need advice in mixing technique
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default need advice in mixing technique

    hey guys, so i've been messing around with traktor and my traktor kontrol s2 for over a year now.. i DJ exclusively EDM and only ever done it as a hobby, in my free time, in the privacy of my own home.. i feel like i'm still not where i want to be at, in terms of mixing technique.. and i'm perplexed that there aren't many tutorials on the simple basics of DJing..

    i have all the fundamentals down.. beatgridding, beatmatching and how to count bars so that everything's "in-sync"..

    i still feel like i can't find a nice middle ground for when it comes to mixing 2 tracks..


    -just for sake of ease, let's say that TRACK A is playing, volume at 100% and all EQs set to +0%
    -i prepare TRACK B in the other deck, make sure BPM's are matched and the tracks are lined up (in terms of bars)..

    now here is where i find difficulty in how i should approach bringing in TRACK B..

    -i usually turn the LOW's from TRACK B, all the way down.. turn the MIDs to about 10o'clock and the HIGHs to about 11o'clock
    -i pull the volume slider for TRACK B, to about 80%

    now i'm ready to bring in TRACK B, and exit TRACK A..

    -making sure that all tracks are in SYNC and bars lined up, i hit PLAY on TRACK B
    -i slowly increase the MIDs to 100% and move the MIDs for TRACK A to about 11o'clock
    -now is when i'll bring the volume slider for TRACK B to about 100%
    -next bring in the HIGHs and lastly the LOWs

    so really, i feel like there's no rhyme or reason to this technique and i can never get really "clean" mixes between tracks, like u would hear at a nightclub..

    can anyone direct me to a helpful video tutorial which gives you step-by-step instructions on utilizing volume sliders, and EQs when transitioning from one dance music track to another? i know that there's nothing "set-in-stone" when it comes to DJing, as all music is different, but i feel like each DJ has to have SOME TECHNIQUE that he finds himself repeating over, and over again when it comes to transitioning between tracks..

    any help would be massively appreciated! thanks guys!

  2. #2
    Tech Guru astromech's Avatar
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    There's loads of ways to mix tracks. One thing to note, though, there's no real need to boost any EQs past 0 on modern tracks. It's useful for older, less compressed music, sometimes.

    One trick for mixing with Traktor, set your first two bars (8 beats) in a loop before you mix it in, then just bring it in as you want. Another trick I do is to have track A playing as normal, and whack the bass dial on track B down as much as possible, and once you've brought it in, swap the basslines.

    EDIT: Also, different mixes work better with different tracks. Play around with fading track B up in different ways. I'd say, though, that you should try and make sure that the music playing out is as consistently level as possible. IE don't leave a track playing low before bringing in the other one.
    A&H Xone:96 | Xone:K1 | 2 x 1210s | Traktor Pro 3 | Apple Macbook Pro (2015) 13" | Sennheiser HD7 DJ | Maschine Mikro Mk3
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  3. #3
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    is there any reason why i would want to keep both volume sliders kept at the same level for the entire time and mix with EQs solely? i just feel like i can't find that "natural sounding" level when transitioning 2 tracks, without it sounding like a "wimpy" version of track B is coming in

    Quote Originally Posted by happydan View Post
    There's loads of ways to mix tracks. One thing to note, though, there's no real need to boost any EQs past 0 on modern tracks. It's useful for older, less compressed music, sometimes.

    One trick for mixing with Traktor, set your first two bars (8 beats) in a loop before you mix it in, then just bring it in as you want. Another trick I do is to have track A playing as normal, and whack the bass dial on track B down as much as possible, and once you've brought it in, swap the basslines.

  4. #4
    Tech Guru astromech's Avatar
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    It's about using the energy of the new track at the right time. Sometimes, teasing the track and using elements of it workas effectively as in-your-face A2Bing.

    Listen to the last mix I uploaded on my mixcloud. It's old, but shows what I mean.
    A&H Xone:96 | Xone:K1 | 2 x 1210s | Traktor Pro 3 | Apple Macbook Pro (2015) 13" | Sennheiser HD7 DJ | Maschine Mikro Mk3
    read: http://djworx.com/author/dan-morse
    talk: http://facebook.com/bleeptechno
    listen: http://mixcloud.com/bleephudds

  5. #5

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    +1 for swapping basslines. And remember that the basslines are the energy of the track.

    Don't play two basslines over each other at 12 o'clock bass knobs. It rarely works.

    >

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by happydan View Post
    It's about using the energy of the new track at the right time.
    Totally agree with this. If you throw in track B with all Low's cut (which indeed sounds wimpy) at the right time and it blends nicely, then who cares if it sounds wimpy. I actually mix more using throws, rarely will I gradually fade in a song, unless there is no percussion/vocals or something. You can do the opposite too. Track A is about to come to a break with no beat, right when it goes in, throw in track B (no EQ) and cut the low's on Track A.

    Finding the right time to throw in and fade out stuff is what it's all about, this is where the energy of your mix is at. I always advice to use EQ to remove conflicts. If the next track will blend in nicely with no EQ, why bother then? Are those two tracks going to have issues with their kicks? Cut the lows. Listen & Think before you touch a button/knob.

    Just experiment and do what sounds good. I think what makes DJ-ing so cool is that considering the tools we have at our disposal, we all find our own ways for doing things.

  7. #7
    Tech Guru antifmradio's Avatar
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    i think i might know what your problem is here lip5016
    and i say this because i have to thank you in fully describing HOW you approach the "hands on" part of your mixing / layering.

    The only thing you DIDNT note is the timing of your Track B start compared to how much time "ruffly" is left on Track A
    and this is VERY important.
    Youll notice in similar music styles / genres the:
    Bridge
    corus
    fill
    build
    intro
    outro

    basically ALL the needed parts of the song, are about the same length as eachother.

    My guess is that you havent quite gotten down the timing of the tracks against eachother and
    not to make it harder for you but this does change a bit (not much ) between tracks

    While on some tracks you can run Track A til it has about 1:30 minutes left and you start B
    let that run til there is about 45 seconds left on A, and you switch your bass eqs and fully raise the B fader to 100%
    Now you are riding OVER A while B is prominent in the output.

    Like i said, this is VERY general at 1:30 minutes left on the track

    you can even do this with 2:00 left on Track A but track B would have to be a LONG one.


    See if what you are doing matches this at all and let us know

  8. #8
    Tech Guru djproben's Avatar
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    Yeah experiment with different tracks, and keep in mind that when you know your tracks, the mix will ALWAYS sound less "seamless" to you than it will to your listeners. You know exactly when one track is coming in, which sounds are new, etc., so you will hear the differences and they may sound awkward. I'd suggest record a few mixes and then listen to them again in a week after moving on to other tracks in your mixing. That lets you listen with a "fresh" ear and you may find you're better than you think.

    In terms of the technical mixing practices, it probably depends on the sounds you're mixing. I generally use both the EQs (well in my case, filters) to sculpt the mix but the volume faders to bring the track in. In other words, the EQs are about fitting the sounds together, not managing loudness. That may seem obvious, but sometimes track B is recorded at a much lower level than track A, so you need to use your gains to get the volumes to a similar level, and the EQs to keep sounds from clashing. You can mix with both tracks at 100% on the volume faders and just use the gains and EQs if you want; I generally use the volume faders as well - bringing in just the highs from track B for example and fading the volume up to 100% over 4 bars, bringing the track A volume down ever so slightly as B reaches 100%, and then bringing down the volume fader on track A at the same time as I bring up the bass and mids on track B -- again over 4-8 bars to make the transition seem smoother. But that's just one technique; swapping out basslines is another that can work really well IF the basslines work with what is going on in the other track. It's not going to work for every mix, by any means. Yet another trick I like is to bring one sound in at a time - use the volume faders up and down on beat to add just the hi hat, or a vocal sample, from track B, bit by bit -- four beats at 25% volume, four beats at 50% volume, four beats at 75% volume, then four at 100%, then leave the volume up as you swap the basslines in and pull the volume on track A right at the drop on track B. Again, it won't work for everything, but it's something worth trying out as you get more comfortable mixing.
    "Art is what you can get away with." - Marshall McLuhan

  9. #9
    Tech Mentor deckard26354's Avatar
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    It's quite fascinating reading all of this advice. You forget sometimes exactly what you are doing. To me after all these years, this is all instinct now and comes naturally. But to quantify it as it's said here I am starting to realise why some people (non djs) look at you perplexed as to 'what the heck is he dong with those little knobs?'
    To put some advice in here, try to listen to all of your tracks inside and out without trying to mix them. This is when you will see the Bassy parts, good parts to loop to mix from a-b and familiarity of the tracks structure to then use the eq's more effectively.
    For me as I said its all instinct now but I think once you have mastered it it's the same 'eureka' moment as to when I mixed my first piece of vinyl. You then only get better and better with practice.

  10. #10
    Moderator keithace's Avatar
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    OP...

    short of coming to your house, you just got a life time of perspective and instruction in less than eight hours...

    go forth and don't be afraid...
    Weapons, not food, not homes, not shoes
    Not need, just feed the war cannibal animal

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