How I mix

The delightful Mike, who blogs over at flip4bearz, is thinking of getting in to the DJ game, and given his excellent taste in music, this is something to be applauded and encouraged!

He asks what software I use for my mixes, and while I would not think of myself as a DJ, I guess I have learned a bit about making mixes in the bedroom over the last couple of years, so I’m delighted to have the opportunity to talk about the tools I use.

Here’s my response:

Hi Mike,

I’m really just learning myself, but I’ll tell you the setup I use.

Mixed in Key ($58 PC/Mac) is a fabulous program! It analyses your tracks and tells you the BPM and also what key the track is mainly in. Knowing the key allows you to mix two tracks into each other very deeply (usually) without a horrible clash.

Next I use Platinum Notes ($98 PC/Mac). This ‘repairs’ tracks and makes everything the same level. Some poor quality mp3s can be made to sound a lot better and it can also slightly retune parts of tracks.

When I’m making mixes for posting online, I use Audacity (free, cross-platform). The best thing about Audacity (apart from being free) is the tool that allows you to change the tempo without changing the pitch. So, if you have a track at 129 bpm and another at 127, you can tweak one so that the beats match up properly.

I’ve not done much live stuff yet, but I’m finding my way around DJ-1800 ($80 Mac only). It works from the data in your iTunes library (and displays all your bpm data!). You can pitch and tempo shift too and it’s not a huge resource hog.

So, I hope all that helps! Good luck with the DJing and I ‘m looking forward to the fruits of your labour!

E x

Incidentally, if anyone is in London on Saturday November 1st next, I’ll be doing the funky house thing at Canal 125 Bar, 125 Caledonian Road (near Kings Cross) at the 6th Annual Ebony & Ivory Ball. I’m on from 8pm for a few hours and the whole thing is for a very good cause: The Food Chain which provides food to families severely affected by HIV/AIDS. If you’d like an invite, let me know. Oh yes, it’s also fancy dress…. 😉

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4 comments

  1. Mike A

    hey enda!

    thanks for the mention! i’m honored! 🙂 i’ll look into the programs you mentioned. the PLATINUM NOTES features are interesting as i’ve come across many a track online that didn’t sound so great. i did, however, find one program that analyzed song key(s) and bpms PLUS has editing capabilities and ‘smart’ mixing tools … it’s called MIXMEISTER STUDIO. it’s also US$199.95 too! hmmm.

    anyway — i’ll definitely keep you updated on my progress.

    – m

  2. fwan

    yeah, audacity is great! oh i have this free app on my itouch called mixmeister scratch…i was just scratching it with the music i was listening to and thinking; one day i will be a great mixer like enda 🙂

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