Numark iDJ Pro

I recently had a chance to play around with this sweet sexy thing. It belonged to a friend of mine. I have to say this is really good. For beginners, this is a very easy mix deck to start your dj'ing. I especially love and I really love the volume knobs.Old Skool!

Feel the Beat with Dr. Drum

There are four kinds of beat making programs available today.

The first kind is a complex beat maker that only the most skilled technicians can understand. These also come with price tags in the stratosphere, and mind-boggling instructions.

The second kind promises great sound that anyone can use, but as easy as it is to operate, the sound is flat and simplistic.

The third is the free beat maker. These can be very alluring to starving artists, but they are dangerous and often come with extra, unexpected thrills also known as Trojans and Viruses.

Feeling the groove

Once you find the right type of genre you want to play and are ready to do your first mix, here is on piece of advice I always give to my students. Always listen to the tracks before you play them. Getting to know your music is very important so you can understand the flow of the music and most importantly, where you want to mix in and where you want to mix out. It also gives you and idea on what song you want to play after that.

Once you study the songs you want to play, especially if it's a new track that you never heard off or even a short demo you heard from Beatport, you will find it much easier to mix and party with the crowd. Learning where the songs has a funky break or even when the vocals come in is very essential. So please take this advice and listen to your tracks before you mix. Prepare your set in advance if you desire. I like to play what is best at that moment and keeping with the flow but sometimes you need to adjust your set due to a lousy crowd :)

As usual, this is all just my personal opinion and it has served me well over the years. Hope it helps you improve your DJ skills.

Counting your bars

Hope you've been practising well and been able to beat mix?! If you have and you are able to beat mix, then lets move on the the most important part. Learning to create a smooth and seamless mix. 

In order to achieve this, you need to learn to be able to count your bars. Have a look at the video below. After viewing it, come back and I'll explain it with more details.

Now that you know how to count your BPM, I'm going to tell how I count mine. Now when you do a 4 beat count, that will most definitely benefit you when your mixing r'n'b, hip hop or anything that is short. For house or Dance music, it's longer, so if you count 4 beats to a bar, as stated above, it will give you 8 bars.

The way I do this is that, I double the beats. So instead of counting 4 beats to a bar I count 8 beats to a bar. In that way, you get less bars to deal with. So, in a normal situation you will get 8 bars but when you count 8 beats you get half of that, which is 4 bars. Again, this is very useful when your a house DJ. Many DJs I know use that way.

Hope this was helpful to all of you. Again, please comment if you have any questions. 

How to DJ with Mixing techniques

Mixing is a pretty straight forward thing. The main objective is to get both the beats to sync and sound like one. In order to achieve this, you need to first set or get your bpms right. I talked about bpms in the previous post. Unlike bpms, where you can start counting the beats at any part of the song, mixing requires you to catch the first beat of the song. It is important to understand that you will need lots and lots of patience. This can be a very slow and frustrating time but once you've mastered this skill and continuously have the passion for music, dj'ing can be very rewarding. Also, before you carry on reading, ready yourself with your headphones. Always remember, one side is to listen to the current song playing on air and the other is for listening to your headphone. So, don't use both cups, just have one on. Learn to differentiate both songs. You need to be able to separate both songs. Its is kinda like tapping with one hand and sliding with the other at the same time

Cueing and mixing
  • The first thing you do is get two songs from the same genre. Try to get two songs that are instrumental. This will be a lot more easier for you to learn to mix as there will not be any vocals to confuse you.
  • Let the first song play and prepare to cue the second song. Now, you need to find the first beat of the song. This is very important. Catching the first beat is very simple. Play the second track and when you hear the first beat 'doop' (beat sound), pause the track. Now slowly turn the platter back until you hear the beat sounding 'doop doop doop doop' really fast. This is the sound of the beginning of the beat, the edge. Once you've got that, hit the cue button. Congratulations, you've just got you'r first cue!
  • With the advantage of having a bpm counter on either your cdj (most do), you can already pre-drag your pitch control to the desired bpm. It's a matter of getting the perfect pitch. Since we are only gonna learn to beat mix now, don't concern yourself with bar mixing for now. 
  • Ok, once you've got your first beat ready, which should be on standby or cue'd and you've pre-adjusted your bpm, lets mix. Listen to the first song playing, time yourself to the beat. I recommend you tapping your hand or feet to the beat. When your ready, on the next beat, hit play. Now because you've already pre-adjusted your bpm, it should sync with the first song or it may just be a little bit off. Ok, so you got the two songs playing,  
For a more detailed explanation, I will post a video soon (cam is broke) on how to cue and mix. 

Counting your BPM - Essential

Entering the world of DJ'ing is no easy job.There are many aspects of DJ'ing that you need to master. Not forgetting the investment in getting your own decks to practice on. Your dj equipments are not just any instrument, they are instruments made for precision and fun.
There are two important things too learn and master, beat mixing and bar mixing, but most importantly, you need to understand BPMs (beats per minute).

BPMs - Q: What does a bpm do for you? A: It tells you the speed of a song. Now before you start to push the fader, you need to be able to differentiate the genre of songs and their bpms. This will help you find a track that is appropriate for a mix your intending. For example, if the track that is playing on air is 128 bpm, it is not a good idea to try and mix a track that has 95 bpm. In general, you should find something that has the same or close to that 128 range. Even if it is 120bpm, you can still mix with the pitch control. Now, almost all mixers and cdjs have a bpm counter. The moment you play your track, it will show you the current bpm of that particular track your playing. Just for fun and in-case your bpm counter isn't working for some unknown reason, here's how you count it manually. There are different ways to count them but here's how I do it and thanks to DJ Love for this.
  1. Prepare your watch or stop watch for a period of 10 seconds.
  2. At any-time of  the track, count every beat or kick drum in that 10 second period. If your not sure what I mean. You know how you shake or move your head every-time you listen to a track you like? Your shaking your head to the beat. That's how you count.
  3. Once you get the amount of beats in that 10 sec period, just multiply that amount with 6. Example: 20 beats x 6 = 120. The answer (120), is the bpm of that particular track. This will not be an accurate result, but close to the actual bpm.
  4. Do remember this, always keep your pitch control on neutral. Anything below or above will not give a good result.

Here are a couple of videos. The first one simply shows how I mix and the second shows how I get the right tempo for mixing. Please note this was done very quickly with one hand as I was recording it myself :). Hope you guys find this helpful. I will post a more detailed video soon.

      Difference between Pitch and Tempo

      On a side note, here's something just for your info. Many DJs have been asking, what is difference between tempo and pitch? Way back since I've started DJing where honestly I can say, a lot of experienced DJs still have a lot of misunderstanding about the above topic.

      But I can't blame it on them as I've been in their shoes before!!! Firstly, in order to understand the difference between the two, you need to know the basics of music.
      1. In music, pitch is the harmonics of a piece of music. In simple terms, it's the 'do, re, mi' in music. Each piece of music has its specific harmonics. It's a rather complex topic where I will discuss on my next future post.
      2. Tempo, in the other hand, dictates the speed or pace of a piece of music. That is what BPM is in musical terms where the basics of beat mixing is.
      The confussion between the two terms actually came from the equipments that we DJs used. In the early days of DJing, where turntables were the only main equipment we had, the tempo slider was and is still labeled as pitch adjust. Can't really blame the manufacturers because that's what it does, change the pitch of the song. 

      When CDJs came into scene, the slider was labeled as tempo, as most players has a function called the 'master tempo' where it locks the pitch of the song to its original pitch no matter how much the tempo changes.

      Hope this helps you understand a little bit about the differences. Don't bother too much about it as it really doesn't effect your performance.

      Contributed by: DJ Will aka William

      Winter Music Conference

      Just a quick mention. To those who are able to attend, I envy you! Do enjoy and have fun. To those who are thinking if they should go or not, don't think, just GO!!!
      Established in 1985, WMC is the largest music industry gathering of its kind in the world. 
      Winter Music Conference, in its 25th consecutive year, is one of the most publicized annual music gatherings in the world. A pivotal platform for advancement of the industry, WMC 2009 attracted 1,910 artists and DJs, 3,228 industry delegates from 62 countries and over 70,000 event attendees for a concentrated schedule of more than 500 events presented across 5 days. Music, as one of the world’s most accessible cultural art forms, gives WMC the unique ability to cross economic, geographic and social boundaries. Over 1.3 million visitors from 183 countries log on to the WMC website each year.

      For more info, do check out their website WMC

      Some cool Pioneer equipments

      MP3 and recommended download sites

      Lets talk a little bit about DJing with mp3s and using dj software to mix. As you know, mp3 is a very common standard format, though there are many more formats to choose from. There’s really nothing wrong with DJing with mp3. Many will tell you that it’s not cool to DJ with mp3. I will tell you now, It’s way cool. Not only is it cool but it’s also and easy option if your the type who travels constantly. The days of carrying around heavy record bags and even CD bags are slowly fading away. All you need these days are basically a simple back pack to carry your laptop and probably your portable hard drive.

      Firstly, mp3 formats are available for download on hundreds of sites. Some free and some paid. I will not get into those free sites for reasons you already know of. Here are a couple of sites that I personally use to get many of my songs.
      Ok, so those a just a couple of sites I use to buy my stuff. There are many more sites out there. A simple google search will do. When you get into those sites, they offer a few options on download formats. As I stated above, most common will be the mp3 format. Here’s a screen shot of my crate. Have a look on the right side where it shows the format options for downloading.

      Now, why I chose mp3 is because they are cheaper and easier to carry around. Unlike vinyls and don’t get me wrong, I love vinyls (I have loads of them at home, where I still listen to them), they offer easier portability whether you burn them onto cds or use a software. I remember, I used to order vinyls online and had to wait for weeks for them to arrive. I just couldn’t wait for them. Now, a few clicks and it’s on my desktop, ready to be played. The other benefit is that you can burn your mp3 files directly onto a cd and directly play them on almost all CDJs out there. The newer models now allow you to play mp3 formatted cds. Isn’t that awesome?!

      I’ll be talking about dj software on my future  post. Till then, see you soon and take care!