Connecting Speakers to the DDJ-400 Correctly (11 Problems Solved)
So you have a DDJ-400, and you believed that you had everything set up. Rekordbox has songs queued and playing, but there is no sound output.
It can be challenging to connect the DDJ-400 to speakers and resolve speaker problems whether you're a beginner or a seasoned DJ.
Referring to the manual/diagram to ensure you have things connected up correctly sometimes isn't enough.
I'll address all the issues you can encounter after demonstrating how to connect the DDJ-400 to active and passive speakers in this article.
Let's begin straight away.
Initial Checks on the DDJ-400 When the Speakers Are Not in Use
The preliminary checks you must perform are as follows:
- Verify that your laptop is not being used as the output. On the Rekordbox home page, there is a button that resembles a computer with speakers in the upper right corner.
- Select the DDJ-400 as your audio output device in Rekordbox's options.
- When you choose "DDJ-400 WASAPI" as your Audio Source, there is also a checkbox below which states, "Output audio from the computer's built-in speakers and your DJ equipment (PC MASTER OUT)."
- You can choose Master Output from the list of options under "Output Channels." As an example, choose "DDJ-400 WASAPI: MASTER + Speakers (Realtek High Definition Audio)" when selecting the speakers you want to use.
- Make careful to raise the volume and trim sliders.
- Make sure the Channel Fader (located below the sliders) is not pulled to one side if only one channel is playing audio.
- Make sure the sliders for Trim and Volume are both turned up.
- Make sure the gain knob on the controller is all the way up.
- Check that your speakers are compatible with other audio equipment.
DDJ-400 Active/Powered Speaker Connection
An active speaker is the most typical kind of speaker used when mixing on a DDJ-400. These speakers combine speakers and an amplifier, eliminating the need for additional audio equipment.
The DDJ-400 can be connected to powered speakers in one of three ways:
- Directly attach speakers to your laptop or computer.
- Sync them with your DDJ-400.
- Utilize an audio interface to connect them to Rekordbox (not common)
Remember that the DDJ-400 can function without drivers. Installing additional driver software is not necessary. When your controller is linked to your Mac or PC through a USB cable, the standard Windows or Mac OS audio driver will immediately be installed.
You might be unsure of how to connect powered speakers (like the Mackie Thump 12a) if you just got them because otherwise there won't be any sound.
It's possible to make a mistake and connect both cables to the mix-out port rather of a channel input, like in the following example:
You need an RCA male to XLR connector. I'm not advising that you purchase this specific wire; I'm only illustrating your needs.
Therefore, after connecting it to the RCA ports, you would connect that wire to channel 1 of the first speaker and channel 1 of the second speaker.
RCA from the master should be connected to the Channel 1 or Channel 2 inputs. Another speaker can receive the signal through the mix out output.
How are many active speakers connected?
Take four speakers that are active as an illustration.
Having two RCA splitters so that you have four outputs and then putting your XLR to RCA cords in those outputs is the easiest option, I feel. However, splitters should be avoided because they introduce undesired noises into the system at loud volumes as a result of numerous grounding issues.
Instead, purchasing a mixer board would likely be beneficial as it would provide the four speakers considerably greater latitude in volume control. Such a device would be effective in reducing noise.
The signal will be lost with a straightforward splitter. Find out if you can connect your mixer's RCA port to the RCA port on the first speaker, and then connect the first speaker and second speaker using XLR.
Additionally, you can purchase a used receiver and attach the four speakers to it. Some second-hand older receivers will only set you back 50 bucks or so, which should work perfectly!
DDJ-400 Speaker Connection to Passive Speakers
If you have passive (unpowered) speakers, there are a few extra steps to set them up because they need an amplifier to work. Just as important as operating powered speakers is knowing how to connect your audio interface to passive speakers.
The RCA outputs on the DDJ-400 must be connected to an amplifier before being sent to the speakers, which have both 1/4" and speakON inputs.
You want an external amplifier to ensure the sound signal from your DDJ-400 is powerful enough to use speakers correctly. RCA from the DDJ to the amp's Line/AUX RCA input. Standard speaker wire is used to connect the speakers at the amp (such as this one from Amazon).
DDJ-400 L/R Via RCA (may need to adjust to TS or use a DI box like the ProAV2 > Qx1202 > TRS from the controller's L/R to the active speaker > Active speaker output is fed into the sub's input.
Always link the output of one device to the input of another. By reading the paperwork and making sure the signal travels from Output to Input to Output to Input, etc., you can determine how everything is connected.
You can simply utilize an RCA to XLR connection even if your amp only has XLR inputs. All of the signals are line-level, although your input volume will be roughly half that of an XLR.
Also useful would be a mixer. The mixer and amp might be connected together using XLR to boost volume and reduce noise. Additionally, keeping the RCA cord short will reduce potential noise.
Why DDJ-400's Included Cable Might Be a Problem
Don't panic if you find that the level has suddenly been turned up and that your speakers are emitting unpleasant static. Usually, the issue is the DDJ-400's supplied cable, which lacks a ferrite coating.
The sound will go away if you lower the DDJ-400's master volume, proving that the speaker is not the problem.
Your laptop makes static noise, which is typically caused by an HDMI output (I saw this scenario many times on stage).
You're set to go once you exchange it with a respectable cable (like a Wireworld Chroma cable). Simply purchase that item for a reasonable price.
DDJ-400 Monitor Connection Using Only XLR Input
If you have a DDJ-400 and a set of studio monitors with only an XLR input on the back, you may be wondering how to connect them both to your controller. You may also be wondering whether an audio interface is absolutely necessary and, if so, which one you should get.
Do RCA to XLR, RCA to 3.5mm Plug to XLR, or double RCA to double XLR all provide sound of different quality?
I experienced with the same situation when I got my Krk Rokit 8 G4s. XLR cables with male RCA plugs on the opposite end are required.
You can also go TRS to RCA. For me, the G4s had a hybrid plug that could accommodate either a TRS or an XLR cable.
The most cost-effective option would be something similar to this, although you would still need to provide RCAs.
As an alternative, you could get this. Just be sure to avoid purchasing a stereo TRS cable that connects a single 1/4 to two RCAs.
DDJ-400 Audio Interface Connection
I recently purchased a set of speakers and a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, and I haven't encountered any issues with either. I'll describe how to connect the DDJ-400 to the audio interface, as well as any potential problems and how to fix them, below.
- Use an RCA to 1/4 Jack cable to connect the DDJ-400 to the audio interface.
- The interface took a time to recognize the DDJ400.
- Choose the DDJ400 as the sound output in the audio options.
The sole difference between a Mac and a Windows computer is that a Macbook has the option to "Output audio via the computer's built-in speakers and your DJ equipment."
Issues with Windows computers
On Windows PC, the DDJ-400 occasionally performs admirably for a brief period of time (the sound is audible both through the speakers and in the headphones), but then the music starts to crash, strange noises begin to play, and the audio occasionally stops.
Connect Rekordbox as Asio to the audio interface. That will only permit one application to access it, thus you will only be able to choose between Windows sound and Rekordbox. You must establish a Windows Audio device connection.
Make sure Windows hasn't made the DDJ 400 the default audio device as well. If you utilize the audio interface, you also won't be able to use the DDJ's headphone output. It is preferable to choose the DDJ as the output and then select the other output as the audio interface so that Master goes to both.
How do you choose additional output, too?
- Select "output audio from PCs' built-in speakers" under Audio.
- output channels, master output, and audio output
- "DDJ-400:Master + Focusrite USB Audio" should be chosen.
Use an audio interface only if necessary. In Recordbox, duplicating the audio is a last-ditch fix that you shouldn't rely on because different soundcards typically have varying delay levels.
Don't connect the DDJ-400 to another soundcard; instead, connect it to your amplifier or powered speakers, your headphones, and the device's built-in soundcard. The DDJ-400 soundcard can still be used as the system playback device outside of Rekordbox if you so want.
Keep in mind that switching from digital (DDJ-400) to analog (DDJ-400 RCA output) and back to digital (via an audio interface) can reduce the sound quality (audio interface).
In an ideal world, your signal chain should remain entirely digital up until your speakers.
How to Fix a Low Volume Issue?
Even with the trim turned all the way up, speakers attached to the controller occasionally don't sound nearly as loud as they should. Why does it seem like the DDJ-400 is capping the volume?
I've seen a lot of people ask similar queries online, but I've never seen someone provide an answer.
Rekordbox's headroom settings are to blame. It's -9db, so if you have trim set to 12, you'll be even quieter than if you were using the same setting with your regular music.
- Use the trim knobs to set the meters on Rekordbox and the controller to a healthy "barely ever touching red" level.
- Go to the Rekordbox settings page. There should be an output gain reduction setting under controller>Mixer. It is usually set to -9 dB. Adjust to 0 dB
It's possible that the problem with your setup is at a different level if you hear clipping and it's under red. The fact that your DDJ didn't have the -9db headroom, for example, may have revealed that you were driving the speakers too hard.
I looked at the few speaker manuals, and I noticed some potentially confusing input level indicators on these monitors: When connecting a balanced input (+4db) or an unbalanced input, these numbers appear to reflect the manufacturer-recommended settings at 12 o'clock and 5 o'clock, respectively (-10db).
Try this, too:
- Check that the input control on the rear of both monitors is cranked all the way to the -10 dB mark (5 o'clock) and that your room control and high trim switch are both set to 0 dB because you are using an unbalanced input (RCA to TS 1/4′′).
- Turn the DDJ-400 master volume all the way down before you start playing music. Then, start your favorite track with the channel faders up and the channel meters in the green or amber.
- Examine the "Trim" knobs, which are the grey ones above the EQ and serve as the channel's volume controls. To avoid going too loud, make sure there are no red bars in the colored bars that change color in time with the music between the EQs.
- The master level knob is located on the right (the one that sits all alone). It has a thicker line on the right side. Avoid delving too deeply unless absolutely necessary.
Last but not least, the DDJ-400 occasionally gives the impression that it is restricting your speakers a little. As a result, be careful not to believe that the volume is low when the real issue is your controller's subpar audio interface.
DDJ-400 Sound Problems: Hissing, Static Noise, and Buzzing
It's possible that as soon as you plug in the controller, the speakers start to emit a loud, high-pitched, hissing sound with static noise.
You must turn them off because you cannot even regulate the volume.
Most likely, you're dealing with a ground loop. A similar issue occurred when I immediately connected my JBL104 speakers to the DDJ400.
I purchased a new powerboard and attached everything to it except the speakers.
Cable management - I played the sound through the speakers to make sure none of the speaker cords linking the laptop speakers to the power supply or other connections in my setup crossed over there. Recently, I also installed a subwoofer, so the sound now loops from the laptop to the sub to the speakers.
I receive no hissing or loud sounds now. The other day, when I streamed music using speakers directly attached to the DDJ, there was no static or hissing.
Even intelligent was my friend. He recently placed an order for a ground loop isolator, which is installed in the speaker wire line and quickly resolved his noise problem.
The ground isolator essentially plugs into your RCA outputs, where you then connect your speaker cords. Very affordable and powerful. The best $15 you've probably ever spent.
Buzzing is another sign that you most likely have ground looping.
When attaching the DDJ-400, buzzing is almost certainly caused by ground looping. Do you also hear the audio, or is it simply buzzing? If you unplug the laptop and use it battery-only, does the buzzing stop? In rare cases, touching the laptop may also stop the buzzing.
I experienced the identical problem and had to get new speakers.
There are a few solutions that can help:
- Between your laptop and the sound system, place a ground loop isolator.
- Try using a different power outlet for your laptop.
- For your laptop, use a different power adaptor.
Do you use the original Apple power adaptor when using a Macbook? When utilizing an inexpensive power adapter to connect laptops and controllers to their monitors, I've heard some folks experience buzzing.
You may encounter ground loops regularly as a DJ, especially if you are setting up your own sound systems for events or hosting nights at a club (i.e., playing more of a role than just "rock up and play"). Ground loops are a pain in the butt to find, but it's fantastic practice.