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  Basic Mixing


Basic Mixing - Part 2 - The Next Bit
Author: DJ Recess

Part 1 - The Beginning
Part 2 - The Next Bit
Part 3 - Introducing Your Headphones To The Process
Part 4 - Mixing Two Different Tunes Together
Part 5 - Mixing Using CD's

Right, so you've learnt how to start a record. The next thing you have to learn is how to change the tempo of the tunes using the pitch control in order to make the tempos of the two tunes be same.
This is the hardest technical part of basic Ding that you'll encounter. You can expect the first part above to only take you a couple of hours or so, this next bit when taken to its full extent can take people anything from a couple of days to a couple of months, or even worse, a couple of years. What it hinges on is: -

1) How much practise you put in.

2) How well you can train your brain to listen to two different things

3) How much of an attention span you have

4) The decks you're using.

So, still keep your two tunes on the decks, and still keep both channel faders up and the cross fader in the middle - you're still not using your headphones yet. I know, you're getting a bit bored of your tunes now. But stick with them.

Move the pitch slider on one of the tunes so it's now running faster than normal (to about the 2% mark or something).

Now, do what you were doing before, keeping the other tune at 0 pitch. When you start it, within a second or two, the beats will start galloping away from each other. Speed up the deck that's at 0 pitch with your hand, so it's back in line with the other tune, and increase the pitch.

You're allowed to cheat today. You know that if you set it to 2%, the tunes will now be running at approximately the same tempo, and won't go out of time as quickly as you first tried it.

But, what will happen in about 98% of the time, is that after 20 seconds or so, the two beats will start to drift out of time again, and given enough time will start galloping again.

There's a reason for this. Though you've set the two pitch faders to 2 percent, it's a visual guide on the fader that you've used. You've not actually set both to bang on 2%; you set one of them to (for example) 2.1% and the other to 2.5%. Even 0.4% of a difference in pitch can mean anything up to and even over 1 beat for every minute set this way of a difference.

When you hear the two tunes drift, what do you do? Well. This is when you hit the pay dirt of problems in Ding.

The first thing you'll probably think is "How do I know whether the tune I've just sped up and adjusted (let's call it the CUED track - you'll get to know why later) is now running too fast or too slow?" Hehe! You have NO idea the amount of mails I've had asking me about this one.

The answer is this. When you're just starting out, and if you've not got an ear for this anyway, then chances are you won't. The best thing to do for now is just go through a trial and error process. Just assume it's running too slow, and speed up the record a bit. Now, you've either just speeded up a tune that was already running too fast, thus putting it WAY out of whack, or you've just got the beats aligned.

If you've fixed it by speeding up, then move the pitch fader VERY SLIGHTLY up a bit. We're not talking a lot for now, just a little bit.

If you keep going through this process everytime they slip out of time, and your decks are good enough, I promise you that after a few times (or a lot of times) you'll eventually get both tunes running at the same tempo.

(some things can cause problems though. If you have cheap decks, then they probably won't hold their pitch that well, so though you're adjusting things the way you should by the book, the deck is throwing up wildcards, changing the speed it's running at - making your adjustments almost pointless. This is something you'll have to learn to live with if the decks are bad, and just learn to deal with it. Also, sometimes a record can actually change its pitch through the course of its playing. Either because it's been recorded with a slight tempo change, or the record is warped, or has been badly pressed or something. These factors CAN come into play - and it's a right pain. Unfortunately, there's not really that much you can do at this stage, but the point of what you're learning while doing this section is so that when the deck or record goes slightly out of time, you can fix it.)

Repeat this process as long as you can without sheer suicidal boredom setting in. Set the pitch to different positions, on both decks, and learn to change and adjust the pitch, both in large coarse changes (from -6% to +3% etc) and from deck to deck.

I know I said boredom might set in, but this is a vital part of learning to DJ, you have to be able to change the pitch of the tunes so that they're running at the same tempo. If you don't spend much time on something that's a foundation of Ding - you'll suffer in latter processes. Practise, and learn.

Up until now, your mixing has been aided by the fact you're using two tunes of identical Beat Per Minute (which is what the tempo relates to). So, by setting one pitch fader to +4%, you know that if you set the other to that area, you're going to be VERY close to getting the tempos correct (which I will now refer to as the more common descriptive - Beats Per Minute (BPM) ).

The next stage up from this one would be still to use the same tunes, but when changing the pitch, try not to look at the other one and match it, try to use your ears - takes discipline, but it can be done. Just listen to what's happening to the beats, and try to decipher whether it means you have to increase or decrease the pitch. It's 'fairly' simple if there's a huge discrepancy in pitch, but gets tricky when you have small differences - which is what I'll go onto after the next section.

Author: DJ Recess

Part 1 - The Beginning
Part 2 - The Next Bit
Part 3 - Introducing Your Headphones To The Process
Part 4 - Mixing Two Different Tunes Together
Part 5 - Mixing Using CD's

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