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How to DJ

How do I DJ?

4844 day(s) ago

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Mr. Boxy
DJing is all about beatmatching. This is the process of timing a song so it can be faded in to match the beat of the song currently playing.

Whether you're playing records, CD's, or MP3's, you're going to use a pair of decks. These will have a similar interface. Turntables have two sound outputs: the speakers and the headphones. The headphones always play the audio from both records: this way you can get the timing right before you play the song to the audience.

Each deck will have a slide or knob to adjust the speed the song plays at. The percentage of adjustment varies from 8% all the way 100% depending on the model you're using, but unless you're playing "An Evening with the Chipmunks" you should be playing records with a similar tempo. Records and CDs made specifically for DJs will have the BPM for the song printed on the label. Some decks also have a BPM meter that automatically calculates the song's speed.

If you're using vinyl turntables, you can physically place the needle wherever you want. Other turntables will have fast forward and rewind buttons in various speeds to get to the exact spot you need to start playback.

Once you've got the next song beatmatched, you're ready to fade out from the current song. Count the beats and press the "cue" button to start the deck. This is instant for most decks, but belt-driven (read:cheap) vinyl decks will take a moment to get up to speed. If you did it right, you should be hearing both records playing at the same time with matching tempos.

In between the decks is the crossfader. This device shifts the audio output to the speakers from one deck to the other. Once both records are playing, you can move the crossfader's slider from the deck the old one is playing to the deck with the new song.

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