DJ mixers are an essential part of any aspiring DJ's setup. Without one of these, it's difficult to mix music together for long periods of time. These range from simple two-channel digital options with volume faders and three-band equalizing all the way up to eight-channel analog mixers with precise, customizable effects.What are DJ Mixers used for?
DJ mixers are not just an extra piece of equipment that makes DJs look more technologically savvy. They're central hubs for all signals to pass through. There are a few things they're used for, including:
- Audio Routing: Whether you use turntables, Pioneer CDJs, or Numark equipment, the centrepiece of your setup needs to route from those pieces to the speakers. The mixer does exactly that, taking audio or MIDI from the platters and sending them to the speakers.
- Mixing: If you want to be professional, your song mixing has to be on point. There can't be any jarring transitions or sudden BPM changes. Mixing boards help you make those transition with volume faders and equalizers that blend and cut out unnecessary sounds.
- Effects: Most boards come with built-in digital sound warping tools, like reverb and delay. These help you mix songs smoothly.
There are three major brands you should consider.
- Pioneer: Pioneer's mixers, such as the DJM-S9, include USB support, multi-channel linking, and a suite of equalizers on each channel.
- Numark: If you're just starting to get into the scene, Numark equipment is simple to use. The interior architecture of these boards is mostly digital.
- Traktor: Another option is Traktor, Native Instrument's offering. These mixers are beginner-friendly with large buttons and an option to automatically sync songs.
DJ mixers route audio and blend different signals together. However, there is still an art form to working with disc jockey gear. To use a mixer like this one:
- Prepare your song on your platter. Get the song lined up in your headphones, but keep its volume all the way down until you're ready to bring it into the mix.
- EQ out low frequencies or high frequencies. Decide whether you want just a portion of the song to be audible at first, and take out the other parts.
- Slowly bring the volume of the track up. This lets the track blend in with the previously playing track.
- Wait for a good spot to lower the volume of the first track. The second track should now be playing.
- When you're more comfortable, you can start adding reverb or echo to your transitions if you wish.