DJing w/ Ableton, when to start the next deck?
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  1. #1
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    Default DJing w/ Ableton, when to start the next deck?

    Hey guys! I'm trying my hand at DJing with my Akai APC40. I'm using Will Marshall's template which I like so far.

    I'm running into the same problem when I try to move between songs. I don't exactly know when to start the next deck. Am I supposed to keep a tab on when the main parts of the song kick in vs just an introductory kick/bass line?

    As far as I know, I don't have the ability to view two waveforms at once like on Traktor so it's hard for me to know how much for deck A is left and how much of deck B I should let play. Or maybe I just completely missed the point of cue-ing. I have all my tracks warped properly I think.

    From what I've read, I should be EQ crossfading from deck A into deck B by dropping out the lows and highs of deck B and slowly bring them in as deck A comes to an end.

    All pointers are appreciated.

    I just bought a Traktor Audio 4 though. I'm sure being able to hear the next track in my headphones will help, but I thought it was possible to transition without cue-ing tracks in the headphones.

  2. #2
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    Hey there. Alright, what you are essentially asking is how to DJ. As far as not being able to see two waveforms inside ableton, I find this really doesn't matter that much if all your songs are perfectly warped. Yes, you should know when certain things are going to happen in the songs you are playing. This is just knowing your music. One awesome thing about ableton is you can name the clips whatever you like and get pretty descriptive ( 8 bars intro into 8 bars build. ie). Just do some youtube searching and watch different ways to mix two songs. Ean G. actually did a video on these basic techniques a while ago. Also check out illgates.com and go to the MAKE MUSIC tab and search around if you need help warping your tracks. He also has some very good ABELTON templates for DJing and studio work. Good Luck.
    13" Macbook_Kontrol S2_MF Classic_Ableton Live8_Akai Synthstation 25_Akai APC40

  3. #3
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    So you would splice your tracks into smaller pieces?

    I saw that ill.gates did this in his template demo whereas Will Marshall didn't so I figured I would be fine with just using the whole song.
    I really wish he would have a workshop near me. I would be there in a second.

    This just makes so much more sense to me in Traktor than Ableton. I was watching a Traktor video where you would just jump in to hot cue points to mix songs in. ill.gates approached this by cutting his songs into smaller pieces, but I couldn't figure out how to do that within Ableton.

    Please tell me I don't have to go back out to Audacity and cut the song into smaller pieces :/

  4. #4
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    Generally I have to agree with this:

    Quote Originally Posted by jtho277 View Post
    Alright, what you are essentially asking is how to DJ.
    Just a few hints:

    Quote Originally Posted by SlvrDragon50 View Post
    As far as I know, I don't have the ability to view two waveforms at once like on Traktor so it's hard for me to know how much for deck A is left and how much of deck B I should let play. Or maybe I just completely missed the point of cue-ing. I have all my tracks warped properly I think.
    1. Regarding how much of one track is left: get to know your songs. Once you know your songs, you will be able to tell how much (and what) is left to come.

    2. Regarding how much of the next track you should let play: as much as mixes nicely with the song before, i.e. without any clashin melodies, bassline, etc.

    From what I've read, I should be EQ crossfading from deck A into deck B by dropping out the lows and highs of deck B and slowly bring them in as deck A comes to an end.
    You should be mixing the songs in the way that suits the two particular songs in question best. This can be anything from a hard cut to a 5 min transition during which you slowly move between songs by swapping the frequencies one by one via the EQ 8 (the latter example is a bit extreme, but possible none the less...).

    but I thought it was possible to transition without cue-ing tracks in the headphones.
    It is, you just have to know your songs...


    PS: You can cut your songs into smaller pieces in Ableton as well. Just check the manual. You don't have to do it, but I actually tend to think that using Ableton to mix whole songs is like using 2,000+$ MacBook Pro to watch Youtube videos and post on facebook.
    Last edited by TCMuc; 02-05-2013 at 09:52 AM.

  5. #5
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    Okay, sounds like I just have to put my playlist on repeat then. I usually have an idea when the song ends but not how much before the melody starts in the next song.

    BTW, ill.gates vs Will Marshall template? I've found fans for both but only a couple of negatives for the ill.gates template (mostly because it was too complex?). I'm using the Will Marshall template (free) right now which I like, but I just don't see a reason to have four decks at the moment.

    I wanna figure out how to transition between songs before diving into mixing two songs together :P

  6. #6
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    Having a basic idea when the melody starts in the next track isn't rocket science, as it is quite similar for many tunes.
    You just need to understand how dance music is structured, and how you can use that for your mixing.

    "Phrasing" is the key word you might want to search for. I think there is even an article in the DJTT blog.

  7. #7
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    Set your launch quantise to 8bars. That should start you off nicely.
    DJ'ing: 2x1200MK2, DJM 850, Dicers, F1, Zomo MC-1000, Sony MDR-v700, i7 Win 10 HP Envy
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    I understand how it's structured, but the problem is when some songs have a 32 bar intro vs 8 bar intro or even Spectrum which pretty much starts right away.

    I might rename all my songs with how long the intro is, seems to be the best way.

    @Patch: I will try that out. Thanks.

  9. #9
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    I wanna figure out how to transition between songs before diving into mixing two songs together :P
    Yep you are essentially asking how to DJ.

    • Each slip shows time remaining in the Stop Button Area - you can jump quickly to waveform views using the channel selects anyhow.
    • When to Start a Track is up to you and is dependent on the tracks in question.
    • If I want to cut up a track I copy and paste the entire track and just set the start point to where I want to jump to - that way the rest of the track will play out if I want it to or I can skip to a break/build/endpoint at any given time, Its basically the same as adding cue points in traktor.
    • I generally set up a loop at the end of each track anyhow.

  10. #10
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    Well first of all you dont need to see both waveforms to dj... people were doing and still are awesome mixes on vinyl and you cant really see the waveform there (well u could kind of see where the transition is gonna happen but not Traktor precise).

    Second, Ableton shows u how far into a clip and how much time u have left on that clip... so u can chopp your song into sections and u will know for every element how much u have left. Another beautyfull thing about Ableton is that u can with some thought extend a break... so lets say 1st song has a 8bar break, but second has a 16bar break... u can play the first break twice or skip the second part of second break and jump straight back into action... etc...

    But u will always have to know your songs or u will spend most of the time looking at your screen and noone wants to see a dj that looks like he is checking his mail for an hour.

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