Advanced DJ Mixing Techniques To Level Up
In the following guide, we look at advanced DJ transition skills to take your mixes to the next level, covering: looping, how to use FX techniques and how tempo transitions work.
If you’re looking for more common DJ transitions, such as how the fade mix works or how DJs use key blending and matching, check out our Beginners Guide To DJ Transitions first.
In this guide, we’re going to be looking at a few more advanced mixing techniques which will add even more intricacy to your sets and ultimately improve you as a DJ.
So, let’s get to grips with the DJ loop technique, how to do a tempo transition mix, and finally cover what is FX in DJing and why you should learn how to use it.
Infinite Loop Mix
What is looping in DJ techniques? And when should you use it?
Sometimes, you may have a track that you want to mix in to, but you’re struggling to find a section of the track that doesn’t clash with the track that’s already playing. It might be that the incoming track is a radio edit, and so it’s missing that handy long intro that a lot of DJ edits have, making it trickier to mix in to.
This is where looping comes in handy. Most CDJ’s and DJ software (like Serato) enable you to save premade loops that you can jump to using hot cues. As an example, you could save a 4-bar loop of a drum section or a bassline and mix in to that – then when you’re ready, exit the loop and continue playing the track as normal. This can be a real lifesaver when you’re coming to the end of one track that’s playing out and need to quickly mix in to a new track.
The Tempo Transition Mix
Sometimes referred to as a tempo change mix technique, this transition isn’t used as often as looping, but it can be an exciting way to switch up your sets.
Let’s say you want to try mixing two tracks together but they’re from a different genre and BPM range. One is a Techno track at 130 BPM, and the other is a Drum and Bass track at 160 BPM. We wouldn’t typically hear these tracks mixed in a set – and it doesn’t always work, but you will always find exceptions to the rules.
There are several ways we could approach this. Some DJ’s might make use of pads and effects, but let’s explore the gradual tempo transition.
While your Techno track is playing out to the audience, load up the incoming Drum and Bass track to the second deck and match the BPM to the outgoing Techno track using the tempo slider. You might also want to use a loop to avoid any phrase clashes. Use the EQ knobs to take out the busier frequencies from the Techno track. Slowly start to bring in the incoming Drum and Bass track. Start to fade out the Techno track as you very gradually bring up the volume of the Drum and Bass track, monitoring how the tracks sound together. Once the Drum and Bass track has fully taken over, gradually bring the tempo up using the tempo slider.
It must be stressed that this won’t always work – but with the right pairing (e.g the tracks are in the same key or are somehow related to each other) this can be a great way to bring up the energy of your set.
How To Use FX Techniques
In the world of DJ mixing, there are a lot of effects that can create an amazing sound. There are also a lot of tricks you can use to save time and make your music sound better than ever. There are 4 main FX techniques that you should get familiar with. The best way to learn how to mix using these effects is to just play around and experiment. Plus, once you’ve got to know these 4, there’s a whole world of FX techniques out there.
3-band Equaliser- This is the most common effect of all DJs. Harmonic distortion is the basic effect of this tool. It can be used to add some punch and get a little extra gain in the low end or boost the high end frequencies on a track.
Pitch Shifter - Pitch Shifters are pretty common as well. They are often used to modify the pitch of a sound so it sounds like it's coming from a different place in space or time itself.
Stereo Delay - This is probably the most useful delay effect for DJ mixing. It's great for creating some sort of vibe or atmosphere in your music.
Filter - Filters have their uses, but they are mostly used by hip hop producers to create distorted sounds and noises that aren't possible with other effects such as EQs and delays.
With all of these DJ mixing techniques you will be able to take your mixes and productions to a professional level. However, it’s worth mentioning that all of these more advanced techniques will require a high degree of trial and error before you’ve mastered them.
That’s most of the fun of learning more advanced mixing techniques, FX techniques are an especially all-consuming world when you get into them but if you’re a DJ, you already know that there’s no better feeling than pulling off a slick, complicated mix.
If you’re ready to get stuck into learning some new Djing techniques but don’t have the necessary equipment, you can book one of Pirate’s DJ studios and pay per hour across the UK, US and Germany. Each of Pirate’s studios come with industry standard Pioneer DJ equipment.