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To start with I would like to learn the basics of how to mix different tracks into a whole fluent set. Then I would like to learn how maybe "remix" the track a bit so that it fits after another track in a set? Basically want to start learning from scratch about "DJing" for fun (but not making the music - since that's out of my league).

Where should I start? What theory do I need to know and what software is out there to help me out? Is it better to pick up some mixing hardware on eBay (and if yes - what would be something that's relatively cheap and will serve a newbie?)

P.S: My target genre of music will be psytrance and trance if that makes a difference.

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Are you looking to get turntables to do this? Or all software? –  Magrangs Sep 24 '12 at 11:13
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p.s. Making music is not out of anyone's league, it's a matter of learning that's all :-) –  Magrangs Sep 24 '12 at 11:40
    
@Magrangs I tried playing around with Virtual DJ but it feels very unnatural using the mouse to rotate knobs and such. Re - music making - you are right - anything is possible, but there is too much theory to learn, which I can't invest the time in at this point :) –  Ivan Zlatev Sep 24 '12 at 13:26
    
True, there is a lot of learning involved but it can be very rewarding. I know how you feel about the lack of time though, doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day! –  Magrangs Sep 24 '12 at 13:30
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There are a few options open to you depending on what path you want to down (hardware/software).

If you are looking to really learn how to beat match then there are a couple of options.

1) Get yourself some second hand turntables (vinyl), a 2 channel mixer and some speakers. Gemini are a cheap, beginners brand that should do the trick (I started off on geminis) but they do however lack the build quality of the more expensive turntables

2) CD turntables (http://www.decks.co.uk/products/cdplayers)

3) MP3 turntables (such as traktor by native instruments http://www.native-instruments.com/#/en/products/dj/traktor/) (note: you will need a laptop/pc for this also as well as a midi controller)

I have a slightly biased opinion on this as I started off on vinyl but I do think you get the 'feel' the music more with vinyl (but this is just an opinion). More and more people are turning to 3rd option with products such as traktor (which does look amazing) but the software can help you 'auto beat match' tracks which takes away an element of the process. Some people argue that it allows you to concentrate more on the mixing and creating an atmosphere, some people argue it takes away an element of skill.

With the 3 options above, you would need to know the basics of beat matching and dance music composition. The latter is relatively easy as you only need to know a snippet (i.e. there are usually 4 beats to a bar and after 8 bars a new element comes in on the track). The first part takes time and patience. The idea is to layer up to tracks together, one will be played via the speakers and the other will be played via the headphones (usually). The idea is to listen to the two tracks, one ear listening to the track through the speakers, the other ear listens to the track through the headphones and then you have to determine which track is the slowest/fastest.

The reason I like vinyl in this respect is when is when you are cuing the track in the headphones you can 'feel' the start of the beat through your fingertips. So you cue the track and then layer it on top of the other, and if the track in the headphones is faster (to learn this just takes practice, you can't really teach it) you need to slow it down using the pitch sliders on the sides of the turntables and if it is faster you need to speed it up.

When both tracks are in sync (i.e. have the same tempo) you can then start to mix them together via the speakers using the mixer. I rewind the vinyl and count the bars and when the new element on the track in the speakers comes in I layer the track in the heaphones on top of that. This ensures that when something new comes in on one track, it comes in at the same time on the other. Slowly then bring the crossfader into the middle and then increase the volume of the other channel so both tracks can be heard through the speakers at the same time. It is your choice how creative you want to be in this stage. The goal is to fade out the other track and blend into the new track seamlessly.

This does take time and practice so be patient and just enjoy it and experiment with it.

Hope this helps.

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Thank you for your answer. I am mainly interested in MP3/digital mixing, because I don't want to invest in vynil or CDs. Having said that - do you have any recommendations on starter software + hardware kit for me? (maybe one of those traktor packages?) –  Ivan Zlatev Sep 24 '12 at 16:16
    
Well it depends how much you are able to spend. I would personally go for the Kontrol S4 (but that would be my personal choice). I haven't used too many mp3 mixing packages to be honest but if you feel the turning of control knobs etc via mouse a bit weird then I would probably purchase a MIDI controller. I guess most mixing packages should support MIDI. You can pick up something like this for quite cheap (which also comes with software): decks.co.uk/products/DJ_Controllers/numark/dj2go –  Magrangs Sep 24 '12 at 16:18
    
I am willing to go something like £200-£250 / $300-$400 for software + hardware. I will look at this DJ2 GO thing –  Ivan Zlatev Sep 24 '12 at 16:30
    
Cool, take a look at some of your options here (the numark one was one the cheapest). I'd tempted by the vestax one or any of the controllers around the 200 mark should be good enough: decks.co.uk/products/DJ_Controllers –  Magrangs Sep 25 '12 at 14:06
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