To beat mix or not, that is the question...

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Albatross

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Sep 7, 2016
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This is a sharply divided question among DJs. I mix at every event that I do. Not every single song - there are certain songs that it simply makes sense to let play out (Shout, for example).

But there is no question in my mind that you can create higher levels of energy on a dance floor through proper mixing. And lots of songs do not need to be heard all the way through to be effective.

DMX - Party Up is a great example. The only part of that song I want at a wedding is the intro horns and the first chorus. The first verse has a combination of offensive lyrics for a wedding crowd, and the effect of that song drops considerably. Being able to slam into it, and then dump back out quickly means I get the 30 seconds of content that is additive, and then move on to the next one.

Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance With Somebody is another one. The song is 5 minutes long... all people want to do is sing the chorus. 1 or 2 verses is plenty and then moving on to the next tune.

Party guests don't care about the mixing itself. But I think of it like the Redzone channel for football. Redzone cuts to all the exciting parts (scoring) in football games versus having to get through the boring parts and wait for it. Proper mixing means you're highlighting the best part of each song without having to wait through the boring stuff. When you present it to clients that way, they start to get why it's important.
 

Proformance

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Nov 6, 2006
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This is a sharply divided question among DJs.
No, it's only sharply divided among mobile DJs who can versus those who can't.

Beat mixing at the most fundamental level is just a common courtesy to dancers. If there is a dance floor, and dancers then the DJ is supposed to be beat mixing whenever and wherever the program material is suited for it. Even live bands today play continuous rhythms with sets built from a handful of songs. Djs have changed the way even live-music is presented.

At a wedding, I don't mix background music except near the end of dinner or at times when I want to subliminally inspire dancing ahead of opening the the floor. By that time my music has a sensual sound and rhythm to it even if it's not actual "dance" music.

If there's no dance floor, I don't worry about beat mixing. I play radio style - essentially to entertain and hold interest. If I make a mix it's something that is clever and audibly fun - maybe a medley, I don't expect people to jump up and dance because of it. It simply reminds people that this is not Spotify - there's a live person responsible for it.

If there's no one on the dance floor beat mixing might serve no purpose. If there is however, you should not break their rhythm before they do, or for at least a couple of songs if you want to go elsewhere musically and can't get there with a seamless mix.
 
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Ausumm

Gold Plated Productions
Oct 21, 2008
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I do weddings and parties, with people of all ages.
Which means a lot of different genres, different tempos...
and a diverse crowd of different ages.

I can manage basic beat mixing, but I am certainly NOT an expert.
(nor do I try to be)
 

djtaso

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Is it needed... no... does it make you and your events better.,. Yes. Look at it this way.

most djs don’t beat mix. Most djs don’t get noticed. I guarantee you just about all the djs charging top dollar or are most recognizable in a market do BeatMix. Do yourself a favor... learn to beat mix :)
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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Oct 16, 2011
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I remember a member saying they never mix at a wedding. For me I'm known for beat mixing and I'm very good at it. I worked hard at getting back to being good at beat mixing. Some of it is just plain talent and another part is practicing regularly to perfect my skills.
 

TES3S

DJ Extraordinaire
Sep 18, 2016
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Los Angeles, CA
I don't know why this gets brought up at all every so often. I mean, when I first wanted/got into DJing, the first skill I learned was mixing. I didn't really consider myself a DJ until I could mix, even if I wasn't all that great at it back then, and lacked creativity.

If you are not mixing, what are you doing besides providing the sound and music? I am with Taso, you don't see any high-end "DJs" charging $2500+ that don't mix. It just doesn't exist, period.

I literally sell my services b/c of the DJ I am, which mixing plays a big role in that, in addition to song choice, song timing, and knowing how to read a crowd (not all in that order).

DJs that cannot mix well are going to get booked less and less with today's tech and music availability. It's just too easy for most people to get an amazing music collection and some good speakers and call it a day.

It's not very hard to compete for the job when the pool consists of a DJs who are not mixing. If the client understands or appreciates the difference, it's somewhat of a no-brainer, they are not going to consider the one who does not mix. Granted, many don't even know what mixing means, but it doesn't take too much work to show them the difference, and then it clicks, followed by signing a contract :)
 
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TES3S

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Sep 18, 2016
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Los Angeles, CA
Is it needed... no... does it make you and your events better.,. Yes. Look at it this way.

most djs don’t beat mix. Most djs don’t get noticed. I guarantee you just about all the djs charging top dollar or are most recognizable in a market do BeatMix. Do yourself a favor... learn to beat mix :)

Most DJ's don't mix. What world are you living in? Most DJs mix, at least the ones you should be competing against. We are not radio DJs. You are in NJ, right? You have some pretty stiff competition around you, and they are all excellent DJs who have really crafted the art and mixing and now include (finally) turntablism into their sets.

If you are in NJ, and can't mix, good luck to you. I guess the same could be said about any major city.
 

Proformance

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Nov 6, 2006
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I remember a member saying they never mix at a wedding. For me I'm known for beat mixing and I'm very good at it. I worked hard at getting back to being good at beat mixing. Some of it is just plain talent and another part is practicing regularly to perfect my skills.
Well, even in nightclubs - no one actually mentions "beat mixing." What matters is keeping the crowd going, energizing the place, and enhancing F&B sales. If a DJ DJ can't do that, has constant transitions that are sudden detours or mixes that are train wrecks, they won't be able to keep the job.

I mix at weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and any kind of party because I CAN. I don't think I've succeeded however simply in that basis. People appreciate my experience, reliability, price, emcee style, AND of course - the dancing. I don't really recall anyone but other DJs, musicians, hired dancers, or other entertainers ever commenting on my mix. The typical event crowd either loves the music or they don't and I doubt they get too wrapped up in the intricacies of what made it so enjoyable.

A lot of people don't understand where the extra beats and pieces come from, but they certainly recognize the songs they want hear and respond accordingly. My personal style is not to make extended transitions if the dance floor is active. I'd rather the song appear out of nowhere in perfect time with what they are doing because if I'm on the way up in a mix the dancers are provoked by each favorite or request that suddenly falls in their lap. Once people trust our musical prediction - we can get away with almost anything. Mixing aids that because it's seamless. If we break a dancers rhythm we are FORCING a CHOICE - "do I want to stay or go?"
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
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Most DJ's don't mix. What world are you living in? Most DJs mix, at least the ones you should be competing against. We are not radio DJs. You are in NJ, right? You have some pretty stiff competition around you, and they are all excellent DJs who have really crafted the art and mixing and now include (finally) turntablism into their sets.

If you are in NJ, and can't mix, good luck to you. I guess the same could be said about any major city.
LOL. Even in NJ there are DJs who are great mixers - and still suck at entertaining a crowd. It's like mixed drinks: alcohol ain't what gets the order - you gotta have flavor.

Virgin drink orders are still in style. For DJs with flavor mixing might not be all that.
 

Ausumm

Gold Plated Productions
Oct 21, 2008
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Bethlehem PA
I found this in an issue of Mobile Beat about "What To Do At A Wedding Reception"
.
It's very obvious the writer is a beat mixer,
and we know where he stands on this discussion.
There are a few lines in here that I just do not agree with. (in red)


" 7. Beat mix. It’s shocking to me that some “DJs” are adamant about not actually DJing. I’ve had conversations with some in our industry who claim beat mixing isn’t important or that their clients don’t ask for it. These “DJs” are out of touch will soon be extinct. Clients don’t ask for beat mixing...because they assume we do it. They also don’t ask if we can set up our speakers but that doesn’t mean we can leave them in the car. And here’s another eye-opener. Most guests (especially under 40 years old) know the difference between good beat mixing and bad. And they are laughing at you behind your back with all your fancy gear if you are just doing simple segues (or worse, train wrecks between each song). Learn to beat match. Practice. Get good at it. Then get great at it. Not only will your parties get better and your referrals increase, but you will have fun at your events. I love the part of the night when all the formalities are over and I just get to play. Those are the times when I pinch myself that I’m actually getting paid for this.
 

djtaso

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Apr 4, 2017
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I found this in an issue of Mobile Beat about "What To Do At A Wedding Reception"
.
It's very obvious the writer is a beat mixer,
and we know where he stands on this discussion.
There are a few lines in here that I just do not agree with. (in red)


" 7. Beat mix. It’s shocking to me that some “DJs” are adamant about not actually DJing. I’ve had conversations with some in our industry who claim beat mixing isn’t important or that their clients don’t ask for it. These “DJs” are out of touch will soon be extinct. Clients don’t ask for beat mixing...because they assume we do it. They also don’t ask if we can set up our speakers but that doesn’t mean we can leave them in the car. And here’s another eye-opener. Most guests (especially under 40 years old) know the difference between good beat mixing and bad. And they are laughing at you behind your back with all your fancy gear if you are just doing simple segues (or worse, train wrecks between each song). Learn to beat match. Practice. Get good at it. Then get great at it. Not only will your parties get better and your referrals increase, but you will have fun at your events. I love the part of the night when all the formalities are over and I just get to play. Those are the times when I pinch myself that I’m actually getting paid for this.
It’s true because whether they understand the skill or not is irrelevant. It just sounds like something is off or not flowing right. They stop the rhythm, or lose their step, or just lose momentum with whatever they’re doing, where they then have to pause, try to catch what’s happening, and if you haven’t lost them by then, then they gotta start over in getting that rhythm. It’s mostly subconscious
 
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DJ Bobcat

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Nov 8, 2014
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When I first decided to DJ, I watched a lot of videos, and I thought I HAD to beat mix if I was going to be a competitive DJ. So before I even retired from my IT career, I started practicing. I practiced for MONTHS... averaging a couple hours a night. Drove my wife and my dogs CRAZY!!!... It’s not that difficult if you have a good controller and good software, but I’d struggle to do it without the controller and software. I know some DJ’s somehow think it’s cheating to use the SYNC feature, but it works, so I use it.

Reality hit home, though, when I actually checked out a few events where local DJ’s were playing. There was minimal beat matching. It seems it’s not something that most around here appreciate. Then when I decided to focus on fund raisers and corporate events, it was even less desirable. I sometimes did some beat mixing toward the end of the event when the teens were the only ones dancing, but those events were rare. I still practice it. It’s fun, and I don’t want to lose the skill.
 

Jeff Romard

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I think this is another one of those things that DJ's seriously overestimate that they think clients worry about. Can I? Yes very well I learned in the club with records long before beat counters and sync buttons. Do I? Rarely. Quite often I get asked do you cut off songs it seems it's not overly popular with the wedding crowd here. I never leave dead air or a long fade I match to make it sound good but to beat mix at a wedding around here it just isn't wanted
 

sawdust123

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Nov 10, 2006
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I know I'm in the minority here but...
  • I normally despise remix versions of songs
  • It bothers me when DJs play no more than 60 seconds of a song
  • I get bored dancing at the same BPM for extended periods of time
  • I find pitch shifts within a song's mix annoying
In other words, the way many DJs beat mix annoys me. I do not deny most people aren't bothered by these things and react well to beat mixing. However, I can't imagine I'm the only person at any given event that feels this way.
 

sawdust123

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Nov 10, 2006
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When I first started DJing weddings, my biggest problem was CD players that would skip. There were certain venues with raised floors where a traditional DN-2000 would skip all night. The first reliable (read-ahead) anti-skip CD players were portable ones. These didn't have pitch control but they made for more reliable playback. I didn't go back to a rack mount unit until read-ahead anti-skip and key-lock features could be found in one unit. So basically, I realized I could still please crowds and get referral business without relying on beat mixing and I never considered that a key part of the value I delivered.
 

djtaso

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When I first started DJing weddings, my biggest problem was CD players that would skip. There were certain venues with raised floors where a traditional DN-2000 would skip all night. The first reliable (read-ahead) anti-skip CD players were portable ones. These didn't have pitch control but they made for more reliable playback. I didn't go back to a rack mount unit until read-ahead anti-skip and key-lock features could be found in one unit. So basically, I realized I could still please crowds and get referral business without relying on beat mixing and I never considered that a key part of the value I delivered.
What was a standard then is different than a standard now. It also is regional. If you’re in an area with few to minimal nightlife spots, or work w crowds that don’t really go out much in that capacity, their expectations will be different than say my crowd, who go to Vegas, Miami, Mykonos, beach clubs, etc on a consistent basis and have a lot of experience and knowledge as to what sounds right for them.
 
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djtaso

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LOL. Even in NJ there are DJs who are great mixers - and still suck at entertaining a crowd. It's like mixed drinks: alcohol ain't what gets the order - you gotta have flavor.

Virgin drink orders are still in style. For DJs with flavor mixing might not be all that.
In NJ beat mixing is a MUST amongst the top tier djs. These couples are extremely knowledgeable as to what separates one DJ from another skill set wise.