By Patrick Galvan, Storage.com
With wedding season coming to a close, DJs will soon find themselves needing to store audio equipment and any lights or fog machines they use during their gigs. While speakers, lighting, and other equipment are capable of withstanding short-term exposure to outdoor elements like heat and humidity, keeping them in a garage or an uncontrolled environment over a long period of time isn’t a good idea.
In order to stay in good condition between gigs, DJ equipment needs to be kept in a safe space where temperature and humidity can be monitored—and where it won’t come into physical contact with other items that could damage it. Under these requirements, a self storage unit can be the perfect place for storing DJ equipment.
But before you move equipment into self storage, you need to make sure the unit you rent has adequate space and climate control. Also, your equipment should get a good cleaning before heading to storage.
Find Adequate Space for Your Equipment at a Storage Facility
Because DJ equipment is so fragile (both internally and externally), you’ll want to find a self storage unit that can hold everything without getting too cluttered. This is important because you don’t want your equipment resting against or falling on top of other equipment in your unit. But how much space do you actually need?
According to Taylor Morken, marketing director for UniqueSquared, which has grown into a top 10 pro audio retailer in the U.S. since 2007 and provides customers with a unique buying experience that minimizes the stresses of online shopping, the amount of equipment you store will ultimately determine what unit size you’ll need.
“If you’re a DJ, you probably have your performance gear (turntables and mixer or DJ controller), a PA system, lights, fog machine, etc.,” says Morken. Though not every DJ will be storing all of this equipment, these are the most common pieces stored.
Tim Kallas, general manager for Stadium Self Storage in Milwaukee, Wis., states that DJs using units to store equipment can get away with a unit in the 5×5 to 5×10 range, as long as they’re not stacking equipment.
The Importance of Controlling Humidity in Your Unit
The most significant advantage for using self storage for DJ equipment is climate control. This technology allows the temperature and humidity levels inside the unit to be controlled and adjusted. As a result, sensitive items, like electronic equipment, are protected from damage.
“The enemy of any piece of professional audio gear is humidity,” Morken says.
Too much humidity for too long presents the same threats as direct exposure to water. Over time, iron surfaces face the development of rust, and chassis could begin to corrode. Worse, humidity could make its way through gaps in the surface material and damage the internal components, ultimately ruining everything.
“The normal rate of humidity for any sustained period of time should be between 30-50%,” says Kallas, who adds you should never assume humidity isn’t an issue just because you live in a region that doesn’t experience high humidity. “In the Southwest, [there’s] very low humidity in the 15-20% range. [In this situation], you have to inject humidity into the air.” Why would you need to add humidity? Well, too low of a concentration results in static buildup, which has the potential to ruin circuitry as well.
While humidity is the big issue, Morken says temperature fluctuations aren’t that much of a concern, as long as the equipment remains stored in a “dry, cool environment.” Still, it’s always good to be on the safe side and keep your unit around 60-75°F (or room temperature).
“[Some] storage facilities will have a much narrower range of temperatures [and] move a lot of air to maintain the humidity levels,” says Kallas. “Others will have a quite broad temperature range of 50-80 degrees. So it really is buyer beware.”
Clean Your Equipment Before Putting It in Storage
Once you’ve found a suitable storage unit for your DJ equipment, it’s a good idea to clean all of your equipment to remove dust and other contaminants, which, over time, can get into the internal components of your equipment and cause damage. Since equipment varies by model and manufacturer, always read the owner’s manual for recommended cleaning instructions.
In general, you can dampen a nonabrasive cloth with some isopropyl alcohol and wipe down the surfaces—for safety reasons, make sure you’re using the brands of isopropyl alcohol specifically used for cleaning electronics (like laptops screens). This will remove dust and other contaminants from the surface of your equipment.
One final tip: Cover your audio equipment with a sheet of plastic while it’s in storage. If the unit experiences roof failure or contains a high amount of dust, the sheet will help block potential damages to your equipment.