How to Beatmatch (Part 1)

by Mixing Dj on April 1, 2009

in DJ Tutorials

One of the first things you will need to do as a DJ is learn how to beatmatch. You’ll probably be tempted to skip this crucial step and get right to the music but it is absolutely essential that you first learn how to beatmatch. An important thing to remember is that a great DJ not only knows how to feel the crowd and has a sense for good song selection but also has great technique. And one of the most important techniques in mixing music is beatmatching.
How to Beatmatch


First, I should begin with a quick definition of what beatmatching really is. Quite simply, it is the act of matching the beats of one track to the beats of another. This requires both tracks to be playing at the same speed, known in the DJ world as tempo and referred to in terms of beats per minute (BPM). When two tracks are properly beatmatched they are synchronized and it can be difficult to tell which sounds are coming from which track. This is what you want to achieve in order to have a smooth mix, also known as a blend.

So, let’s learn how to beatmatch.

The most basic thing you could do when starting to learn how to beatmatch is to put the same song on both of your decks. So, depending on if you’re using CD or vinyl, make duplicate CDs or get 2 copies of a record. If you can get one without a lot of vocals and with a clear beat, that will help. Start playing the track on one deck, let’s call it Deck A. Make sure the crossfader on your mixer is in the middle position, or turned off if you have that option. Now, start playing the same track on Deck B. Right away, you will hear that the drum beats are not synchronized. This results in a sound that DJs call a gallop.

Since you are playing the same track on both decks, they should be playing at the same speed. Make sure that the tempo adjustments on your decks are in the same position. Now, speed up or slow down the track on Deck B slightly. Don’t use the tempo slider for this, instead use the actual jog wheel on the CD player, or slow down your record with your finger if you’re using vinyl. Keep doing this until you no longer hear the gallop. At this point your tracks should be synchronized and sound blended together. Since they are playing at the same speed, they should continue to be synchronized for the rest of the time they’re playing. Don’t worry if the actual music sounds bad right now from all of the sounds in the tracks, for now we are just focusing on matching the beats.

Most mixers have a meter that visually shows the level of output on each channel. This is represented in a light bar that jumps up and down with the beat. You could use this to help you make sure that you have pulled off a good beatmatch by checking that the meters on both tracks are jumping at the same time.
Congratulations, you just learned the very basic steps of how to beatmatch. Learn more in my next post, How to Beatmatch (Part 2).

-Mixing DJ

Bonus: The output levels on the mixer are called the Pre-Fade Leveles (PFL). Video explanation of PFL here:
Pre-Fade Levels (PFL) Explained



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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

SonyaSunny April 20, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Hi, Interesting, I`ll quote it on my site later.
SonyaSunny

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AndrewBoldman June 4, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Hi, cool post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for writing.

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mikesmoney9984@gmail.com June 9, 2009 at 11:35 am

Nice post, thanks.

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lisanoz June 16, 2009 at 8:27 pm

I thank for the information, now I will know.

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Peter Stoloff June 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm

I found themixingdj.com very informative. The article is professionally written and I feel like the author knows the subject very well. themixingdj.com keep it that way.

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How I Make $300 a Day Posting Links Online June 30, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Cool post, just subscribed.

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Bar and Night Club Enthusiast December 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Top post!!!!

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admin January 7, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Thanks to everyone who found this tutorial useful and left a comment!

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beats May 18, 2010 at 6:32 pm

yeah man, technique is crucial, I remember back in the day when I was trying to beat match with a pair of beltdrive turntables. ugh god that was hard. anyway we have some great technology making shit simple for us now..
thanks for the read

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Jasica July 8, 2010 at 4:15 am

Your blog is really informative.

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joy fefe dobson July 19, 2010 at 4:44 am

Some people found it very difficult to beat match.
I am one of them.
Thanks for sharing the knowledge man.
God Bless u
.-= joy fefe dobson´s last blog ..The Newest Album- Joy – Lyrics- Guitar Chord &amp Photos =-.

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beats August 26, 2010 at 11:36 am

this is a good tutorial for new beginning dj’s. i think you got something good going on here, keep it up man. i feel like i wanna be a dj myself lolz

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Alexandra September 24, 2010 at 4:17 am

A friend of mine is Dj and travels through the whole country. He loves his job and earns a lot of money with it. He also had to go abroad for gigs.
I tried to become a dj, but its very hard. Probably need to me musical, which im definitely not! but thanks for the post

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Ask expert September 28, 2010 at 12:10 am

Beatmatching is what can be called the very basics of modern deejaying. Simply put, it is a deejay term for “synching two different records”. Deejaying is a lot more than just beatmatching. This post is very well written for Beatmatch learners and DJ’s .Thanks for sharing this post to readers.

Reply

Aution Online September 28, 2010 at 12:34 am

Well written post, Great 🙂 For newbies i want to share just What is Beatmatching ?

“Beatmatching is a disc jockey technique of pitch shifting or timestretching a track to match its tempo to that of the currently playing track i.e. the kicks and snares in two house records hit at the same time when both records are played simultaneously.”

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iPod Touch Apps September 28, 2010 at 12:38 am

Beatmatching is no longer considered a novelty, and new digital mixers have made the technique much easier to master.

The article is professionally written by author .Great Job

Reply

Michael February 16, 2011 at 8:32 am

Due to beatmatching it became a whole lot simpler. Anyway, great article!

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