For the Beginner DJ: How to use a DJ controller or mixer. Getting back to the basics!

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Are you just getting started as a DJ? Or maybe you’ve always wanted to be a DJ and intimidated by some of the equipment? I was once there! When I first thought about becoming a DJ over 15 years ago, I was very intimidated by some of the equipment - especially the mixing board!!!

When I looked at all of the buttons on my first mixer, I thought to myself, “This looks like I’m flying an airplane! How am I ever going to learn what all of these buttons do? Let alone how to use them???” Well, as Paul explains in this video the saying holds true, “You have to learn to walk before you run.”

If you’ve just purchased your first controller, don’t get overwhelmed by all of the EQs, Gain, Pitch Fader, etc. What’s most important are the channels (Channel 1/Deck 1 or Channel 2/Deck 2). You need to tell your controller whether or not to play from your PC (DJ SOftware), or CD (if your controller has the option for CDs). Or, do you want it to play music from the auxiliary channel?

In this video, we are using my Numark MixDeck Express as the example. This is a great controller to purchase if you are just starting out. Why did I purchase this controller if I’ve been DJing a long time? One thing I also want you to learn is to be smart about the equipment you purchase. Since I now own an entertainment company, my goals have changed. My goal in purchasing the MixDeck is to teach my beginner DJs who assist me at my events. This way I can show them how to use their first controller. Then, hand down the MixDeck to them when I upgrade.

Things to know when you purchase your first controller:

There is a function for everything. (Gain, Mid, Treble, Bass, etc) However, when you’re first starting out you really just need to learn the channels. Don’t worry about the other functions until you feel comfortable using all the channels. Keep all you other settings at 12 o’clock, Pitch Fader in the Middle, Cross fader in the middle.
Channel 1 is usually on the left and controls the left side of the board. (Or controls the left side of your DJ software).
Channel 2 is usually on the right and controls what is playing from the right side (CD) or the right channel on your DJ Software (e.g. Serato).
Channel 3 - Auxiliary Input (e.g. iPod, Phone, another computer)
Make sure you set your Channel buttons and volumes are set correctly. (Make sure your Master Volume is set at an appropriate level. Your Master Volume controls the volume for the entire board. Then, you can control each channel’s volume individually).
For example, do you want to play songs using your software? Or from a CD? If you want to play a CD make sure both of your channel’s are set to CD. If you want to play from your DJ software make sure Channel 1 and Channel 2 are set to PC. (If you are using a Numark Mixdeck and Serato DJ Intro you’ll want to make sure your settings for each channel are on “Midi PC” (I’ll show you how to do this in another video).
Do you want to play music from your iPod or phone? Then, you’ll want to use the Auxiliary channel and make sure you are using channel 3 and it’s set to “Aux”.

What I hear from many people interested in DJ’ing is, “I’ve always wanted to DJ, I would just never know how to use all that equipment.” YES! You can! Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the equipment. You can learn to DJ just like anything else. You don’t start out being an expert. Start with the very basics.

How did I get over my fear of the "Aeroplane"? I did what my brother and dad tell me to this day, "Just tackle one thing at a time Shell. Don't get overwhelmed looking at everything at once".

If you are a beginner DJ just starting out I hope this video helped you. Please let me know if you have any other topics you’d like me to cover. Thanks! DeeJay Shelly