Firstly for those new to DJIng, the EQ controls the different frequencies within each track. Straight up is how the song comes recorded, so if you're playing a track on its own, I'd leave all the EQ straight up, it's only when you're playing both tracks together that you need to adjust the EQ's to help the tracks compliment each other. It's very common to reduce the EQ for the incoming track, which essentially makes the track feel thinner, so when you bring up the volume your new track sits in the background and then when you're ready to make your new track dominant, you work in the EQ of your new track whilst simultaneously reducing the EQ of your exiting track.
At first I suggest thinking of the EQ like Cinderella, she doesn't go out past midnight so I suggest reducing the EQ and then returning them to midnight by the end of your transition so your new track is played how the artist intended.
Bass swapping is the most common EQ technique of all time and for many bass swapping is the only EQ technique they use. The concept is you reduce the bass of your incoming track so when you introduce it, your new track is thinner and sits in the back ground and then when you're ready to make your new track dominant you swap the basses. I like to think about bass swapping like this, it simply controls the dominant track in the mix. Once you swap the basses there's no going back, it's like a decision to make your new track dominant.
The highs on the EQ I feel are massively underrated when it comes to EQ mixing. Put it this way have you ever gone to do a mix and you bring the volume up and it sounds harsh, even aggressive?! well that's usually the high frequencies. By reducing the highs before introducing your new track, you can essentially soften your transition and then when you bring the highs in you get a controlled boost, it's f'n awesome!
The mids on the EQ are responsible for the vocals and the melodies, I like to call it for the sake of teaching, the tracks personality. Out of the mids, highs and bass, the mid is the only EQ I ever really turn past midnight and this is awesome if you want to create your own acapellas on the fly, i'll show you.
People ask do I use ISO or standard EQ and it depends on the genre I am playing. Firstly ISO is way more aggressive than standard EQ and isolates the frequencies which means the EQ becomes much more sensitive and you get more control. I find ISO is awesome when playing techno, where I may have 2 tracks playing for a length of time and I want to isolate certain frequencies from each track, for instance perhaps I want the melody from this track but the bass and highs of this track. However for genres that are more focused on playing the best parts of each song I find standard EQ is way more forgiving, and I feel a little warmer, and is generally what I gravitate towards. May I ask, what do you use?
Have you noticed the beats of your tracks drifting apart? Not having a visual reference to align the beats visually may affect your confidence behind the decks. Beatmatching allows you to match the beats by ear without looking at stacked waveforms. Even if you can align beats visually, beatmatching is an important tool to have in your toolbox because some venues do not have stacked waveform visuals.
As DJs, music is an essential part of our lives, and for many people, nothing compares to the feeling of a well-crafted DJ mix. Not only is it an amazing promotional tool to create or boost your current DJ career, it is also a means to form your identity and brand.
Let me paint a picture. I was once out at a club and the music was getting repetitive and some people were leaving and more people were sitting down than dancing and all of a sudden the DJ teased in the vocal: hey boy hey girl, by chemical brothers.
The key to killer psy trance sets, and TBH, any DJ set for that matter, is killer track selection and arrangement, which usually comes down to how well you know your tracks or how much research and prep you do before crafting a set. In this video I'll breakdown the things I consider when building a set and putting together a playlist.
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Not sure where to start? In this mini series I answer many of the questions beginners have about learning to DJ.