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  Basic Mixing


Basic Mixing - Part 5 - Mixing Using CD's
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

Mixing Using CD's
As I said at the top of the page, this is a really basic guide to what to do, for those of you who look at them for the first time and go "eh?".
The first thing you have to learn is how to scan through the track. There are two main types of CD system that I've encountered over the years. Ones with a JOG WHEEL have just that, a wheel that has an outer rim, and an inner circle. The outer rim is used for scanning through the track - a small movement to the left or right will move the track slowly in that direction. A larger movement can take it through varying speeds, up to (I think) four times the speed, and if you move the rim all the way in one direction, you should find that it'll advance or retreat by one minute.

The inner wheel on the jog wheel is for very fine-tuning. It will take you through the tune frame by frame so you can find the exact point at which you want it to start from.

The other style is a button only control. What tends to happen is that everything works from the "SEARCH" buttons, where if you press them once or twice, they will search through the tune frame by frame, but if you hold them down, the speed at which it scans through the track increases the longer you hold it.

There's another style using a joystick, but I've not used it, so I'm not going to make up any advice!!

So, here's MY method for cueing up, adjusting the pitch, and starting the tune. I'm assuming that the mix is going to start from the very first bass drum in the tune - yes, I know not all mixes go this way, but it's simpler to describe: -

1) Find the track you want (There should be a "SKIP" button to advance through the tracks).

2) Find the position you want to start the tune from. A lot of CD's are nice in that the tune starts from the very beginning of the CD, so you don't need to do any searching for the beginning of the tune. There's even more friendly ones that start right on the first bass drum, meaning you don't have to listen to the track until the point the first bass drum to starts.

If you know the first bass drum comes in about 30seconds into the track, then use the fast search control on the unit to get there. If you can't remember where it starts, then just listen to the track until it happens. Either way, when this bass drum happens, press the PLAY/PAUSE button (most units combine PLAY and PAUSE), which will pause the tune at that point.

Now use the fine-tuning control to get to the exact point when the bass drum kicks in. Personally, I like to set the cue point to one frame before you first hear the bass drum. I don't know if that's the right way or not, but it's the way I do it. Once you have found this point, PRESS PLAY/PAUSE. On all the units I've used, it's important that you do this manoeuvre, as this is what tells the unit that this is where you want the Cue Point to be set at.

Plus, pressing PLAY double checks that you have set it at the right point. If you have done so, press the CUE button on the unit. Again, with all the units I've used, what will happen is that the CD will go back to the point that you have just set. If you don't trust it, then remember the numbers of the CUE POINT that you set, and then when you press the CUE button, compare what it reads with what you remember.

3) Beat Matching Once you're sure you have set the correct cue point, press play on the CD unit in time with the bass drum of the live sound (what's coming out the speakers). Chances will be that you are slightly too fast or too slow. Again, all the units I've used have a PITCH button on them. This isn't what changes the pitch, but what tells the system that you'd like to adjust the pitch - thank you very much!! Make sure that this is selected (once pressed, you won't have to press it again).

With the pitch button on, you can now use the pitch slider to speed up or slow down the tune to get in time. You'll find also that there will be "PITCH BEND" buttons on the unit. As there's a chance the tune will have started to fast or slow when you pressed play, you'll have to get it back in time with the bass drums. If you're running too fast, press the - pitch bend button until you're back in time, and decrease the pitch control once in time (or while you're pitch bending). There's a good chance you won't have got it in time in one shot, so use the pitch bend and pitch control again to try and get the speeds matched again. Keep with this process until you're confident that both tunes are running at the same tempo.

4) Starting the Mix Once you have everything set at the correct pitch, press PLAY/PAUSE to stop the tune, the press CUE to get the CD back to the cue point you have set. When the appropriate moment occurs, press PLAY on the CD unit. If you've been a bit hasty pressing the button, or were too slow, use the pitch bend buttons to get the tune back into time.

Here's something I was just sent by the guy running It's basically just a descriptive on how to use a different set up of CD, and a couple more techniques when using CD's. Cheers mate.

The 4-way joystick on my top-loading CD-mixers (pioneers in a richer sounds-special Sherwood casing!) does different things depending which direction you push it in. I'm not sure if this is the same for all but thought I'd tell you about it anyway.

RIGHT: +4% pitch bend
LEFT: -4% pitch bend
DOWN: set new cue point on-the-fly
UP: loop back to cue point

Using the loop you can stretch out breakdowns or beats to create longer and funkier mixes or tease the crowd with some messy swirls whilst bringing in a massive build-up. I also use it to sample and loop snippets off other CD's (if I got enough time before the next mix!).

Also, if I press the Cue button when the CD is paused it sets that point as the Cue point. When the CD is playing and I press the Cue button it goes back to the Cue point.

What I do when beat matching is use the loop to get in time 4 beats, then 8, then 16. After that, it's definitely in time.

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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