101 Ways to DJ Holiness, Serenity and Control: The Mixing Sutra

81 – Social Media

Facebook, Soundcloud, Instagram, Youtube. Absolutely everywhere. If it’s a website people addictively use to kill time, you can be there, delivering fresh music straight to their eardrums.

Some old school DJs might resent this, but unfortunately this is how the world works now. If you’re self-employed in any profession, including being a DJ, you need to be on social media.

82 – Finding a residency

As you play out more and more, you should be speaking to the managers of nightclubs and regular promoters. Finding a resident slot as a DJ is a solid source of income and allows you time to work on skills that are difficult to practice, like reading a crowd and judging the energy of a set. Not to mention it will spread your name further than practicing at home.

83 – Make mashups & remixes

Everyone loves them. Cheeky mashups and remixes of our favourite tracks get a crowd pumping and see the downloads roll in. If you find two tracks that mix well, work with them, record it, edit it, play with it and release it as your own. Make sure you check out copywriting and intellectual property first!

84 – Get friendly with some promoters

Every promoter you meet should become a friend. Promoters are some of the best people for any DJ to know. If a promoter has to choose between two DJs of the same style and same skill, they’re going to pick the one they’re friendlier with. Also, promoters generally speak to other promoters, and have great network links. Getting inside their circle can be extremely useful!

Equipment

Time to talk tools. You need to decide on what equipment to use and what will carry your sound from the recording to the dancefloor. Decent equipment is important for any DJ, but it’s worth remembering that you need more than just the highest priced gear. You need to make your equipment sing.

85 – Digital vs Analogue

This has been an ongoing argument for the last 20 years and will probably continue for 20 more. Most DJs like to use both, as both have their pros and cons. Generally, you’ll find digital equipment more common, as it’s easier to transport, you have more choice with effects and techniques and it’s more user-friendly. Many old-school elitists claim that if you can’t mix vinyl, you’re not a real DJ. Whilst this may not be true, learning to beatmatch by ear is essential to be able to master both formats.

 

Djtechtools.com go into this argument in a lot more depth. You can read about it here.

86 – Building your Studio

You’re going to be spending a lot of time here so you’d better make it damn comfortable. Remember to soundproof it well and have enough room to stand up comfortably. Ideally your studio should be big enough for a few people.

The Dream

87 – Headphones

Don’t scrimp on getting good headphones. You need to be able to hear the full range of the music playing through your headphones and monitors to mix them effectively. We’ve written a quick guide to some of the best headphones for every budget which you can read here.

Top of Range. 😀

88 – Samplers

Sample pads are essential for turntablism and advanced DJing. Before your mix you can assign each pad on your sampler to a specific sound or sample. Reassign your samples during quieter points of your set to get the most out of your sampler. The only limit to a sampler is your creativity.

A sample pad being used in a set up

89 – Studio Monitor Speakers

An essential for your studio. Your monitor speakers should be of high enough quality to reproduce the full frequency range. Hearing these full ranges will improve the quality of your mixes.

90 – Keyboard MIDI Controller

If you already play piano or know how to produce music, you may want a keyboard MIDI controller. As an alternative to pad based sampling, DJ’s with piano experience can manipulate samples and effects much more efficiently. With such a wide variety of applications, keyboard MIDI controllers are finding their way into more and more elite DJ setups.

91 – Choosing your software

Between your music, the hardware, and the crowd lays the software. Every digital DJ should spend a decent amount of time deciding what software to use. Most current programs feature similar tools to each other, but there are key differences. Check out this article to read more.

92 – Mixed in Key Software

Mixed in Key is a program that simplifies harmonic mixing by identifying which songs are in which key, and then allowing you to order them by what will mix well. The camelot wheel shows you how far each key is apart, and whether they will bring a mood up or down. Very handy for EDM, Trance and atmospheric dance music.

93 – Safe Storage

After spending an ungodly amount of money on your gear, time honing your skills and networking with promoters, imagine opening the car boot before a gig and finding all your gear broken from the drifting practice on the way. Get yourself some flight cases, lock up your gear when it’s left unattended and for god’s sake don’t leave your vinyl out in the sun!

94 – Backup all of Your Music

Every song you have, make sure you rip it to Mp3 or ideally WAV/FLAC and store them on a large hard drive. SSD hard drives are getting cheaper everyday and you should be able to pick up a terabyte or two for relatively cheap. It’s best to have two hard drives, one in case of emergency that’s left at home, and one that you take with you. We’ve seen DJs literally cry when hard drives fail.

95 – Insure Your Gear

A good rule of thumb is that if it’s worth spending money on, it’s worth insuring. Sometimes flight cases, lock boxes and the best security just won’t cut it. If a thief wants something, they’ll find a way to take it. This goes the same with damage, you can’t stop everyone who wants to precariously place a plastic cup full of vodka redbull on your mixer when you’re not looking.

 

96 – Maintaining Needles

Needles are expensive, and let’s face it, one day they’ll have to be replaced. But with proper care and maintenance, needles can last for ages. Ideally you should be cleaning your styluses after every use, but if you don’t djbooth.net has a few handy tricks for cleaning needles.

97 – How to skip-proof Vinyl records

Take some super smooth paper (the smooth side of cassette tape stickers used to be the norm), and cut it into three thin strips. Push these through the center hole in your vinyl and then fold back onto the label. Stick the paper down on both sides. Repeat with the other two strips in a “star” shape. This will stop records from skipping.

 

You can see this demonstrated in this great video:

 

98 – Sound Quality

There is a variance in sound quality depending on the format. When digital information is stored, it is often compressed, which results in a loss of sound quality. Different file types have different sound qualities. For example:

99 – WAV

A WAV file is one of the closest file types to true audio representation. They are simply large strings of musical data that has been converted into binary code. The benefits to WAV files is that they’re lossless, accurate and almost any audio-editing software is able to work with WAV. Unfortunately, WAV file size is much larger, and they are often more expensive.

 

100 – MP3

MP3 on the other hand are compressed, and so are much lighter in file size, making them more portable (you can fit more songs on a hard drive), and cheaper. Unfortunately, Mp3s undergo a loss in quality when they are compacted. Whilst this may not be very noticeable through cheaper headphones, from a well engineered sound system, the difference becomes quite apparent.

101 – Have Fun

There’s no point in being a DJ if you’re not enjoying it! Make sure you’re always pushing yourself, trying new things and keeping it interesting. You’ll be able to practice for longer and sustain your passion. Enjoy!

 

Keep practicing and searching for the best songs to play. Be brave and bold in your mix, and take care of your gear.