Advice on 'hard' mixing...
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  1. #1
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    Default Advice on 'hard' mixing...

    Hi guys,

    I've been listening to a lot of mixes lately from the bass music spectrum and I have a question about the way they mix and how to best emulate it. To characterise the way they mix, I'd say it's thick'n'fast, i.e. introducing the next song very abruptly - as opposed to a long, gradual blend - and driving it straight into the mix with (near) max volume and EQ. This normally comes in at an obvious point in the current song: during a break/bridge or start of a new phrase. I'm wondering how they go about this technically: how do you mix in a next track so quickly on a turntable?

    Is this just a matter of turntable/vinyl control? Are they cueing/holding the first-beat on the incoming track and then just slamming the volume all the way up, and timing it perfectly? Because obviously the risk is that if you release the vinyl even half a step off the beat your mistake is immediately going to be max-volume for max dancefloor devastation. Or do you think it's easier to find the cue-point and then go back perhaps 4/8 beats, and bringing it in on time? Because that seems pretty difficult to do - to guess when the current-playing song is 4/8 beats back - especially if it's an acapella section or a break without any bass/kicks to count.

    So what's your method? Hopefully you guys know what I'm on about by my vague descriptions. Hard mixing, basically, as opposed to gradual: what's your methods? Any tips? How do you slam in the next track so it immediately has a presence, rather than slowly upping the volume/EQ until it's fully in place? This is something I want (and need!) to practice.

  2. #2
    DJTT Dominator JesC's Avatar
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    i get what your saying, Im personally know that Im a agressive mixer, BOOM! tho it mostly depends on the genre. with aggersive mixing you will see atleast from me more scratching, backspinning, and echofading to get a quick mix done.
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  3. #3
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    At the moment because I'm pretty lousy at throwing it in instantly, I do normally use a hi-pass filter or cut out the bass 4/8 beats before so that when the new track comes in its bass immediately takes over. But that's kinda like a half-competent version of hard mixing, haha, and I'm tired of listening back to my mixes and seeing that half of the transitions are 'cut out the bass, bring back in the bass'. It gets boring. Same with hovering on the filters to make it more smooth; I feel like they're crutches. I'd really love to hear some techniques for clean, on-point hard mixing

  4. #4
    Tech Guru jakeintox's Avatar
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    Sounds like the same kind of techniques used to mix hip-hop, i bet you can find a couple threads on that.

    Quick cuts and hard slams do require really good timing, but confidence is what sells it. If you hesitate or over-think it, you'll miss your cue. I use short 1 bar loops to get lined up, then slam the incoming track up and kill the low eq on the out going track. Release the loop as soon as it's up and loop out the outgoing track (I've been drinking, does that make sense?)

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  5. #5
    Tech Guru PeteWoods's Avatar
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    If you really learn your tracks you'll know how long an intro for it is, and where things kick in, waveforms help as well, and as long as I have my track beatmatched i could easily pull it into phase for a slam mix if thats what I was going for.

    I sometimes do pull out the 'chicka-chicka' scratch if i'm going for a harder edged mix, usually if i'm mixing hard electro-ish techno, or hardcore/ hardstyle/darker DNB, though i rarely spin that.

    occasionally if i'm playing very dark atmospheric stuff (ambient/experimental) i'll use an echo freeze and slam in the other track a few beats later!

    if you aren't confident with your fader timing, you could always have a filter on the track in traktor or on the mixer and just turn it off with a button push, might be easier! i would usually do a really quick sharp filter sweep with a high resonance if i was using filters in a hard mix!

  6. #6
    DJTT Dominator JesC's Avatar
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    pretty much what the guys said above. but you have to practice. once you get it down, it will be 2nd nature and other djs will think ur show boating.
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  7. #7
    Tech Guru synthet1c's Avatar
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    just line everything up then just before you smash in the new record hit the brake or brake effect, it leaves a nice trail for a little outro. If you talking about brostep/moombah mixes that is just lining up where the track kicks in, the audience is expecting the current song when it kicks, but BAMM! slap them in the face with a monster... it works because the intensity is about the same as they both just built a lot of tension in the build the just unleash the bigger track... people go crazy for it, but don't do it all the time otherwise it will just be annoying for the crowd because your not playing any tracks just drop after drop after drop, unless you're the headliner and you have an energetic crowd then go nuts, but if your asking I doubt that will apply...

    *never go down in intensity when you do this*

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  8. #8
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    I started DJ-ing 15 years ago with vinyls only and no effects whatsoever. I just to play Dutch Hardcore Gabber at around 180 BPM. Phrases between brakes and natural cue mix in point are usually pretty short, sometimes as short as 4 or 8 bars. Vinly doesn't give you waveforms or anything, so you have to learn to beatmatch like you're on speed. There's no time for slow fade ins.

    What I used to do is hold the record that I'm going to mix in at the first beat and move the record back and forth on the first beat at the same tempo as the the track that is playing. All EQ filters for the new track are kept in their zero/unfilterd position. The new track's line fader is closed, I'm just monitoring the track on my headphone cue. When the moment supreme is there to mix in your record, throw in the record with one hand, at the same time fully open your line fader with the other hand, at the speed of light move one hand to the lo gain filter of the record that was playing and turn it all the way down. Since you are mixing at 180 BPM this should all be done within the first kick or it will sound like crap. Make a few micro adjustments to correct the phase between your records that you can hear, but the crowd deosn't and you've just made a great mix. Difficult, yep, but practice makes perfect and I'm proud to say I can still mix like that. In comparison I have no scratching skills whatsoever since I'm not a turntablist and those guys certainly can do things with their vinyls and cross faders at light speed.

    I think I could upload a sample of me using this technique to my Mixcloud, but give me a few hours to get that ready.

    DJ KIO

  9. #9
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    Some really good answers here - thanks!

    Like all the methods suggested: those with fx/filters and those using pure timing and practice. Definitely want to get both nailed before I'm comfortable using it in a club/party environment!

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