HOW TO PRACTICE FOR CLUBS WITH A DJ CONTROLLER

HOW TO PRACTICE FOR CLUBS WITH A DJ CONTROLLER

Imagine Porter Robinson on CDJs.

Imagine Porter Robinson on CDJs

You’ve created the hype for your upcoming club event. Your mates and crush are coming. You’ve picked your lucky underwear. What about your set? Have you practiced on club gear yet? No? But you have a DJ controller? That can work.

With help from djdefractaled, and using CDJs and DDJ-SX/2s as examples, this is how:

TURN OFF SYNC & AUTO GAIN

Turn that sync off (credit: Imgur)

Auto Gain or Auto Pain? (credit: Imgur)

Personally, these functions do more harm than good to most DJs as it reduces overall control. Also, most professional gear will not have Sync & Auto Gain features. Turn both of them off. You will need manually beat match with tempo faders, and normalise your unbalanced tracks using the trim, EQ and volume faders.

QUANTIZE

Ideally, most CDJs have little to no quantizing (snapping transients to a beat grid). Set Quantize value to the smallest value of 1/16 beats.

PADS & HOT CUES

You ain’t gonna see these in the club (credit Imgur)

On most CDJs you will be limited to 3 hot cues, so make sure you learn how to work without access to 8 hot cues. Avoid using the roll pads if you can although some mixers will have access to roll effects but you should get used to doing your rolls without using the pads. You should also learn to avoid relying on sampler pads and the slicer pads as you will simply not have access to features like these on a CDJ setup.

STREAMLINE DISPLAY

Rekordbox DJ Library View

CDJs have a small streamlined display but with all the essentials. The closest view a DJ can get to a CDJ is to set the view to Library. This view gives fewer details than the waveform overview, like a non-Nexus series CDJ (CDJ-2000 and earlier). This will also remove any tempo-matching or beat-matching assistants.

WAVEFORMS

Stacked Waveforms are not your friend anymore. (credit: Imgur)

Refrain from using parallel waveforms & pre-aligning tracks. Unless the club (or you) have the Link cable, CDJs usually only have the existing track waveform on each LCD. This is a good exercise to rely more on your ears than the devices.

FX

Less is more my friend (credit: Imgur)

Effects such as echo, delay and distortion effects are often standard but more complex effects such as combo effects (IE: Automatic echo out) will not be available so get used to doing transitions without these types of effects. Mixers will also often require you to tap out your BPM manually so get used to setting the effect BPM manually. Some mixers will have an auto tap option but this is not always 100% reliable.

EXTRAS

  • Turn off slip mode, this is not available on most club gear
  • Know the gear that your club uses (come early and ask if you can do a “soundcheck”)
  • Most club DJ booths have limited to no lighting. Flick them light switches off my dude. You will have to rely on the LEDs, your memory or use a phone.
  • When you start of doing club gigs, you may be left with old gear with broken channels and worn out EQ and trim.

OR USE THE REAL THING

Practice your set on real club gear with SDS DJ BOOTH HIRE & GEAR HIRE – click here for more info

This article was adapted from an Imgur based article by djdefractaled: http://imgur.com/a/DrGlS

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