General Mixing...
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  1. #1
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    Default General Mixing...

    Ok, so i'm fairly new to DJ'ing and I jumped straight into Traktor which I have a few questions on.

    Atm it is only a bedroom hobby but will it be frowned upon (in your opinions) if I were to turn up at a gig with a laptop, soundcard and midi controller only? does it matter that I'm not beatmatching in the typical way of listening and instead using Traktor's visual aid to beatmatch? What to do if the laptop crashes during a gig?

    And finally, does anyone have any particular mixing techniques they'd like to share? currently i'm just looping the end of one track, beatmatching the new one and then xfading over - seems a bit boring!

  2. #2
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    I had a lot of the same questions when I first started and the more I get into Traktor using the Sync functions the more I want to learn proper beat matching... my level of performance is not upto a stage where I can justify letting the sw do it for me because I have so much other stuff going on... ie controllerism

    I recently stumbled upon this site http://www.recess.co.uk/index.html
    I recommend checking it out and learning the basics and foundations of DJ'ing first, this way you can know what to do no matter what... also always have a backup plan... eg some CD's for a CDJ setup, especially if its going to take a while to get your laptop setup all connected etc and you want to keep the flow of the music going...

    I am trying to learn to beatmatch at the moment, its not easy and takes lots of practice, but apparently once you get it, its like riding a bike.. ie once you learn you never forget... (I hope)

  3. #3
    Tech Mentor kidfromkibbly's Avatar
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    It is definitely worth learning how to beatmatch by ear, just like any other musician trains their ear. Just pick some songs with a good beat (Minimal Techno is good, repetitive and big bass beats) and get practising. I'm starting to get better at it myself after some decent practise. For mixing, I usually try and incorporate bit of cued songs intro into the last few minutes of my current track. Hardly the beat jumping that Ean does, but I just set cue in point at something interesting like part of a vocal or sound and then play around with the cue pause and some effects like delay while cutting with the cross fade.

  4. #4
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    Personally when i go to clubs I'm there to get into the music and get down on the floor not to watch an overpaid monkey throw cds in player... I kid I kid...

    I do however want the dj to beatmatch (and phrase) properly, read the audience (specifically me) and know how to build up a set and send me on a dancing frenzy where every build and drop is a new and exciting release of tension. I don't care about how he does it as long as its dope-nasty.

    However now-a-days I really feel the era of the "Superstar DJ" (where some DJ takes a clubber on magical sonic journey into a state of trance akin to a religious awakening or someshit) is being replace with the rowdy drunk houseparty vibe (see Justice/ed banger). So I really don't care for DJs who use tons computers like BT, analogue hardware like Simian Mobile Disco, Ableton like Sasha, or just straight up vinyls like Fatboy Slim (who I heard is using Serato from now on). I've seen all these DJs rock major major festivals and important big city clubs. As long as the crowd is entertained it doesn't matter what medium the dj uses.

    This of course my humble opinion. Many a dooshbag might talk smack to you about your gear (what I like to do is offer to help carry their record crates out of the club when its closing time and then pretend to throw out my back and simply grab my UDG bag and hobble away smiling...)

    I might add that I have Dj'd many a house party and small club/bar/establishment with nothing but my Macbook, Vci-100, and my soundcard, and it has always been a fun time (I usually get tons of complements, mostly in the form of girls screaming with hands in the air and the occasional pound from a punter) As long as there is booze, babes, and loud music the party is sure to be a success. I actually have gotten quite a few compliments as well as curious party people eager to see how I'm doing it all with just my unassuming mac.

    FTR I stopped using the phase meter and the sync (neither are 100% reliable) the very day I played about with Traktor. I learned to beatmatch on cdjs so it feels more comfortable to do it by ear for me, after a lots of practice it will only take a minute to sync up both two tunes, eventually beatmatching will feel automatic and you'll catch yourself instinctively pitching and bending without hesitation. However if you take the time to beatgrid all your tunez more power to you... I for one think that shit is way more time consuming than beatmatching
    Last edited by freshcity; 03-31-2008 at 08:02 AM.

  5. #5
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    I agree, as long as the end product (that is, the master output) is good, it really doesn't matter so much how the DJ does it.

    I use Traktor with a BCD 3000 and occasionally a sampler and a synth, but I have gotten some bad remarks when I just showed up with my macbook and my BCD. but if you can lay down a great mix using that equipment, you've proven your point very well :-)

    personally I don't beatmatch by ear (although it's definitely a great skill to have), because I like to have the extra time to concentrate on phrases, EQ's, effects and so forth. I look at it quite pragmatically: why spend more time on something that the program can do for me quite reliably while I could be setting up the next transition? and personally I'm not so conservative to think that this "takes all the skill out of DJing".

    the advantage of Traktor and other similar programs is that we can do so much more with the music that can't be done with CDJ's or vinyl. let's use that opportunity.

  6. #6
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    in my opinion beatmatching is totally overrated. anyone who can play an instrument is able to learn beatmatching in less than a month.

    a drummer needs even less than a week, i suppose.

  7. #7
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    While I agree that beatmatching isn't necessary per se, as long as the mix is tight, I would vehemently disagree that its overrated! beatmatching is vital if your not using software with a sync function. What if your system fails, or a something unforeseen happens to your laptop? Do you just pop in a mix cd and look like a chump? Or bust out a cd wallet and use your god given ears and put all the hard work you did learning to beatmmix to the test.

    I think beatmatching is easy (once your ears are trained and adjusted) and fun and I still do it because my ears are much more reliable than traktor's sync button. Its widely accepted that traktor's bmp counter isn't perfect nor is it reliable, and that silly ass phase meter has a goddamn mind of its own... If you properly grid your tracks thats all well and fine and I support anyone who takes the time necessary to get a grid right on. But beatmatching can teach you proper phrasing, it can help you learn the structure of your tunes, and IMHO its the most basic thing you can do to advance your art form.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by robota View Post
    in my opinion beatmatching is totally overrated. anyone who can play an instrument is able to learn beatmatching in less than a month.

    a drummer needs even less than a week, i suppose.
    I've played two instruments, and i can drum a tiny bit, and it took me around 3 months to get beatmatching right and I'm still learning the skill more and more each day. It's like snowboarding or any kind of skill for that matter, you can learn to do it relatively easily but your constantly refining the skill and learning from it... as well as training your ears....

  9. #9
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    Beatmatching is, to me, a necessity. I don't think that every mix needs to be beatmatched, and there are tracks that mix perfectly, but knowing the ins and outs of the technique can also allow you to truly understand the usefulness of the sync button.

    I am in the process of a massive overhaul to grid and properly tag all of my tracks I DJ with. This is a huge pain in the ass, but it has to be done. I can beatmatch by ear, but I'd rather take the time to focus on looping, effects and the actual mix without having to worry about the beat running out on me.

    But, I think that learning to beatmatch can easily lead to other techniques, like mixing on levels, cue jumping, and a general understanding of how sounds mesh, one on top of the other, in a much more detailed way than if you are just using the sync button and letting it go.

    Not every DJ needs to know how to beatmatch, and it is not anywhere near as important as mixing, but I do think DJs should at least understand how it works.

  10. #10
    Tech Guru Fatlimey's Avatar
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    Enough of the "Beatmatching, is it safe for children?" flame threads. Yes, it's useful, and so is a sense of musicality, tonality and flavor. Both can and should be exercised, but they are purely technical skills.

    The single greatest tip I can give you is... KNOW YOUR TRACKS.
    Seriously. Get to know your collection inside out, all the intros, all the breakdowns, all the loop points, all the hidden samples. Get to know them to the point that you hear a new track and you can picture in your minds eye which track should follow it,and maybe three others that might fit. The problem of integrating heaps of new material into your knowledge base comes later - initially stick to what you have while you learn to mix and sequence.

    When I had only a few tens of tracks, throwing together a mix was easy. I knew all the music back to front, I knew what went with what and when to beatmatch and when to just crossfade on an ambient outro. These days, with music so readily available it's much, much harder to piece together a perfect set and to know which tunes to pair and sequence.

    So, immerse yourself in your collection. Listen obsessively, use the shuffle on your iPod to bring up pairs you never considered, and if they work or surprise you in a good way, write them down. No shame in taking notes, many professionals still do.

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