How to DJ a Church Dance or Wedding Reception

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Editor’s Note: I found this unpublished life hack from the original creator of MLH, Brett McKay. I’ve added the technical details, but it’s a great tip that also works for wedding receptions (which I’ve done) and other events that are held in the church cultural hall. —Tevya

I remember the days when Church dances required bringing in someone’s clunky home stereo to the cultural hall so the kids could dance. Well, those days are over. Just bust out your MP3 player, smartphone, tablet, or laptop, create a church dance playlist, and hook it up to the cultural hall sound system. Boom. Instant DJ.

Here’s how to hook it up to the sound system in the gym: in most cases you’ll just need a simple cable called an mini-plug to RCA (make sure its male on both ends), and only costs a couple bucks. The “mini-plug” is just the same as your ear-buds, and plugs into that same spot on your music device. The other end has 2 “RCA” plugs (one for the left channel, one for the right) and are color coded red and white. Most cultural halls will have a spot for these to connect near the volume and other controls for the sound system. Just turn the volume way down on the church system, connect up the cable, put your music player’s volume at about 75%, and start the play list playing. Now slowly turn up the church’s system until it’s just right for the occasion. The great thing: you don’t have to babysit it. If you carefully selected your playlist in advance, you can go enjoy the occasion, with everyone else.

If your building is older, you’ll probably want something like a mini-plug to XLR adapter to plug in to those large plugs where the microphone’s plugin. This same adapter is perfect if you want to connect a laptop to a projector and the church building’s sound system.

6 comments
  1. Great suggestion. (And about the "crab" as well)
    Our stake was getting by with a pair of very old giant speakers, hooked to an even older amplifier that would only input the left channel. We were talking to someone from Facilities who asked, "why wouldn't you just use the $25,000 sound system that is already installed in the Cultural Hall.

    He handed us the "crab" we plugged in the laptop, and had the best dance in years. Previously the sound was too loud right in front of the speakers. Now it is evenly ballanced thoughout the gym.

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  3. I would NOT recommend this. Seeing how the church spends thousands of dollars on these systems, they are NOT meant to handle the type of output you will want for a dance of 100 plus kids/members. Also, should you blow any of the speakers, you now are liable for the cost (which could be close to $500 a speaker, why not spend that on a professional who can do a better job than an iPod and you won’t have to worry about the dance.

  4. Ummm, you have the wrong XLR cable for a MP3 mini jack and the voltage levels do not line up with a straight cable like that. You need to attenuate the signal. What you are looking for should be a direct input box (DI box). The crab box is a direct input box. (http://www.emtechelectronics.com/products/multi-input-audio-adapters/ej-8/) or (http://www.emtechelectronics.com/products/multi-input-audio-adapters/ej-8/) should be what you are looking for if you want to use the “big microphone” XLR connector.

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