Learning DJ Mixing
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Learning to DJ (w/ the 3345 Team)

Starting to mix : mixing the two tracks

Ok, so you’ve memorized the cue points at the end of record 1 and of record 2. You have also memorized the cue points at the beginning of record 2. Lets start mixing.

Things to keep in mind:

Before you can set record 2 on its cue point and put the turntable on standby, you need to pre-adjust the track equalization. Use the three knobs (high, mid and low) to do this. Let us explain further.

When you listened to the ending of record 1, you were counting periods, but did you also keep in mind what happens at the end of each period? For example, when does the bass stop playing on record 1, when do the pads cut out, and finally when does the beat end.

If you did listen carefully enough to record 1, then you probably also did so on record 2, which we are soon to mix in. Knowing this vital information will allow you to mix properly without erroneous overlaps.

Apart from synchronizing and cue finding, to mix two tracks properly, you don’t just simply cross-fade from one to the other. You must use:

  • The cross fader
  • The equalizing knobs and if needed
  • The line faders (the vertical faders that control output on each line)

We will give a detail example at the end, but for now, lets move forward with the theory.

Cueing up:

  • Quickly set record 2 to the beginning of your first cue. If you are using a turntable, then pause the plate and spin the plate to the correct position and then pause there. Leave the needle on the record.
  • Record 1 is playing and nearing the start of its first end-cue. Record 2 is on pause at the start (before the first beat) of its mix-in cue.

Starting the mix-in:

Now, there are two ways you can start record 2 when the cue point of record 1 hits.

  1. If you have a really powerful turntable, that really gets going quickly, then you can simply wait for the right beat and then slam the play button on record 2. You may still need to set the needle half a beat before the first beat in order to achieve close sync with this method.
  2. About half a period before the start of the first cue point on record 1, put your hand on record 2 and start the plate. Hold the record still, then start jerking it forward and back, feeling the beat of record 2. When the cue beat from record 1 hits, simply let record 2 go, so that it goes from a back and forward jerking motion, to a forward motion only.

Adjusting the sync:

Now, unless you’ve done this thousands of times, it is likely that your two tracks will be out of sync. Don’t despair, you have not yet began to cross-fade, so no one even knows. You do however really need to get a move on during this stage. Don’t stop record 2, simply determine whether it is ahead or behind record 1. If ahead (say), then apply breaking pressure to the edge of record 2 until you hear it sound in sync. If behind, then try to use your finger and over-spin record 2 on the label area near the centre.

We recommend accelerating a record from the label area because the torque applied to the record in the label area will generally be small and will therefore give you smoother control over the record.

So, break along the edge of the plate and accelerate on the label.

Crossing:

Now as soon as you’ve achieved sync, you can start crossing from one track to the other, but always keep in mind the periods lapsed and more importantly, just listen and see if the sound makes sense.

Examples:

Example 1: two house tracks with a cut-in on the bass
Example 2: two progressive tracks with an articulated cross dissolve
Example 3: one track ending with beats and one starting without
Example 4: mixing a regular track with breakbeat

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New Mixing Example (progressive style) just added. Check it out by going to the DJ Cyclopedia or clicking here.