DJ transition techniques – 3 helpful tips

It may seem as if there is so much to learn when you first start out DJing but if you stay with it, you will be able to master the techniques in no time. As with anything, practice does make perfect, or pretty close to it. One of the biggest pieces of advice that is given to novice DJ’s when they first appear on the scene, is to relax and have fun. DJing is a job that will only get better with time and the more you relax and have fun, the more fun the crowd will have as well. Did you know that the crowd feeds off a DJ’s vibe? It is true. If you are uptight and stressed that you are going to make a mistake during the entire gig, your crowd will be able to sense it. Therefore, have fun and try some new things. Some may work and some may not and that is okay. What matters is how you handle the transitions with great finesse. Here are some great transition techniques and helpful tips to keep in mind for your next live performance.

Filter.

The most fundamental transition technique and effect is to use the filter. The filter has been around since the dawn of DJ mixers and offer great sound when transitioning between tracks. The easiest way to think of how a filter works is to imagine it cutting the bass or the treble of the song. The filter will work to dampen the sound of the music which will then give you room to transition another track into the mix smoothly. The best way to get the hang of using the filter to assist with transitioning in between songs is to practice and experiment with it. When researching DJ mixers, be sure to read customer reviews as they may note which brands work best in using the filter to transition. Some brands may offer great clarity and ease, while others may take greater zess on your part.

Delay.

This technique works best when you are going to fade out a song instead of transitioning to a new song overtop of the one you are currently playing. Because you will be adding two sounds together for a few seconds, this technique takes a bit more practice and finessing to get it right. Be sure that your songs stay within the time of the beat. A good tip is to delay the timing by ¼ bar. This will help to shorten the echo and allow for you to fade the track out. Another tip is to use the filter to help with the fade instead of the channel fader for an easier, less noticeable transition. Doing so will make the transition to a new track less abrupt.

Flanger.

Using the flanger is perhaps the most technical and can be a bit difficult to master but only because it can be used multiple times throughout your set. Some prefer to set the flanger at a certain point within a song, such as 16 bars. This means that if you have your flanger set at 16 bars, it will take 16 bars for the flanger to provide a point in the song in which you can remove it and transition to another track. Some experienced DJ’s prefer to use the delay in tandem with the flanger but this takes a great deal of practice and is not advised to try during your first live event, no matter how confident you are in your abilities.

Transitioning in between songs can take a bit of practice but is certainly not impossible to learn. Some of the other techniques to mastering a solid transition is to use the EQ’s to help you. If you do not mind abrupt changes in your set, you can use the EQ’s to change tracks quickly. The best way to make use of this technique is to mark your tracks so that you can time to switch perfectly. Be sure to keep an eye on the volume levels as it is important to keep the sound the same throughout the transition. Another helpful tip is to keep an eye on the EQ’s throughout the entire set. This will help you ensure that there are not abrasive sounds or sounds clashing in the background. Remember that practice makes perfect and it is okay to make a mistake. Be sure to fix the mistake as quickly as possible while remaining calm. If your set goes silent within the transition, get on the microphone and make a witty announcement to the crowd that keeps them engaged. They will likely cheer you on and once the track starts up again, will be more into the set than before the mistake. Have a great time and your crowd will as well!

Ben Ownes
Ben is our content manager and is perfect for his role due to his vast experience in testing, setting up and using DJ equipment. His love for DJing started at just 14 when he got his first amateur set up in his parent's basement. Since then Ben has perfected his craft which has allowed him to get regular spots in local nightclubs. When he isn't playing or mixing he is writing reviews and guides for our site.

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