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Mixing with CDs

By DJ Stirr

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Djing for the newbie Disc Jockey & Mixing with CD (digital mixing) 

I have been a DJ for 2 years and since I ever started this business I went straight into cd decks. At the time of course I bought cd decks because the idea of using cd's (which I could make at home) was a cheaper one.  I also went out and bought myself a mixer as well as 2 speakers. 

 Here is a basic setup for the beginner DJ. 

Now in the illustration above I used turntables since they are more popular to use than the more revolutionary cd decks. 

The illustration above shows   

1 Mixer

2 Turntables (or cd decks)

1 Pair of headphones

1 Microphone 

Not shown above or Optional Equipment are: 

1 pair of speakers

Basic connection cables (RCA’s, ¼ inch and 1/8 inch stereo etc.)

A rack, or coffin where to put your equipment

Cd case or LP case where your record collection is kept

Here I will go into detail about the above mentioned gear and some places to get them online: 

  • Turntables Turntables are the most frequently used pieces of equipment in use by the regular DJ.  They have been the tools of the trade for quite some time now and are chances are if you ever went into a club or party the DJ there was using turntables to mix his/her music.  Turntables are divided into two basic categories: 1. Belt Drive and 2.  Direct Drive.  Belt driven turntables are operated by a thick rubber band which rotates the platter and moves the record which is touched by the styli or needle and creates output (music). Belt Drive turntables are a good economical choice for a new DJ.  Direct Drive turntables are for the intermediate to advanced level of DJ who have serious gigs and probably can afford such equipment. Instead of the belt the DD turntables use an electric strong motor to rotate the platter which proves to be more efficient and better for use.  (mid priced stuff) (cheap stuff)

  • Cd Decks – CD decks have revolutionized the way DJ’s mix their music.  CD can be made at home at a cheap price and more music is available on CD and Mp3 then on vinyl.  CD decks can be used by all club and mobile DJ.  They are easy and have some easy features. The more you spend on them the better they are.
    Visit the sites above for good deals on CD decks.

  • A mixer is the piece of hardware which makes the transition from one source (turntable, cd) to the other. Mixers come in 2 different ways 19 inch, and scratch mixers. The 19 inch mixers have more channels and can possibly best match with a pair of CD decks where as the scratch ones are slimmer and are used for turntable scratching techniques as they give the DJ less space between the turntables. Mixers range from under $100 to over $500.  A good possible price for a mixer could be under 100 dollars for a newbie.

  • Headphones are crucial in a basic set. They are used to pre-listen to the music that is not being heard on the speakers. That procedure is usually known as queuing.  Headphones should be a good investment so go out and get expensive one. I repeat do not hold back your money and get some cheap bastard pair of cans.  They need to be flexible to the one arm use for one ear or neck-rest monitoring. Also get some that are powerful enough so you can hear what is going on in the queued song without being interfered by the music playing.  Do not commit the mortal sin of giving your expensive headphones to anybody, ever…………………………………………………….hey I can see through the screen man, I said ever.

  • Microphones aren’t exactly crucial but form personal experience where ever I have DJ-ed I have had the need to announce something even if only once. It is best to get wireless microphones since they aren’t such a luxury anymore.  However, a simple corded mic would work just fine too.

Optional or not illustrated equipment: 

  • Speakers – a set of speakers is needed otherwise what are people going to listen to? DUH!!!!. Lol. Well the newbie DJ should start out with some simple full range speakers.  Gemini offers a line of cheap equipment where speakers are concerned. has good deals on pairs. Well aren’t you going to check that out? NOW? Just Kidding!

  • Cables are needed so get a bunch. They run really cheap so don’t hold back. Go to your local Radio Shack and get loaded.

  • Racks make you look professional and keep the kids and goddamn thief away from your equipment (which you had to flip burgers all summer, missing out on the beach and getting laid……to get.) Never mind you humorless piece of …..!
    Just kidding. Ha-ha! Racks cost somewhere from 100 bucks to 400 depending on how much stuff you got. So the judgment is yours.

  • CD-LP cases are needed for protection of your records.  Keeping your records in a case protects them from heat, rain(if you’re outdoors)etc.

  • Amplifier is another crucial piece of hardware which you will need.  Get one that is less than your speakers since it’s always going to be that way because of peak power but I’m not going to go into that crap now. Judge your own way.

  • OK so now let’s just get to the mixing stuff.  First off I suggest you get similar cd’s to start mixing since well it’s kind of hard to mix rap on top of dance. So get like 2 Paul Van Dyke records or Paul Oakenfold. Now put the records in your cd decks and put the cross fader of your mixer in the middle. 

  • Press play on one of the sides and you should be listening to music.  Now go ahead and put the cross fader on the side of which deck the music is coming from. Put your headphones on and press play on the second deck (the one where music is not coming from). You should be hearing music on your headphones. Congratulations you are queuing. If you can not hear anything look on the mixer for a switch called cue split and move it.  Or look for a knob which says cue volume and turn that up. So now that you can hear music. 

  • Use the jog wheel which is the big round thing on your cd deck controller to skip through the track which you are listening to with your headphones. Once you have found a point where you like to start that track so people can hear it then press the set cue or fly cue button on the controller. This will stop the cd at the point where you wanted to start the music. 

  • Now you can fine tune the start point by having the track stopped on cue and moving the jog wheel again. The wheel should have like a little finger round place for you to fine tune. So do it now. Lol. 

  • When  you feel comfortable that you can make the transition (mix) start beat counting. 1 2 3 4/ 1 2 3 4 then play that cued track one more time and count those beats. 

  • Stop at cue again and now play again look for similar drum beats to match. If they do then good, move the cross fader of the mixer in the middle and it should sound like one smooth song. If you did it correctly congratulations you can say you have mixed your first songs. If it sounded like a horde of elephants coming your way then Houston, Houston we have a big ass problem.  

  • Look on the controller for a lever called pitch control. Also on the controller find a pitch button. Push the pitch button on the queued track to tell the decks that you intend to change the pitch. By changing the pitch you are slowing the track down or speeding it up. So play your track on the headphones and listen carefully to the music playing and the one on your headphones. As a matter of fact do not put your headphones all the way in. rather put one ear only (see when I told you to get those expensive rotating headphones you cheap bastard, lol). 

  • Monitor both and see if you can find that same beat drum match. If not figure out which record is faster if it is the one playing then slows down the one in your headphones. If the one in your headphones is slower than the one playing then speed up the one in your headphones. 

  • Never, ever make unexpected changes to pitch on the playing record unless you really like getting hit on by chairs and other objects situated on the dance floor or around it. Change the pitch on the headphone track little by little monitoring every time. When you feel that the beats match move the cross fader to the middle than to the other side so that a smooth seamless mix is performed.  

I hope this tutorial gets you the idea you need to get mixing. This will not teach you anything because you don’t learn by reading but by hours of hard practice. 

All rights are reserved to the owner and writer of this tutorial DJ Stirr.

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