Silent Disco: Lighting Up Your Party with Dancefloor Headphones

Silent disco headphones are used at parties to delivery DJ playlists to partygoers and they often feature big LED dancefloor effects. By Paul Cherry, Thursday, 25th June 2020
Silent discos are a style of headphone-only party where up to 3 DJs or set lists can playback simultaneously.

Silent discos are a style of headphone-only party where up to 3 DJs or set lists can playback simultaneously.

As a party organiser you want your dancefloor to be a fun and vibrant space where colourful memories are made. Silent disco headphones are an essential part of an easy-to-use ‘Silent Party’ audio system which transmits up to three DJ sets or playlists simultaneously to the dancefloor.

With their soundtrack flexibility – and often bright LED colours –  many party planners choose silent disco headphones as a fun way to deliver different music to the disco all at once. Silent discos can take place at home with just 10 guests or they can easily scale up to provide festival soundtracks to thousands of dance fans.

But what is involved in running a headphone party? What does a silent disco look like and what should you know before you launch your headphone-only, silent event?

How Does a Silent Disco Work?

At your party it’s likely that you’ll either supply the music yourself or you’ll hire a DJ to play the night’s tunes.

Silent disco headphones can be hired from a variety of suppliers, including us at Place Over Ears. Our party headphones can receive up to 3 different DJ sets or playlists being played simultaneously. For every audio channel you want to broadcast to an infinite amount of earphones you’ll need a headphone transmitter.

Silent disco headphones often illuminate to correspond to the audio channel they are receiving. Photo credit: Dashanchia, Wikipedia

Silent disco headphones often illuminate to correspond to the audio channel they are receiving. Photo credit: Dashanchia, Wikipedia

To illustrate, if you have house music, pop and rock offered simultaneously at your party you will require three transmitters. If you just want to play just pop, you need just one transmitter.

These transmitters are the beating heart of your silent party system and when connected to yours’ or your DJ’s audio output – these small but powerful boxes stream your audio via a UHF radio signal to compatible headphones that are powered up and tuned into the correct channel, up to 500 metres away through walls and ceilings.

Your silent disco headphones will arrive pre-tuned to these three channels, so on the big night you won’t need to do anything more than make sure they’re charged, power them up and flick them on.

Your transmitters (if hired from a reputable company) should arrive with all the connectors you or your DJ needs, for example RCA phono leads for mixing desks or 3.5mm headphone adaptors for smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Many silent disco headphones feature brightly coloured LEDs that match the audio channel the wearer is tuned to

Many silent disco headphones feature brightly coloured LEDs that match the audio channel the wearer is tuned to.

On the big night, you or your DJ will set each transmitter to broadcast on either channel 1, 2 or 3. When it’s time for your silent disco, give your guests easy access to a pair of headphones (by either having them ready at each table, at a dedicated area or by handing them out at the start of the night).

During your party each headset is fitted with a 3-way channel switch that tunes the headphones to the preferred audio source (for example, your house DJ, a rock n’ roll set or the pop playlist) and when connected, headphones will glow a dedicated colour for that audio channel. Our silent disco headphones glow blue for channel 1, red for channel 2, or green for channel 3. This colourful glow offers a quick indication of which audio channel(s) are popular on the dancefloor.

Silent Disco Headphones – What are the Pros and Cons?

If you’ve ever been to a silent disco yourself you’ll know that a headphone-only dancefloor is different experience compared to a speaker-powered party.  A headphone party is remarkably easy to set up and run and here’s some things to consider before stepping out on your headphone dancefloor adventure;

Pros

  • With on-board headphone controls (volume control and a channel selector) your partygoers are in complete control of the music they want to hear. This makes for a more fun and enjoyable disco night for your guests
  • A lack of speakers at a silent disco event makes this style of dancefloor ideal for celebrations which need to navigate noise constraints and curfews
  • Some guests just don’t like to dance. By containing the soundtrack to headphones, non-partying guests who want to chat and relax away from the dancefloor can do so without being followed by a wall of disco beats
  • It’s an innovative way to entertain! Hireable silent disco headphones often feature brightly coloured LED light up effects, so you can quickly see the favourite soundtrack on the dancefloor. DJ often compete to win over the dancefloor to light it up in their colour.
  • Partying outdoors? As long as you’re keeping out of wet weather, recharge and portable headphone transmitters give you the option to take your silent disco to places where there is no mains power.
Silent disco headphone transmitter

To run your silent disco, you’ll need a headphone transmitter like this one.

Cons

  • Speak to your audio team or your DJ before arranging your silent disco headphones. If your DJ hasn’t held a headphone party before, they will probably want to know more about the kit, how it connects and how you want the night to run. If you hire your headphones from a reputable rental company (like us!) we’ll happily chat to your audio team before your silent disco. To run a successful headphone party you’ll want your DJ to be happy and on-side!
  • Silent disco headphones may be a new experience for your guests. Try to be on hand to help them pop the earphones on, flick the channels and adjust the volume to get them on the dancefloor.
  • You can encourage partygoers to join in your silent disco by giving headsets to the party people who you know will always head to the dancefloor first! Seeing others on the dancefloor will always encourage guests to join in the fun!
  • The absence of a party soundtrack could easily unnerve some party planners. To avoid this, some parties output one of their audio channels as a background soundtrack via a speaker system, meaning that non-headphone wearing guests can enjoy the audio too.
  • Very young children shouldn’t be offered silent disco headphones. You can learn more about staying safe with headphones here.

A profile photo of Paul Cherry

About Paul Cherry

Paul is the founder of Place Over Ears and came up with the idea of hiring headphones door-to-door after a train ride to London with his mum in 2007. Launched in 2015 with just 6 pairs of headphones, Place Over Ears' hire service now supplies audio kit to UK and international customers.