The best DJ techniques allow DJs to show off their style and play sets with seamless mixing.
Whether you’re playing a drum and bass track or prefer hip hop or deep house, these DJ techniques will allow you to maximize all track elements and blend them into a seamless mix.
Continue reading, and we’ll help you learn DJ techniques in no time and a few more advanced techniques to show off your skills.
10 DJ Techniques You Need To Master In 2023
Whether you’re an aspiring wedding DJ or a hardcore club DJ, there are DJ transition techniques you can use to help build drama and anticipation to enhance your sets.
We’ve broken down each of these DJ techniques into a handy step-by-step guide to putting them into action and the situations where they work the best.
Here’s our recommendation for ten essential DJ techniques you need to master.
10. The Spinback
While some DJ techniques can take time to master, the spinback is an easy DJ transition to learn when you’re just starting and discovering new ways to mix tracks.
It’s a dramatic method for quickly transitioning from one track to the next quickly and is a great backup technique if you’ve run out of time to line up the incoming tune properly.
How To Perform The Spinback:
1. Choose the two tracks you want to use
Once you’ve chosen the tracks, beat match them so they’re playing at the same tempo.
2. Identify the final bar leading into the spinback
When the outgoing track comes to the end of this bar, you’ll perform the spinback.
3. Take control of the crossfader to perform the spinback
As you spin backward on the first tune, snap the crossfader over on the final beat to bring the incoming track into the mix.
Spinback is a versatile and easy-to-learn technique that can be used for any music genre and can be dropped into a set at a moment’s notice.
9. The Tempo Transition
There are plenty of tips to improve your DJ skills, and the tempo transition mix should be one of your top priorities to learn.
While many DJs stick to playlists that feature tracks with a similar tempo, some prefer to mix up their genres for a more diverse-sounding set.
The tempo transition mix allows you to choose music from genres with more tempo range, for instance, beginning with a house track and transitioning to a drum and bass track.
How To Perform The Tempo Transition:
1. Select the two tracks you want to mix
You can choose a record pool like ZIPDJ that includes tempo information on their tracks or find this information on your DJ software.
Ensure your software allows you to adjust the tempo range to fit in with both tracks.
2. Set your current track to “master” tempo, with your incoming track to “sync”
Applying these settings to your DJ software will ensure the master track rises in tempo in line with the incoming track.
3. Match the beat on the incoming track to your master track
Listen to your headphones to ensure they are in sync as you speed up or slow down the incoming track. Then, use the kick drum and percussion until the new track plays at the same BPM.
4. Bring the incoming track into the mix-out zones, slowly introducing the low-frequency volume
As the new track comes into the mix, switch it to “master” tempo and the outgoing track to “sync.” This keeps the BPM aligned when you adjust the tempo of the next track.
5. Reduce the volume of the outgoing track to complete the tempo transition mix
You can add more texture and detail by using effects during the step of the mix.
Whereas the spinback offers a quick solution to switch to a new track, the tempo transition gives DJs a chance to show off their skills through longer mixes.
If you’re looking to play mixes featuring an eclectic mix of genres, this technique is essential to your repertoire of skills.
8. The Infinite Loop Mix
The infinite loop mix is one of the more advanced DJ techniques available, with plenty of scope for variety depending on the tracks you use.
Since you’ll be looping a given section of the track while mixing it with another, it opens up some fantastic creative choices, particularly when doubled up with other loops.
Follow these steps, and have fun with the loop selections and the possibilities for interesting effects and creative use of the EQ once they’re in the mix.
How To Perform Infinite Loop Mixing:
1. Choose the section of the incoming track you want to loop
Some sections of tunes work better than others for mix-out zones, so pick a loop and decide how many beats to loop it over.
Between 4 and 16 beats is a good range to consider, sticking to 4-beat increments.
2. Fade the loop from one track over the current track playing
As you bring in the background looping effect, fade in the lower frequencies to avoid clashing.
3. Have fun with the EQ and effects
Once both tracks play together, you can experiment with some of the best DJ effects to create new sounds and deliver a seamless mix.
Infinite loop mixing works better with some music genres than others, so experiment with your library and discover what works the best.
7. The Seamless Fade Mix
The seamless fade mix is relatively easy to learn, provided two tracks are playing from the same or similar musical genres.
You’ll need to ensure they both have ample mix-in and mix-out zones, which you can check for on your software, such as Serato DJ, and look for a natural break.
If you’re struggling to master this mixing technique, check out the best DJ websites and see if you can find any videos from their live shows which show it in action.
How To Perform The Seamless Fade Mix:
1. Match the tempo on your selected tracks, then start the new track playing
As the new track plays, set the volume at 0% and keep low, mid, and high frequencies down low.
2. Slowly fade in the volume and different frequencies from the incoming track
Monitoring the next track on your headphones is crucial for a seamless mix. Mix in the high frequencies first, followed by low-frequency volume.
3. Lower the volume and frequencies of your outgoing track
As the new track dominates the mix, use the channel fader to remove kick drums and other low frequencies from the outgoing track. This allows the incoming track’s bass to dominate the mix as the previous track fades out.
One of the more nuanced techniques available to DJs, the seamless fade mix allows for consistently smooth transitions and avoids the unpleasant effect of overlapping frequencies.
6. The Dead Stop
Like the spinback, the dead stop is another quick and easy technique you can learn to get out of a tight spot during your mixes.
Originally a technique used by vinyl DJs, most modern controllers include the response times and tools required to mimic this trick.
How To Perform The Dead Stop:
1. Choose the point in the master track where the upcoming track will begin
You can use the hot cues on your DJ mixing software to give you a heads-up when this point is arriving.
2. Hit the “stop” button when the current track reaches the last bar
The track will come to a rapid stop, which will vary depending on what equipment you’re using, so practice beforehand so you know how quickly this will be.
3. Quickly cut over to the upcoming track
Once the previous track has stopped, the next one needs to drop straight into the mix. Again, ensure everything is set to its normal position on the EQ so the drop has maximum impact.
Another “get out of jail free” card for DJs playing more melodic genres, the dead stop, is simple yet highly effective when used right.
5. The FX Mix
Introducing sound effects using your DJ controller’s FX features is another awesome way to take your DJ sets to the next level and wow the audience.
Some DJs use these FX to build in distorted sounds, while other DJs prefer to use them to open up the soundscape to spacial create effects.
You can also time your FX mix to sync with the best DJ visuals, creating DJ mixes that draw upon the full sensory range of the audience.
How To Perform The FX Mix:
1. Use phasers and flangers
The phaser and the flanger can introduce a sweeping, panoramic soundscape to your DJ sets.
They are best used during more melodic elements of a track, for example, during breakdowns or in the build-up to an impressive drop.
2. Play with the pitch shifter
You can use the pitch shifter to modify the sound of a track and give the impression it’s shifting around in space. Most DJ software will include the tools you need to play with this effect.
3. Make the most of filters
Filters are a great way to avoid unpleasant sounds from a clashing bass track, although not all DJ equipment includes filters as standard.
High and low pass filters allow you to cut out their frequency ranges and blend them back into the mix.
A common mixing technique used by many of the best DJs in the world, the FX mix is also a great introduction to some of the tools music producers use to enhance their tracks.
4. The Key Blending Mix
Key blending, sometimes called harmonic mixing, is one of the more advanced DJ tips you must master to become a professional DJ working in clubs.
If you’re using an online music library, you’ll need to find the information about a given track’s key to help with your harmonic mixing.
It’s a particularly useful technique if you play a lot of vocal-heavy music and want to deliver a consistent mix without clashing melodies and vocals.
How To Perform The Key Blending Mix:
1. Select two tracks that will harmonize with one another
You can view a track’s key on certain software, ranked from 1-12M and 1-12D. You can subtract or add 3 or 6 to the number shown to see if the other track is compatible.
2. Mix the tracks together at the most appropriate point
While two tracks might be listed as the same key, sometimes instruments and effects have been detuned during production to add more texture.
Make sure you choose a point to mix where one track doesn’t clash harmonically with the other.
3. Mix in the incoming track during an appropriate mix-out zone
If the incoming track has key changes that will cause a clash, you’ll want to transition to this before the key changes come into play.
While it can take time to work through your music archives to find compatible tracks, the results delivered make it well worth the effort and result in a more polished and professional set.
3. The Power Cut
Like the dead stop, the power cut is another technique borrowed from the days of traditional DJing on vinyl decks and old-school DJ scratching techniques.
Again, most modern DJ controllers will emulate the effect previously found on turntables, so you can still use this even if you’re on modern equipment.
Once you’ve perfected the power cut, you can consider looking into how to live stream your DJ set, practicing it to an audience to see when it works best in a set.
How To Perform The Power Cut:
1. Decide the point in the current track where you want the power cut to happen
As with the dead stop transition, the power cut will come in on the final beat, so make sure you’re ready for it.
2. At the final beat, cut off the power to the initial track
Unlike the dead stop, this will cause the initial track to slowly wind down, dropping tempo and pitch before coming to a complete stop.
3. Bring in the upcoming track as soon as the power cut stops
The moment the previous tune fully stops, introduce the next one with everything pushed up to its top position on the DJ mixer.
The power cut is particularly useful for bringing the audience down after a peak in the mix, offering the DJ some breathing room to change the pace of the set.
2. The Breakdown Mix
Demonstrating that you understand a wide range of DJ techniques is a great way to book more DJ gigs, letting potential clients know you’re a DJ worth hiring.
The breakdown mix is a handy trick to know if you like to bounce from one genre to another and don’t want to risk clashing beats and sounds.
It’s convenient for DJs who like to spend little time on each track before moving on to the next one, for instance, when quick mixing to get around potential copyright strikes on live streams.
How To Perform A Breakdown Mix:
1. Select two tracks that are compatible with each other
While you won’t be playing both tracks together while percussion and beats are playing, they must be of a similar genre and tempo.
2. Mix in the second track when the first reaches a breakdown
The breakdown point is where the bass track and kick drums drop out. This is where the next tune should begin and start playing over the first.
3. Shift to the second track when the breakdown ends
You don’t want the bass and other percussions to come back in on the first track while the second is playing. At the point, the breakdown ends, switch entirely over to the next tune.
It’s a great trick to use to create the effect of seamlessly matched tracks without the need for perfect beat matching.
1. The EQ Mix
Using the EQ is one of the foundational DJ mixing techniques to blend tracks seamlessly and fine-tune your DJ sets.
The EQ mix opens up more complex DJ mixing techniques you can use in a DJ set to maximize the potential of your DJ software.
Uploading videos and live streams showcasing a firm grasp of EQ mixing is also an excellent way to promote your DJ business to potential clients looking for this particular skill set.
How To Perform An EQ Mix:
1. Match the beat of the tracks you wish to mix together
To do this, you’ll need to master one of the most basic mixing techniques, beat matching.
2. Mix in the incoming track with the EQ settings lowered
Lowering the bass frequency is a technique most DJs use to avoid clipping and bass clashes.
3. Bring up the EQ levels on the incoming track while lowering them on the first one
You can create a smoother sound and an all-around good mix by balancing the frequencies on each track with the EQ levels.
One of the more advanced DJ mixing techniques used by professional club DJs, mastering the EQ mix is the first step to building your DJ brand and attracting the best clients.
That’s a wrap on our complete guide to the best DJ mixing skills you can learn to take your DJ sets to the next level.
Choose the ones that best fit your preferred musical genre and experiment with them throughout a mix to see what works best.
Once you’ve mastered these techniques, you’ll be ready to mix to a crowded dance floor seamlessly and put other DJs to shame.
Discover all the music you need to master these DJ techniques by signing up to ZIPDJs record pool and gain access to a vast music library.