Use BPM counter or beatmatch by ear?
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  1. #1
    Tech Student
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    Default Use BPM counter or beatmatch by ear?

    I have been djing for about a couple of weeks now with a mixtrack pro and traktor le and am slowly getting to grips with things. So far i can beatmatch quite well when i first use the BPM counters to make sure the BPMs of the tracks are as matched as possible (i have been practising not using BPM counters every now and then but not very successfully), from then I beat match by ear and never use the sync button, however i still feel i am 'cheating'. Obviously i want to eventually mix in clubs or bars where i understand CDJs are the norm, my questions are do all cdjs have a bpm counter on them? And do you recommend putting the effort in to learning to beatmatch properly now or to just get better at other techniques first and worry about that later?

    Any opinions welcome, Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    Use your ears.

    Learn to beatmatch manually and it will serve you well whatever equipment you are using and whatever track you are playing, the BPM is only a guide and can, and is frequently incorrect.

    CDJ's (at least the last ones I used) only display whole numbers as BPM (where traktor displays .00).

    It'd be worthwhile renting a pair out for a weekend and getting a feel for them.

  3. #3
    Tech Wizard
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    ++ by ear

    Something to also note, some of the BPM counters can be "fooled" by music that doesn't follow normal beats. Mixing drum and bass will often show either 170 or 85, both are technically correct but will be confusing if only mixing via the counters.
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  4. #4
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    Agree... learn by ear first. Even when people Sync there are times depending on the beat-gridding or lack thereof within the software being used that will make it necessary to nudge the track manually to correct.

    Using BPM is also dependent on the accuracy of the BPM counter. For instance, my old DJM-500 has no where near the accuracy of today's mixers, nor do my CDJ-200's. My Xone DX with Itch BPM counters a far more accurate and make mixing so much simpler.

    Mixing by ear with both beat and pitch is a quality skill to have.
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  5. #5
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    Ok thanks guys i will get learning. I have a few mates with cdjs so will have to have a go on them. Another question, if i learn to beatmatch house music (as i have been told to do by various tutorials) will i then be able to beatmatch dubstep (the old style sub bassy 2-step type shizz), which is the genre i primarily want to mix? Or should i just learn to beatmatch dubstep from the off?

  6. #6
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    If you learn house then it should flow to other styles as well. For example, if you got the basic house beat down, you can picture the constant beat in dub-step or drum and bass, even if it's not there. This is especially helpful for timing when the song breaks down and knowing when it's going to stop.

    An idea that helped me was using a beat counter and just trying to keep a constant number while listening to the song. So when you have a house song, it's a simple beat 0---0---0---0, but with say dub step, it may be 00--00--000-0---, you still keep the same tapping on the counter. Once you understand the tempo, you can beat mix any other song.
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  7. #7
    Tech Mentor Paka Ono's Avatar
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    Uhhh both? Why hinder yourself unnecessarily?

    DJ's (well the better ones IMO) would all BPM their records before hand anyways. So I don't see what the big deal is now about BPM'ing tracks.

    I'm not saying you should have a BPM counter running while you are trying to beat match, but you should know ahead of time the BPM of the tracks you are trying to mix. Which will give you a general idea of where you need to set the pitch fader.

    Just my $.02

  8. #8
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    well the better ones IMO
    *cough* Bullshit *cough*

    I've been in the box with a lot of big name DJ's playing and only once encountered a guy that BPM'd his records.

    Uhhh both? Why hinder yourself unnecessarily?
    No need to hinder, but you should know how to drive stick and auto and be comfortable with both should the need arise.

  9. #9
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    With some of the beat grid and BPM detection issues within Traktor, it will benefit you greatly to learn to beat match by ear. Very often songs detected at the same BPM will drift apart.


    djproben - "But who can resist an album called "the Gay 90s"! I assumed it was going to be a lot of Moby and Keoki...."

  10. #10

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    [QUOTE=deevey;447820]*cough* Bullshit *cough*

    I've been in the box with a lot of big name DJ's playing and only once encountered a guy that BPM'd his records. [QUOTE]



    im sure there are plenty of people that dont, but BPMing your record collection is a common enough thing to do/see done.
    Traktor/Ableton /Komplete /MBP OSX el capitan

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