When you mix and transition from one track to another, you want it to sound as smooth and natural as possible, without the use of the equalizer (EQ). This can be tricky as certain frequencies will not blend well.
A standard DJ mixer or software interface will feature a 3-band equalizer (EQ). Some other mixers will only offer a 2 band EQ, while some more feature packed mixers will offer a four-band EQ.
Manufacturers put volume unit (VU) meters on mixers to serve as an output level guide; the VU meters are the lights that you see jumping along to the beat of the music. They should always stay in the safe zone (usually green lights) and never hit the danger zone (red lights).
Many times, I’ve witnessed how DJs fail to realise that the VU meters on their mixers are there to serve the important purpose of sound clarity and equipment protection. If the signal jumps into the red zone and you see red lights on your mixer, you need to act fast by turning down the gain or you can adjust your EQ settings. Ignoring these warning signs could lead to distortion and there’s a possibility of further damage to your equipment.
While mixing, the EQ is used to control different frequencies to change the prevalence of a certain sound in a track. The high, low, and mid-range frequency controls on the DJ mixer are there to serve some important purposes during the mix. The ability to control the EQ during a mix to make tracks seamlessly fit together is another thing often ignored by many DJ’s. But with a little knowledge and lots of practice it could transform your sets.
For example, you could be mixing a track with a very punchy kick drum and lots of bass, into a track with a mellow kick drum and smooth bass-line. Without adjusting the EQ settings to totally remove or reduce the lows/bass of the track, you will likely fail to get a smooth mix.
DJ EQ mixing is all about how it sounds at the point of mixing. You will get a cleaner and better blend by swapping bass-lines carefully. Slowly increase the low range frequencies of the incoming song (track two) while slowly decreasing the lows of track one.
If you’re mixing tracks with lots of vocals like R&B or hip-hop you’ll find the use of the mid and high EQ very important. Never play two vocals at once as this will likely sound like a jumbled-up mess.
It is possible to do a full EQ mix (EQ flat at 0dB – 12 O’clock position) within certain genres using purely gains or volume faders. If you mix enough tracks you’ll eventually hear bass-lines colliding or cancelling each-other out as well as other sounds in the mid and high range colliding.
EQ serves two primary functions; to prevent distortion and maintain clarity in individual sounds. As a professional, don’t use it to drive the house speakers harder but instead use it to correct problems with your mix without sending out distorted signals.
My party pace pusher for this week is DJ Neptune FT. Joeboy & Mr Eazi – Nobody
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