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A Beginner's Guide to DJing (How to DJ for Complete Beginners)



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In this video, I will provide a high-level overview on how to DJ

intended to get beginners off the ground and make a learning process a little

less intimidating. Now, DJing is the act of playing

pre-recorded songs back to back and mixing them together for some form of an

audience - for example a club, party, festival, or the radio. Your main goal as

a DJ is to play the music that engages with your crowd the most and provide

them with an exciting atmosphere. This all happens in DJ software - this is where

the magic happens. However, it can be difficult to perform

all the actions needed in the software with just a mouse and a keyboard so to

help you're gonna need to get your hands on the proper hardware in the form of a

DJ controller. In this video I'll specifically be walking through how to

use the Hercules DJ Control Inpulse 200 - and while there are certain features

specific to this controller, for the most part the concepts I'm about to go over

are universal to most DJ controllers. Similarly the software I'll be using in

this video is called DJuced. And again, this may have unique features or a

different interface when compared to other DJing software, but the concepts

can be transferred to whichever application you may use. So let's get

into the meat of this video, starting off let's make sure we have all the

equipment setup as needed. Plug your controller into your computer and open

up your DJ software. If you so choose you can send audio to speakers by using the

master output on your controller - this is what the crowd will hear - and you can

plug in headphones into your controller - and this is what you will hear

This allows you to mix your tracks and ensure everything goes smoothly before you send

it out to the audience. Now, let's mix two songs together. In general it's best to

pick two songs of a similar BPM, or beats per minute. This is essentially the speed

of the song, where higher BPM tracks tend to be faster and more upbeat, and lower

BPM tracks are slower. You can find the BPM of your songs in your DJ software as

a reference. Now ideally you could even pick two tracks with the exact same BPM

This is so when we mix between the two songs, the transition is seamless as the

beats line up with each other - otherwise if the beats don't line up the

transition is jarring and won't feel as natural for the audience. Now if the BPM

of your tracks aren't identical that's not the end of the world, in fact that's

even part of your job as a DJ, there's a workaround where you can temporarily

speed up or slow down a track until they match. This process is called

Tempo Matching - we'll get into how to do this in just a moment - so for now we've

chosen two songs with the same or similar BPM. The next thing to do is load

these songs up in their respective DJ decks. Deck one is on the left half of

your software and hardware and deck two is on the right. You can have more decks

going at a time but for a beginner I recommend only working with two. We can

load a song in your software by clicking and dragging a song from the library

onto a deck or on your controller by navigating your library with this knob.

Rotating left and right changes which song is selected and pressing down on

the knob moves into and out of directories. Once you've highlighted your

desired song you can press the load buttons for either deck 1 or deck 2. So

whichever method you prefer, load up two different songs with a similar BPM in

decks 1 and deck 2. Now you can play either of these tracks independently of each other

by pressing the green play button on its respective deck (pressing this button

again also pauses your song) the slider in the middle, called the Crossfader,

determines which deck is sending audio. The slider being all the way on the left

will only send the audio of deck 1, all the way on the right will only send

audio of deck 2, and in the middle will send an equal amount of decks 1 & 2

everywhere in between will send a proportionate amount. Essentially sliding

this between your decks is your main tool in mixing your two tracks together

once they've been Beat Matched. Beat Matching is when your two songs are

playing simultaneously on each deck, they're Tempo Matched, the beats hit at the

same time, and the tops of each bar hit at the same time. This sounds like a lot

but we'll walk through this step-by-step. So let's learn how to beat match these

two songs so we can transition between the two. First ensure you're only sending

audio from either deck 1 or deck 2 (your choice, doesn't matter) by pushing the

crossfader all the way towards that deck. Next hit play on both your decks

and notice what happens in your software. You can see, visually, the audio of your

track playing over time as well as where your beats hit in the form of these

vertical lines. The vertical lines with the red arrow indicate the start of a

bar and our goal is to manipulate the song on the deck that's not sending

output until is playing in sync with a track that is sending output and we can

do this not only by lining up the vertical lines but also matching the

lines with the red arrows. So the first step in the beat matching process is

Tempo Matching. If you chose two songs the same BPM, then this step is finished

otherwise you can speed up or slow down the track that's not playing by moving

its tempo fader which is right here. This adjusts its BPM by a certain percent the

more you move this fader and we want to move it until the BPMS are matched. This

controller is pretty neat in the fact that it provides a Beat Matching Guide

where these arrows will light up to tell me what direction to move this fader to

adjust its BPM when I land on the correct value to sync the tempo is both

the arrows light up for just a second and then go away this allows me to see

that hey these tempos are matched even without looking at my computer. Adjusting

a song's BPM will warp the track and speed it up or slow it down which if you're

playing it may sound funky but keep in mind this is intended only to be used

for the transition of your songs and then you can always slowly adjust it

back to its original BPM once the transition is over. So now that we've

matched our BPMs, let's line up the beats of our tracks. You can move a track by

spinning this Scratch Deck on the song that's on standby. You can turn on the

vinyl setting on the deck, you know the *wikki wikki* for major adjustments since you are

rapidly fast forwarding or rewinding the track, or you can spin the outer wheel of

the scratch decks for fine tuning, a more precise adjustment. And again this

controller, Hercules DJ Control Inpulse, provides me with the beat matching guide

so I can see which direction I need to adjust my beats by using these beat

aligned arrows. Again I can verify I'm all lined up and don't even have to look

at the software - I think that's a pretty neat. And now at this point we've

successfully Beat Matched our tracks you can move the crossfader slowly to hear

the transition into your other track

if it doesn't sound perfect you may need to adjust your Beat Grid. Remember the

vertical lines we're using as a reference was created by the software

which is usually pretty good at detecting where the beats land but

sometimes it's not 100% perfect and could be off by a few milliseconds. To

adjust where these vertical lines are you could adjust your beat grid. In this

particular software, you can do so by clicking this arrow next to your track

name and selecting edit beat grid. Now I can adjust where the beats are labeled

for this track so the next time I go to play it the beats will be lined up

properly if you only have to do this once per track at most sometimes it's

good enough the first time you import it so consider going through and verifying

your beat grid is set up correctly for each song you plan on playing before you

start your DJ set that'll just make your life a little bit easier at this point

once you transition between the tracks you can stop the track on the deck

that's not sending audio load up another song and start the process all over

again you know let your current track play for a bit for the crowd to hear and

joy but behind the scenes your beat matching with the new song that's coming

up whenever you get to the point where you want to transition it start cross

fading or instant repeat the whole process in addition to transitioning

between the tracks you can also manipulate the audio of your songs by

either adding in filters EQ in the high or low ends or adjusting the gain the

volume of your tracks by moving these knobs and for the most part that's the

basics of DJing there's more to go out and learn of course including queuing up

certain points of your tracks adding in samples as other effects but for a

high-level overview that should be enough to get you off the ground and

help you ease into the world of DJing so I hope you found this video helpful

Thank you for watching and as always I'll see you in the next video. Bye