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Thread: Idiot's guide to (manual) beatmatching on CDJs

  1. #1

    Idiot's guide to (manual) beatmatching on CDJs

    i wrote this up for a friend a while ago, i thought i'd post it here, some people might find it useful. it's a step by step guide on how to beatmatch and make a transition with cdjs. it's not meant to be complete, i wrote it up within a few minutes only to give a quick step by step guide.

    assuming there's a track playing in the left cdj already...

    1. put in new track in right cdj.

    2. switch cue on mixer to right cdj only.

    3. find cue point on right cdj... use the seek buttons to locate the first beat, then try to hit play/pause as much on the beat as possible.
    then use the jog to locate the first beat precisely. in the frame searching mode, you should be just before the actual beat, so you just don't hear it.
    then hit cue.
    3b optional. hit cue repeatedly to figure out if the cue point is good, the beat should sound exactly when you hit it. if its not good, press the seek buttons to get back into cue locating mode and set a new cue point.
    4. start playing the track and seek somewhere into the middle of the track, where a lot of stuff is happening... watch the VU meter on the mixer and listen. switch the cue on the mixer back and forth between right cdj and left cdj to figure out if the right track is louder or less loud than the left one. adjust gain on right channel till it matches.

    5. hit cue to return to cue point. enable cue on both channels on the mixer.

    6. listen to the currently playing track and wait for a beat. hit play on the right cdj exactly on the beat. the actual beatmatching starts here, the following steps will have to happen fast.

    7. as you won't be able to hit the play button really 100% exactly on the beat, you will have to use the jog wheel to bring the beats in sync. use the jog on the right cdj to align the beats up. try to listen to the beats and watch what youre doing with the jog. if youre turning the jog in one direction and the beats are going more off, turn it the other way. also watch if youre actually going OVER the point where the beats are aligned.

    8. once you brought the beats (roughly) in sync, stop turning the jog wheel. you will hear that the beats will go off if you dont turn the jog, figure out which way to have to turn the jog to keep the beats in sync. if you have to keep it turning right, pitch up the track a bit, otherwise pitch it down. continue doing this for as long as you can.

    9. hit cue again to return to cue point. start over at #6.
    repeat this until the bpm are matched and you dont have to turn the jog to keep them aligned, i.e. they wont go off any more.

    10. listen to the playing track and wait for a point where you can kick off the new track.

    11. hit play.
    this is all in headphones now, you still have cue enabled on both channels here, so you hear both tracks in the headphones.
    you can also work with mono split if you want to.

    12. turn the jog on right cdj to align the beats up again. if you did the beatmatching right, the beats wont go off now.

    13. a second before cranking up the right line fader and bringing the track in, take the headphones off and listen to the master in the speakers, OR turn the cue/master mix knob over to MASTER to listen to the master in the headphones.

    14. crank up the line fader of the right cdj. You’ll hear the track coming in in the master. optionally you can use the eq to take out parts or even all of it before bringing it in to make a nicer mix.

    15. work the eqs and the line fader to create a nice blend.

    16. eventually bring out the left track by taking the line fader down. ::

  2. #2
    AH.FM Addict Junior's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    14. crank up the line fader of the right cdj. You’ll hear the track coming in in the master. optionally you can use the eq to take out parts or even all of it before bringing it in to make a nicer mix.

    sweet sweet idea. thats what i always do with my mixer i have.

  3. #3
    AH.FM Addict CrazyPaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Great article, most of us do this without thinking but great to see it all written down.

    I always work the Low EQ, when bringing in a track, so not to create too much bass from both tracks. Its also quite possible to bring both tracks up full with incoming tracks Low EQ killed, and then punch it in at the right moment. I'm guessing we all do what works for us
    Trance can change our inner consciousness, awakening our deepest feelings.

  4. #4
    personally i take mids and bass out completely before bringing the track in, and then bring both in step by step. but as this is meant as a beginners guide, its easier not to meddle with the eqs too much ::

  5. #5
    AH Listener
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Thanks for the guide. I didn't see you mention the cross fader at all. You leave it in the middle the whole time and just use the line faders? I've practiced doing it both ways (with and without cross fading). Are there good reasons for leaving the cross fader in the middle or just personal preference?

  6. #6
    yes, the crossfader is way too imprecise for doing good sounding transitions, which is why you wont see any trance djs using it. on the better mixers you will have buttons/knobs to disable the crossfader, otherwise yes, i'd just leave it in the middle. ::

  7. #7
    addendum to step #11 in case it isn't clear (can't edit the post any more): try to hit play exactly on the beat again, as you did before when doing the beatmatching. ::

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