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  1. #471
    Council TeaLeaf's Avatar
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    I'll disagree slightly with Smilo's definition, although mainly to say there is no exact definition. Anyway, for Oldie the 'live' bit yes the Tinlicker set was live. Clearly there are samples and they play loops and tracks, but it is mixed live. Most DJs in sets like this do a lot and the whole 'what does a DJ do' is worth more explanation as very little is pre-recorded, perhaps with the exception of some radio sets.

    Old School
    DJing used to be pick music to suit the mood or event/venue and play it. How you put the tracks back to back varied depending on where you were and what kit you had.
    Back then pretty much all you had were two decks that you could start and stop (but not particularly fast to start), volume controls and a cross fader. The belt driven decks did not really allow you to start the record in a fraction of a second, so you ended up manually bringing the record up to speed and letting go at precisely the right time to allow the track to start when you wanted.
    Many DJs used to treat their 'set' like a mini radio show and talk across the links from record to record (thus not having to have any mixing skills). Most radio DJs still do this today.
    Really advanced stuff was when Citronics brought out things like the punch transformer button that allowed you to instantaneously play another track instead of the first for the duration you held the button down. Typically you would be playing track A, then for 8 beats 'punch' insert the bass beat for two bars into track A, then cutover entirely to track B.
    Direct drive turntables (the legendary Technics SL1200/1210s) moved the capabilities forward a lot as it allowed much more accurate starting of records and more importantly the accurate control of speed so that you could start adjusting and matching timings of tracks to align.
    With speed control came more beat matching (where the beat of the incoming track is matched to the beat of the outgoing track during the crossover), but you still had to pick the records and play them in the right order - and you had no way to deal with clashes of musical key.
    Analogue tech stopped much more than this happening. My early DJ days were spent making sure I could start a track on time, at the right speed and then using the volume controls/crossfaders to blend the tracks as best I could.

    Modern DJs & the Digital World
    Now that most music is digital the control you have over it has increased exponentially so almost all DJ 'sets' have significant elements of 'live'.
    There are relatively few 'fully live' DJs, but people like Deadmau5 will do sets which have significant live elements played over underlying tracks. Most DJs like this make heavy use of something like Ableton Live to control the various sounds and you'll see many controller trigger pads and effects panels to allow them to loop, add instruments/samples to develop, change and enhance the live sound. The degree to which each does this varies from almost none to lots. DYOR.

    Most modern DJs as we think of them do their live work in a limited but still very comprehensive way.
    Firstly there is a massive amount of work that goes into preparing the set beforehand.
    - finding the tracks (the sheer volume of music available today is staggering and makes the job much harder today than it was 35-40 years ago imo)
    - once you have the track you have to add the correct meta data for your DJ controller/mixer/software to read. Each track will have various tags added, like beat grids (guess what, many tracks change speed during the track), cues, loops, flips, tags, acapellas, breaks, let alone a DJ's personal tagging for the style or type of music, or a set type.
    - you'll also be setting the speed (beats per minute - linked to the beat grids mentioned), and importantly the key of the track. Certain keys mix well together, others don't. Do a google search for the camelot wheel and you'll see which keys work with each other - the general rule is you can stick to the same number on the wheel, or the same letter. So a track in C Major will mix well from a harmonic stand point with a track in A Minor, G Major or F Major. If you try mixing in a track with any other key then the sounds will clash like buggery if played at the same time.
    - once you have all your tracks set up in your software (Rekordbox/Serato/Traktor etc) then you have to pre-select a group of tracks for their set, typically about 100, and work out a preferred running order with perhaps some minor variations depending on crowd mood. This allows them to know the transitions from track to track, plan the mix and how they will achieve it, and then deliver a good quality 'live' experience at the event. They can do this because if you go to see e.g. Yotto, you know the type of music he will play and therefore he can pre-select a set to suit the crowd that he knows will be there for that event. There are a few notable exceptions to this rule, like the ever youthful Carl Cox (who started DJing when I was DJing and still is), who still makes up almost all of his sets on the fly and travels with a huge library of tracks - when you see him you *never* know what you're going to get in terms of the decade it is from or the genre.

    So, you've made it to the event or watch the youtube and all we see is some knobs being twiddled. What's going on? Most DJs you see at events/clubs will be using Pioneer mixers, and the below pictured Pioneer DJM 2000 Nexus is a classic example of a 4-channel DJ mixer:
    djm-2000nexus-main.jpg
    On the mixer you can see 4 vertically arranged and numbered input channels. Each has several sections, but the important bits that are 'twiddled' during a set are mainly the 4 numbered input channels (with EQ bypass and filters) and the effects.
    Most of the twiddling is with bypass filters (the three rotary controls typically aligned vertically above the volume control for that channel). Commonly when you mix track A with track B you take out at least the bass from track B (if bass from both track A and track B run together then you get a horrible double heavy bass 'thwack' from the speakers and you run the risk of blowing a woofer). Depending on the track you might also take out some of the mid range or high range too. As you want to change tracks you reduce bass on track A, bring in bass from track B and eventually you end up fully into track B with no bass from track A. The constant twiddling you see is the progressive decrease of one track's e.g. bass, and the simultaneous progressive increase of the bass from another track. Now that's assuming you want to mix two tracks with two bass lines, but there are many other ways to mix a track, you could wait for a break in track A (hence the cue/break points set in your software), use a loop or effect to transition, use a sample to overlay from A to B, and many many more.

    Typically a club or event will use a mixer like the 2000 Nexus set up with 2-4 Pioneer CDJs attached - a 2000 Nexus plus 2 x Nexus CDJs is about £5,500. The bedroom DJ will tend to buy the 'controller' version (not the mixer and separate CDJs) so will end up with something that combines a bit of everything, something like this Pioneer DDJ-800, which is a much more affordable £800.
    ddj-800-main.jpg

    Also connected to the mixer/controller could be a number of other things to allow you more 'freedom' to create or adjust sound on the fly: samplers, trigger panels, sequencers, analogue effect panels, keyboards, MIDI instruments and perhaps all controlled by e.g. Ableton Live.

    As the music is digital you can also, to a limited extent, adjust the key of a track to match another. Care needs to be taken here as it can sound bleedin' awful when taken too far.

    But at the end of the day you still need to choose the tracks and execute the mixes. So that's a very brief(!) summary of what happens when the knobs get twiddled. You can see some free-range knob twiddling in the below.



    @Oldbloke - if you listen to the above Monique set you can see and hear the manual adjustments being made and the slight timing errors being adjusted on the CDJ jogwheels (every time she reaches out to slightly move the jogwheel she is either speeding up or slowing down the incoming track - which you will hear as the bass beats will not be perfectly aligned).

    And as an example of someone doing a lot of 'live', here's a very recent live stream by Deadmau5 from his home studio in Toronto, which includes bonus mieows from his cat which you'll see lying on the LHS of his desk).



    Edit: you know when you think "oh I'll just do a quick response to that" and then find yourself having written a frikkin essay? Yeah well, sorry. The ex-DJ in me got all excited again.
    TL.
    Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself. (Tom Wilson)
    Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. (Michael Jordan)

  2. #472
    Council TeaLeaf's Avatar
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    Albert, which DAW have you been using? I've spent time in Fruit Loops, a little in BitWig and Reaper. You can lose *weeks* in a DAW, the time literally flies by doesn't it!
    TL.
    Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself. (Tom Wilson)
    Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. (Michael Jordan)

  3. #473
    Community Admin OldBloke's Avatar
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    Thanks, TL. Most educational.

  4. #474
    Council TeaLeaf's Avatar
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    I don't like the style of music much, but it is a great video to see what you can do with a trigger pad and a bunch of samples.

    Very impressive finger work, said the actress to the bishop.....

    TL.
    Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself. (Tom Wilson)
    Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. (Michael Jordan)

  5. #475
    I watched that Miss Monique video and can confirm, knobs got twiddled.

  6. #476

    Today I'm listening to.....

    Quote Originally Posted by TeaLeaf View Post
    Albert, which DAW have you been using? I've spent time in Fruit Loops, a little in BitWig and Reaper. You can lose *weeks* in a DAW, the time literally flies by doesn't it!
    I’ve just been trialing Reaper. It’s very powerful but needs hours of exploration and patience. But for $60 it’s also very cost effective. I’ll probably buy it once the trial ends after 60 days. I have a few small things I still haven’t worked out how to do. Reaper has a very good forum.

    I still need a mixing desk and a few midi foot pedals. Quite enjoying the keyboard and I’m remembering a few things I learned as a kid.
    Cheers, Bert

  7. #477
    And if you like your Ibiza anthems served up by an Orchestra......


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