How to Operate a DJ Mixer

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A DJ mixer is the most important piece of hardware that a DJ can have. A basic DJ mixer controls the volume and equalizer for a given track. Learning to use a DJ mixer properly is every bit as complex as learning how to play an instrument. It requires practice and timing to ensure that your DJ set will be flawless. Once you figure out how each knob and slider works, you can be mixing tracks in no time.

Things You'll Need

  • DJ mixer
  • Turntables
  • Headphones
  • Use the crossfader to fade between one track and another. The crossfader is typically located on the bottom-center of the DJ mixer. When it is all the way to the left, it is only playing the track that is on the left turntable. When it is all the way to the right, it is only playing the track that is on the right turntable. If the slider is in the middle, then it will play both tracks at the same time.

  • Use the equalizer to adjust which frequencies go through on its respective track. The equalizer on the DJ mixer consists of low, mid and high knobs. A DJ mixer usually contains two sets of EQ knobs, one for each respective track. To make a more balanced mix, you must adjust the EQ accordingly. For instance, many DJs will turn down the lows on one track while boosting the lows on another. This allows the track to be less bass heavy and will be more pleasing to the ear. Use your headphones to listen to what your mix will sound like before you play it for everyone else to hear.

  • Use the vertical volume faders to adjust the volume for a given track. If a track is too quiet, slide the volume fader up so it can be heard in your mix. You can also use the gain knobs to adjust volume if you want to keep both volume faders parallel.

  • Press the headphone monitoring selector button to preview the cued track through your headphones. The "Cue 1" button usually corresponds to the track on the left channel while the "Cue 2" button corresponds with the track on the right channel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always be sure to practice with your DJ mixer before playing for a live audience. Getting familiar with all the various knobs and sliders can take a while.

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References

  • Photo Credit mixer image by Secret Side from Fotolia.com
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