Advice on moving on from just blending tracks
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  1. #1
    Tech Convert
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    Default Advice on moving on from just blending tracks

    Hi there

    Loving this place!

    I mix minimal techno and love using traktor and my kontrol x1. I feel like I really only am loading up tracks and pressing sync though.

    I'd love to progress and have been playing with FX which is cool, but sounds over the top to me.

    I'd love to learn a couple of simple tricks that wouldn't sound overused or just a few things to start to make it more interesting.

    I love the look of the 2 midi fighter setup with juggling and looping too, wondered if i should grab those or can do enough with the X1 for now.

    I'd really appreciate some ideas.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Tech Guru BradCee's Avatar
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    if it's pro and you have 4 decks, try layering a couple of loops from different tracks.

    fx wise, stick to 'subtle' ones. reverb for build ups, formant filter to tweak a loop/samples sound, gater to glitch up anything with a 'white noise' kind of sound and beatslicer is always good with a sampled percussive section. just don't over do anything. also try experimenting with key knob for builds aswell. take a 1 beat loop, filter it out and increase the key, with a touch of reverb, coming to a drop in next track

    minimal techno/house key to good effect use is making it sound like you haven't done anything and it's actually part of the track. if it stands out, you've done it wrong imo. unless you're going for 'face melting fuck everything up cos i can' but i don't recommend doing that to often

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  3. #3
    Tech Guru exokinetic's Avatar
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    From what You describe as your play-style it sounds like you understand pretty well the concepts of putting one track into another one. And then adding a little flavor to that with FX...


    If your having trouble figuring out how to incorporate you effects....

    Okay you have a track playing, you got another one and maybe you loop the intro, and you drop it into the next track in phrase and you have this loop in phrase so that when the new track hits its first drop, the track your mixing into is going to hit its second drop.

    Instead of slowly blending that loop in, hit your loop release spot, keep blending, bring in eq, bland bland bland....


    Listen to that loop in your headphone cue, (maybe do a little experimentation on sounds in tracks you like with effects in traktor as random practice too...) pick and effect you like, and completely change the sound of that loop so that it sounds almost, or completely, changed from the orriginal sound. Depending on how harsh that effect is sounding throw a filter on top of it to clean it up a bit and start teasing that noise, each time, as your getting closer to your loop release point start rolling off the filter, and the effect itself, until some point you decide for dramatic effect you completely release everything, and then after the first measure of a nice double drop, hit the outgoing track with the same effect, maybe with a bit of a rhythm to change it up.


    I like doing that... in many variations.


    Hope it gives you some ideas

  4. #4
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Umm…don't.

    Everything other than beat-matching (whether manual or with grid/sync) and pressing play is icing on the cake. Assuming you already know track selection and how to structure a set (not a safe assumption in this day and age), don't do anything else until you actually have a reason to do it.

    There are a lot of things you can do that sound great…layering loops, creative use of effects, samples…even scratching…the sky's the limit. But, if you're just doing it because you feel like you're not doing anything, then IMO DJing is not for you. This world is drowning in DJs who do stuff just because they're not capable of letting tracks speak for themselves. They add too much garbage, they jump around, they destroy the music they're working with, and they do it without any real intentions besides "i can do tricks, and i'm saving time by using sync…so I should always be hitting buttons and turning knobs so people get to see me doing things." Goodbye groove. Hello wanking.

    If you want to goof off on your own time and maybe figure out how to start adding a few things that actually enhance the music for other people, cool. In my experience, though, people who ask "what else can I do?" aren't doing it for those reasons…they're doing it because they're bored with their own music. Either they're not meant to be DJs or they're playing the wrong type of music.

  5. #5
    Tech Guru exokinetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mostapha View Post
    Umm…don't.

    Everything other than beat-matching (whether manual or with grid/sync) and pressing play is icing on the cake. Assuming you already know track selection and how to structure a set (not a safe assumption in this day and age), don't do anything else until you actually have a reason to do it.

    There are a lot of things you can do that sound great…layering loops, creative use of effects, samples…even scratching…the sky's the limit. But, if you're just doing it because you feel like you're not doing anything, then IMO DJing is not for you. This world is drowning in DJs who do stuff just because they're not capable of letting tracks speak for themselves. They add too much garbage, they jump around, they destroy the music they're working with, and they do it without any real intentions besides "i can do tricks, and i'm saving time by using sync…so I should always be hitting buttons and turning knobs so people get to see me doing things." Goodbye groove. Hello wanking.

    If you want to goof off on your own time and maybe figure out how to start adding a few things that actually enhance the music for other people, cool. In my experience, though, people who ask "what else can I do?" aren't doing it for those reasons…they're doing it because they're bored with their own music. Either they're not meant to be DJs or they're playing the wrong type of music.
    As ABSOLUTELY true as this is, and I agree, wholeheartedly.

    I just didn't want to be the crusher, although I could sense the OP could take a healthy dose of what you just prescribed.


    ...and to my agreement. Upon listening to my latest liquid DnB mix I recorded for next weeks set that I'm working on (synced up after finally mastering beat-grids in DnB, playing off my X1 and an external mixer, using nothing but mild eqing, and mild filtering), I noticed that a lot of the fader cutting I had done really sounded like "cutting for cuttings sake" and not really to enhance the feel of the combination of tracks.

    For sure it was really fun while I'm mixing them together, and they are working so well to get into a cut routine...

    But that tries to take the focus off the tracks and the producers and put it on the DJ, when really I should be letting these awesome tracks speak for themselves, and use a cut as a means to more clearly define a track as it is teased in, and for SPARRING(i.e. not very often) use as dramatic effect in a double drop.

    Another thing I noticed upon fixing the horribly curved response of my monitor setup is I have a horrible tendency to allow baselines to overlap with WAY to much combined EQ when I'm double dropping things, I just wasn't hearing how horribly compressed the bass sounded (mind you I take strict precautions to leave headroom in my entire gain-stage to avoid clipping) As well as there were things going on in the midrange I was just plain not hearing.

    0.o


    Without getting into the specifics of it, the monitoring solution you use to practice your djing on is just as important as a producers...

    2 KRK 6's ARE NOT ADEQUATE if you are a serious DJ, and you are playing on seriously BASS reinforced PA systems. Period.

    This setup absolutely must have its low range extended by some kind of sub. And thusly, at volumes high enough to hear those low frequencies i.e. 20/30hz up to 80hz, the midrange in those 6's just cant keep up. I added a set of passive krk 8's that get powered by my nifty sub box that has two channels of powered output as well as the powered sub.

    I also added Auralex foam pads, small ones for each krk, a huge one for the sub (the gramma) and a bunch for the corner opposite my sub, as my sub is in the corner of a square room, and the opposite corner was funneling the bass and creating a massive amount of extra bass distortion that colored everything, and nearly drowned out the low-mid range.

    This is only of course if you care what your mixing is going to sound like when you go outside your house.
    Last edited by exokinetic; 02-06-2011 at 05:08 AM.

  6. #6
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    Thank you all for your comments and advice.

    firstly to clarify I am not 'bored with my music' I love every track I play and choose them lovingly

    I think DJing is for me, because I love the music both behind and infront of the decks/laptop/whatever. Always have always will.

    I really guess I want a bit of both. I want competent mixes for DJing but I also want a bit of fun myself with trying something new. Challenging myself to move out of my comfort zone in some shape or form.

    I do understand I need to have play it safe mixes, but I also want to experiment.

    Going back to the comments. I think I would love to know more about track selection and building a set and see this as something I could improve on first for sure. What are your thoughts on this for somebody starting out?

  7. #7
    Tech Guru exokinetic's Avatar
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    Track selection comes from knowing your tracks so intimately that when one is playing you constantly think of other tracks in your collection that would just flow with into it perfectly.

    Building a set means you have a large enough collection and have played the tracks into each other, almost all the different combinations of two tracks.

    Sometimes it takes practicing tracks together that sound horrible for hours till you find DJ gold. Sometimes you start a practice session and a string of tracks just comes out of you and your like "woah" where did that come from. Write down that order of tracks next time it happens! Being able to play a coherent set means you never run out of those transitions that you found while practicing during the course of a one hour set.


    And that you have practiced those enough times that you can do it in your sleep.

    That is how you teach yourself track selection, and set building. Or at least that is how you start. Eventually your track collection WILL speak to you, Im not even shitting you. When you don't have to think about what track should come next, when you don't have to cue up 3 or more tracks to find one that works, but for some reason you intuition just TELLS you what track you HAVE to play next (thats kinda how it works for me, when my intuition kicks in and says: HEY RETARD! PLAY THIS NEXT! I find it hard to argue ) it gets really REALLY fun.

  8. #8
    Tech Guru Coldfuzion's Avatar
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    My head hurts, cause I think I am hungover (I drank like 4 - 5 hours ago and was completely wasted), so I refuse to read this thread as of right now.

    However to help you from what I read in the first post of yours, there is a thread on here that someone created which showcases a few peoples favorites mix techniques and how to execute them in a good way.

    I would suggest looking that thread up , I am about to pass out but by the time that I wake up if you haven't have found it yet, let me know and I will try to search for it for you!

    I hope I helped slightly!

  9. #9
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    Thanks to you both and I'm gonna take the practice advise until it's secod nature.

    Also think I found that thread very useful!

  10. #10
    Tech Wizard
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    special effects are only special if used sparingly

    Twenty First Century Jukebox

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