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7 Bad DJ Mixing Mistakes to Avoid

DJing can be a tricky art form - and there are some techniques that clearly identify the beginners from the pros. To stand out from other DJs, you'll need to practice these methods!

If you want to impress (and keep) your audience, make sure you avoid as many common mistakes as possible. These can all be fixed with a bit of practice and training.

Study the following mistakes to keep your DJ career safe - then learn the relevant techniques and skills to prevent slipping up! All is explained below.

Check out these 23 Advanced DJ Mixing Techniques to Improve Your DJ Set too!

TL;DR - Bad DJ Mixing Mistakes#

  • These DJ mistakes should be avoided at all costs!

  • Beatmatching, harmonic mixing, and phrasing are key to sounding good.

  • Playing the wrong music is worse than bad technique.

  • Keep your crowd happy with DJ.Studio's powerful tools!

7 DJ Mixing Mistakes To Avoid#

These are the most common DJ mistakes. Learning these, and how to combat them, will ensure that your DJ sets sound professional and skilled.

DJ software like DJ.Studio can help you to overcome some of these mistakes, and take you from a bedroom to a club DJ.

Check out our Definitive DJ Dictionary if you don't understand any of the DJ terms I use!

1) Not Beat matching#

One of the worst and most noticeable mistakes made by amateur DJs is not properly beat matching their mixes. Beat matching is one of the key pillars of mixing, and isn't too hard to learn - although many new DJs overlook it.

If you play two tracks together without beat matching them, there will be an awkward and clunky rhythmic clash - where beats play at different times. This ruins the groove and makes it impossible to dance too. 

Beatmatching is the process of matching the tempos of two tracks together when mixing them and making sure the beats are aligned correctly and playing in time. This is achieved by changing the tempo of tracks using the pitch slider and starting them in time using the cue feature. Some software features a sync button which makes the process super easy.

DJ.Studio makes it super easy to beat match any song, and you don't even need to put much effort in as it's mostly done automatically.

2) Not Harmonic Mixing#

Harmonic mixing is a more advanced DJ technique that is often neglected - even by many professional DJs. Although this can make a large improvement to your mixing, if ignored, it makes some awkward and uncomfortable mixes.

If you don't mix harmonically, there is a risk that you will play harmonically incompatible tracks, which will make them sound out of tune. This makes chords, vocals, melodies, and all other harmonic content sound dissonant and unpleasant.

The harmonic mixing technique revolves around the concept of musical keys - make sure that each track you mix is harmonically compatible with the next, by using a closely related key.

Harmonic mixing can be pretty hard to get your head around if you don't know much about music theory, although our guides will help you understand it.

At the same time, if you take harmonic mixing into account, it creates much more seamless and slick-sounding mixes. You can even use it to your advantage to take control of the energy of your set by using the energy mixing table.

DJ.Studio makes harmonic mixing super easy and does all the calculations for you to make harmonic blends without any effort. it shows you the key of all your tracks and lets you know how well they match to others, It can also suggest and automatically arrange your tracks in a harmonically matched order.

3) Bad Track Selection#

One of the other most important elements of DJing is track selection. Even if you have the best technical skills, you can still ruin a mix by picking songs that don't go well together.

Track selection is just a matter of practice, experience, and discovery. You should think about carefully curating your mixes, rather than just picking random tunes.

Bad track selection gives the impression that you haven't thought about your mix, or the groove, and will ruin the immersion and flow of your audience. It also shows that you haven't developed your own sound as a DJ.

By building a large library and understanding of music, you will be able to pick the right tracks. A great way to practice this is by using YouTube as your music library. This lets you experiment with any track, and find new music to include in your mixes. DJ.Studio lets you DJ with YouTube, so you can really practice with any songs you want!

4) Aggressive Speed Changing#

Another sign of an unskilled DJ is aggressive speed-changing. Whether you're speeding up or slowing down, you should try to avoid making excessive changes, as this can ruin the groove. If you want to play two tracks with a large BPM difference, you should consider using a third tune to bridge the gap.

That said, you can pull off some pretty good large-speed distance mixes using these Tempo Change Transitions. It just takes a bit of practice.

5) Bad Transition Techniques#

Transitions are a core part of exciting mixing, and pulling them off in a slick and engaging manner is key to making a fun DJ set.

Alternatively, you might make clunky and bad transitions, which can kill the mood and tell everyone you are an inexperienced DJ.

Like most things, mastering transitions is just a matter of practice, experience, and knowing your music. DJ.Studio makes the transition creation process a lot easier and helps to give you a new perspective on how they work. You can experiment with moving from one track to the next in a wide range of ways!

Check out our full guide on Exciting Transition Techniques! And make sure you know all about DJ Mixing Effects to add a bit of extra spice.

6) Redlining/Distortion#

One of the most obvious signs of an inexperienced (or just rude) DJ is redlining - avoiding this is a golden rule. This is the term used to describe the distortion created when the volume output is set too high, and the signal is damaged.

Redlining is easy to avoid - if you pay attention to your volume meters and listen out for distortion. All you need to do is turn the volume down.

However, you want to do this in a way that won't reduce the energy on the dance floor, which takes some practice.

7) Not Phrasing - Clashes#

Phrasing is another cool DJ technique that sets professionals apart from beginners. In this technique, you take into account the phrasing and arrangements of tracks and use this to your advantage.

Check out our full guide on Phrase Mixing to see what I'm talking about! It's a lengthy topic.

Summary#

If you avoid these mistakes, you're well on your way to becoming a good DJ. Just be patient, as a lot of these techniques can take a while to master, although now you are aware of them your journey has begun!

DJ.Studio is designed to help new DJs easily overcome these mistakes - even if they have no experience.

While it's great for beginners, it also has a deep level of customization, accuracy, and features - making also ideal for professional DJs at the top of their game.

Try it yourself with the free 14-day DJ.Studio Trial!

Make sure you look through our DJ Mixing Different Genres - The Ultimate Skill Guide for more mixing tips for a range of popular genres.

Noah Feasey-Kemp
DJ/Producer
I started DJing when I was 15. Started a record label, residency by a club in Bristol. I’ve played at all the biggest clubs in Bristol (and the small ones) and have entertained thousands of dancers! I love writing about music, DJing, and technology. I've been blogging for DJ.Studio since the start of the project, and am always happy to answer questions and help fellow DJs out!

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