Taking My DJing To The Next Level
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor YoshiExcel's Avatar
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    Default Taking My DJing To The Next Level

    I'll start this off with a bit on my experience background. I started DJing on Virtual DJ and my laptop about 6 years ago, then i got a Numark Total Control a year after. I pretty much taught myself most of everything, the few decent youtube vids back then didnt do great job of teaching but did kind of guide me a bit. I quickly outgrew the NTC and Virtual DJ. There was ideas in my head of cool stuff i wanted to do but it wasn't possible at the time (i couldnt and still can't afford expensive DJ gear), until the S4 came along. I quickly saved up the cash to get an S4 and get to working with Traktor.

    I was very disappointed when I got my s4 though,. The feature I was most excited for, the sample decks had alot of issues and really couldnt be used properly. I got stuck using the S4 really basic. Don't get me wrong, my mixes were coming along great and still are...but im not really satisfied. Now that the Sample decks have been given a bit of a facelift i wanted to give it another go. Im not very good at being creative with my sets it seems. I see all this talk about loops, patches, layers, fx and i just dont see how those are all DJ tools. How exactly would one go about doing this? do you like cut out parts of the tracks, stick em in the sample decks...but then how could you EQ each one of those samples and how exactly do you incorporate those into the mix?


    My vision is to one day make use of all the decks. a and b having their respective tracks and then C and D having every sample slot being used. I really want to start DJing locally, but i really dont want to go around being "that dj" that only uses a controller with sync (which i do). Id like to be the dj that uses the software/hardware to its full potential. I want them to say "yeah, he has a controller but look at the way he breaks up those tracks, its crazy". Dunno if im making any type of sense here. I read up on using sample decks on the homepage, but thats not really what im looking for, thats pretty much for like some kind of routine...and again, how the heck would you EQ each slot? =\

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor deco's Avatar
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    sounds like you've got the motivation - the thing you need is to give it some time. practice everyday, make notes on paper or use the comments section in the library for little things that work well with a track - could be a loop that builds, a certain effect combo or another track that blends seamlessly.

    if you've got time to practice everyday you'll see a progression. try playing tracks in your collection that you don't usually go to and listen for something that stands out that you can use with another track you know well.

    as far as loops and sample decks and eqing samples and S4 glitches - I'm still using TPro so i can't say for sure but i think the article you said you've read touched on eqing sample decks c + d. if you want to eq each sample, you probably eq if perfectly in deck A, sample it and send it to a slot in deck C? idk.

    the only other thing i want to mention is the "that guy with the controller that uses sync" issue you have. don't use sync if you're worried about it - use the pitch faders and platters. or use some variation of sync (another recent article explains the many levels of sync to choose from). however, if you want to work up to 2 tracks and 8 loops in a live setting - sync will be a life saver. and if you get to that, it's not really possible to beat match two tracks and 8 loops at once anyway.

    if you get out and dj some gigs, just worry about making people dance - not about what people are saying about your controller.

  3. #3
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    As far as getting crazy with the sample decks, I think a lot of that is going to be done ahead of time. just like you have to set your grids and your cue points if you want to get crazy with the sync button, you probably want to have the songs you intend to mashup with the loop decks pre sampled. Maybe pull out a 4 beat drum loop, the main melody, and a couple lyrics or significant elements for each song you would mix with. Then maybe plan out a routine where you switch between the decks and the sample decks. The idea of 'doing it live' like dub fx in NI's promo video is probably unrealistic. I'd consider getting something to control each sample deck like an akai lpd8 or a Korg Nano Kontrol .

    As far as being known as "that dj" who whatever. There are 3 things you should remember.

    1) If you learn how to beatmatch you can be the dj who chooses to sync, as opposed to the one who has no choice to.
    2) If you get the dance floor moving, it doesn't matter if you're using a kazoo and casio keyboard.
    3)Fuck what haters say. If they won't knock you're technology or they'll knock your music choice or your clothing, or your insistence on receiving fellatio mid set. That's what haters do. Keep doing what you do.

  4. #4
    Tech Guru jprime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tads View Post
    using a kazoo and casio keyboard.
    That jumped out me on the page and I lol'd - but so true

  5. #5
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    watch as many videos of DJ's you like. Listen to their podcast. If you like music by a certain artist then check out his podcast and you as a DJ will be able to pick up when he uses samples, how a track was cut up and try that with one or two songs. Sometimes you can apply exactly what they have done to two tracks of your own choice..before you know it you'll have your own touch.

    Having said all that, I sometimes think too much is TOO much. I watch vids of Roger Sanchez on 4 CDJ's and what he does is so simple that it's awesome. One deck has a loop going, another deck has a vocal going and the other two are transitioning songs. Nothing magical -- just done flawlessly. Don't think you have to do ALOT to be impressive. Sometimes song selection is all you need.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tads View Post
    1) If you learn how...you can be the dj who chooses...as opposed to the one who has no choice
    This is a far more universal idea than it seems at first. In order to make an "artist choice", you must have more than one option available. It doesn't matter if you never select one of your choices...the act of making the decision is still vital.
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    Tech Guru Flash101uk's Avatar
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    Yoshi, what genre of music are you attemting this with?

    I realise you have quite diverse tastes in music, but if its dnb, its gonna be rather difficult to load up loads of sample decks and get everything sounding ok. Purely because theres so much sound going on all the time.

    I'd say you should look for people at the top of the game and aim to emulate them.

    Take Andy C as an example:

    He rocks 3 decks and does quite sharp cuts in and out of different tunes. Selection being the key, but the speed in which he does it adds excitement to the mix and thus transfers to the audience. Try it, I love spinning 3 decks, its really engaging.

    On the other hand, if you dont want to be 'that controller guy', get some turntables. DVS is the best thing ever and it'll keep you very busy. Then if you cant use them at a gig for whatever reason you can fall back on some smaller midi controllers, the X1 is a good example.
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  8. #8
    Tech Mentor racoon's Avatar
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    i would try ableton live as a host software for this approach.

    just my 2 cents ^^

  9. #9
    Tech Mentor YoshiExcel's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies guys.

    @deco, i tried to eq and then send to sample decks but doesnt work...the only way to do it is through loop recorder...so i guess that will do but will still kinda limit my options. still its fine i guess. And about the Sync, yeah i would still use sync especially since i would have the sample decks going lol. I can only imagine the disaster if i didnt.

    @tads, yeah i noticed i just had to start doing a "preparation" folder for my sets. i started practicing by having a couple tracks, breaking them down putting them into the sample decks, then i would try to find creative ways to mix into the next track. so yeah, your right everything has to be done ahead of time for the most part. will be time consuming for sure but worth it in the end.

    @Flash101uk, for the most part i mix all sorts of dnb (but mainly melodic dnb..so i also have song keys to worry about). I also mix progressive and tech trance on the side. You're so right about dnb being difficult to do this with, but i did practice last night and managed to do a little bit of impressive stuff with 2 tracks, so i guess its possible but just a bit tougher. Yeah, im very familiar with Andy C's style but that just doesnt seem like it fits me well. im the type that loves to play out a whole track alot of times, i dont like fast mixing. i will give 3 decks a go though just for the hell of it. =)

    @racoon, yeah alot of people have told me that but damn that program looked so complicated. eventually im gonna have to give in and use it though.

  10. #10
    Tech Guru Flash101uk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoshiExcel View Post
    Yeah, im very familiar with Andy C's style but that just doesnt seem like it fits me well. im the type that loves to play out a whole track alot of times, i dont like fast mixing. i will give 3 decks a go though just for the hell of it. =)
    This is a self defeating statement mate. Literally the only way you are gonna be respected for using a controller in the dnb scene is my mashing the shit outta tracks and bringing next level stuff, things you cannot emulate on vinyl without being Andy C.

    I guess thats the point really, you need to be bringing stuff to the table that makes the vinyl heads jaws drop. Personally I think that until youve tried vinyl, you'll never know how tough it can be, like riding a knife edge all night long. I think then you can sit down and understand what you need to do to smash up a dancefloor proper.

    Letting a song ride out and end to end mixing is fine in a bar or something, but its not for a proper night club.

    Do you have any dnb nights in your area?
    Go and get invloved with your scene man, get to know what it takes to gain the respect of your peers. Its usually not much more than a bag o weed and a respectable knowledge of dnb
    Ecler NUO 3.0, 2 1210mk2, midi fighter, Kontrol X1, Akai LPD8, Reloop RHP10's, TSP, Audio 8

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