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Sujet basic beatmixing

Beat matching is probably the most fundamental of all DJ skills. Once mastered it allows you to take two separate tracks that will inevitably be different speeds and blend them together creating that seamless mix sought after by all DJ's.

The concept behind beat matching is quite a simple one, take two tracks and synchronise them. 'Sounds easy' I hear you say. Wrong!

First, without trying to sound over simplistic we must define what a beat actually is. When you are listening to a track, the beat is usually the bass drum. I say usually because other things such as high hats or symbols can be used. For this tutorial, we will use the bass drum, as this is by far the most common.

So what happens then when the bass drum is not play during part of the track? Does this mean that there is no beat? The answer here is no. Think of the beat as rhythm. If you find yourself tapping your feet, nodding your head or shaking any other part of your anatomy, it's the beat that you are doing this to. Let’s not wiggle too much though as people start to think you're a bit weird waving your arms all over the place… lol ;) This is specially true for modern pop, rnb, hiphop and alike, that’s why it can be harder to mix than house and trance that has a repeating bass drum (or other beat) almost constantly through the whole track.

Finding the beat in some records can be tricky but if you listen to it carefully, you will find it eventually. It's important to remember that during those quiet sections on a track, the beat still goes on but you will have to mentally count it in your head.

(To find the right beats per minute (bpm) read more here:

Now that you know exactly what a beat is the next thing you should now is that they are placed together in groups of 4, 8, 16, and 32. Try listen to a song, and count 1-2-3-4… 1-2-3-4… that’s the beat.. and it repeats itself by 4 ..

This grouping of beats into multiple of 4 is true for virtually all tracks and is a concept that is important to grasp.. You may be able to get both records to the same speed but if you mix one into the other without taking into account the 'position' you are mixing into you'll drop it in like a lead weight, it will be easy to hear you are mixing, even if they are right beat mached, because they have a “wrong” positioning towards eachother. The idea is to create a smoooooth mix that is almost undetectable. Don't worry if you not too sure about this at the moment because it will be discussed again later on.

So, the important thing is to keep the bass beats flowing through the sets, not that means there's always bass drums banging away, just that the beat is constant between tunes, so the people on the floor don't have to do a quick 2 step shuffle to get back in time with the beats. In other words:-

Beat - -beat - - beat - - beat - - beat - - beat - - beat - - beat - - beat :-
is the kinda thing you're aiming for

beat - beat beat - be-beat- beatbe- beat - bebeat - - beat - beat - - beat
isn't really going to flow.

Tune 1 - Beat - - Beat - - Beat - - Beat - - Beat - -
Tune 2 - Beat - - Beat - - Beat - - Beat - - Beat - -
Is the preferred method of mixing, where the beats of tune 1 and tune 2 occur together. What you don't want is:-

Tune 1 - Beat - - Beat - - Beat - - Beat - - Beat - -
Tune 2 - Beat - Beat - Beat - Beat - Beat - - Beat - -
Where the beats of the two tunes are out of sync, and the people on the floor aren't too sure as to what beat they're supposed to be following when the dance. Get me?

---------------- BBBBBBBBBBBBB
--------------------------- CCCCCCCCCCCCCC

Where each letter is a differnt tune. How, where and for how long these overlaps go on ?

The point of beat-matching is to take two tunes, and make them run at exactly the same tempo (BPM). Why? So you can play the two tunes together and go from one to the other without there being a change in the beat. Why? So that the people on the floor don't have to shuffle step to get back into the rhythm of the music. Why? coz otherwise they'll leave. Why? SHUT UP!!! (lol…)

Now…. When starting to practice, don’t go starting with some advanced beat songs of Beyonce or some crazy break-beats… :) Take 2 house songs (they are easiest to beat match), and two house songs with a clear dominant bass drum would be even better. It's a nice idea to find a tune that doesn't have a “beatless” intro - you will get more luck out of one that starts immediately into the beats.

Now, load those 2 songs into each deck in vdj, and set the pitch to zero in both decks.
Now, move both songs (use the wave form and drag), so that both songs are positioned just before the first bass beat, and press the cue button here.

Press play on deck one… and let the music start.


Okey… lets assume you have a song running on deck1, with crossfader all the way to the left.
This ensures that deck 2 will not be heard until you are ready. Set the headphone pre-listen so that only deck 2 can be heard through the headphones.

The next step is to find a good place to start with on deck 2. The first bass drum on the track is ideal. Now, listen to the beat at deck1, and try to start deck 2 “on the beat” of deck1, or press sync in VDJ to make it start & sync to beat of deck1.

If you don’t use the sync button, but do it the manual way, make sure the bpm is the same before starting deck2, by moving pitch-slider so that the bpm number on both decks correspond (again, having the right bpm’s and cgb’s are essential – and again read this post first, and understand it all: ………………..)

At this stage, it might help to have the headphones situated so that they're only covering one ear. By doing this you get deck 2 blasting down one ear but can still listen to deck 1 playing in the background through the other. Or you can use the “headphone mix” option in VDJ skin to hear both decks (your mix) in headset.

Now…listen to deck2, compared to the beat pattern in deck1. Alter the pitch so they stay it the same beat, or press sync again. If they start drifting apart, nudge on jogwheel, and alter pitch again (or try pressing sync botton again)
When you think you have finished matching up the beats it is a good idea to listen to what they will sound like when played together otherwise you could be in for a shock. You can do this listening both deck 1 and deck 2 through the headphones. If everything sounds ok then you are ready to mix in the two records and go live using the crossfader.

It will take some time before you can easily match up the beats so don't be put off if the record runs out before you can mix it in.

Ok, so you've got and idea of what you're supposed to be doing now and have got a feel for the type of adjustments needed to match the two records. Let's face it though, it's not as smooth as you'd like it to be and you want to know what you can do to improve. What's that little secret that top DJ's seem to know that gets those mixes silky smooooooth? Advance Beatmatching!

The key is to make the 2 songs mix in the at the same beat of each pattern, same “start beat” of those 4 by 4 beats. In VDJ they are shown as BIG cbg squares under the beatwave. Now, even if VDJ shows them, that does not mean that they are rightfully aligned under the “first beat of the pattern”. To make sure, go to the beginning of the song. The first beat of the song, is often the first beat of the pattern, and make sure the firt big cbg square is here. Also, every new lyric line, usually start at the first beat of a pattern. Check to see that those big cbg squares are under such “first beats”…

Now, when beatmixing deck2 into deck1, make sure that when they are aligned/synced, that they are also aligned in beat-pattern, so that the big cbg of both songs are aligned under eachother. This makes the mix sound perfect, and not as if u just “throw” a song randomly into another song, even if beat matched!

Happy mixing! ;)

Posté Mon 24 Aug 09 @ 7:06 am