying multiple lasers and trying to get them to play well with one another; this 5-beam monster takes care of business entirely on its own.
Featuring red, blue, green, yellow, and cyan lasers, you can let your creativity run free and create some truly mind-bending visuals.
Not only does this thing feature 100 pre-programmed laser patterns, it also boasts 300 graphics and effects, so you can vary the light design and keep long, all-night shows feeling fresh throughout.
You get 4 modes of control to play with: audio activation senses the bass frequencies in your music and sends the lasers dancing accordingly, auto mode runs presets, DMX mode offers comprehensive laser control, and master/slave mode allows the lights to follow one “master” laser.
The motors are pretty noisy, so it’s best not to use them during intervals or the quiet phase of a rise, but as soon as the beat is bumping, they’re an awesome show enhancer.
- 5 beams — Full laser show in one unit.
- 4 modes — Multiple modes make it suitable for lighting newbies and pros alike.
- Patterns and presets — 400 variations to keep your show fresh.
- Motor — Can be kind of noisy.
If you’re looking for a moonflower-style effect light to bring a bit of flavor to the dance floor, then look no further than this unit from Aoellit.
This 30-watt RGB light is capable of transforming a boring venue wall into a mesmerizing psychedelic display with hundreds of different patterns and sequences, and it arrives with a remote control, so you can use it independently of your DMX setup.
In fact, if you’re not feeling up to programming just yet, you can fall back on sound activation and auto mode and let this multifaceted light take care of itself.
Alternatively, you can set up master/slave mode and have it follow a pre-programmed light’s lead.
It also features laser and strobe functionality, so if you’re looking for something with a broad range of applications, it’s a great place to start. Considering just how compact this unit is, you won’t believe how much it can do!
- Multiple effects — Beautify your dance floor with ever-changing patterns.
- 6 control modes — Easy to operate for beginners.
- Durable — The robust enclosure can handle the club scene.
- Includes remote control — No need to linger by a control console.
- Sound Activation — The mic isn’t that sensitive, so you’ll have to keep it close to the speaker.
A powerful centerpiece can kick the immersive aspect of your show up a notch, showering the audience in a phantasmagoria of shifting colors and patterns, making the Starburst an indispensable part of any performer’s arsenal.
Featuring 34 super-brilliant beams, you can think of it as your digital mirror ball. Simply program your own custom sequence using the 5-color LEDs and you can turn a hum-drum show into a futuristic rave.
Much like the other lights on my list, you don’t have to be an experienced programmer to have fun with this thing.
Sound activation mode automatically gets the Starburst dancing in time to your music, and auto mode doesn’t even require a beat.
But what makes this centerpiece stand out - for me at least - is the 0–100% dimming function that allows you to create smooth lighting transitions that truly compliment the dynamics of your mix.
- Centerpiece — Can be mounted above the dance floor to create an immersive light show.
- 0–100% functionality — Gentle fades make for more accurate light choreography.
- 34 beams — Lots of light for your loot.
- 3 control modes — Different levels of control make it suitable for both beginners and pros.
- Price — It costs a pretty penny, but it is an incredibly powerful and versatile lighting tool.
Best DJ Lighting — Buyer’s Guide
What exactly constitutes a piece of “DJ lighting”? Are there lots of this sort of product out there? Which would complement my show?
If you’re new to the visual side of performance, it can be tough figuring out what you should be looking for, but this buyer’s guide will nudge you in the right direction and give you all the info you need to buy with confidence.
Types Of DJ Lighting
PARs And Spots
PAR stands for parabolic aluminized reflector. These lamps are often used in theater for their flat, even light, but they can be incredibly effective in any situation involving a stage.
Applying color filters to PAR lights lets you easily set the mood of your booth. When you see a DJ behind decks completely saturated with a mellow glow, that’s PAR lighting.
You can then highlight performers or specific areas of the stage with a narrow-beam spotlight, adding a bit of nuance to a show.
These lights aren’t exactly going to whip the crowd up into a frenzy, but they will give you gravitas behind the decks and help to set the mood before more mobile lights get the people dancing.
PARs with traditional bulbs can get pretty hot, so I’d recommend looking for some with LEDs, as they run way cooler.
If you really want to create an immersive experience for audience members, then you should consider investing in some motorized lighting.
Set on tripods, mounted on-stage, hung over the stage, or even set up on the dance floor itself, these lights react to your music in real-time, spinning, tilting, panning, and generally adding a more dynamic element to your show.
Most of these lights feature sound activation modes, meaning you won’t have to program them, just link them up and watch them dance to your beats.
Capable of transforming a venue into an otherworldly ride through space and time, you should always have at least a couple of strobes in your arsenal.
Loaded with either super powerful LEDs or high-watt Xenon lamps, strobes emit a pulsing light that bumps up the energy of a show like nothing else, helping people to forget themselves and their anxieties, give in to the rhythm, and throw some shapes on the floor.
Here’s another club staple. Laser lamps fire off tons of superfine beams of light that - when mixed with a smoke machine - can stretch across entire venues, adding yet another immersive visual element to your show.
They may not be as essential as some other lighting types, but lasers can really make for a memorable performance and make your show feel special.
The constant whir of colorful beams creates an intoxicating soup of sensory overload that leads to one thing and one thing only… a full dance floor!
Effects lighting is a rather broad category that spans from moonflower lamps that can create a dizzying display of moving spots on the dance floor, to Gobo projectors that enable a custom output.
You can use this sort of lighting to compliment your existing array, or as a way to spruce up otherwise dull areas of a venue that your other lights perhaps don’t quite reach.
Controlling Your DJ Lights
Now you know what your options are, you’re probably wondering how the hell you’re supposed to control all these lights. After all, you’re not an electrical engineer; you’re a DJ.
DMX stands for digital multiplex. It’s a protocol for connecting your lights and running them into some sort of control console.
As I’ve touched upon already, some lights feature sound activation, meaning they just need to hear your bass pumping to burst into action. You won’t have to do any linking or programming whatsoever. Mount them, turn them on, and play some beats.
A lot of lights come with preset light sequences, so they can be used right away. This feature gives your lights license to do as they please while you do your thing behind the decks.
The light show won’t be tailored to your performance, but it can hold you over until you learn to program.
Master/Slave & Chase
Master/slave mode allows numerous (slave) lights to follow a single (master) light. Chase is similar, but the lights follow the master light in a staggered sequence.
Best DJ Lighting — FAQ
Got time to check out a brief DJ lighting FAQ segment before your next show?
Do DJs Bring Their Own Lights?
Wedding and party DJs do normally bring their own lights, but that’s not to say a venue won’t have some in-house lighting as well. It’s your job to assess the established lighting situation in a venue and work out how your array will fit into the ecosystem.
Generally speaking, club DJs don’t bring their own illumination, as any club worth it’s salt will already be packed to the nines with show lights.
Is There Such A Thing As Too Many Lights In A DJ Set?
It’s very easy to get carried away with your DJ lighting, and while the right combination of fixtures will improve your show, there’s definitely such a thing as too many lights.
Have you ever heard a musician say how it’s important to “serve the song”? Well, you have to approach your lighting in the same way. Does each light really serve the set, or can some of them stay in storage for this particular show?
What Is A DMX Lighting Control?
DMX is the protocol used to link all of your lights together. A DMX lighting controller is the physical console that you plug your linked lights into, so you can orchestrate your light show. You can think of it as a mixer, but for lights rather than audio.
Is Context Significant When It Comes To DJ Lighting?
Context is critical when it comes to DJ lighting. Playing a club downtown is not the same as playing a wedding in a rustic barn out in the country.
You need to tailor your light show to the venue, the event, the type of music you’ll be playing, and the people who will be attending the show.
What Is Selective Visibility?
Selective visibility refers to how lighting can be used to control what is and isn’t visible on stage.
Should I Get A Smoke Or Haze Machine?
Once you’ve equipped yourself with all the DJ lights you require, your next port of call should be to invest in either a smoke or haze machine.
Not only does smoke augment shows with another atmospheric visual dimension, but the way it interacts with light is truly magical.
I personally prefer haze machines over smoke machines, as they filter through a venue evenly in a more subtle and mystical manner.
That’s your lot from me; did any of these epic DJ lights catch your eye? If you currently don’t have any lighting, I’d recommend starting with the Chauvet PAR Light and building your lighting array from there.
I know the pricing of decent DJ lights is enough to make you consider giving it all up and joining an Amish community, but you have to think of them as an investment in your future. The better your light shows are, the greater the chance you’ll re-book the venue.
Eventually, word will get out about your mind-blowing performances, and you’ll be the hottest ticket in town!