What is DJing?

So you want to be a DJ but are not sure how to get started? Mastering a few simple techniques will have you mixing and laying down beats that keep people dancing the night away.

Here’s a look at some of the basic skills and tools to master.

Selection

It doesn’t matter if you’re using mp3s, CDs, or vinyl records; you need to decide what you’re going to play.

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It’s important to create an index of your songs that includes the style, beats per minute, and type of sound. It’s good to a cross-reference and keep notes, like “this style is good to use after this song.”

Making this list takes time, but when it’s done, it’s invaluable to professional and amateur DJs alike.

Mixing

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The mixing table contains mono and stereo channels. Each stereo channel has controls including:

  • Gain, which tweaks the pre-amplification before it goes to the fader. Set it as high as possible without distorting the sound.
  • Equalizer, which strengthens or weakens the signal’s strength and frequency.
  • Volume, which changes the volume for that channel in the main mix.
  • Pre-fader Listening (PFL), which lets you hear that signal in headphones or over monitors.
  • Balance, which adjusts what you hear out of the right and left channels.
  • Mute button, which completely eliminates sound from the selected channel.

Tempo and Pitch

Want to change how fast people groove to your beats? You can adjust the tempo by changing the beats per minute (BPM) through compressing or extending the amount of time your selected track plays.

You can also switch the pitch, or key of the music. This is particularly important when shifting from one song to another.

Type

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Audiences expect to hear different kinds of tunes when at DJ events. Here are a couple unofficial rules to follow to be sure to mix it up:

  • Play each song for 2 minutes to 2.5 minutes. Any longer and your audience can get bored. Any shorter and people can feel cheated.
  • Play at least four of the same style of songs in a row.

Sound Effects

When you want to mix up your mix, there are all kinds of effects to choose from today. There are low-frequency oscillators, flangers, phasers, reverbs, and loops, each of which provides different listening and sensing effects.

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Reverbs add a dense richness to lighter, less complex tracks, while grind effects re-sample a loop and are cool on higher-pitched passages, but not on lower-pitched and percussive instruments.

By experimenting with sound effects, you’ll find the ones that you, and your audience, like best.

Don’t forget to check out Mobile DJ for more mixing fun!

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