DJ Set Vs Live Set

dj set vs live set

Have you ever been to a festival show or a club party and couldn’t decide what the DJ was playing?

Thanks or no thanks to the high-tech development on musical instruments today, it’s almost impossible to debate right on the spot and decide on whether you’re listening to a DJ set or a live set.

The design of most DJ stereos and scratching turntables today makes them an imitation of live instruments like a real piano, guitar, and drums. Heck, you’ll even find some of those dual groove turntables that sound like real violins and bass at the same time.

So, how do you draw the line and become certain of what you’re listening to?

Easy! In this article, DJ set VS Live set, I’ll show you how to identify a DJ set from a Live set.

Let’s dive in.

First thing first…

What Is A DJ Set?

To simply put, a DJ set is a setting in which the DJ is mixing and playing recorded music from a Vinyl, an MP3, or a CD. In this scenario, the DJ in question plays and manipulates his records and the records of other artists to achieve multiple effects than a DJ would bounce off of ordinarily playing the tracks as they were. Needless to say, a DJ set being another term is the list of tracks that a disc jockey has on the list to play at an event.

What Is A Live Set?

On the flip side of a DJ set is a Live set. By definition, a Live set is a setting in which new music is being produced on the fly. In this scenario, recorded tracks are not being regurgitated or manipulated. Otherwise, the music is being produced right on the stage. This may either be done by a band or a DJ. if done by a band, you’re most likely to spot real instruments, such as guitars, pianos, and drums, being played by a band of instrumentalists.

You’ll also notice a vocalist dropping fresh vocals in harmony with the music from the instrumentalist band. As an alternative, a DJ could be seen to do a Live set. In this case, the DJ is either accompanied by a vocalist or an instrumentalist band or not. In the latter scenario, the disc jockey employs the power of instrument-mimicking audio processors such as a stompbox, a multi-effects processor, Delays, Reverbs, Equilizer, and more to create music from scratch.

A Product Review: Eastman ac422ce review

In the next heading, I’ll show you how to identify a DJ set VS live set during a festival or a live show.

How To Identify A DJ Set VS Live Set During A Show

  • Check Through For Instrumentation; while this may not be a 100% validation, you can reasonably figure out that you’re listening to a live set on spotting instruments on the stage. It doesn’t matter whether the instruments are being played by a band or not. A single bassist on sight may be an indication of a live set. But be that as it may, a better confirmation using this method is that you can see a band of instrumentalists and one or more vocalists performing fresh music to the audience.
  • Size Of Venue And Audience; a good rule of thumb is that a live set is often than not used in a small venue and a DJ set for a larger audience. Later on in this post, I will share with you the types of events where each of the two sets under discussion is most likely to be a better choice. For now, just bear in mind that the music from a live band is less amplified, and thus, is not too great for a larger audience where a DJ set will be most preferable.
  • Notice The Duty Cycle; it’s reasonable to say that machines can work in a bigger timeframe without getting exhausted, unlike humans. Right? In the same way, since a live set production requires the direct performance of a vocalist or an instrumentalist or a DJ who’s making new music from scratch, live set music processing usually has a lot of breaks in-between. For a DJ set, however, you’ll notice a continuous replay and remixes of recorded music nonstop till the party is over. In fact, hardly will you notice a break during a DJ set music performance.
  • Notice The DJ; though not a reliable indicator, nevertheless, if the performing DJ is known to you, and it’s someone you’ve always know to play a live set, chances are that you’re listening to a live set. To confirm this, look up the festival banner for a foolproof. Most festivals will highlight the kind of set they’ll be opting for in their banner. Or just look through your invitation card for any clue.

That is that. Below, I’ll highlight the types of events where each of the music set is most likely to be the most ideal.

Wedding Party

Wedding parties are usually limited in audience size. Hardly will you find a wedding of an audience of 600 guests. In this case, a live band is usually the option. And when I say live band what I do mean is a live set. Besides, wedding parties are more unique events when compared to a nightclub party or say a house party. They are lifetime events so it makes sense to chose fresh and unique music over a DJ set. Therefore, if you find yourself at a wedding party, you should be expecting a performance by a live band or a DJ that performs a live set.

Night Club And House Party

Generally speaking, a live band is more expensive compared to DJ performance. Besides, for the fact that the space in bars and clubs are usually limited and not enough to contain a band and multiple instruments together with the audience, it’s reasonable that most bars and night clubs usually have their own DJs. Likewise, in a house party, you are most likely to experience being performed to by a DJ via a DJ set. Anything close to a live set will rather be a karaoke.

Big Shows

Ever been to a massive show with up to 1000 size audience? In events like this, though a DJ set is most likely to be a perfect choice, don’t be surprised to witness a live set. In some special cases, most show planners combine the two to sell more tickets. By getting the people’s favorite band and favorites DJ on the stage, they can get more people to attend their show, right?


Hardly will you find a band in the studio. The least you’ll see is a guitarist and a vocalist or either of both. The most common set in a studio is a DJ set. This kind of set is given the unique name; studio DJ set. In the studio, the setup of a DJ set usually combines the audio effects processing units used by the live-set DJs. these units include; stompboxes, multi-effects processors, DJ stereos for scratching, and more. In other cases, a DJ set and a live set is combined in the studio. This is especially common in local radio studios.

A Buyer Guide: Best bass multi-effects pedal

So, suppose you have an event coming up, how do you chose between DJ set VS live set? See the answer below.

Choosing Between a DJ set VS Live Set

Here are the factors you should consider.

  • Your budget; basically, getting a DJ to perform via a DJ set is much cheaper compared to getting a band to perform original music. If you’re on a low budget, you should be opting for a DJ set.
  • Audience size; the size of your audience matter. For an audience of 20 to 50, either of the two sets is a good go. Otherwise, for an audience of 100 upward, you should be opting for a DJ set for audibility.
  • Nature of event; what’s the next event for? A wedding party? A night club party? Or what? For the former, a live set is much better for a wedding party. I have explained the reason behind that previously. On the other side, for a club party, a DJ set is a better choice.
  • What the audience wants; at times, to get more people to come to your event, it’s wiser to get the word out and get their opinion. Find out what the anticipation of the majority of your audience and guide your decision by that.


There’s a hell of a mixup between DJ set VS live set so much that it gets almost impossible to know which is which. And the reasons behind that are obvious. For one, live bands are being represented by audio effects processors and virtual vocalist instruments. Then again, there are just so many DJ s creeping into the industry so much that you can hardly make out who is a DJ and who is not. In this article, I have dived deep into the debate of a DJ st VS live set. I hope this helps.