Preplanned Sets
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Thread: Preplanned Sets

  1. #1

    Default Preplanned Sets

    Quick question from a Bedroom DJ.

    Right now I usually plan out quick 30 minute sets in Traktor by setting up a playlist and setting points where I'll mix in and out. This is usually tedious and takes me about an hour or two to pick the songs, find a good order and determine good mix in and out points. I then practice it a few times over a week and then record it.

    How do legit DJs do this? Do they preplan their live sets or do they do it all on the fly and wing it? I'm guessing it's a mix of both but can someone describe their experiences. And how would you be able to just wing it? I would have trouble making everything flow and sound good. Thanks guys.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by atticus18244fsas View Post
    How do legit DJs do this? Do they preplan their live sets or do they do it all on the fly and wing it?
    Pretty much. When I use CDJ's, I walk in with a general idea of what I'm gonna do, and I also choose specific tracks which will be either highlights, transitional pieces (low tier to medium tier energy level), whatever is in between is improvised. I often find that over thinking removes not only spontaneity, but also will induce "writers block" since you're worried about what to do, where to go, etc.

    It's a developed skill in my opinion, and it comes naturally after a while with enough practice. First and foremost though, digital medium or not, it's all about knowing your tracks without wave forms, cue markers, etc. Knowing your tracks inside and out is what it's all about.

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    Also forgot to mention that using harmonic mixing principles will also allow you to work off an abstract guideline, where it will help narrow down which tracks would harmonically sound best with whatever is playing. This is a subject all in itself, but basically harmonic mixing will help considerably with establishing a "flow" so to speak.

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    depends who you talk to. some people preplan their shit, some don't. some people are somewhere in the middle as they'll use chunks of preplanned elements and chunks of improvised elements.

  5. #5
    Tech Guru BestLegsinHD's Avatar
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    we use ableton so it can be difficult to 'wing it.' we usually preplan a few things like setting some loops that we like and some songs we definitely want to play. in the end we stand there and we talk to each other, "people loved this; this song has the same type of energy. do it!" lol.

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    i go about it by first setting up all my tracks with basic cue points. first one is always an alignment cue. just to set it up ready to play. next one is usualy when the bass line drops. the other two are more for show. so this gives me a fast visual cue of where those bass drops are. next best tool is playlists. best advice there is keep them 3-5 songs long. no longer than 5. the reason for this is when your in a club, as much as your guiding the music, so is the crowd. youll notice when your big distortion song isnt working, and if your next song doesnt cut it, its hard to get them back into the mood. basicaly, you dont want to get locked into a long 90minute rountine. from there, just practice and practice. and love the music your spinning :P

    i suppose we all do it differently tho. interested in hearing anyone elses techniques

  7. #7
    Tech Guru Ciar2001's Avatar
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    I just put together a new mix of Minimal and Techno, my first one since restarting, all I did was grid said purchases and play them all once from start to finish, then decided to start the mix minimal'ish then basically move into Techno and end with a dark track, rarely do i ever use beat markers or actually select tracks, sometimes i might use harmonic mixing as i do run all my tracks via mik, but generally i go for the feeling of tracks rather then any other order of play.

    honestly depends on your style i prefer on the fly mixing

  8. #8
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    yeah I usually go in with a set running order of tracks but will change that order if it doesn't match the mood of the crowd. As for the cue points, I have chunks where there are complex mixes so I need the cues so I can get it right. Other parts I kind of just know the mixes and other parts I just do whatever I want right there live.

    But at the end of the day, i reckon if it sounds good, who cares how you do it!

  9. #9
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    You'll find after you spend some time practicing and placing cue points the whole process will be quicker. You'll probably start using less cue points and will recognize where to mix in and out of faster. For example when I first got back into it it I bought some music, picked five songs to put in a mix, then spent two or three days working on what ended up being a 15 minute mix. Granted a lot of that time was spent learning hardware and software, but now I can buy 10 songs, grid them, set a few cue points at important parts, and do a mix with those songs all in a day.

    As far as pre planning a set I think playlists with similar music is a good idea. Having the key in all of the songs can help combine some songs that you might not think about putting together. All in all though these computers that make everything so much easier also create more work creating and organizing playlists and all of the other things that go a long with digital DJ'ing. Someone said on here that for every hour of music they played there was two hour of prep involved, not sure who that was though.
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  10. #10

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    When using CDJ's, i go into a set with the general idea for all of it (house, prog house, all that jazz) and get all my CD's burnt with music i know, then mix around when I get there..

    I gotta make sure to know most of details about the songs though so when I go into it, i know what i'm doing

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