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How to Use a DJ Mixer


One of the most important tools you need to master when starting out as a DJ is your DJ mixer. DJ mixers are the central hub of your DJ setup;  it’s a controller used to control the sound output of your chosen input music devices.

Key features of a DJ mixer

Cue button - so you can get your next track beatmatched and ready to mix.

Crossfader used for the seamless transitioning between your tracks

Channel faders (also known as up faders) – dj mixers have between two and six channels each with its own fader, these faders are used to control the sound output from each channel.

A two channel mixer is all that you need when you’re learning to dj

Phono and line level inputs – each channel has the two options so your CD players and turntables can plug straight in.

EQ knobs – dj mixers have separate knobs for low, medium and high frequency sound ranges.  Each channel also has a gain knob which is used for adjusting all the frequencies together.

Headphone jack - so you can plug your headphones in and start mixing

Types of DJ mixers

Different brands of mixers are coming onto the market all the time; I’m going to keep this simple. Pioneer DJ mixers are the industry standard, so most likely what you will be using when you get your first DJ gig.

The great thing about Pioneer DJ equipment apart from premium quality is the price points they offer, catering for everyone from beginner to expert.

In the beginning when you’re learning how to DJ you don’t need all the crazy effects that you’ll often see on the big 6 channel mixers, you won’t have the knowledge or skills yet  to use them so they would be a waste of money and prove a distraction.

To start out all you need is a simple 2 channel mixer, nothing more.

Tips on how to use a DJ mixer

Now that you’re familiar with the mixer’s features here are a few basic tips on how to use your DJ mixer correctly.

Channel faders and your cross fader – there are two ways to mix with your faders;

  1. Leave the cross fader in the middle and mix between the tracks using the channel faders.
  2. Leave both channel faders at full volume and transition between tracks using the cross fader.

EQ controls when practicing your mixes keep the low, mid and high range EQ’s at 12 o’clock, adjusting the gain EQ control only if and when required.

In the beginning if you concentrate on mastering only the basics of both your mixing and your mixer it will allow you to get your skills to the level required in the quickest amount of time. The old saying slow and steady wins the race rings true.

Once you have nailed down the basics you can then begin experimenting with EQ frequencies and various FX controllers.

Ben Drohan

About the Author: Ben Drohan is the original founding partner and creator of DJ Master Course. His entrepreneurial skills have been recognised by major music industry leaders including CEO’s, A&R label executives and some of the world’s most prolific DJ talent including the Stafford Brothers.

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