How To Beat Mix

If you're the DJ for the night, learn to keep a steady beat so the party never stops!

Instructions

  • Step 1: As you improve, use pitch controls to mix songs with different tempos. Start two songs on their downbeats; as they move out of sync, adjust the pitch control of the second song until you find a speed at which eight consecutive downbeats match those of the first track. Then, take the song back to its first downbeat and properly mix it in when ready.
  • TIP: Practice hearing songs sync up by using the same song in both channels.
  • TIP: Try to mix during the second song's first instrumental section; layering two vocal parts over one another often sounds cacophonous.
  • Step 2: Record yourself mixing songs to pinpoint gaps or flubs in your technique, then bring your perfected skills to the party and keep the groove flowing all night long.
  • FACT: In 2008, a Pittsburgh man's collection of three million vinyl records was valued at $50 million.
  • Step 3: Pick a downbeat in the first song. The exact moment it falls, start the second song, and fade them into one another. Play them together to see if their downbeats fall simultaneously at least eight times in a row. Practice this process until the downbeats start and remain perfectly synced.
  • TIP: If you use records, play the song for a few beats then slide the LP back until you hear its downbeat; rock the record back and forth to pinpoint the moment the downbeat falls.
  • Step 4: Learn to find a song's downbeat, the stressed beat that helps break the song into smaller units of rhythm. Count how many equal beats -- usually four -- separate each downbeat to find the song's tempo. Listen to a number of songs until you can find the downbeat and tempo easily.
  • Step 5: Review basic mixing skills. Practice crossfading until you can play two different records after one another smoothly, regardless of the tempo, or speed, of either track.
  • TIP: As you discover songs with similar tempos, write them down in a list you can reference when you're spinning.
  • Step 6: Find the beats per minute, or BPM, of the songs you want to spin. Check the record's packaging -- if the BPM is not printed, measure it yourself by counting the number of beats in sixty seconds, or by using a BPM counter or metronome.
  • Step 7: Cue up two songs that have the exact same BPM. Start the first song in one channel, then play the second track in another channel, listening on your headphones, and find its first downbeat.
  • Step 8: Set up your DJ equipment, including the mixer, speakers, amplifier, and playback devices. Use RCA cables to connect most mp3 players, computers, CD players, and speakers to the mixer; to connect turntables, see the video "How to Mix Music on Turntables," on Howcast.com.

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