Playa Proofing DJ Gear

To be honest, there is no way to "Playa Proof" anything. If you don't want your stuff to get covered with playa, leave it home. If you're determined to bring your gear to the playa, there are a few steps that you can take to minimize the damage..


I've never DJ'd on the playa, so this info is either hear-say or conjecture. Use at your own risk! I assume no responsibility for any damage you cause to your equipment. Your gear WILL get effed up if you bring it to Burning Man.

Speakers: Bring some boxes/pallets/whatever and raise your speakers off the ground. The best would be to have them at least 3 feet above ground level. If you have speakers that go on poles, guy the poles/speakers down so the wind doesn't eff with them (and it makes them harder to wander off when they have a leash on them).

Amps: Build a rack that uses large 20"x20"x2" (or bigger) pleated filters for the amps. Make sure the amps stay where they get airflow and are out of the sun when you are using them.

Turntables: Cover them during a dust-storm and when they are not in use. Obviously, keep them out of direct sun. There is really only one thing that you'll need to worry about on-playa and that's the pitch fader (only applies to high-quality tables like technic 1200s). The motor won't suffer any problems at all. You really shouldn't even have problems with that if you keep them covered as suggested above. If you have cheap tables that are belt-driven, your belts could fail on the playa as the dust could dry them out and make them slip.

Vinyl: Bring several high-quality kitchen garbage bags (the white kind). When you are not actively using your records, wrap them in the bag and tie it off (use a twist tie). Wrap them in several layers for protection. Store them on the ground under your largest vehicle. If you can keep them verticle, that's best for the vinyl, but laying them on their side for the week shouldn't harm them as long as they are out of direct sunlight at all times. If you have a silver-metal record case, that should work instead of the garbage bags. This also goes for CDs. You don't need them getting melted either.

Mixer: That will have the most trouble. One modification that sounds good to me is to take your top off of the mixer, custom cut a piece of project felt to fit, and only cut slits and small holes for the knobs and switches. Put it back together and see how everything works. If something doesn't switch right like it's getting jammed up by the felt, take it apart and take a tiny bit of felt off from there. Re-assemble and try again. You may have to do this several times. Do it slowly and carefully. Do not strip out any screws (threads or heads). This felt will act as the filter for the top of your mixer. If your mixer has an out-board power supply, you could probably use felt to seal all the holes in the mixer case without problems. If the power-supply is inside, you'll need to leave the holes open for cooling.

Remember that *EVERYTHING* should be sealed/covered when not in use. DO NOT leave your records out and open when you aren't using them. They might wander off, and they'll certainly get covered with dust.

After The Playa

When you get back home, take the time to thoroughly clean *EVERYTHING*. Don't just clean your records, but clean the sleeves and cases. On your equipment, spend extra time on the things that slide or twist. A good spraying of the table-motors with compressed air should suffice there.

I've never DJed on the playa, but I *did* bring my mixer last year. It literally sat unprotected on the open playa (in a milk-crate) all week. It came home covered in dust. It then sat in my storage shed until Februrary. I completely disassembled it (minus anything requiring a soldering iron) and washed it in the sink. I sprayed it down really well with some vinegar (acid to help neutralize the basic playa) and then got it with dish soap and a scrubber (gently). I rinsed it all out and let it dry for a day, then sprayed out the faders with some good contact cleaner (with silicone lube). It dried for another day before reassembly. The next day I plugged it in, and everything worked fine, no scratchiness or anything. My mixer is a cheap analog job. Digital ones might take a little more care.

My advice is just like the playa, read the back of the ticket before you go. -chromatest, 2007