DJ.Studio is software to help you create DJ mixes in your studio in a fraction of the time it would normally cost you while using a DAW or live recording software.
This article explores some of the features of DJ.Studio and how you can use them to create a good EDM music mix.
Use the solo button to listen to a track by itself.
Cut and paste can create loops to make your own DJ remix.
Echo and reverb are useful tools to enhance your audio mixing.
Lock your transition after finishing to prevent any accidents later!
Learn the computer keyboard shortcuts to help your workflow.
The Solo Button#
The solo button (on the right hand side of the middle bar) allows you to listen carefully to one channel at a time instead of two songs. This makes it a lot easier to precisely add automation to the mix. For example if you want the track cut out at a very specific moment or want to cut the bass on exactly the 16th beat of a phrase.
You can use keyboard shortcut (S) to solo the track while you mix music. Press it once and you will only hear track 1, press S again to only listen to track 2 and hitting it a 3rd time will let you hear both tracks together. You can read more on keyboard shortcuts later in this article.
On a regular DJ mixer there are also the same solo modes where you would listen to only 1 track through the headphones as you either found the right cue point (where you want the music to start playing) or beat matched the track. You can use the solo function in a similar way on DJ.Studio if you want to find the first beat of a phrase or bar, sometimes the waveform can be confusing and its important to check the track using the solo function.
Cut and Paste#
The cut and paste function on DJ.Studio is a really powerful tool that can let you rearrange your own music to your needs.
In its most basic form you can loop sections of music tracks like you could on a CDJ/controller.
Using it to its maximum potential you can effectively edit audio tracks in seconds. For instance you could move the breakdown earlier in the song, remove a chorus or double the size of the intro. When you mix music, this is known as arranging the song, you can basically make your own DJ remix.
Loops are both really handy and very often misused in DJing. They can get you out of a tight pinch but also let the music fall into a state of nothing really happening and the audience getting bored, so be careful when exploring the feature, less is often more on this occasion!
Effectively it's just putting a section of the song on repeat. Telling the software to play the same part again. You should usually try to keep this in line with the length of the bars or the phase of the audio track i.e. keep it 4/8/16/32 beats long. Looping can add creativity into your mix, especially after you get the hang of it. Think looping vocals, percussion sections over the top of a new beats from the other audio track.
Looping is often used to extend the beginning or end of track to allow for easier transitions.
For example if the track only has a 4 beat into before the music starts you can loop the 4 beats and set the crossfader to work over 32 beats resulting in a smooth increase in volume. On a traditional CDJ/controller you would release the loop at this point but as we have already chosen how many times we wished to loop the audio track in DJ.Studio we don't have to worry about that.
This is a mix of two Amelie Lens audio files just to keep it simple. There is a 4 beat loop at the end of the track which contains the vocal snippet 'follow me', so I looped that numerous times while the intro to in silence comes in. So by prolonging the outro of channel 2 you can make a really long transition.
- Select the transition tab in the left bottom corner of the Studio tab.
- In het Effect in and out list, you see the Loop effect.
- You can set the length of the loop at 1,2,4,8 or 16 beats
- grab the blue handle in the transition itself to set the starting point.
Alternatively, why not keep it playing alongside track 2 for a couple of minutes to add depth to the mix? A bar of interesting percussion over the second song you are playing can make a really interesting mix. Same with a vocal snippet, you can even bring it in and out using the volume controls. Keep it going until you need to bring in another track on the deck it's playing on.
Tip 1: Loops sound best when you can't tell the DJ has initialised it. If you chop a vocal half way through the bar it may sound really obvious and that doesn't translate very well to a good listening experience. I advice you to try to match the length of the vocal: if it's a 16 beat vocal, loop it at 16 beat length. Loops sound best when if feels like a natural part of the song.
Looping won't effect the original audio file, it will just change the version inside DJ.Studio. So don't worry: You aren't editing the original copy of your own music.
Tip 2: You can also add loops in the middle of a track, to give the song a twist of your own!
How to cut and paste#
Select a part of the track which you want to cut our or reuse by following the next steps:
- press the Shift - key
- Click the mouse at the start of the track you want the select. You need to click in the wave form of the specific track
- drag and hold the mouse to the end part of you want to select
- release the Shift-key
Your screen will now look like this:
When you are working on a track just select the amount beats you would like to loop, usually try to keep it within the structure of the bar and hit the copy button. To make the loop press the paste button.
You can also use the keyboard shortcuts control + X for cut, control + C for copy and control + V for paste. (Command instead of control on mac).
Conversely to looping as mentioned earlier you can completely chop parts of a song out or rearrange a track to suit your needs. DJ.Studio will have you covered and make sure the audience won't notice it.
If you want to give a track a more stripped back dubby vibe you can take any large buildups out of it or if there's too much time between the 'exciting' bits of a track you can take some of the longer beat driven parts out.
If you are making a mix aimed at a more peak time audience, they would expect a higher incidence of 'hands in the air' moments. In this case you can either mix the two tracks together with way shorter intros or with DJ.Studio you could just chop the intro off altogether. Fade over 32 beats and straight into the next breakdown.
Echo and Reverb#
Echo (echo) and reverb are two sides of the same coin and are advanced mixing techniques which you should definitely use in your DJ mixes. Both are a repetition of sound but the end result is very different.
The easiest way to think about echo is if you clapped your hands at a single wall, like a canyon, you would hear the distinct clapping sound a few moments later. The sound mainly unaffected and still recognisable.
If you clapped your hands in a church you would hear the sound reflected but in a much shorted time period and as it has reflected off different surfaces at different times they would all reach you at a different time. The reverb effect is used to emulate the sound playing in a large space.
In DJ effects terms echo is the repetition of a sound over a few seconds while reverb is the sound repeating 1000s of times. In DJ.Studio we can use both these effects to improve the transition between the two tracks and make the perfect mix.
No advanced ai technology on show in this video but check out original disco don Greg Wilson making the first ever DJ television appearance, pay attention to how he makes the echo effect, thankfully much easier with DJ.Studio!
How to use Echo and Reverb#
I find the best way to use echo/reverb is just before switching the bass in on the second song. the echo will chop up the beat or the reverb will make it almost fizz.
The most easy way to create this is to use the Effect out setting and choose Reverb or Echo.
How to manually create a great Reverb transition
The transition is set to crossfade, channel 1 is set to reverb and a bass swap just after. The yellow line is the bass swap and as you can see on channel 2 the bass is off till just following the reverb. DJ.Studio will automatically add a high pass filter and then cut the volume of the channel the effect is on. This creates almost a mini break in the mix so when the bass from channel 2 comes in it has more emphasis and more perceived weight without having to play with the EQ. Think of this as a 1 shot effect just before the end of the transition.
While audio mixing, another way to use the effect is a little more advanced but with more room for creativity.
How to manually create a great Echo transition
In this transition I ran the echo on channel 1, alongside channel 2 (no bass, yet) for 16 beats before the bass swapped in on the Marcel Dettman track.
You'll notice at the top I have turned the volume control onto manual, once you have switched it onto manual you will have to set the volume automation yourself but you can run the effect in parallel with the other track without the volume dropping immediately.
It can look quite complicated before you get the hang of it so lets take a closer look whats happening!
Channel 1 - After the 4 beat break in the middle, the echo effect is applied (first vertical line), this adds a high pass filter so you just get the echoed high end percussion and no bass. The echo lasts for 16 beats until the track volume is cut out at the second vertical line.
Channel 2 - Meanwhile on channel 2 the volume increases for 16 beats before finally the bass comes in as channel 1 is cut out.
The end result is channel 2 slowly building into the mix before dropping the bass. This adds both excitement and anticipation to the transition.
There are so many different ways to use the effects it would be impossible to mention them all but these 2 suggestions can give you a great place to start.
One amazing feature of DJ.Studio is that once you've finished perfecting one transition you can lock it and move onto the next one.
Once you've locked the two tracks in place you can move the other unlocked tracks around in the mix without fear of ruining that transition. I'd really advise to lock each transition after you finish it!
Once you lock the transition it will turn green and controls to the effects will be blocked out.
Learning the keyboard shortcuts is essential to improving your workflow on DJ.Studio. Although the advanced ai technology is incredibly powerful you might still need to make some manual adjustments to your taste.
The first section is related to playing the song back, the most basic control is space to play. Either click where you want to begin or use shift + space to play from the cursor location. Esc will track your screen over the 'playhead' aka the point on the track the music is currently playing from.
Either arrow key will take you 4 beats either way (in a standard 4/4 dance track) and command arrow will take you through phrases. And the great thing is: DJ.Studio will always make sure that even if you skip through the music, it always sounds great!
Phrase - (from mixedinkey.com) - A phrase is a segment of electronic music, whether a melody or a rhythm, that has a complete musical sense of its own. Put more simply, it has a natural sense of structural completeness –a beginning, a middle and an end. For example, you might hear a synth melody that repeats multiple times. Each repetition is probably a phrase; it usually consists of 32 or 64 beats (8 or 16 bars), but it can be shorter. It’s like a sentence, where each beat is like a word.
Solo track is already explained earlier in the article, but it's a very useful shortcut as you will use it a lot.
Relates to editing the timeline but the first few mainly involve the cut and paste function discussed at the beginning of the article. Cut, copy, paste, undo and redo mirror the ever classic shortcuts of years gone by and I'd image in you are familiar with them.
Clear automation will remove any automation from filters or EQing e.t.c in the selected area
Clear track is very useful if you've been copying and pasting a lot and want to start again.
Zoom wise, you can scroll in and out or use the up down arrow keys. Also 1-5 will take you to different levels of zoom with 1 being a few songs and 5 being each beat should you need to manually change the beat grid.
Tab lets you quickly switch between library and studio.
The DJ.Studio team is constantly adding new features, so keep an eye out on our blog and postings on Youtube and Twitter to stay up to date.
We are currently working on an enhanced beat matching algorithm and an exciting integration with a large music company to make DJ mixing with DJ.Studio even easier.
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