How to Beatmatch Like a Pro DJ!

How to Beatmatch Like a Pro DJ!

So you may have heard pro DJs make a one – two hour mix and asked yourself how they do it.  Well the answer to that is beatmatching, and the question you should be asking is, “How do I beatmatch like a pro DJ?”  Beatmatching can be very confusing, but knowing the secret tricks and techniques will allow you to know how to beatmatch in no time at all.

How to Beatmatch

This is what you need in order to know how to beatmatch like a pro:

  • Song structure
  • Dropping on the one
  • Syncing tracks
  • Transitioning

I’ll also give you a secret practice of mine which I tell all my clients to use.  They know how to beatmatch now and learned within a few weeks!

Song structure:

Songs are split up in beats.  If you need to learn how count beats, check out my post here on how to do so.  Take a minute to analyze your tracks and notice how each of them are structured in 32 beat segments (sometimes 16 beats).  Every 32 beats, the song will add a new element or take an element away.  Once you understand how songs are divided up in this sense, it will help you so much more.  Also, notice which part of the song is the intro, chorus, verse, bridge, breakdown, buildup, and outro.  This is critical in knowing how to beatmatch.How to Beatmatch

Dropping on the one:

Now for beatmatching.  The first step in what you need to know if you want to know how to DJ is you need to understand how to “drop on the one”.  This is critical in knowing how to beatmatch.  Dropping on the one is done by cuing (setting the start point of the song) at the first beat in the song.  The first beat of a 32 segment of a song is what DJs call, “the one”.   Once you know what part in the mix you want to play the second song (song 2), you do so by starting it (aka dropping it) on that first beat (again, the “one”) of the “one” of song 1.  Yes, I said that right, you drop song 2’s “one” on the “one” of song 1.  Practice this with your CDJs, controller, or turntables and master it.  Like I said, every DJ who has learned how to beatmatch has had to get this part down.

Syncing tracks:

So you understand your song structure and you know how to “drop on the one”, so now what?  The next part to know how to beatmatch is keeping the two songs you’re mixing in sync.  There are two parts to this:

  1. Make sure the BPM (beats per minute) of both songs are the same.
  2. After they’re playing with each other, keep them aligned with each other.

How to Beatmatch

Making sure the BPM is synced is easy.  After you know what BPM your song (song 1) is, then slide it so it matches the song you’re mixing into (song 2).   For example, if song 1 is 130 BPM, and song 2 is 127 BPM, then slide song 2 +3 BPMs until it is 130 BPM.  Get this down to the tee.  It is essential in knowing how to beatmatch.

So although you have made the BPM of both tracks the same, you need to make sure your songs still stay aligned when you play them together.  This is because CDJs and turntables are not perfect, so they will slowly make the tracks playing together go out of sync.  However, if you’re using a controller with a “sync” button, then the tracks will stay together and you do not need to worry about this second part of this (for the most part).  Making sure the tracks are aligned is done by moving the jog wheel on your CDJ or turntable to speed up the track or slow it down.  The trick is keeping the track playing (song 1) aligned with song 2.  You’ll hear if they go out of sync as the mix will sound clunky – the kicks, clips, and other elements of the songs won’t align.  Knowing how to beatmatch requires you have this part of beatmatching down.

Transitioning:

After you know the song structure, how to drop on the one, and the fundamentals of mixing, you need to know how to transition the songs.  There are many basic tops of transitions, however I will go over two basic types, and one advanced transition.

The first transition, which you’ve probably done if you’ve ever used a mixer, is fading song 1 out and fading song 2 in.  This is a simple, quick, and easy transition.  However, don’t underestimate it, may DJs who know how to beatmatch properly use it quite often.

The next transition, known as “cutting”, is a bit more difficult as you have to be good at timing., but once you get this down, you will use it a lot.  Many DJs use this as it is powerful and quick.  This is done by playing song 1 and song 2 at the same time.  Make sure both are align.  Note that only song 1 is playing out of the speakers at this time, as song 2 is playing in your headphones.  Once you get to the part of song 1 where you wan to have song 2 come in, then move the cross fader to the middle so it plays both of the tracks at an equal level.  You have to make sure you do this on the “one” of the segment of song 1 which you are dropping song 2 into, otherwise it will sound incomplete.  After song 1 and song 2 play for a bit, then move the cross fader totally over to song 2 so only song 2 is playing through the speakers.  This is known as “cutting” to song 2.  Remember to do this transition on the “one” of both of these songs too, otherwise it will not sound good.  This is another great transition to practice when you’re gaining knowledge on how to beatmatch.

How to Beatmatch

The last transition I will teach you is with using the echo effect.  Do everything I showed you how to do with the second transition, but right before you cut over to song 2, turn on an echo effect only on song 1.  Right after you have done this, press pause on song 1.  After you do this, song 1 will echo out right as song 2 is playing.  This is a very powerful effect and many DJs who know how to beatmatch properly use it.  Even the top DJs such as Armin Van Buuren, Tiësto, and Arty!  Practice it and incorporate it into your sets!

Conclusion:

I have shown you the fundamentals on how to beatmatch.  These skills and techniques are critical in rocking out to big crowds and living the DJ lifestyle you have always dreamed of.  My last recommendation is a secret practice that I teach my clients who want to know how to beatmatch.  This is take five songs, all with similar BPMs and figure out the best way to mix them.  Write it down and practice each transition until you can do this mini-mix (since it is only five songs) every time you try it.  This will also give you a powerful mini-mix to build up your confidence when you are DJing your next event!  Since you have this down pat, you won’t be nervous when trying to mix it!  This practice is one of my top techniques I share with my clients.

OK, there you have it.  Now practice and go out and try to get gigs where you can use your new skills!  With these fundamentals of how to beatmatch, you’ll be DJing the big clubs in no time!

 

 

DJ Whrr
DJ Whrr
Starting at the ripe age of 15, I (DJ Whrr) started my DJ career. After buying up high quality equipment and teaching myself how to mix, I soon hit the DJ scene. From DJing graduations and weddings, to clubs and house parties, I tried it all! I have performed at many venues including the Filmore in Detroit, MI the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, MI and 5th Quarter in Ann Arbor, MI (if you want me to connect you with any of these venues, I’ll do my best – just shoot me an email in the lower right-hand corner). Finally, I also taught DJing at the University of Michigan for a little while. All these things inspired me to create How to DJ Quickly for DJs to learn online. However, aside from DJing, I am passionate about teaching others. This is why I created How to DJ Quickly. Starting out DJing can be tough (trust me, I know). Whether you are confused about DJ Equipment, How To Mix, How To Mix Like A DJ, Getting DJ gigs, or just need General DJ News, Tips, and Tricks and information about the DJ Lifestyle, I will help you! I know what it is like to be a each skill level and I want to help all! This is why beginners, novices, and experts can use How to DJ Quickly to learn more about DJing! Like I said, I am here to help, so if you have any questions, please email me using my email which you can find on my: "Questions? Contact Me." page. Check out How to DJ Quickly for more!
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