How to DJ: Digital

DJ Jerk rockin' the club

In this video, you can see DJ Jerk of Gainesville, Fl, showing us how to do a basic mix on a digital turntable system.

In the beginning he explains to us the equipment he's using. His software is Tractor Scratch Pro, which is visible on the computer screen. Note the two open song files on either side. Those two songs are visual representations of what can be manipulated by hand on the corresponding record-shaped turntables on his hardware. The hardware is a digital turntable/mixer, more specifally a Vestax VCI-100 midi-controller.

Once he gets started, by hitting the play button on the mixer, which in turn acts as if he hit play on the Tractor interface, he shows us how his effects work. Right now only one song is playing, and only one song is able to be heard. Notice the crossfade along the bottom of the mixer. When it's in the middle, both songs can be heard, if playing. When on the far right, only the right can be heard, and the same for the left. When more to the right, but not totally to the end of the slide, the volume is lower for track B, but higher for track A. (Both tracks can be heard at all times through the DJs headphones. Someone has to know what's going on!)

The four knobs alligned vertically effect the highs, mids, and lows of the track. Notice both turntables have their own set of control knobs. It's the manipulations of these basic effects that allow for seamless song transition. For instance: one may turn the bass off of song A down, while playing only the bass from song B, beginning the transition. Eventually one will turn down the mids of song A, replacing with the mids of song B. Or, you may choose to mix in both mid sections, and then drop song A altogether at a low point in the song. But we'll continue...

DJ Jerk then shows us how the mixer turntable, though strictly digital, acts just like an analog vynil, with the capability to manipulate sound and scratch.

Finally, he shows us a little bit of the effects he can use. Here we focus on the four buttons along the top-left side. Some effects chop up the sound, some add filters. With plug-ins in the software, there are various effects that one can use to manipulate while mixing. It's the mastering of these effects which seperate wanna-be djs from the masters of the craft. But for everyone, it takes a lot of practice.