Need help jumping into this DJ scene
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default Need help jumping into this DJ scene

    Backstory
    So ive mixed songs before using programs like sony acid. I have 3 friends who are heavily into DJing. They all use older setups (not much midi involved).

    I got the vci 100 arcade controller and a midi fighter. Only thing ive messed with before this was a hercules controller on the program virtual dj. I also purchased the midi fighter kit. But now on traktor; stuffs a bit too confusing. I have all the most recent updates, but right now some ians stuff seems out dates. Ive followed a few tutorials only to run into a road block.

    I also have books and tons of sources, the problem is filtering through all the BS to get to whats important, or not a waste of my time. These books make me feel like a 30 year old reading an elementary school book.
    (The Question)So can anyone give me some extremely helpful almost for newb links? Im looking for stuff that will jump start my brain into all the digital mixing i want to be able to do.

    Basically im looking for tips on how to make good drops, build ups, original remixes, and how to catch up to any updates. I always seem to lag behind, and when i find some link or helpful info thats interesting me, i seem to get outdated info, which runs me into a brick wall which i cant seem to work around to finish my project.

    Almost anything would really help me. Maybe a sticky with tons of useful links. Or maybe some tips on how to work traktor properly. Im not quite sure of the extent of info i can recieve, it seems slim, because of how out dated all the sources of info that i have, are at the moment are. But as long as you can teach me how to work things in the most updated version of traktor, id be happy.
    Last edited by sparktite; 04-15-2010 at 05:06 AM.

  2. #2
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    If you are just starting out there's no use saying "can you help me learn Traktor" as that is such a general and broad topic. There are so many aspects to learn; mixing skills, EQing, FX, scratching & juggling (if you want to learn that stuff), just learning how to use and navigate around the software in general. Oh and by the way, if you want the latest update just go on the Native Instruments website and download it.
    Best thing to do is to first focus on what you want to learn and either search for it in forums like this one, on google or youtube has a wealth of information.
    If you are using the VCI & midi fighter you are obviously going down the pure midi set up. So what I would suggest is go on youtube or look for Eans videos and learn how to beat grid your tracks and set up cue points etc. That way you can sync your tracks and practice mixing them. Dont go mad trying to pile your collection of music with shit loads of tracks, just start with like maybe 10 tunes and learn them inside out; where the drops are, what tracks sound good with others etc.
    If you are thinking about learning how to beat match without the use of sync'd tracks then practice that, but I'd imagine you're going to want to sync everything.
    Don't spend all your time reading books and asking questions when it comes to techniques. The only things you need to read up on is how to use your software, and all that shit is in the instruction manual or on sites I mentioned above.
    As far as techniques go, it's just practice practice practice. You can't ask someone in a forum how to mix and DJ, that's like asking "how do I play the guitar". It's something you gotta figure out for yourself by investing time. Listen to other DJ mixes and hear what they do. It takes hours of practice. I (and most DJ's) WILL stand there with the same 2 tunes practicing a certain mix until you get it the way you want it. Again, its the same with scratching, I have stood there rewinding the same tune over and over and over for hours on end practicing scratch moves.
    It takes time. Learn your software, be patient, and practice.

    You can also hire me for DJ lessons to give you a kick start!

    good luck

  3. #3
    Tech Guru pilmat's Avatar
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    Dodge is right, "help me learn Traktor" is a big topic. You need to get down your basics (load a track in Deck A, play the track, load a track in Deck B, mix, repeat). You don't need to get wild with effects and advanced techniques, radio mixes are where we all started (start song B just as song A finishes). As you get in further you will want to beatmatch (easy as pressing sync in the digital world, once you beatgrid your songs). Then on to effect transitions, and on and on and on...

    For the basic stuff, start here: http://www.djtechtools.com/category/basicdjtips/?all=1

    There is an INCREDIBLE wealth of information here on DJTT and in these forums. Be patient and learn one thing at a time. Read, comment and get involved here (did I mention READ) and you will learn very fast.

    Also, the Youtube videos will help a lot after you learn a few basics.

    If you are having trouble getting your VCI or MF up to speed (loading TSI or configuring) we will be all to happy to sort you out, just ask.

    As a further little tid bit, give your set-up info (computer, software, controller, soundcard) and we can really pin point answers to your questions.

    Enjoy, Phil.
    MBP 10.6; Itch 2.2; Novation Twitch; TP 2.x; MF Classic; Ultrasone DJ1 Pro
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  4. #4
    Tech Mentor Shane Says's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparktite View Post
    BackstoryBasically im looking for tips on how to make good drops, build ups, original remixes, and how to catch up to any updates. I always seem to lag behind, and when i find some link or helpful info thats interesting me, i seem to get outdated info, which runs me into a brick wall which i cant seem to work around to finish my project.
    Pretty much all the things you are looking for are in the blog. You should check out the Sticky that is titled Read Me - FAQ and Recommended Reading. If you have any questions on a specific thing in the articles feel free to post them here in the forum and we can help you out. But right now it seems like you should learn your controller, software, and how to mix songs which is all in the blog.
    Last edited by Shane Says; 04-15-2010 at 07:40 AM. Reason: Spelling Error :)

  5. #5
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    Personally, I feel it's about LISTENING, first and foremost. Check out every dj's mixing you can, live, recorded, whatever. Analyze it. Pick it apart and visualize how they performed it. Think about what parts of tracks they are using when they do it. Listen to programming, overall flow, etc. Notice the way matching a beat doesn't mean a thing if you can't match phrasing... IMHO listening is and always will be number one in any kind of musical art.

    The second thing is technicalities, just like knowing where your fingers are on a saxophone, you've just gotta be involved with the instrument. Read the Manual. Play with it, think "how would I do that?" and figure out how. For us digital djs it's all about experimenting, programming, and of course practice, practice, practice.
    MacBook 2.4GHz, 6GB, Traktor Pro, Ableton Live, Bomes MT, Audio Kontrol 1, Vestax VCI-100 SE Custom, M-Audio Axiom 25, Akai APC40, NI Maschine, 2x Midi Fighters (c/o DJ TechTools - Thanks!!)

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  6. #6

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    my advice? duude slow down, where's the rush... do not care for extra hot new updates, patiently master basics and from there you will see what you are looking for....

    Lack of patience young padawan has.
    DJ Blofeld - The Evil Genius
    I shall look forward personally to exterminating you, Mr. Bond.” Ernst Stavro Blofeld to 007
    Doomsday device: TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO, AUDIO 8, VCI-100black 1.3, 2x Technics SL1210mkII

  7. #7
    Tech Wizard
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    Yeah i know its quite a broad topic to cover. The thing is im not quite sure what i should learn about first i guess. Ive been trying to watch the videos off eans site, but so far the 3 videos ive tried watching have ran me into brick walls head first.
    My installation didnt go well, in fact it took over a week. I tried the aerodynamic beat juggle vid, but i couldnt get my effects working, i was instructed to press shift and the left cue twice to get into some mode. And that didnt work at all so i got frustrated and took a break.
    As for books, ive got one and thought it looked promising. The thing is its way too big, and doesnt seem to get to the point. I dont need to know every possible thing that book can shove down my throat at once, or even in fragments.
    Maybe i do need some one to teach me hands on. Traktor just gets way too confusing way to easily.

    Yeah thats the way i listen to music zac. Im always analyzing it and breaking it apart. The thing im having trouble with is the technical aspect of djing.
    I could use sony acid and make some crazy mixed songs, but that takes way too long and i dont wanna have to work on a song, only to not be able to change it up on the fly later.

    As for me and updates. Im not going around looking for updates. Im just frustrated because when ever i find something to try out the info is usually out dated, because of the updates for software or hardware. For example, i couldnt get traktor working properly at first, because the video was made quite a while ago, i was using win 7 64 bit i believe, along with a newer version of traktor and i believe the vci 100 had newer firmware. So i had to spend about a week if not more on the forum trading words, before i was able to get it up and running. And it still isnt working properly.

    Sorry if i seem impatient, ive got ADD/ADHD up the ass, and i wanna start making some music. I dont like not being able to have fun and make music, because im so discouraged from stuff not working the way i was told it would.

  8. #8
    Tech Guru Bassline Brine's Avatar
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    I mean straight up, take a step back and pretend you didn't have all the little tools to play with, and were just on vinyl.

    Literally just work on radio mixes. And by that I mean one song and then another mixed together. Literally find two tracks that are similar speed, and spend hours working on mixing them together until you think it sounds great. And then show a friend and ask their opinion.

    Once you have that down, work on some more tracks you are comfortable with. Just simple mixing, no effects or beat juggling whatsoever. Get well versed with a few tracks and continue like that.

    Once you feel comfortable being able to mix back and forth between tracks, then it's time you work on throwing some effects in to add a bit of spice. And then as you get more well versed in that and feel comfortable playing with those, move on to adding something else.

    I'm pretty sure all of us are doing what I said above to some degree, or have done it. I know personally I'm still working on the basics but that's kind of where I'm going with things. Don't worry about some of the tricks, they will come in time as you get the basics down and need something /more/ to do.
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  9. #9
    Tech Wizard
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    I would but the thing is im board of radio mixes. Ive made tons of them with tons of programs. I know how to comfortably make them. The problem im having is not being able to do stuff that i should because of software or hardware problems like i mentioned before.
    I also want to learn how to do effects and different tricks, but dont know where to go to learn about them. I have different sources but of those sources i have, i either run into technical problems, or the information is far too condensed.

    Another problem is that im getting bored of being held back. Theres a million and 1 ideas working out in my brain, but i cant mess with them or test them because of the technical problems im having. I just feel like ive been doing basic stuff for so long, i feel like if i do it any longer im gonna start losing interest, and then i wont be going anywhere with this.

    I was happy for a lil bit doing beat juggling with different songs i have, but not being able to work the effects make it quite boring. The only way i can mask the dead cut off of the sound was by mixing 4 tracks so you couldnt notice the different cues cutting out after letting go of the buttons.
    I also ran into a problem with my midifighter ive tried getting it working several times but it just doesnt seem to like me. I can manually do some mappings but i cant import any of the ones off this site.

  10. #10
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    Gotta be honest with you, dude. I feel pretty strongly that midi controllers and especially Traktor demand a lot of patience in order to get the most out of 'em. There's so many variables in terms of getting things set up correctly, mapped in a way that makes sense to you, preferences, etc, that you kind of need to take it for granted that things aren't going to work right on the first try. All I can suggest is to mess with things until you understand exactly how they work, then figure that into your flow. Example: Traktors fx can be challenging to work into your style in a natural, no-brainer kind of way. So what is getting in the way? Routing? Set it so that one deck is always paired with one and only one fx unit, and it's always inserted. Dialing in the right fx settings? Find something you think sounds good and click the snapshot button so it always loads like that. I'm just throwing things out there, but the idea is that if something gets in the way of a creative flow, figure out how to rework it into something simpler. I'd say focus on messing with your controllers and software more than getting hung up on reading and videos, for the time being. You'll be able to sort out what is broken or not working for you, or inadvertently turned off or whatever, and your questions will get more focused, then go back to reading, with a specific question in mind...

    Alternately there's a lot of rigs that are designed from the ground up to be easy to use out of the box and that have hardware and software tightly matched (Traktor + VCI-100SE ain't like that IMHO). Maybe something like Serato + timecode or Itch + VCI 300 would work better with your type of mind, no shame in that. Maybe even consider cdjs or turntables...
    MacBook 2.4GHz, 6GB, Traktor Pro, Ableton Live, Bomes MT, Audio Kontrol 1, Vestax VCI-100 SE Custom, M-Audio Axiom 25, Akai APC40, NI Maschine, 2x Midi Fighters (c/o DJ TechTools - Thanks!!)

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