New to mixing, what techniques to practice?

Discussion in 'DJ's, MC's & Turntablism' started by QuakeFX, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. QuakeFX

    QuakeFX New Member

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    I just started digitally mixing Drum & Bass using a Kontrol S2 and Traktor.
    So far I'm in easy mode using sync and just focusing on getting to know the structure of my tracks and how to phrase match and getting the interesting bits into the mix. This is going fine so far and while continuing to practice this I would like to add something extra, but I'm lost as where to go from here.

    I usually end up with mixing song B's intro through song A's last phrase, then at the breakdown song B's intro changes to something more noticeable as to take over, fade out A, or maybe let some vocals or loop continue into B while EQing it out. Accidentally found a double drop and that was cool, but it's hard to keep up the energy from there. Even though I love it so far, it seems like DnB has far too much sound to be creatively looping and jumping through a song while throwing some effects in the mix like digital house/electro DJs do. And there isn't much info on DnB techniques out there either.

    Are there any particular filters that could be really useful?
    What ways are there to tease with an upcoming song?
    How can you add drama to a build up? (like a rising tone or something)
    Or when 'double building' with the previous song quickening drums, how to smoothly fade that out at the drop?
    How do you approach the bangers, after a long breakdown? Post-pone the drop?

    Can anyone just give me a few pointers on what to work on?
    I've got my first mix on soundcloud, rewinded every transition again and again until I got it right but there's no way I would remember all that fine-tuning when mixing on-the-go. I'd like to share some mixes with friends, play when we chill at my place. But mostly have a lot of fun interacting with the music I love.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  2. hyperd4eva

    hyperd4eva H&M SCARVES

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    keep it simple..

    fuck off the easy mode sync button whatever the fuck that is.

    use your ears

    and most of all....

    practice.

    MORE IMPORTANTLY...


    USE YOUR EARS!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  3. Teddy

    Teddy 60% Staff Member

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    I would practice beat matching. Yeah so you "CAN" use sync function... but if you want to get good, learn beatmatching from the get go.. trust me, everything else falls into place once you've mastered this.

    Might seem like you're learning the hard way but its the easiest way in the long term.
     
    Rusket likes this.
  4. Dannyboy93

    Dannyboy93 EL CAPITAIN

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    Beat matching is an essential part of djing, my advice would be to learn that before anything else as said previously
     
  5. Agent Smith

    Agent Smith Currently Putins Koala

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    I actually love how much we seem to repeat ourselves in these threads [MENTION=30915]Teddy[/MENTION] [MENTION=30570]hyperd4eva[/MENTION]

    Maybe we should bring out an idiots guide to mixing.

    Sell
    ???
    Profit
    etc
     
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  6. Teddy

    Teddy 60% Staff Member

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    I think its just one of those things.
    It's easy to know whats important when your experienced. However I imagine if I was new to mixing, and someone said beathmatching to me, I'd be all like .. Na mate, I got Nsync and ting #swag. you don't know shit fam.
     
  7. Rusket

    Rusket Mix an blend

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    just to reiterate... use ya fackin ears!!!!
     
  8. Agent Smith

    Agent Smith Currently Putins Koala

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    Its sad but true.

    Fisherprice DJ's for life.
     
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  9. Lorre

    Lorre Active Member

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    Hey

    I've also had a Traktor Kontrol S2 in the past, it's a really decent controller. Does what it has to do, sturdy & easy to use. So good job picking that one.
    The first thing I see is that you're using the sync button. Although that's fine, I think it's better that you try to beatmatch & phrase manually. It's the essence of DJ'ing. Although things like sync make it easier, I don't recommend it. Even if it's just for the sake of when you're out DJ'ing and your controller or laptop stops working, you know what to do with CDJ's.

    You say you just started out, and you're 'looking to add something extra'. I am wondering why you're so hasty. Finding music, getting to know it, learn it inside out is what it's all about. Mixing songs A -> B is basically what it is. Especially in genres like DnB. No place for (too many bells & whistles).

    I understand that alot of tutorials & forums spam buzzwords like 'FX', 'loops', 'spicing up your mix' etc., but it's important to enjoy what it's all about, mixing music. Things like loops & FX work, but you're going to get to know your music inside out. Know what you can loop & where you can drop FX. Not just randomly do it for the sake of doing it. And if you'd like to do it, experiment. I've been DJ'ing myself for a bit now, and I just try things but experimenting. If it's not good, drop it, or try it over & perfect it.

    Useful filters? Use the once you got in Traktor. They work & do their job, filter stuff. How to tease an upcoming song? Cut to it with the crossfader & go back to your track. You don't need advice on how to tease a song, just try it, you'll be fine. How can you add drama? Good song selection is what it's all about. You're asking alot of questions for something that is really simple.

    I'll listen to your mix, and i'll give you some feedback. You said the most important piece at the end 'but mostly have a lot of fun interacting with the music I love'. Use that as your focus, not all the other crap. It'll come over time when time seems fit.

    Practice, practice, practice & enjoy.

    Edit: decent mix. Bit of phrasing wrong at the beginning, but that will be fixed with practicing. Just keep enjoying what you do as I said.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  10. sam the dnb man

    sam the dnb man Variation

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    fx and loops usually sound ghey. Use them sparingly.

    Also you won't get the same level of satisfaction if you're letting the computer do half the work for you
     
  11. QuakeFX

    QuakeFX New Member

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    That is a very constructive post Lorre, thanks.
    You all seem to be clear on beatmatching.

    From a beginner's perspective, I thought beatmatching wouldn't add anything to the audio output.
    But I understand that by knowing the fundamentals, you would add something extra to the mix.
    I've got 2 weeks of daily practice before it will turn into weekly sessions, that why I want something to work on.
    Right now after the drop I'm busy enough finding a fitting track, skipping through it to know what's happening and then lining it up and EQing before fading it in 1/2 phrases before the breakdown.
    So beatmatching wasn't really a priority, I just wanted to mix things together first.
    I'll start practicing this from now on.

    I noticed the Delay and Reverb could be really useful for fading things out, even though initially I had them removed from the drop down cause when not applied correctly they sounded garbage and I couldn't image ever using them. :roll eyes:
    Just as phrase matching usually works better, I hoped for other things to generally sound better when things line up.
    Crossflipping between 2 songs rarely sounds good. I tried unphrasing them 1/2/4/8 beats but so far got only 1 match that worked.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
  12. Lorre

    Lorre Active Member

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    FX can be useful depending on how & when you use em. I like to hi-pass filter melodic tunes with a touch of reverb on it sometimes.
     
  13. tewky1

    tewky1 Well-Known Member

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    Tap your feet, bob your head, move to the music, feel the beat of one tune, dance to it(or whatever you feel like, but get into it somehow), and then work on matching your other tune with that.

    I started out 20 years ago DJ'ing(to myself and my mates mostly) and I dont know what happened, but one day it just clicked, X-Press 2's London Express and Sasha's Higher Ground fell into place, spent the next 3 hours just mixing those 2 tunes together :teeth: But once it clicked, I could start feeling it, hearing it. Fastforward to 2 years ago, picked up some software on my computer one day(VDJ) to have a mess around bored one day, to buying a CDJ/Controller thing a few months ago, took me a couple of hours to get back into the swing of things. I will never be a magic syncer, but even with the small imperfections here and there, it is still a more accurate representation of me, at my level. Im expressing myself using some skill, the odd kling klang is human, but also serves to highlight your perfect mixes that much better.

    One day you are going to run accross a situation where you have to get down on your own, dont be the one stood there flapping :)

    For speed, maybe a little dissection of your tunes, possibly noting cue points etc(or notching them with software). Sit and plan out a track list, i use the software for this more, figure out what goes with what, plan ahead, so you know where you are going. You could macro or micro manage that, in that you could make a strict tracklist(micro) or maybe a concept, where your pool of tunes are gonna fit most ways, maybe catergorise your tunes into steppers/rollers etc etc

    I dont think you can compare House to Dnb either, or not the house I would listen to, they all 7-8 minutes long, and once you get good, you can get the tunes locked and get your mix in with the first run of the 2nd tune. DnB you can do, but more energy makes it trickier. Your average DnB track is 5mins long.

    Also experiment where you are mixing tunes, all drops and no breakdowns sounds hectic to me. One other thing I like to do is to get the beat of the next tune coming into the Breakdown, EQ out the bass while the break is going, so you just getting a Hi Passed thing going, I fiddle with the filters sometimes here, then depending on how I am feeling, where my hands are, I might switch the basses on the 2nd Drop(you want the drops to hit at the same time), I might let the 1st tunes bass playout for 16 bars, then switch it. With more time mixing, you start instinctively knowing which tunes fit, and which do not.
    Keep finding doubles, post them in the favourite Double Drop thread. Read the thread, try the doubles people post, again you just have to keep at it, learn your tunes(I am real bad at this, sometimes to my detriment).

    10000 Hours ;) Thats a lot of fun becoming a don !!! Are you mixing now? Why not? :p
     
  14. WhoSayReload?

    WhoSayReload? Well-Known Member

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    Learn about bars, a bar is 1,2,3,4 you can drop a tune every 16 bars (approximately every 20 seconds)
     
  15. JS1990

    JS1990 Member

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    Im mixing on CDJs atm and I have the concentration span of a goldfish so I use the "22 second rule" for 16 bars. i.e drop it on either 22s, 44s, 1.06, 1.28, 1.50 (ish) etc etc. This really helped me out as opposed to trying to work it out.
     
  16. cele

    cele Well-Known Member

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    like 80-90% of the tunes have a change or fill or whatever after 8 or 16 bars so you can easily hear it even if you can't see the seconds, and dnb is probably one of the most unsuited genres for fx spamming, it just sounds stupid/unneccessary most of the time (in my opinion anyways) so it really is mostly beatmatching and finding tunes that work well together