In this article / video I will talk about the effects you will find on club mixers. Now, you may have noticed by now, I do lean towards preparing people to play in clubs as running clubs and DJing was what I did full time for almost 20 years and it's best to talk to my experience, but I want to really emphasise one thing and that is all DJ gear shares the same features.
For instance, when teaching people, it's about teaching people how to DJ and once you know how to DJ you can apply that to any gear. For instance do you think if you gave Salvidor Dali a paintbrush and asked him to paint, he would say I am sorry I only know how to paint with my brushes. Of course not. Sure he probably prefers using his own tools, just like you would prefer to use your own gear in clubs, but the harsh reality is, when turning up to play at events, the chances are, at least until you have a name for yourself, that the venue will expect you to use their gear, as let's face it, quite often there may be no room for you to put your gear and if you turn up and start unplugging stuff, people may consider you to be difficult to work with and like I said you can only pull that off when once you already have influence in the scene. So long story short, if you are DJing at club events, chances are you may have to use their gear.
Yes, I agree most modern controllers are better and have more features, not to mention really cool performance pads which really opens DJINg up to new levels and new potentials, and on top of that, Denon gear also feels amazing and is a joy to use, and TBH, if Denon manages to become the industry standard in clubs, I will teach using Denon gear, but all I am saying is, making the switch from Pioneer to Denon or vice versa isn't as hard as you think. A true DJ can play on anything, and gear, nor software matters, essentially they all the day the same thing and you'll notice that the main features are all pretty similar even with their placement.
So in this video I will do a walkthrough of the effects you will find on most pioneer club mixers and how to use those FX.
Now before I quickly do a necessary walkthrough of the some of the main components of using FX, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I feel obligated to say, I personally feel being a good DJ is not going to come down to how good you are at using FX. For many many years I DJ'd without using any FX at all and often people who supported my clubs rated me as the best DJ they had ever heard, so I cannot emphasise enough, the way you arrange your tracks and flawless EQ work comes first, but once your arrangement is down and you are feeling confident you can start adding FX every now and then, but try to avoid using them every single transition.
Personally I may use them 1 in 3 transitions and if I am using them more regularly than that, I use them subtly, this means, I keep the effects low in the mix so they don't mess with the actual track that people on the dance floor may be enjoying. FX are not just for your own amusement, IMO they are to enhance transitions, so keep watching as this is where it goes to the next level.
So firstly what are the main FX on club mixers. Well there's actually 2 effect racks, you have the beat FX and the colour FX. The colour FX color the overall sound as the beat FX tend to be more focused on manipulating the beat.
So for color FX you can select the effect you wish to use and then you activate the FX by turning the colour knob under the channel where you wish to apply the effect, you can turn it clockwise to focus on the higher frequencies or anti clockwise to focus on lower frequencies. These are pretty basic to use and are a great starting point for DJs.
Then you have the beat FX which are a little bit more advanced as there's more settings to choose from. First decide which effect you wish to use. Then you need to decide which channel you wish to apply the effect to and then how intense you want the effect to be.
Once you have selected the effect you wish to use and have assigned the effect to the correct channel, to turn the effect on or off hit the yellow / or sometimes blue button at the bottom of the effect rack. You can then control the intensity of the effect in 2 ways. Firstly with the beat selector. Generally the less amount of beats the more intense the effect and if you move to the right, the greater number of beats the more drawn out the effect. However you can also control the effect intensity wth the level knob.
As mentioned earlier in this video I like using both colour and beat FX together and in my course have actually come up with some really cool combinations and cool sounds.
Now another thing to note is a lot of the newer Pioneer and xone mixers have EQ ISOLATED FX. This allows you to control which frequencies you apply the FX too. For instance quite often when you add echo to songs that sound really bassy, it can sound muddy, and the same goes for spin backs. So with the newer mixers I can take off the bass frequency, without having to pull back on the bass on the mixer, which quite often makes the FX a lot more cleaner and crisper, but at this stage you won't be able to replicate this feature on a lot of controllers, so I may ignore this section for now, for your sake, as for me it's about creating user friendly videos that anyone can follow along with and even though many of you probably have controllers, everything I have shown you, besides this section, are the main effects and effect controls that you will find on nearly all DJ gear, but if you do have this feature, I would typically just be adding FX to the mid and high frequencies and may leave the bass off, most of, if not, all of the time.
Anyway, I hope that's been helpful and made the whole idea of using club gear less daunting. If anything you should aim to be able to play on anything. I am actually am epic fan of Denon and lots of my students use Denon gear and when I jumped onto Denon the other day, I smashed it and may even do some videos in the future using Denon gear, but again understand, gear, software, genre, none of this stuff matters. If you know how to DJ you can use all canvas and still make amazing art.
Learning how to mix solely with your DJ headphones is a really good skill to have and whenever you see DJs wearing in ear monitors that's exactly what they're doing. The advantages of mixing with your headphones on the whole time is:
I recently did a video on how to get out of sticky situations and the long and short of it is, the more prepared you are the less likely you'll even find yourself in a sticky situation, so in this video I will share with you some common ways to organise and even categories your music so you are ready for any eventuality.
People often remark on how I use my volume faders and EQ so today I'll explain why I often use the whole EQ to mix in my new tracks as opposed to volume faders.
The beauty of learning to DJ is, absolutely everyone can do it. I have taught people from 8 to 80 and most of these people had no background in music or experience of any kind.
I was recently in a studio learning mastering from an audio engineer. If you listen to music anywhere in the 21st century, this person was...