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Being a DJ’s Girlfriend – Advice on Dating a DJ

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February 9, 2017

Should I Date A DJ?

Look we all love passionate confident men, but are all passions equal? Dating a DJ comes with benefits and sacrifices. I mean we’ve all thought about it, but how can we manage? It’s a tough balance but if you pull it off your relationship will be rock solid. The biggest issue is finding the perfect resonance between you, his fans and his mixes. If you can handle a DJ you can handle any man’s childish dreams.



Being a DJ’s Girlfriend

He’s deadset on his “craft” and he’s looking to you for support. A DJ’s girlfriend needs to take special care to navigate the relationship on a tight rope. Just like mixing the perfect beat you have to find the right balance. On one hand you can’t enable him but on the other you can’t destroy his dreams. You’re not that mean right? With this handy guide you can be consenting without approving and we can hope he gets the hint and a real job.

Handy Dating Advice

You have to start the relationship off right. When you meet a DJ, the first thing they will tell you is probably something along the lines of, “I’m a DJ”. This behaviour is twofold and focuses on your reaction. First it’s a warning, “Hey I’m a DJ, and if you’re not cool with that, run away”. If you continue interacting with him, he’s no longer morally responsible. Second, it’s to check and see if you’re an open and accepting soul that will let him follow his dreams without hurting his core. He needs this subtle approval. He’s already pumping his ego by claiming he’s an artist, that’s enough of that. From this point on the game is afoot. Remember the balance. Consent without approval. Try acknowledging through a slight nod and a vocal “oh”, or maybe even a barely intrigued “hmm”.  Set the rules from the start.

The tests come strong and fast however, the next one will come up when you try to find out his name! DJ’s create stage names to dissociate from their issues and escape the emotional pain. Try to find out his real name and not his stage name as soon as possible. If you’re having real trouble, just say he can’t be whatever age he is and get him to show you his ID to “prove it”. Try to never use his DJ name. Never. Sorry Em-RK, you’re just Mark to me. If he asks you to use it when referring to him; avoid patronizing questions like “Umm why…?” Remember don’t stomp on his dreams, just subtlety let him know you don’t respect his life choices at all.

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When you hang out at his place you have to totally ignore his gear. Look it’s obvious he spent way too much on that DJ controller. But it’s his baby. Just pretend it doesn’t exist, don’t touch it and definitely don’t ask questions about it. This is the first step in finding a harmonious relationship. There are certain mental anchors a DJ has and avoiding them is the best form of defense. When he wants you to listen to a mix he made, pat him on the back and say, “It’s fine”. You can’t hit his dreams in the dick with a frozen sledge hammer, that’s cruel. Don’t white lie though, as the ego will snowball if you say something like, “That’s pretty good Em-RK.”

Make up excuses for avoiding shows as much as possible. But if you have to go to you DJ boyfriend’s performance you need a plan. The best way to handle this is to be a wallflower in the corner. Play on your cell, avoid eye contact with horny teens and stay away from the DJ booth.

Dating a DJ is Hard

If you find yourself having difficulties making the relationship work. The nicest and most caring thing you can do for your DJ boyfriend is dump him. He’s busy and going places and you’re definitely holding him back. Let him focus on his dreams. When you break the news remind him “It’s not him, it’s you” or something.



 

Cheap DJ Equipment For Beginners

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February 4, 2017

When you’re just starting out in the DJ field you don’t want to go all out on equipment before you know if you’ll enjoy it. You should pick up a cheap introductory DJ controller to find out if it’s for you first. In this article I’ll go over some of the cheaper options for beginners. Each one of these DJ decks is chosen with the novice in mind, ease of use, and the best bang for your buck. If you’re willing to expand your price range a bit you can check out this full list of beginner controllers here.



The Best Cheap Beginner DJ Controller

Numark Mixtrack 3 All-In-One Controller

Out of all of the controllers on this list this is probably the best one for a beginner DJ striving towards professional play within this price range. The Mixtrack 3 is a cheaper alternative to the Mixtrack 3 Pro but has most of the controls and functionality. Learning how to mix, play and perform on this deck will allow you to play on anything. It’s surprisingly high quality for it’s price range. Some of the major advantages you’ll get learning on this piece of gear include: Loops, samples, hot cues, sensitive metal jogwheels and high precision audio adjustments (100mm Fader). I’ve done a full review of this fabulous piece of gear so definitely check it out.

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Kid Friendly Cheap DJ Controller

The Numark Party Mix

Out of the cheap DJ controllers in this list this one has the most features and is the best one for setting up your own dance parties. The controller itself is very user friendly and comes with all the features you’d need if you wanted to make DJing a major hobby in your life. It has an extremely simple interface that will let you learn how to beat match, mix tunes, and play around with cue sampling. If this is a little over your head right now you can also use the controllers auto-sync which gives a helping hand to make smooth transitions and guide your understanding. One of it’s surprisingly fun features is the light show. It actually has an LED array that allows for you to create some basic audio-visual displays for your DJ performance. This one is probably the most teen friendly as well.numarkpartymix

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What is a Cue Button and What Does It Do

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February 3, 2017

There’s a pretty common question I see from lots of new up and coming DJs. They see the cue button in their new DJ software or on their controller and wonder what it does. This great option is universally available, whether it’s in Traktor, Virtual DJ, even on CDJs. Learning how to use it right will improve your performances and recordings. There are actually a few cue buttons to worry about. Each one has a different usage. There’s the monitor cue, hot cue, and track cue location.



What Is A Headphone Cue

The first cue type I want to get into is the mixer, monitor or headphone cue. This cue essentially allows the chosen track to be played in your monitor headphones. If you use the headphone cue anything you play on this channel will be privately played to you and not sent out to the actual mix being played in your performance. This allows you to “cue” up the next song and match beats without worrying interrupting the rhythm of your show. You can easily find starting beats, timing, and key. This cue is usually near your faders, gain, EQ filters, etc. It’s part of the mixer and channel sound controls portion of your deck.

What is a Cue Point?

A cue point is a deck cue that indicates an important point in the song, used to designate when in the track the music will play. It sets the starting point for the track so that you can perfectly beat match the two (or more) tracks together. This button is found on each individual deck. If you push this button while a track is paused it will set the cue point. Pushing the cue track button while the track is playing will cause the track to restart at that cue point. So you set your point on beat and as long as you do it right you’ll always be able to cue up and play on beat music. If you hold this button down after the track goes back to this cue point it will only play as long as you hold the cue button down and will pause/stop when you release it.

CueButton

What’s a Hot Cue?

Hot cues are essentially just setting addition cue points in a song. Want the track to start at a drop, place one there. Want to skip distracting vocals or an uninteresting section in the song? Place a hot cue after the section when the song becomes useful again. You can build up a list of these hot cues for each track. Hitting a hot cue will set the song to that set cue point. Allowing for massive control and on the fly creativity. They allow you to pick and choose aspects of the song you want while skipping the things you don’t.

DJ Cue Tricks

One of my favorite uses for the hot and regular cue buttons is to create a live mashup. For an easy example, lets say you just have song one running. Song two has a vocal you want to inject into the current song. All you have to do is set a hot cue on the second song just before that vocal. While the second track is paused you hit the hot cue to go to that point in the song. Then you hit the cue button and it will set the cue to start the track at this point. Then all you have to do is hold down the cue button and the song will only play as long as you hold it down. The vocal plays over your track one, and you release the cue. Now you have this vocal that you can drop in on your main track at any time, creating a simple vocal mashup live. This is called cue sampling and you can improvise without needing to set up samples beforehand.



 

 

DJ Headphone Specs Explained

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February 1, 2017

DJ Headphone Specifications Explained

Headphones are one of the most important pieces of gear a DJ can have. Without being able to hear what you’re creating there’s no way to realistically make it sound great. With better headphones you’ll be able to more accurately hear what you’re actually producing and get a real feel for the beat. However when it comes to specs DJ headphones have a lot of confusing and complex stats. So in this guide I hope to give you a quick understanding of how to read the numbers and determine if a set of headphones is right for you.



dB SPL/mW Sensitivity

I figured I might as well get the most technical sounding spec out of the way first. dB SPL/mW sensitivity is a specification that deals in how much sound pressure the DJ headphones can put out for the power supplied. Basically it tells how loud the speakers are. The higher the number, the louder the music is for the same volume level from your player. Misleadingly simple isn’t it?

Max Input Power

Next up is a pretty self explanatory specification. The max input power value is the maximum amount of power the headphones can handle before you edge into the danger zone. If you get a pair of headphones that are too low in this value you might end up blowing the speaker or ruining the frequency response. As a DJ you’re going to want to get headphones with around 3W Max Input Power. Most pieces of DJ equipment with headphone monitoring are in this range and you want to be able to match it. Otherwise your gear is at stake.

dj headphone specificationsFrequency Ranges

This specification for DJ headphones is all about what sounds the headphone can make. Just like singers have a limit to their vocal range, headphones have limits to the sounds they can make. For the most part this is an unimportant stat. The majority of headphones all cover the same ranges. 18Hz-20kHz is what you’re looking for. Human hearing is 20Hz-20kHz so it makes sense, no point blasting your ears with sounds you can’t hear. The only thing you want to watch out for is headphones that only go up to 18kHz. They cut out some of the really high end. While you don’t specifically use pitches above 18kHz very often you’ll find that lower frequencies create these tones as harmonics. Harmonics make your sound fuller and warmer. You want to know what your sound is doing and you won’t get the whole picture if you get less than 20kHz at the top end.

Frequency Response Charts

I mentioned it briefly earlier and now it’s time to explain it. Frequency response is like a headphone’s preference in sound. If it has a high bass response it will put more power into the bass. So the low end sounds louder than the high end. If it has a lower frequency response in a range it will not express those pitches. This is where it gets real sciency. Heavy deep explanations aside, when you look at the frequency response chart, the higher the line is at a certain frequency the louder that frequency will be, the lower that line, the quieter.

Our ears themselves don’t hear all frequencies equally either. Human ears have a frequency response as well. We tend to hear bass and high pitches louder than they are. For a comfortable sounding set of DJ headphones you’re going to want ones that have charts that drop off under 100Hz and over 10kHz, In the middle you want a nice even line so all those frequencies get represented equally, with a slight boost around 7-8kHz.

Impedance

Finally we get to the last major specification for DJ headphones. This spec is a physics value that determines how easy it is to drive the headphones. A device needs less power to drive headphones with lower impedance values. Phones and tablets work best with low impedance headsets (20-40 ohms). DJ controllers, audio interfaces and other monitoring amps work better with higher impedance headphones (50-80 ohms). The important thing to note is the lower the impedance, the lower the max power input. Additionally equipment can’t run speakers that have too high impedance. So if you go for high impedance spec headphones you definitely want to take some time to see what your gear outputs. So see what kind of output levels your equipment can handle once you go north of 175 ohm headphones.



The Easiest DJ Controller

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February 1, 2017

So you’re looking for a simple and easy to learn DJ controller. Perhaps you’re just getting into DJing and want to test it out, or trying to a find a great gift for a music lover in your life. Whatever your reasons you should look into the Hercules DJ Control Compact.  It’s one of my favorite controllers for ease of use and one the best choices for a first controller. You can see my full review here which goes into all the features, strengths and weaknesses of the controller.

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The Hercules Compact is interesting because it’s jam packed with features but has such a simple design. It also comes with a full set of software which is rare for most controllers. The reason I chose this as my pick for easiest controller is because of it’s size and interface complexity. The controller itself is pretty small, meaning it’s easy to manage and you don’t have to shift your focus much to mix your beats. On top of that it’s extremely streamlined in its interface with only the necessities. It doesn’t have a lot of buttons to overwhelm newer DJs who are first starting out. For novices and intermediates it’s not much of a problem and you won’t feel restrained. Here’s a video of the controller in action.

The controller itself is plug and play and comes with it’s own computer software. All you need to do is unbox the controller, install the program, plug in the USB cable, upload your music into the library, and start mixing. It’s also one of the cheaper controllers on the market and definitely blows the competition out of the water when it comes to features for it’s price. If you master this piece of gear you’ll be able to move on to a full professional controller without any issue. You won’t find yourself restricted very often with this controller and it can even be used for small shows. Its portability is really nice for setting something up on the go. It’s portable and packed with the necessities; all while being easy to learn.

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If you’re looking for an easy controller and looking to learn, this is the perfect fit for you. If you’re looking for something a little more complicated you can check out my guide on beginner DJ controller options.