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DJing For Dummies, 3rd Edition

Book Description

DJ like a pro—without skipping a beat

The bestselling guide to spinning and scratching is back! If you've ever spent hours in your bedroom with two turntables and an earful of tracks that sound off-beat or out of key, DJing For Dummies is the go-to guide for taking your skills to the next level. Inside, John Steventon, a successful club DJ, walks you through the basics of mixing, the techniques and tricks you need to create your own DJ style and how to make DJing work for you.

Covering both digital and old-school vinyl-based instruction, this guide covers all the latest DJ technology, equipment and software so you can get mixing and stay one step ahead of the crowd. Brimming with expert advice and easy-to-follow explanations, the information in DJing For Dummies gives you everything you need to build a foolproof set and play to a live crowd.

  • Nail down the basics and build on existing skills

  • Sort through the latest equipment and technology

  • Have a go at crossfading, beatmatching and scratching

  • Mix tracks seamlessly to sound like a pro

  • If you're new to the game or looking to step up your skills and graduate to club work, DJing For Dummies has you covered.

    Table of Contents

      1. Introduction
        1. About This Book
        2. Foolish Assumptions
        3. Icons Used in This Book
        4. Beyond this Book
        5. Where to Go from Here
      2. Part I: Getting Started with DJing
        1. Chapter 1: Catching DJ Fever
          1. Discovering DJing Foundations
            1. Equipping yourself
            2. Making friends with your wallet
            3. Knowing your music
            4. Researching and discovering
            5. Connecting your equipment
          2. DJing Takes Patience and Practice
          3. Working as a DJ
        2. Chapter 2: Starting Up with the Bare Bones
          1. Making a List, Checking It Twice
          2. Considering Input Devices
            1. Thinking about turntables
            2. Deciding on CD decks
            3. Musing on MP3s and PCs
          3. One Box to control it all
          4. Monitoring Your Music with Headphones
          5. Powering Things Up with Amplifiers
          6. Figuring Out the Furniture
            1. Considering ergonomics and stability
            2. Selecting store-bought stands
            3. Killing vibration with bricks and air
          7. Locating Your DJ Setup
        3. Chapter 3: Shopping for Equipment
          1. Taking Stock Before You Shop
            1. Trying before you buy
            2. Budgeting your money
            3. Crossing over with digital DJing
          2. Buying Brand New
            1. Cruising the high street
            2. Opting for online shopping
          3. Buying Second Hand
            1. Bidding on auction websites
            2. Scanning newspapers
            3. Dipping into second-hand and pawn shops
          4. Making Sure That Your Kit Works
            1. Checking cables
            2. Testing turntables
            3. Vetting CD decks
            4. Monitoring mixers
            5. Assessing headphones
            6. Sounding out amplifiers and speakers
        4. Chapter 4: Retro Chic or PC Geek? Buying Records, CDs and Digital Music Files
          1. Researching and Buying Your Tunes
            1. Buying digital music files
            2. Purchasing CDs and records
            3. Choosing what to buy
            4. News and reviews
            5. A tangled web
          2. Weighing up Classic and Current
          3. Protecting Your Records and CDs
            1. Storing records
            2. Cleaning CDs, records and needles
            3. Repairing vinyl
            4. Fixing warped records and CDs
            5. Repairing scratched/cracked CDs
            6. Backing up digital libraries
      3. Part II: Stocking Up Your DJ Toolbox
        1. Chapter 5: The Tech Revolution: Format Choices
          1. The Contestants
          2. Finding Your Music
            1. Circling around turntables
            2. Polishing up on CD options
            3. Digital – all music, all night
          3. Choosing Analogue or Digital Sound
          4. Mechanics: My Way Is Best!
            1. Vinyl is more aesthetically pleasing
            2. Turning the tables on controllers
            3. Turntables and records are heavy and cumbersome
            4. Turntables don’t have built-in effects
            5. You can’t see the music on CD
            6. Bars don’t have turntables any more
            7. Turntables are more expensive than CD decks
        2. Chapter 6: Getting Decked Out with Turntables
          1. Avoiding Cheap Turntables
            1. Motoring in the right direction
            2. Watching out for pitch control design
          2. Identifying Key Turntable Features
            1. Start/stop
            2. On/off
            3. Strobe light
            4. Platters
            5. 33/45/78 rpm
            6. Target light
            7. Pitch control
            8. Counterweight/height adjust
            9. Anti-skate
            10. Removable headshell/cartridge
            11. 45 rpm adaptor
          3. Customising Your Sound with Advanced Turntable Features
            1. Pitch range options
            2. Pitch bend and joystick control
            3. Tempo reset/quartz lock
            4. Master tempo/key lock
            5. Digital display of pitch
            6. Adjustable brake for start/stop
            7. Reverse play
            8. Different shaped tonearms
            9. Removable cabling
            10. Digital outputs
            11. Battle or club design
            12. MIDI controls
          4. Setting Up Turntables
            1. Platter
            2. Tonearm
            3. Peripherals
          5. Servicing Your Turntables
        3. Chapter 7: Perfecting Your Decks: Slipmats and Needles
          1. Sliding with Slipmats
            1. Choosing an appropriate slipmat
            2. Winning the friction war
          2. Getting Groovy with Needles and Cartridges
          3. Feeling the Force with Counterweight Settings
          4. Nurturing Your Needles
        4. Chapter 8: Spinning with CDs
          1. Getting to know the DJ CD Deck
            1. Laying out the design
            2. Navigating the CD
          2. Adjusting the Pitch
          3. Smoothing Out Vibrations
          4. Working with the Cue
            1. Locating the cue
            2. Storing the cue
            3. Checking the cue
            4. Starting the tune
          5. Taking Advantage of Special Features
            1. Digital music file playback
            2. Master tempo
            3. Hot cues
            4. Loop
            5. Sample banks
            6. Reverse play
            7. Beats-per-minute counters
            8. Digital DJ software control
          6. Having Fun Experimenting
        5. Chapter 9: Bits and PCs: Digital DJing
          1. Designing Your Digital DJ Setup
            1. Processing computer hardware
            2. Memory and processor considerations
            3. Stability
          2. Controlling the Digits
            1. Laptop/computer only
            2. Enhancing the basics by adding hardware
            3. DVS using records and CDs
            4. Connections and requirements
          3. Adding Hardware Controllers
            1. All-in-one hardware controllers
            2. Putting CD decks and mixers in control
            3. Your way is the best way . . . for you
          4. Picking Out the Software
            1. Software designed for DJs
          5. Controlling Decisions
            1. Livening up software choice
          6. Exploring Alternatives
            1. DJing with iPods, iPads and USB drives
            2. Mixing on the move
        6. Chapter 10: Stirring It Up with Mixers
          1. Getting Familiar with Mixer Controls
            1. Inputs
            2. Outputs
            3. Input VU monitoring
            4. Cross-faders
            5. Channel faders
            6. EQs and kills
            7. Gain controls
            8. Headphone monitoring
            9. Balance and pan controls
            10. Hamster switch
            11. Punch and transform controls
            12. Built-in effects
            13. Effects send and return
            14. Built-in samplers
            15. Built-in beat counters
            16. Beat light indicators
            17. MIDI and USB controls
          2. Choosing the Right Mixer
            1. The seamless mix DJ
            2. The scratch DJ
            3. The effects DJ
            4. The rock/party/wedding DJ
          3. Servicing Your Mixer
        7. Chapter 11: Ear-splitting Advice about Not Splitting Your Ears: Headphones
          1. Choosing a Good Set of Headphones
            1. Single-sided coiled cords
            2. Swivelling earpieces
            3. User-replaceable parts
            4. Cutting the cord
            5. Sticking it to your ears
          2. Remembering that the Volume Doesn’t Have to Go Up to 11
          3. Using Earplugs
        8. Chapter 12: Letting Your Neighbours Know That You’re a DJ: Amplifiers
          1. Choosing Suitable Amplification
            1. Settling on your home stereo
            2. Purchasing powered speakers
            3. Opting for separates
            4. Allowing a power margin for error
          2. Working with Monitors
            1. Working with the speed of sound
            2. Positioning your monitor
          3. Noise Pollution: Keeping an Ear on Volume Levels
            1. Protecting your ears
            2. Neighbourhood watch
            3. Realising that you only need one speaker
        9. Chapter 13: Plugging In, Turning On: Setup and Connections
          1. Getting Familiar with Connectors
            1. RCA/phono connections
            2. XLRs
            3. Quarter-inch jack
          2. Plugging Into the Mixer
            1. Connecting turntables to a mixer
            2. Connecting CD decks to a mixer
            3. Connecting iPods and personal MP3 players to a mixer
            4. Choosing your mixer inputs
            5. Plugging in your headphones
            6. Connecting effects units to a mixer
            7. Connecting mixer outputs
            8. Connecting a mixer to your home hi-fi
            9. Connecting a mixer to powered speakers
            10. Connecting a mixer to your PC/Mac
          3. Troubleshooting Setup and Connections
            1. Everything’s connected and switched on, a record (or CD) is playing, but I can’t hear anything from the speakers
            2. I can hear the music from the amp now, but I can’t hear anything through the headphones
            3. One of the turntables is distorting and the high frequencies sound fuzzy
            4. Why do my needles keep jumping when cueing?
            5. I hear a really strange humming noise coming from my turntables
            6. Why is everything distorting badly when I play a CD?
            7. Why is everything really quiet when using my turntables, even when everything is turned up to maximum?
            8. Everything sounds nice through the mixer but distorts through the amp
            9. Music is playing through the mixer, but I can’t get any music into the PC
            10. I’m able to record what’s going in, but nothing is coming back out of the PC
            11. Why doesn’t my recording device seem to record anything when connected directly to the mixer?
      4. Part III: The Mix
        1. Chapter 14: Grasping the Basics of Mixing
          1. Knowing What Beatmatching’s All About
          2. Discovering How to Beatmatch
            1. Choosing skills over thrills
            2. Setting up your equipment
            3. Locating the first bass beat
            4. Starting your tunes in time
            5. Adjusting for errors
            6. Knowing which record to adjust
          3. Using the Pitch Control
            1. Understanding bpm
            2. Calculating bpm
            3. Matching the pitch setting
            4. All hands (back) on decks
            5. Playing too slowly or too fast
            6. Taking your eyes off the pitch control
          4. Introducing Your Headphones
            1. Switching over to headphone control
            2. Cueing in your headphones
            3. Centring your head with a stereo image
            4. Practising with your headphones
            5. Using new tunes
          5. Quick Beatmatching
        2. Chapter 15: Picking Up on the Beat: Song Structure
          1. Why DJs Need Structure
            1. Multiplying beats, bars and phrases
            2. The sheep can dance
            3. Counting on where you are
            4. Hearing the cymbal as a symbol
            5. Everything changes
            6. Actively listening to your tunes
          2. Studying Song Structure
            1. Repeating the formula
            2. Accepting that every tune’s different
            3. Developing your basic instincts
          3. Listening to a Sample Structure
        3. Chapter 16: Mixing Like the Pros
          1. Perfecting Placement
            1. Intros over outros
            2. Melodic outro
            3. Melodic intro
          2. Mixing with Breakdowns
          3. Controlling the Sound of the Mix
            1. Sliding the cross-fader into play
            2. Unleashing channel faders
            3. Letting you in on a big, curvy secret
            4. Balancing it out with EQs
          4. Using Mixing Tricks and Gimmicks
            1. Spinbacks and dead stops
            2. Power off
            3. A cappella
            4. Cutting in
            5. Remixing with multiple decks
            6. Effecting the transition
          5. Mixing Different Styles of Music
            1. The wedding/party/rock/pop mix
            2. The R&B mix
            3. Drum and bass, and breakbeat
            4. Beatmatching tunes with vastly different tempos
        4. Chapter 17: Scratching Lyrical
          1. Setting Up Equipment the Right Way
            1. Weighing up needles
            2. Fixing the hole in the middle
            3. Wearing out your records
            4. Giving slipmats the slip
            5. Touching up mixers
            6. Making the mixer a hamster
          2. Preparing for the Big Push
            1. Marking samples
          3. Scratching on CD, MP3 and Computer
            1. Marking bits and bytes
          4. Mastering the Technique
            1. Getting hands-on with vinyl
            2. Changing sample sounds
          5. Starting from Scratch and Back Again
            1. Scratching without the cross-fader
            2. Introducing cross-fader fever
            3. Combining scratches
          6. Juggling the Beats
            1. Offsetting
            2. Practice, dedication and patience
      5. Part IV: Getting Noticed and Playing Live
        1. Chapter 18: Building a Foolproof Set
          1. Choosing Tunes to Mix Together
            1. Beatmatching – the next generation
            2. Mixing with care
            3. Changing gear
            4. Getting in tune with harmonic mixing
            5. Keying tunes
            6. Knowing how much to pitch
          2. Developing a Style
            1. Easing up on the energy
            2. Changing the key
            3. Increasing the tempo
            4. Avoiding stagnation
            5. Respecting the crowd
            6. Demonstrating your style
        2. Chapter 19: Creating a Great Demo
          1. Preparing to Record the Demo
            1. Programming your set
            2. Picking and arranging the tunes
            3. Bridging the gaps
            4. Practising your set
            5. Practice makes more than perfect
            6. Setting up to record
            7. Correcting recording levels
          2. Looking After Sound Processing
            1. Keeping an even volume
            2. Setting your EQs
            3. Testing, testing
            4. Adjusting the amplifier
          3. Performing the Demo
            1. Staying focused
            2. Becoming a perfectionist
            3. Listening with an open mind
          4. Making a Demo CD on Computer
            1. Editing your mix
            2. Burning a CD
            3. Creating a track-split CD
          5. Sending Off the Mix
        3. Chapter 20: Getting Busy With It: Working as a DJ
          1. Marketing Yourself
            1. Flooding the world with your demo
            2. Playing for free
            3. Internet broadcasting
          2. Joining an Agency
            1. Researching an agency
            2. Meeting the criteria to join
            3. Keeping agencies in your musical loop
            4. Cutting your losses
          3. Networking Your Way to Success
            1. Selling yourself
            2. Making friends
            3. Going undercover
          4. Marketing Yourself on the Internet
        4. Chapter 21: Facing the Music: Playing Live
          1. Investigating the Venue
            1. Scoping out a club
            2. Gearing up to party
          2. Preparing to Perform
            1. Selecting the set
            2. Organising your box
          3. Knowing What to Expect at the Club
            1. Dealing with nerves
            2. Getting used to your tools
            3. Working in a loud environment
          4. Playing Your Music
            1. Reading a crowd
            2. Handling requests
            3. Taking over from someone else
            4. Finishing the night
      6. Part V: The Part of Tens
        1. Chapter 22: Ten Resources for Expanding Your Skills and Fan Base
          1. Staying Current with Media
            1. Music
            2. The scene
            3. Your skills
          2. Visiting DJ Advice Websites
          3. Getting Answers through DJ Forums
          4. Reading Other Books
          5. Getting Hands-on Advice
          6. Uploading Podcasts or Hosted Mixes
          7. Listening to Other People’s Mixes
          8. Participating in Competitions
          9. Hosting Your Own Night
          10. Immerse Yourself in What You Love
        2. Chapter 23: Ten Answers to DJ Questions You’re Too Afraid to Ask
          1. Do I Need to Talk?
          2. What Should I Wear?
          3. How Do I Go to the Toilet?
          4. Can I Invite My Friends into the DJ Booth?
          5. How Do I Remove the Beat or Vocals?
          6. How Do I Choose My DJ Name?
          7. Do I Get Free Drinks? (And How Do I Get Drinks from the Bar?)
          8. Who Does the Lighting for the Night?
          9. Should I Reset the Pitch to Zero After Beatmatching?
          10. What Do I Do if the Record or CD Skips or the Software Crashes?
        3. Chapter 24: Ten Great Influences on Me
          1. Renaissance: Disc 1
          2. Tonsillitis
          3. La Luna: ‘To the Beat of the Drum’
          4. Ibiza 1996, Radio 1 Weekend
          5. The Tunnel Club, Glasgow
          6. Jamiroquai: ‘Space Cowboy’
          7. Digital DJing
          8. Alice DeeJay: ‘Better Off Alone’
          9. Delerium: ‘Silence’
          10. Sasha and Digweed, Miami 2002
        4. Chapter 25: Ten DJing Mistakes to Avoid
          1. Forgetting Slipmats/Headphones/Laptop
          2. Taking the Needle off the Wrong Record
          3. Banishing Mixer Setting Problems
          4. Getting Drunk while Playing
          5. Surfing while Mixing
          6. Leaning Over the Decks
          7. Avoiding Wardrobe Malfunctions
          8. Spending Too Long Talking to Someone
          9. Leaving Your Last Tune Behind
          10. Getting Paid Before You Leave
        5. Chapter 26: Ten Items to Take with You When DJing
          1. All the Right Records or Bits
          2. Making It Personal with Headphones and Slipmats
          3. You’re a Star! Taking a Digital Recorder/Blank CD
          4. Spreading the Music with Demos
          5. Always Being Prepared: Pen and Paper
          6. Packing Your Tools and Saving the Day
          7. Keeping Fuelled with Food and Drink
          8. Keeping Moving with Car Keys
          9. Have Wallet, Will Travel
          10. Just Chilling: Chill Mix for the Ride Home
      7. About the Author
      8. Cheat Sheet
      9. More Dummies Products