Learning to DJ

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
102455
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by 102455 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:15 am

You're gonna "learn to DJ"....

By that, do you mean "learn to become a DJ" or "learn to beat mix a few tracks together"? Because there's a big difference between a DJ and someone who can beat mix (and Live even does that part for you). A big part of being a DJ is the musical knowledge, along with the ability to read the crowd & make the right choice for the next track.

Also, "DJing" with Live is completely different to DJing with more "standard" DJ software such as Traktor, Virtual DJ, Dex etc. because Live was never designed as DJ software - it doesn't have two decks, pitch controls for each, a song browser......

DJ software (other than Live) has no fixed master tempo. The tempo comes from the songs you've loaded, and if they're different tempos, you'll have to match them yourself.

And DJing with hardware - two decks and a mixer - is different again.

If you're planning on covering / experiencing everything, it'll be quite a job.

ian_halsall
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by ian_halsall » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:26 am

Live doesn't have a fixed master tempo and neither does Traktor.

In Live you just map the tempo to a controller and bosh - 20 bpm to 1000 (or something).

You can set Live up to dj very nicely and the thing that makes it really cool is that you can beatmatch tunes with loose timing and/or tempo changes and stuff.

You have to prepare the tracks in advance and use the yellow markers but you can mix the Yachts "Ghost in my House" with 4/4 techno this way.

Traktor can't do this - at least last time I looked.

Live needs the ability to store more than 1 loop point per clip.

ian_halsall
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by ian_halsall » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:03 am

You just twiddle the tempo knob however you feel like - you can make an ass of yourself doing this though.

If your controller is not setup right you will get a huge jump.

A standard technique might be to start the set at 125 and end at 140.

With the beatmatching it's easy to do this.

Just try it - drag some mp3s into clips and find the start of the song and make sure it's in time with the metronome - you may need to rewarp.

Start off with some 4/4 stuff.

Save the clips into your djing folder - you need to organise this later into songs and stuff.

Do another track like this.

Map the tempo controller.

move the faders between the 2 channels.

move the tempo knob

add some delay

add beat machine

redux

put them all on controllers

job done

now all you have to do is find hundreds of good records and chop up thousands of loops and then find someone to listen to it....

Vivo
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by Vivo » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:36 pm

102455 wrote:You're gonna "learn to DJ"....

By that, do you mean "learn to become a DJ" or "learn to beat mix a few tracks together"? Because there's a big difference between a DJ and someone who can beat mix (and Live even does that part for you). A big part of being a DJ is the musical knowledge, along with the ability to read the crowd & make the right choice for the next track.

Also, "DJing" with Live is completely different to DJing with more "standard" DJ software such as Traktor, Virtual DJ, Dex etc. because Live was never designed as DJ software - it doesn't have two decks, pitch controls for each, a song browser......

DJ software (other than Live) has no fixed master tempo. The tempo comes from the songs you've loaded, and if they're different tempos, you'll have to match them yourself.

And DJing with hardware - two decks and a mixer - is different again.

If you're planning on covering / experiencing everything, it'll be quite a job.
+1000 Live is amazing for producing and for "DJ'S" who play prearrange sets.

However, for DJ's who read the crowd and don't prearrange their sets, Live is not very friendly, no pitch slider, big song browser.

How do you read a crowd? That depends on many factors.

What is the occasion? How old is your audience? Where do you live? What region do you live in?
How are the people dressed? What ethnicity is your audience?

The more diverse your audience is the more experience and knowledge you'll need.

Da hand
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by Da hand » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:52 pm

Vivo wrote: +1000 Live is amazing for producing and for "DJ'S" who play prearrange sets.

However, for DJ's who read the crowd and don't prearrange their sets, Live is not very friendly, no pitch slider, big song browser.
Not really true. You don't need to prearange what you play. I have 700 songs in my set and I mix in whatever I want, when I want. It is the same as having a collection of tracks and choosing to load one into a deck in traktor, cdj, etc.

I do agree that it is less user friendly for find tracks fast, but then so is digging through a crate of records ;). You find your own techniques of dealing with it.

Vivo
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by Vivo » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:17 pm

Da hand wrote:
Vivo wrote: +1000 Live is amazing for producing and for "DJ'S" who play prearrange sets.

However, for DJ's who read the crowd and don't prearrange their sets, Live is not very friendly, no pitch slider, big song browser.
Not really true. You don't need to prearange what you play. I have 700 songs in my set and I mix in whatever I want, when I want. It is the same as having a collection of tracks and choosing to load one into a deck in traktor, cdj, etc.

I do agree that it is less user friendly for find tracks fast, but then so is digging through a crate of records ;). You find your own techniques of dealing with it.
Don't get me wrong, I love Live as a production tool but for DJing it's not for me.

The DJ's that I see using computer DJ programs are focusing on what button to push, on what clip to play and on what effect to put on instead of the audience.

They are looking at their computer screens 95% of the time. How are you suppose to connect
with people like that?

A real DJ is always looking at his audience, feeding off them. Sometimes it takes almost a whole song just to decide on what the next song will be.
Last edited by Vivo on Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:41 am, edited 2 times in total.

Mage2k
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by Mage2k » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:42 pm

Traditional beat matching style DJing is not just for playing out for crowds. It's also hella fun. What's more, it takes a while to get down pat and the time spent with that is also time spent learning different ways of mixing tracks (in the full track sense), which then easily applies to mix downs and arrangements when producing tracks.

Da hand
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by Da hand » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:06 am

Vivo wrote:
Da hand wrote:
Vivo wrote: +1000 Live is amazing for producing and for "DJ'S" who play prearrange sets.

However, for DJ's who read the crowd and don't prearrange their sets, Live is not very friendly, no pitch slider, big song browser.
Not really true. You don't need to prearange what you play. I have 700 songs in my set and I mix in whatever I want, when I want. It is the same as having a collection of tracks and choosing to load one into a deck in traktor, cdj, etc.

I do agree that it is less user friendly for find tracks fast, but then so is digging through a crate of records ;). You find your own techniques of dealing with it.
Don't get me wrong, I love Live as a production tool but for DJing it's not for me.

The DJ's that I see using computer DJ programs are focusing on what button to push, on what clip to play and on what effect to put on instead of the audience.

They are looking at their computer screens 95% of the time. How are you suppose to connect
with people like that?

A real DJ is always looking at his audience, feeding off them. Sometimes it takes almost a whole song just to decide on what the next song will be.
I agree totally with what you say regarding what a DJ should be doing, but it makes absolutely no difference what tool you use to achieve what you said. You were talking about pre-arranged sets and this is also done by many people spinning CDs or Vinyls (they just write it down on a piece of paper).

MrTiddles
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by MrTiddles » Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:58 am

Ok, pro DJ and Trainer here (not certified yet though!)

I have a bunch of techniques to illuminate/minimise mouse use, so you don't look like you're checking your email and look like you're actually performing. Firstly there's this..

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=34213

1 of my first posts for scripting browsing and clip loading in Ableton Session View using only a MIDI controller. I use MidiStroke on the MAC now, but the principles are still the same.

Secondly, I use the EQ 8 for 'filter mixing', rather than EQ 3 for traditional mixing. This is where you filter out the top and bottom end of a track rather than specific ranges.

Thirdly, use your own custom fx that add something you you tracks rather than over power them.

Finally, harmonically match your tracks, rather than key match them. A key matched set is boring, if you harmonically balance a couple of tracks together, you start getting to the stage where your songs become more like instruments.

I think that's about it!
'Fear makes the wolf look bigger'
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4Tunes: Quad Intel 2.66, Live 8, Lots of VSTs
4Mixing: Macbook Pro, Live 8, APC40, iPad

Da hand
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by Da hand » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:49 am

funken wrote:
So you DJ live with Live? Professionally?
Yes. That is my main tool for my gigs. I do mix in vinyls or cds on occasion into my sets as well. It depends on what I feel like. I also often tag-team with other DJs (back and forth two tracks each for example) and have no problem synching Live to whatever they are playing.

For after parties or loft parties that have setups with limited space or many DJs playing, I often bring usb sticks and play on whatever setup they have, Traktor, CDs, etc.

102455
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by 102455 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:24 am

funken wrote:What do you think of this I read somewhere?
the warping algorithms that are required to quantize and beat-match the music are fairly destructive blah blah blah....
It's certainly true that picking the wrong warping method is bad for your audio.....but you should also know what the hell you're doing!

Don't use a warp designed for drums on a full track for example, and you won't have that issue.

I always warp full tracks using Complex Pro - that's what it's there for.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The thing with warping is that it's time consuming - and ideally it needs to be done on every track you're planning on playing. The guy who's got 700 tracks in a Live Set, that must've taken weeks/months to warp!

Other DJ software scans tracks when adding them to the library, but it's not warping them. All it does is read tag info (artist, title, genre etc.) and has a quick look over the file to determine BPM and create a "beat grid" of where the peaks are, and hence what the tempo is.

In some ways that's also the failing of "normal" DJ software. It always assumes that there is only ever one tempo and one key in a track, which often means that the "beat grid" is wrong. With warping in Live, the music can be adjusted against the grid (the bar/beat lines). In other software, the grid is adjusted against the music.

Da hand
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by Da hand » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:31 am

102455 wrote:The guy who's got 700 tracks in a Live Set, that must've taken weeks/months to warp!
Yes and no, lol. Yes the collection of tracks has taken me years to collect (and keeps changing all the time), but I didn't insert them all in one shot. On average, every week I add around 10 new tracks I want to play out. Warping them takes about 10-15 seconds per track for 99% of tracks. It's a very fast and easy process once you get the hang of it.

102455
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by 102455 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:11 pm

Da hand wrote:Warping them takes about 10-15 seconds per track for 99% of tracks.
I guess then that you're playing mainly modern tracks that already have a very steady tempo.


Funken:
Tracks like that don't really need to be warped at all, because the beats are evenly spaced to start with.

You could play those in any DJ software and mix them together easily.

It's the older, looser tracks (real drums) that are tougher to mix without being warped (having the tempo straightened out).

Those are the ones that I tend to warp. Stuff from 30 or more years ago.

Da hand
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by Da hand » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:38 pm

102455 wrote:
Da hand wrote:Warping them takes about 10-15 seconds per track for 99% of tracks.
I guess then that you're playing mainly modern tracks that already have a very steady tempo.
Yes that is correct. So the tracks only need the one warp marker at the start when I finish adjusting the warping. For tracks that don't have a steady tempo, then of course it takes longer :wink:

Theo Void
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Re: Learning to DJ

Post by Theo Void » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:43 pm

I "DJ'd" w/ Live for years.
Then I got Traktor. For DJ'ing it's 1,000,000 times more fun!!!! Trust me!!

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