Digital DJ Tips reader DJ Gorgeous writes: “I am a DJ that used to use turntables and have made the jump into digital. I was going to do a mix with some old 80s tunes and Italo disco songs that I had, and lo and behold the beats are all over the place. That would not been an issue whilst DJing with turntables, but the effects and the sync button are a hellacious mess.
“So I started to beatgrid, when I realised that the darn 80s producers must not have used a quantiser since the beatgrids are correct in one spot, and behind in another, and up front in another. How do you beatgrid such songs? Do you have to put cues all over the place, like every other 30 seconds?”
Digital DJ Tips says:
Well if you’re used to DJing in vinyl, my best advice would be to turn the sync off, and DJ the “old way”. Especially with tunes with drifting BPMs, if you’re competent at riding the beats manually with the odd nudge here and there to hold things together, what’s the problem?
If you still want to use sync, you’re right, you’ll have to beatgrid the tunes. You’d hit on the solution – you need to put beat markers throughout the track to tell the software what it needs to know to make sync work properly. This is OK in Serato and Cross DJ. but not in Virtual DJ or Traktor, neither of which has “elastic beatgridding”, so it’s simply not possible to properly beatgrid tracks where the BPM changes at all in these instances.
Another alternative would be to use Ableton Live to correct the BPM throughout a track (it’s called “warping” in Ableton Live) then record the results. This “corrected” version of the song would then beatgrid correctly in any DJ software, meaning your effects (echos, delay etc) will sit nice and tightly on the beat. Hope that helps!
Anyone have any more advice to add for DJ Gorgeous? (He/she didn’t give a picture, unfortunately!) Let us know in the comments…