What is a Silent Disco?

If you’ve heard all the buzz about silent discos and are now wondering “what is a silent disco?” then this is the place to be!

We’ll go through a quick history, the equipment you need, why you should have one or experience one and how you can get super creative with them. Much more so than a traditional disco / party / rave.

A silent disco history lesson

Did you know one of the first silent discos happened in 1920??

Yep! Called a “Radiophone dance” people would huddle around a radio, all plugged in with headphones and listen to a band playing from across town.

The flaming lips that have hosted a “world first” headphone concerts back in 1999, but the first main one (with a DJ and not a band) was in 2002, where artist Meg Duguid hosted an installation in a museum, where a DJ transmitted their set to headphones. This was just one DJ set. The next year there were to DJs playing simultaneously, then up to three which is basically the norm for any silent disco.

Flaming Lips - Wayne Coyne - First band to host a headphone concert
Flaming Lips – Wayne Coyne

A quick overview…

Normally they are held in unusual locations, museums, art galleries, festival tents, or used in a walking tour.

There are normally 3 DJs that play simultaniously and the music is broadcast to special headphones that easily enable you to switch DJs.

The headphones have LED lights on the side to indicate and correspond to a DJ channel. For example, each DJ will have a set color associated to them (red blue or green normally). You can tell which one you are listening to via the same color light on your headphones.

The headphones are usually really good quality to give you an intense personal music experience. Listening to music via headphones adds that intimacy and focus all the while you are all listening along with friends.

Having multiple music streams though adds the extra freedom to select your own adventure. Usually each DJ will focus on a specific genre of music, i.e hip hop, rock, pop, EDM, cheesy classics, the choice is all in the DJ selection.

Headphones
Quality headphones make the music much more intense

How a silent disco works – a technical look

Basically, its like a very local radio. For a standard setup, there will be a transmitter that music sources are connected to. This can be a set of turntables or a phone with music on it.

The transmitter sends out a signal that the special headphones can pick up. Each transmitter has a unique frequency channel. Having 3 broadcasting at different frequency channels allows the headphones to be tuned into each one separately.

This allows the user to switch to the music they want to hear.

Here at My Silent Disco Club, we do things a bit differently. We use internet to play the music and sync devices to the same spot.

If you want to know more about how to setup an event without any extra equipment we have a blog post just for you!

Full moon silent disco
Full Moon Party hosted by soundoffexperience.com

Why are silent discos so good?

Personally, my favorite thing about a silent disco is the choice of music. Not into one DJ? Easy. just flick the switch around to something better. Or, if you suddenly see a lot of other peoples headphones switching to a different color to yours, follow the crowd as that channel is probably heating up!

The other benefits are that you can easily have a normal conversation with someone next to you. No more shouting and talking directly into someones ear!

The choice of location also increases. You are not making excessive noise (unless Bon Jovi or Roxette drop) so you can have house parties without annoying the neighbors. You can also have one at an art gallery without intruding on the folks going there for the exhibition. Its win win!

Traditional silent disco
Silent Disco – Image from rushtix.com

How can you host your own?

You have 2 options currently.

Option one: traditional way

You can go through the process of hiring the equipment from one of your local silent disco rental suppliers. You can get packages of different amounts. The main cost is going to be how many sets of headphones you need.

You’ll also need a sound source. This can be a DJ or 3 or you could just go with some Spotify playlists on different devices.

This first option will set you back a bit of cash, but generally, you’ll be able to charge a small fee and break even or make some profit.

Option two: Use My Silent Disco Club

All you need to do is register for free, create playlists via uploading music, then create an event.

Everyone that wants to join will just need to download the free app on either app store. They will then use their phone and own headphones to join in!

Its super simple to use and a great and easy way to host an event, with out the stress of having to outlay a heap of cash.

As you only need an internet connection, you can have the event nearly anywhere!