Watch Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy’s tips for DJing with vinyl

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DJing with vinyl is all about preparation. 

Considering taking your vinyl collection to the club? Always had an interest in DJing with vinyl but never quite known where to start? The art of DJing with vinyl is relatively shrouded in mystery–a somewhat more complicated forefather to increasingly accessible digital DJing options.

While adopters of the vinyl format may be aware of obvious differences between digital and vinyl DJing, there’s an entirely different approach needed for set preparation. “With digital it’s very easy just to rock up, put in your USB stick or your hard drive and you’re ready to go. Vinyl is a whole different story,” Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy explains.

To prevent your song selection from being overshadowed by technical issues, Murphy–the DJ, producer, radio host, founder of Classic Album Sundays and general expert in matters of vinyl and audiophile persuasions–joins us to share her top tips for preparing to DJ with vinyl.

@thevinylfactory Be a vinyl DJing pro #djtips #djtipsandtricks #vinyldj #dj #djing #music #howto #colleenmurphy #classicalbumsundays #vinyl #vinylrecord ♬ original sound – The Vinyl Factory

Bring Your Own Cartridges

It was my friend David Mancuso, who taught me to not share needles, I use top-line Audio Technica 760s or a top-end moving magnet cartridge. Any kind of cartridge will do–hatever a DJ can afford. 

Level The Turntable 

I bring a spirit level that I put on top of the spindle to make sure that the turntable is level.

Set The Tracking Force 

Every single cartridge has an ideal tracking force. You mount your cartridge onto the tonearm and get a little digital scale. I adjust mine to 2g or 1.2g and do that with the counterweight on the back of the tonearm.

Adjust the Anti-Skate

You want to have it ideally so that the stylus is sitting in the groove perfectly, not pulling too far to the left or to the right. You do that by taking a record with a side that doesn’t have grooves. You adjust the anti-skate by first putting it on 33 0 on the pitch control. Place the cartridge/stylus down and it should go to about halfway on the record, and 45 about two-thirds through.

Bring Your Own Slipmat

Another thing I like to do is I like to bring my own slipmats. I just use nice heavy mats–rubber mats, cork mats, something that’s nicer than a felt mat. It isolates the signal a bit more from any kind of ground vibration coming up.

Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy’s Balearic Breakfast Volume 2 LP is out now.

Read more: Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy on Mr Fingers