Forums Music DJing Volume Faders or Crossfader?

This topic contains 22 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Headie November 28, 2014 at 10:52 pm.

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  • #1053899
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    General Lighting
    Moderator

    Which ones do you use most when mixing? At the moment I tend to use the crossfader as I’ve got 3 curve settings on it but trying to get into using the volume faders more as I’ve finally learned how to use them EQ controls (bear in mind the mixers I first started with rarely had them!)

    #1257740
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    p0ly
    Participant

    both man!! gotta mix it up i reckon as it is mixing 🙂

    seriously i do use both.

    #1257743
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    Chrispydelic
    Participant

    Mostly crossfader then switches then faders.

    #1257727
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    General Lighting
    Moderator

    @chrispydelic 494745 wrote:

    Mostly crossfader then switches then faders.

    Yep thats what I tend to do – especially as there is a setting which is good for a nice running mix. but earlier today I was facing a problem with a crossfader leaking slightly (annoying, as its not exactly been ragged and I don’t smoke any more and never did in my studio anyway). I fixed this quickly enough but found the replacement when I do need one is going to be a bugger to source so decided to start using the volume faders more..

    I worked out how to use the EQ controls more subtly too by watching AVB on one of his videos where he is mixing live on the radio raaa (this is impressive as he’s controlling not just the DJ kit but a whole DHD radio mixer and Dalet jingle machine at the same time)

    #1257735
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    DaftFader
    Participant

    I used to use only crossfader, but then I had to work with a broked crossfader for ages and was forced to use the level faders. TBH they both have their merit. Now I use crossfading for the balance between the two tracks, and the level faders for chopping each side up. Previously I’d use the crossfader for both, but it’s really hard to end up at the same volume balance when doing it this way, and it suits more scratch DJ style (even though they will also use the level faders for even more versatility). If you use up faders for choppyness you can be 100% sure that when you’ve finished doing your choppy chop you havn’t lost the kablamo of your perfectly balanced mix as the crossfader will be in the same place.

    It’s also nice to chop one side whilst fading from one side to the other, but you can get your hands tangled doing this and takes some practice to get it sounding good.

    Normaly you’ll also get a gain knob for each channel, which is what I use for volume adjustment for each deck, like if one tune isn’t mastered as loud as the other etc. and just have the level faders set to max untill I need to use them. You can get a nice chop then as it’ll slam into the top of the notch when it’s full volume. You need a rugged mixer though or you’ll end up breaking shit. Penny and Giles or them non contact, magnetic faders are the way to go if it’s an analog mixer, I’m guessing you’re asking for your digital mixer though, so not really sure on how well the faders hold up on them things.

    #1257728
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    General Lighting
    Moderator

    the mixer stage of the controller can either work in MIDI control mode or analogue mode (where I suspect it works as a VCA mixer as when I cleaned the crossfader it was a single track pot).

    I use it in analogue mode but with VDJ playing out the two “decks” into the on board 4 channel soundcard as it sounds very slightly better to my ears (might start a separate post on this) and the EQ controls are more responsive. since I switched genres from old skool / hardcore to trance I tend to do way more longer running mixes than cuts. I try (not always successfully!) to use the last bit of travel on the channel faders on both the “grams” (controller) and studio mixer to balance the levels from different sources, as when I worked on community radio stations the practice the “smashie and nicey” daytime presenters had of pushing them way up to the stop and then doing similar with the mic fader (usually causing the PGM MIX to hit the compressor/limiter) always annoyed me.

    Apparently there is a trend for those playing trance and house to go back to rotary controls on mixers like the 1970s..

    #1257736
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    DaftFader
    Participant

    @General Lighting 494762 wrote:

    the mixer stage of the controller can either work in MIDI control mode or analogue mode (where I suspect it works as a VCA mixer as when I cleaned the crossfader it was a single track pot).

    I use it in analogue mode but with VDJ playing out the two “decks” into the on board 4 channel soundcard as it sounds very slightly better to my ears (might start a separate post on this) and the EQ controls are more responsive. since I switched genres from old skool / hardcore to trance I tend to do way more longer running mixes than cuts. I try (not always successfully!) to use the last bit of travel on the channel faders on both the “grams” (controller) and studio mixer to balance the levels from different sources, as when I worked on community radio stations the practice the “smashie and nicey” daytime presenters had of pushing them way up to the stop and then doing similar with the mic fader (usually causing the PGM MIX to hit the compressor/limiter) always annoyed me.

    Apparently there is a trend for those playing trance and house to go back to rotary controls on mixers like the 1970s..

    I actually don’t choppy mix much anymore when I do mix, as it’s so rare I mix that I know I’ll fuck up the chops, so I tent to go with smooth blending as well. I’ll always set the up faders to the “bold line” that my mixer has to tell you where to put it, and do like you say and just creep over it if need be for adjustment. It’s is all down to your style of mixing really, if it’s fast paced back and forth or scratching, the up faders have a totally different use then if you were doing smooth blending.

    I still use the up faders for blending/balancing a lot though as I find you get a better curve as they tend to be at least twice the size of the crossfader.

    #1257734
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    cheeseweasel
    Participant

    I was into hip-hop and scratching when I first bought my decks so got used to having the crossfader set to chop and did any mixing on the channel faders. I still do to this day (and have to have the crossfader reversed too othewise I get in a muddle), and I find it gives me better control over the mix anyway. Also it’s nice to be able to drop something in quickly with a sharp crossfader.

    #1257726
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    Anonymous

    helpful thread… thanks!

    #1257745
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    DJ Max D
    Participant

    Both. Volume faders for mixing and CF for scratches, cuts, fx and so on.. but with MIDI I’ve got them mapped to effects and whatnot on different mapping layers so it all gets kind of blurry 🙂

    #1257737
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    DaftFader
    Participant

    @DJ Max D 557436 wrote:

    Both. Volume faders for mixing and CF for scratches, cuts, fx and so on.. but with MIDI I’ve got them mapped to effects and whatnot on different mapping layers so it all gets kind of blurry 🙂

    Yeah I defiantly think it’s all down to what suits you best really, I’ve seen it done so many different ways, it’s just what you personally find easiest really. If I was using a radio style mixing desk though I’d most likely use the up faders for blending as they aren’t really ment to be “ragged” too much.

    #1257732
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    BioTech
    Participant

    Aye, what Dafty said.

    #1257729
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    General Lighting
    Moderator

    @daftfader 557437 wrote:

    If I was using a radio style mixing desk though I’d most likely use the up faders for blending as they aren’t really ment to be “ragged” too much.

    you’d be surprised, some get ragged even more (especially the MIC fader and the carts ones) – particularly in the UK where presenters (even those supposedly trained by the BBC and IBA) treat them as switches and ram them all the way up to the end stop (the rest of Europe seems to realise the 10dB headroom is there for a reason).

    However such desks are usually not ideally placed or sized for beat mixing or any kind of EDM DJ’ing and many do not have EQ on stereo channels or have these kinds of functions locked off or hidden or some presenters will fuck around with them to the point that everything sounds rough). Most UK licensed radio stations have two studios and mixers with modular channel strips (and a stock of spare faders and/or channel strips), or can switch to playout from a single computer based system bypassing the desk, so maintenance carried out. Channel strips are usually connected to the desk by ribbon cable like the old IDE computer drives, and the faders are 100mm types often with a microswitch at the bottom used for a variety of things (muting the local loudspeakers to avoid howling, remote start of music players etc). These are a standard size and value and on more recent analogue mixers are part of a VCA system.

    When an EDM DJ is presenting a show and mixing live at the same time they use their normal preferred DJ mixer and turntables/CDJs/controllers, programme output from this is connected to any available stereo channel on the desk (usually one near the presenters mic channel) – the headphone output of the DJ mixer (that you would need for beatmatching) is also connected to the desk in such a way that it can be heard on the cans (plugged into the main desk) as an “external monitor” circuit. This setup is still referred to by many broadcast engineers as a “grams mixer” even if all the kit is digital. Most radio stations aimed at young audiences have at least one studio that can be set up in this manner and is also used for live bands – as these shows usually happen in the evening/night time often an area that would be used for news broadcasts or talk shows often gets used to house the decks.

    Unfortunately a lot of youth/dance stations seem to rarely broadcast live shows with mixing or transmit them at strange hours during the week when folk are usually in bed as they have work or school/college the next day (and then wonder why they can’t get any advertisers or listeners) – in NL so many have downsized/gone to auto playout (same as here) and use a skeleton staff / unpaid interns as well as closing older studios, and those live shows which remain have mainstream formats (there is no difference between Kiss in daytime and 538 other than the language, when I last listened to Dutch “youth” stations I realised the news and even the adverts were more interesting than the music (they don’t even play much stuff by AVB, Ferry Corsten, Sied van Riel or countless other of their local artists)

    Many teenagers/youths often buy the full size EELA Audio broadcast desks that Hilversum and other large local broadcasters are sellling off for their bedroom studios and online stations – they are smart enough to know how to set them up (also parents and “uncles/aunts” (not always blood relatives but older people from the neighbourhood) help them out) – its still cheaper than paying to go up to University and do “creative industries” degrees and end up working in a call centre after 3/4 years…..

    #1257746
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    DJ Max D
    Participant

    Sad but true..

    #1257742
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    Pat McDonald
    Participant

    I generally use a spoon when I’m mixing.

    I’ve tried using a hammer, it wasn’t at all smooth or continuous. Although it did feel very good to vent my feelings about the equipment quality.

    #1257733
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    thelog
    Participant

    @Pat McDonald 557488 wrote:

    I generally use a spoon when I’m mixing.

    I’ve tried using a hammer, it wasn’t at all smooth or continuous. Although it did feel very good to vent my feelings about the equipment quality.

    Bad pat -_-

    #1257744
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    joksgez
    Participant

    i use darth vader

    #1257730
    Avatar
    General Lighting
    Moderator

    @Pat McDonald 557488 wrote:

    I generally use a spoon when I’m mixing.

    I’ve tried using a hammer, it wasn’t at all smooth or continuous. Although it did feel very good to vent my feelings about the equipment quality.

    that might explain the state of some of the kit that got sent back for repair when I last worked in broadcast engineering as a paid job.

    Though these days I’m more likely to openly tell “normal” people that I’ve been nicked for drugs than that I’ve worked in the radio/TV industry in the UK, as round here they judge you less harshly especially if they are parents…

    #1257738
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    MadPsy
    Participant

    I have no idea how to mix, but surely the faders are to level the input after the EQ stage and the faders are to do the crossing between tracks. Meh.

    #1257731
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    General Lighting
    Moderator

    @madpsy 557513 wrote:

    I have no idea how to mix, but surely the faders are to level the input after the EQ stage and the faders are to do the crossing between tracks. Meh.

    most DJ mixers (or MIDI controllers emulating these) have a trim pot at the top for channel gain, a 3 band rotary EQ (bass, mid and treble) and a sliding vertical fader for the channel – as well as a crossfader which can often be assigned to any two stereo channels where more than two exist. DJ’s often use all of these in varying combinations when mixing – especially with modern digital software which displays the waveform and beat patterns as well as BPM) this means beatmatching is far easier allowing more time to use the EQ and other controls for more subtle mixes.

    #1257739
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    MadPsy
    Participant

    The trim pot sets the gain from the input, before any gain introduced by the EQ. I thought the fader was post EQ. Got myself an NUO 3.0 for playing about with, I should go experiment me thinks 🙂

    Edit: Think I get it now, ignore that comment.

    #1257741
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    sim667
    Participant

    I don’t like the crossfader much, I like using two hands for cuts etc….. but I dont really chop it about much anyway…..

    #1257747
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    Headie
    Participant

    For me it all depends greatly on the genre of music i am playing. For house, trance and some of the slower acid and/or techno i like to use the channels predominantly as i find it nicer for long, smooth mixes. For some of the faster stuff (145bpm+) ie hard techno/acid, gabber, dnb and even the oldskool hardcore (not happy) i use crossfader a lot as i love to chop my breakbeats and faster music up while still using the channels to fade out etc. If i’m using a 3rd channel. Say, for my 303 or whatever other source i have going through it at the time i’ll tend to use the channels more than crossfader. At the moment my crossfader is slightly butchered so i am doing most stuff with switches or channels or both at present

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