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Levels and playing in red

 

Nothing new, but i guess it is good to remind yourself about redlight (volume meter):

- don't go read on line channel
- don't go read on master channel

http://www.djtechtools.com/2015/01/15/throwback-thursday-how-to-dj-trust-the-levels/

 

p.s.

 

From personal experience

i am not a fan of high volume, and i usually use my custom made air protection (-15dB). So i never push volume to sound louder then others.

But, last time when i played in small club in Paris, the owner of the place came to me and put up all the gains, i played "all" in red. He said don't worry it's OK.

the soundsystem was not very good, and with playing red i didn't have impression that it became worst. So i guess here "trust in-house sound engineer" rule apply.

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Traktor DJing

 

My personal advice for traktor dj's is to put headroom on -6, master out on -3, internal recorder +3 and if you need more volume amplify on the external mixing table. Analog amplification is definitely better then going to red in digital.

 

Traktor S4 controller Tips

don't put the analog volume master gain of controller to maximum, when possible try to put more gain on mixer, as i believe mixers can have better amplification.

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what's your approach and workflow? Do you tag your files by EAR or MIK (mixed in key) ?

 

I use MIK.  I have found it works really well.

 

My workflow would be:

  1. Use MediaMonkey to ensure correct tags and file-naming conventions (e.g. Artist/Album/Track_number - Artist - Track_name).
  2. Drag into Mixed In Key to find the key and the bpm.  In truth, Ableton is just as good at finding the bpm.
  3. Drag into Ableton to warp the tracks and update the clip names (one track per clip) to BPM - Key - Artist - Track_name.  

The clips appear in my Ableton library sorted into genre folders and then sorted by BPM and then Key and then the artist and track names.

 

Works for me.

 

I can find tracks I want to play in my Ableton library or I sometimes use the MIK search function to find tracks that I may not have warped in Ableton.  I actually - maybe stupidly - let MIK scan my whole music collection when I got it, which took days!  And I wish I didn't do it and the search and sort functions are pretty basic and I would like to remove thousands of the tracks from it but it would be a very tedious process.  But it has it's advantages and sometimes searching by key and bpm I find some random tracks that will fit well into a set. 

 

 

As a sidenote, I have found that since I started mixing harmonically, I probably now do it too much!  In that I try to always go for harmonic harmony in the mixes, meaning I exclude many tracks because 'on-paper' they are harmonically unmatched.  However in reality they might still work.  But I am working on that and trying to retrain my brain to not worry so much about what the key is what other tracks are in related keys and just select/mix what sounds good at the time.  Harmonic changes in a set also have their place, especially in downtempo mix sets.

 

*edit in bold.

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As a sidenote, I have found that since I started mixing harmonically, I probably now do it too much!  In that I try to always go for harmonic harmony in the mixes, meaning I exclude many tracks because 'on-paper' they are harmonically unmatched.  However in reality they might still work.  But I am working on that and trying to retrain my brain to not worry so much about what the key is what other tracks are in related keys and just select/mix what sounds good at the time.  Harmonic changes in a set also have their place, especially in downtempo mix sets.

 

I totally feel you on this - I need to work on caring a little less about harmonic matching and a little more about general flow. I also find matching groove/swing to be very important, obviously more so in heavily percussive tracks. So many compromises to be made! :)

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i agree!

back in the days i learn mixing digitaly with virtualDJ, so no key info at all.

i just trusted my ears and the flow.

Now i use traktor and it's built in key-system (i know it's not perfect) and i indeed exlude a lot of track a actually want to play..

So, as a DJ you always have look for the right balance you feel like is OK.

Another thing is the pitching, you get a completely different key if you play a track in a higher or lower pitch.

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i agree!

back in the days i learn mixing digitaly with virtualDJ, so no key info at all.

i just trusted my ears and the flow.

Now i use traktor and it's built in key-system (i know it's not perfect) and i indeed exlude a lot of track a actually want to play..

So, as a DJ you always have look for the right balance you feel like is OK.

Another thing is the pitching, you get a completely different key if you play a track in a higher or lower pitch.

Unless of course you have the key locked ;) Which then again is only viable within a certain pitch range before artifacts start to appear

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My tip of the day....learn about mixing in key.

 

What I would add to that is knowing your tunes inside out is also essential. What I mean by that is what's the tempo, when's the breakdown, how long is the intro, does the tempo change at some point during the track and so on and so on. Concluding this, before you play something out live or something, be sure you have listened to the track a few times beforehand :>

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i would say to play your track loud enough on good soundsystem in order to be sure about quality. this is specially important when you play:

- pirate mp3

- demo's from internet / un-mastered tracks

- old tracks

- personal cd-rips

- when you change a lot pitch (digital allow -30% pitch change and that can sound weird)

 

one of my personal approach to track selection is that track shall be good enough from beginning to end, and not boring. this way you will not have an urge to mix it out quickly, and will have time to do a creative mixout.

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i so much agree

The real reason beatmatching is important
For such an arbitrary task it seems mad not to save those 20 seconds – but of course, the difference isn’t 20 seconds, it’s the hundreds of hours the vinyl DJ spent hunched over the decks, the scrunched-up faces, balled-up fists, and cries of frustration underneath the din of 2 mismatched records galloping apart that makes the difference. Hundreds of hours of trying to learn one thing – but really learning so much more.

http://www.digitaldjtips.com/2011/01/how-to-earn-your-dj-stripes-part-1/

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Cleaning HDD Space in traktor:

there are three folders that takes a lot of space in Traktor, if you have large collection and not enough space you might want to clean them.

- Transient

- Backup Collection

- Stripes

 

as i understand they save metadata (bpm, waveform, for the track you played, so if you play same track second time you will be able to open immediately, if you loose them you will need to re-analyse. As my laptop is powerful, i don't care that much if i would need some time to analyse tracks. 

 

- So what i did is i deleted all OLD files, older then 01/01/2015 and it gave me > 1Gb of space.

- it worked for me, might not work for you, so i advice to make backup :)

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thanks for the tip, my collection is not that big, so for now i will not play with it.

 

 

Traktor Tips:

 

just discovered that all tracks that are played in Traktor are saved, so traktor DJ's have no execuse not to make playlists :)

 

-In the Explorer Node in Traktor there is a Folder called ARCHIVE.
-That is the History folder.

-All your previous sets are there to be browsed.
- You can then save as webpage and print it.

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one of my personal approach to track selection is that track shall be good enough from beginning to end, and not boring. this way you will not have an urge to mix it out quickly, and will have time to do a creative mixout.

 

I absolutely agree with you

Some guys can download gigabytes of pirate mp3, grab it into tracktor, use tracks only with the same key, use sync function and make 24-hours mix

This is not creative, not art, there is no imagination in this. This is windows media player job.

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I'm not an amazing DJ by any measure, but perhaps the most important lesson I have learned is to not be paralysed by thinking that my mix isn't good or my work isn't good.  If you're making a mix or a piece of music don't struggle with how bad it is, push through it and complete it.  If you give up you'll have nothing.  

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