What is the FAQ about?  

So, what is a DJ?  

Different Kinds of DJs  

Terminology  

I want to learn how to DJ, what should I do? 

CD or Vinyl? 

Equipment  
 - Mixers  
 - CD Players  

 CD Player Care  
 - Protecting your CDs  

Turntables  
 - Record Cleaners  
 - Needle and Tonearm     Set-up  

Mixtape production  

Contracts 

Netiquette 

Steve Rothkin's DJ Info  

Hearing Damage & DJs 

Weddings  

Legal Junk/About Steve Shah

 
Before we can even get to the interesting stuff, we all have to be speaking the same language. Here are a few terms you should know to communicate with other DJs effectively... 

Pitch control - The ability of a device to change the tempo of a song. This is very important if you are beatmixing. 

Pitch lock - The ability of a device to change the tempo of a song, without changing the pitch. This lets you drastically speed up songs with vocals without a "chipmunk" effect. 

Pitch bend - The temporary changing of pitch to get beats in phase. Vinyl DJs typically use their fingers to speed up or slow down the record by pushing/pulling the record by the label. Some twist the spindle in the center to change the pitch momentarily. CD players offer this as buttons. Once the DJ stops bending the pitch, the decks will automatically snap back to the current pitch control settings. This is necessary since its possible for two songs to be playing at the exact same tempo yet have their beats out of phase. By bending the pitch momentarily, the beats come into phase and the DJ doesn't have to worry about readjusting the pitch control. 

Tempo - The speed of a song. Usually measured in Beats Per Minute (BPM). 

Mixers - The essence of a mixer is that it can combine two or more audio signals into one output signal. It should be noted though that most mixers can do much more than just combine signals. 

Turntables (alias: TT's) - The proper term for a "record player." Now -- if you ever hear anyone say the "rec.. player" term again, you must take the time to either severely hurt them or educate them. Whichever you deem appropriate. 

Beats Per Minute (BPM) - The number of beats during one minute of a song. An identifier of a song's tempo. 

Cueing - Using your headphones to find the spot you want to start the next song. 

Throwing - Giving a record a little push when it starts up so you don't have any lag time while it gets up to speed. CD players do this by featuring instant start. (normal CD players may take a few tenths of a second before a song starts) Throwing a record nulls the lag time while it accelerates from zero to 33ish RPM. It sounds silly at first but it is actually very critical for beatmixing. (see below) 

Cross fader (alias: x-fader, fader) - A slider control which moves from one input channel to another in a very smooth fashion. The volume on each channel is inversely proportional to each other, so if the x-fader is completely on the left side, you will only hear the input for that channel. Once you start moving it to the right, you will gradually hear the right channel becoming louder. When the x-fader is in the middle, each channel will be of equal volume. As the x-fader continues to the right, the right channel will approach full volume, and the left channel will diminish. 

Beatmixing (alias: beat matching, beat synching, hot mixing, mixing) The art of bringing the beats of two different songs into phase with one another and fading across. For example, if the song the crowd is hearing is 130 BPM, and the next song you want to play is 132 -- you slow the second song down to 130 bpm using pitch control, and cue it up to the beat. When you are ready to bring the second song into play, throw the record so the beats stay aligned and listen to it on your headphones. MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN SYNC!!! 

Once you are sure things are in order, use your cross fader to let the new song blend into the old one, and eventually go completely across so only the new song is playing. This will give the illusion that the song never ended. Once you get the hang of getting beats into sync, you will quickly find many more interesting ways to fade in and out of songs. 

Decks - A very generalized description of gear used by a DJ to play music. Most often referred to turntables and CD players. 

Vinyl (alias: records, wax, 12" (reference to LP), 7" (reference to single)) - If you aren't clear on what a record is, then this probably isn't the sort of thing you should be doing...

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