Tuesday DJ Tip of the week
Updated: Feb 21
Tuesdays are DJ Tips days on Lets Go Big tunes, from beginner to expert, they are bound to be of help.
Step 4: Learning Basic DJ Skills
There are a number of basic skills to consider when learning how to become a DJ: mixing, EQing, phrasing, beatmatching, and prep. We’re going to cover them briefly.
The purpose of beatmatching is to get two tracks playing at the same tempo (the speed at which the song is playing) and phase (the beats from both tracks playing in-time with each other).
Think about it like two cars driving next to each other on the highway.
Tempo is speed, such as 60 MPH. Phase is having the two cars directly next to each other.
Beatmatching is accomplished using a pitch fader to adjust tempo. You use a jog wheel, pitch-bend button, or the physical manipulation of a record to adjust phase.
Arguably, technology has made this skill obsolete. All the major DJ software and hardware packages, have built-in sync functionality. You’ll quickly find this to be a point of contention in the DJ community.
So is it even necessary to learn how to beatmatch, when there is such a thing as a sync button?
Perhaps not. But it’s a great idea anyway.
Firstly, it gives you the ability to beat-mix on anything. Turntables, for example, require you to do this manually.
More importantly, it helps to develop and tune your ears so that you know what to listen for. The practice of manual beatmatching results in a much more trained ear, and a more confident DJ.
You can always come back to this later, but I think learning to beatmatch early is a great idea.
Phrasing, with an “r”, will make sense to anyone who has ever played a musical instrument.
It simply means to mix your tracks together at points in the songs which make sense.
Almost all music that you will be DJing is in 4/4 time, whether you play electronic dance music, hip-hop, funk, or top 40. Ttechnically, this means is that there are four beats in a measure (bar), and that the quarter note gets one beat.
The takeaway is that you need to learn how to count to four, as most “DJ-able” music is 4/4.
Any DJ rig contains a few different levels of “volume” adjustment.
Firstly, each channel has a gain knob which allows you to adjust the level by watching your meters. Then, each channel has a line fader.
(The line fader adjusts how much signal you’re sending to your main output, which also has its own overall volume control.)
Then, of course, there’s the crossfader which allows you to fade between one channel and another.
Some DJ software features auto-gain functionality. This helps minimize the amount of volume adjustment between tracks.
In addition, DJ software has its own gain structure. This can make things quite confusing. Read your manuals to verify your levels are being set correctly.
As a general rule: stay out of the red. If you need more volume, boost it on the amp or speaker side.
Equalizing (EQing) is the act of boosting or cutting frequencies so that multiple audio tracks blend nicely.
The majority of your audio “space” gets consumed by lower frequencies (bass), especially in dance music. Normally, you won’t want to mix two loud kick drums over one another, since they are too loud to combine.
A typical DJ mixer includes a three-band EQ (low, mid, and high…. or bass, midrange, and treble). Some mixers have four bands: low, low-mid, mid-high, and high.
When used properly, the EQ is both a useful tool, and a means of creative expression.
Equalization will not fix a bad mix, nor will it work miracles. But we can use it to “smooth together” multiple audio signals, and make our mixes come out with a bit more polish.
join us again next week for more valuable DJ tips and dont forget to check out the rest of our website while you are here