Stick your nose in the Radio 1 DJ set up

Fancy a nose around one of the studios at BBC Radio 1 ?

Pop the kettle on and I’ll give you a whirlwind tour of a typical DJ setup at the world famous broadcast centre. This is in no way an in depth guide to how these studios work. Unless you happen to be a broadcast engineer, it gets a bit techincally dense. So this is pitched at people with an interest in club, radio and DJ gadgetry and is a simple “high-level over view” of a typical DJ / Presenter set up

Radio 1 Studio Wide

Machine names, IP address’, phone numbers etc have been obscured.

Here’s a wide shot of one of radio studio set ups at New Broadcasting House in London. If you happen to watch any of the live streaming services on the website you might recognise the layout.
Watch a bunch of angry young men having a shouting match in this very studio.


The studios are configured in such a way that should a show need to decamp from one studio to another , say due to a technical issue, the desk and various audio sources can be immediately switched to the DJ / Producers liking. In reality if they do have to abandon a studio for any reason this causes major headaches for the production staff .
This particular studio tends to switch between R1, 1 Xtra and sometime Asian Network. The screen branding alters appropriately.


Here’s a shot of part of the Studio Desk. Sadly, gone are the days of beautifully engineered, discreet analogue desks. These days its simply a control surface that drives a big DSP crate with audio over CAT-5 cabling (boo hoo). These modular desks do the job and, as there’s no audio through the desk, when a DJ drops their coffee all over the faders there are fewer clouds of smoke.
Talking of clouds of smoke this place usually smells pretty funky.

The desk is a Studer On Air 3000 which is a compact, fully assignable digital desk.
The controller with the jog wheel is the control surface for the main audio play out system called VCS Dira! Which is a whole suite of software that edits, records, automates and plays out audio.

Usually when you hear a DJ playing tracks on the radio they are loading them into VCS, assigning them to a channel and cueing/ playing them from this controller. The audio is played from a server which can be accessed from other studios so if things go tits up the production team can pick up the shows running order and associated audio files from another studio location.

You’re probably familiar with this part of the studio. Industry standard Pioneer DJM900 Nexus mixer ,3 CDJ 2000’s , Pioneer EX1000. The effect units vary from studio to studio but the Pioneer hardware is consistent. There’s a pair of Technics 1210’s living under the covers.
Round the back there is Serato SL1 for the phono stage and another Serato SL2 fed from the CDJ inputs. These were spec’d a while back hence the SL1.
Not all DJ’s use the DJ desk but you’ll find folk like Zane Lowe and Mista Jam put these through their paces during a show. Also these are sometimes used for pre-recorded guest mixes.
You’ll notice the headphone socket is hardwired into the DJM900. This is reallllly fucking annoying but is a necessary Health and Safety regulation for hearing protection. The headphone output is limited which means the monitors stay low.
Headphones will vary and often DJ’s have their own preferred cans (plugged into a limited output) here you’ll see Beyerdynamic DT770. They’re pretty sturdy, easy to repair and maintain and importantly are over-the-ear close back design to avoid leakage into the mic.

The Neumann U87 ai is the standard vocal mic suspended across the studios


The mic channels are automatically processed according to the DJ’s specific requirements. One DJ’s mic technique might be close and overbearing while another’s voice might be lower and relaxed. These YellowTec VIP Digital 1U processors adjust to each presenter’s voice profile .

The output of the studio is then further compressed by the TC Electronics Finalizer which adds another dimension to the Radio1 trademark “punch” and is part of the reason your ears feel knackered after listening to R1 for a few hours. Also, if you happen to be listening on an old school FM Radio when you spin the dial across the FM bandwidth the Radio 1 output “ jumps out” .

You don’t need to look at the dial – the tight, compressed audio profile is familiar to listeners even If they don’t realise it. It’s more of a marketing trick than of any sonic benefit.
And, of course, under the desk there is a totally gratutitous sub which you won’t find in the Radio 4 studios.

The back end of all this gadgetry is located in the Local Apparatus Room which looks a lot like this.

Here the systems that control routing, telephony, networking and presentation to the Master Control Room amongst other things. Generally, this is where things start to get interesting.
It’s also where things start to border on the confidential so we’ll stop here before I get bollocked.

Where’s my cuppa?


POP FROM A GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY After the resounding success of BIPP the only possible musical direction Sophie could have taken was straight down the rabbit hole at the end of which you’ll find “Lemonade” a litmus test to see if you’re down-with-the-kids.

If the Star Wars Cantina Band started doing DJ sets to coin in some easy cash they would  play the Sophie back catalogue on loop.
Eff Why Eye: Sophie is rumoured to be a hairy bloke from Scotland.

If you’d like more info why not try to decipher THIS FUCKING WEBSITE.

Answers on a Postcard to someone who gives a toss.




Michael Jackson – Baby Be Mine (Dj ”S” Bootleg )

All Michael Jackson had to do was write one more decent track and the world would forgotten about all those pesky child abuse accusations.
Had he managed to produce another “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin” he could have nailed all the toddlers he wanted. But Jackson is dead as fuck so we’ll make do with a decent bootleg.

No children were harmed in the making of this remix.
I hope.

Amtrac – Undefeated (Evil Nine Remix)

ESSENTIAL BREAKBEAT CUT  Everybody loves  Brighton. For the unintiated; Brighton is an English Seaside resort that boasts one-and-a-bit piers, an agonising pebble beach and the largest Methadone treatment programmes in the UK.  It’s lovely.

The downside is that Brighton has only 3 possible employment opportunities.

1: Catering – to serve all the off duty bars staff

2. Bar Work – to serve all the off duty catering staff

3. Teaching – Because you couldn’t get a job in a bar.

And that’s it.
So everyone in Brighton has to endure most of their working days openly sobbing on a slow commuter train to London which , incidentally, has the highest  Jumper Suicide Rates for any line in the county.

Like I say, every one loves Brighton.

And that’s where Evil 9 are from

Fuckin’ HOORAY for music journalism.

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