Intermediate and Advanced DJ Techniques You Should Know
Have you mastered all the basics of DJing? Do you feel like you know the fundamentals of mixing tracks and producing original, banging music? If you’re interested in expanding your DJing skills and learning some new techniques that fall in the intermediate-to-advanced categories, you’re in the right spot.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to some of the next level techniques, tricks and skills that you should start working on to take you to the next level in your DJ journey.
Remember: each of these skills requires practice and experimentation. So don’t be afraid to spend time on one before moving on to the next.
Seamless Fade Mixing
While mixing two tracks together in a fade may be considered one of the more basic techniques on this list, the truth is that doing so seamlessly and smoothly is a whole different story.
When a fade mixing is done without seamless fluidity, your audience will notice the jarring change and it can affect their experience. To achieve the seamless effect, you’ll want to use a variety of filters.
Before getting started, make sure that the tracks you’re mixing actually work together. If they do, then you can use the following tools to achieve the smooth mix:
- High frequency volume
Make sure to reduce the percussion present in the two tracks so that the mix sounds smoother.
- Mid frequency volume
This is best used when there are no vocals and should be utilised with a sound effect.
- Low frequency volume
This is best used for tracks with bass or kick drums, or tracks that are being played at higher volumes and have more dominant sounds.
Mixing an Infinite Loop
An infinite loop in DJing refers to a section of a song that is mixed and looped infinitely. This can be done in or out of the mixing zones and loops are generally between 4 and 32 beats long.
Most DJs utilise the infinite loop mix effect by jumping straight to the specific section of the track and then setting that part into loop.
As you play around with using and mixing in an infinite loop, consider the following effects that can work really well:
- Beat masher – this breaks the single loop into a series of smaller, arranged pieces. You can then create a new loop and easily adjust the different tracks.
- Flanger – the flanger effect should be used sparingly but can really help enhance incoming audio.
- Filter with LFO – used for complimenting the main audio track, it can also be good for creating a dynamic background sound.
- Iceverb and reverb – Play around with these effects and notice how it reduces the noticeable impact of your mix as it washes the loop out.
Tempo transitioning can really prove to your audience that you have what it takes as a DJ. when you mix two tracks together, they might have different tempos. The tempo transitioning period allows you to adjust the one track to reach the level of the tempo of the other track (The particular track in question is up to you and the speed you’re looking to achieve.)
Make sure to apply the tempo transitioning to the incoming track, regardless of whether you’re speeding it up or slowing it down, as it will be less noticeable and easier to listen to if it’s matched to the master or pre-existing track being played.
Key Matching and Blending
Key matching and blending involves making key transitions between two individual tracks in such a way that it’s almost imperceptible and seamless. While this technique has been made rather easy thanks to the developments in DJ software, knowing how and when to use it takes skill and experience.
Moreover, it can really enhance your DJing and make you sound like the advanced pro you’re aiming to become.
A quick tip to help you before you start key matching and blending is to sort out your tracks and prepare your audio library accordingly. Fortunately, DJ software can perform all the key analysis you need. Simply sort your tracks so that they are grouped according to the key and displayed in order. That way building your playlists and determining which tracks you’ll be performing mixes with is as easy as possible.
Transitioning Tips and Techniques
Transitioning from one track to another can be a tricky business. Apart from preparing the new tune just as the previous one is about to end, you’ll need to apply the various pitch controls, tempo transitioning and more.
Here are some of the more advanced tips and techniques for determining that truly seamless transition.
Remember that most standards of DJs follow a four-beat interval pattern. This allows greater predictability towards the end of the track and can be useful for timing the transition well.
Alternatively, you can aim to transition on beat number 8, 16 or 32 respectively depending on the track in question and its tempo.
Without effectively employing the use of the equalizer, you’re probably going to find that your transition is jarring and mismatched, not to mention that it can also damage your speakers. The equalizer, or EQ as it’s often referred to as, should be used to ensure that the two different tracks don’t clash or overload the senses (or speaker system).
This technique comes with a bit of a warning. While some tracks and genres are excellent for use with FX over transitions, sometimes you need a more subtle and less noticeable technique. However, when it works, using the right FX can make the transition all the better.
Using a filter can help to simplify a track by filtering the audio that is either above or below (or outside of) the determined filter. Opposing filters can be used on separate tracks simultaneously to avoid the clash in audio and help you effectively complete the transition. Just remember to use the fader at the same time and remember to employ the EQ properly as well.
Becoming an Advanced DJ
While we’ve briefly outlined the mixing and transitioning techniques you should be working on to improve your intermediate and advanced DJing skills, remember to keep in mind these general tips for improving your DJing skills.
- Prepare and practice your DJ sets.
- Keep an eye on your mixer for warning/red lights.
- Play around and practice using FX.
- Don’t overuse faders.
- Practice with a variety of tracks, music and genre.
- Get experience playing in front of a crowd.
- Don’t stop practicing, experimenting and learning.
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