From The Forum: What's The Difference Between Original & Radio Mixes?

Different versions

Lots of different mixes of a typical club tune, including original, radio and acappella... but what's the difference between them all, and who uses them?

Reader Jake Robinson writes: "Looking through all the different websites and stores where you can buy digital music, I notice there are a lot of songs that have an 'Original Mix', but there is also a 'Radio Edit', which, from what I understand is just a shortened, typically edited version of the original song. Is there more to it than that? Is there any reason I should buy one instead of the other, maybe for legal reasons, or is it purely up to me and which song I want to DJ with?"

Our forum readers say:

"There are also extended mixes as well. It's all personal preference, but keep in mind a Radio Edit is already cut down and probably won't have much of an intro or outro for you to mix in or out another song..." (VinnyBlanc)

"Biggest thing is radio mixes will always be heavily censored for language, to the point it is sometimes almost a different song (best example still is BEP's 'Let's Get Retarded' becoming 'Let's Get It Started'). Unless you are playing to minors, or are working in an environment that demands censorship, I would recommend avoiding the radio cuts." (Todd Oddity)

"Radio edits can allow you to keep things moving on the dancefloor for punters with small attention spans but you have to adjust your mixing style." (Steelo)

Want to add something for Jake? Please share your thoughts below.

• This discussion originally happened over on the digital DJ Tips Forum

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  1. Often radio mixes are also mastered differently than the "original"- or whatever mix.
    The radio mix is usually mastered for maximum loudness (google "loudness war" if you're not familiar with this phenomenom). Usually it also sounds the worst on good equipment and with high playback volumes.
    Then the "original" or "album"- mix should take things 1-3 db down (though that's not guaranteed) to sound at least okay on decent HiFi equipment.
    Then there's Mixes intended for club use (the infamous "extended" or "club-" mixes) which should be even quieter (remember: quieter means more headroom, less limiting or compression. Quieter means louder... in a way.) and leave even more dynamics intact. Instead for maximum loudness they're mastered for maximum punch and impact on the dance floor.
    At least in theory it should be that way, but practice differs from producer to producer, as well as between labels and mastering engineers.

  2. Ercello says:

    I also find that radio mixes can sometimes have more vocal parts (more lyrics) than the original mixes, for obvious reasons.

  3. There are also some examples where radio edit has less vocals. (Iio: Rapture) Sometimes the song structure is a bit different (shorter breaks etc).

    I preferred radio edits when I played pop, because people are used to those and the tight set structure it gives. When playing club music it is a bit tricky to play radio edits, because of these things.

  4. A ‘radio edit’ is just that. A version of a song made for radio, be it shorter, cleaner or whatever, is to accommodate the general public which includes kids. That means no foul language and hip-hop is a good example such a case.

    As a Deep House DJ, I prefer the ‘original/extended’ versions of a record in my sets for the longer intros & outros, (...sometimes I fool around with effects in transition, so that helps). However, I do throw in a ‘radio edit’ here and there, because they get straight to the point. Short and sweet if you like… It’s a trick I use to help re-engage the crowd, usually after I play an unknown record that people didn’t feel.

    I also had no idea about the loudness war… Good to know.

    • I was just going to say that sometimes a Radio Edit is a Censored version with No Swear-Words to cater for all ages and Religions.

      Also it is a version which may be intended for the Uneducated Masses, meaning it is more Commercial!

  5. I personally use radio edits because thas what everyone hears on the radio. Extended or club mixes are good to play around with because you can juggle the beat and it gives you time to get fancy with your mix; like filtering the sound, eq'ing a particular bass etc! it all depends your style and your crowd.

  6. I recently joined a record pool (iDJPool) after reading alot of reviews of many different sites. They have different genre memberships, which does kinda suck so I chose the Urban package. I quickly realized there are 3 different types of the same song, Radio Edit, Intro/Out DJ Edit/Clean and Explicit.

    Personally, I am not a fan of all the profanity so I skip the Explicit versions all the time. The Radio Edit and DJ Intro versions work just fine and I dont have to worry about the language anywhere I play.

  7. "Original Mix" is a longer version of the song (normal takes longer than 6:00 & has intros & outros) best to play at clubs, parties etc, "Radio Mix" is a shorter version & normally edited to suit the radio industry, without the swear words, best played at toddler's parties etc. Hope this helps :-)

  8. The Radio "Edited Version" is basically the clean version, shortened to accommodate radio DJ time slots.

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