Thomann's Cool Online Guides: DJ Setups

4. Cutting through the Jargon

DJ culture has spawned many slang words and nicknames for pieces of technology and DJing techniques. Here are some of the most common terms and their meanings:

 


Decks

this is the general name given to an audio player such as a vinyl turntable or DJ CD player. Somewhat confusingly, some people also refer to an entire DJ setup as ‘decks’.

Spin Back

this is a method of finishing a transition from one song to another, where the DJ will quickly spin the previous record backwards and then cut straight into the new song. It is commonly used in house and hip hop styles, although it can be used creatively in any style of DJing.

Cutting

this describes a swift movement of the cross fader from one channel to the other, and is an essential part of scratching. Standard DJing styles sometimes make use of cutting to bring in a section of the next tune to tease the audience, and it can also be used for fast transitions between two records.

Drop

this term has two meanings; it can either be used to describe the act of playing a record in a set, e.g. ‘Did you drop that record in your last set?’, or it can refer to ‘the drop’ which describes the return of a tune’s main hook after a breakdown (or its first appearance after the introduction).

Set

a set is a collection of records strung together by a DJ.

Play Out

this is the aim of all budding DJs; to play their choice of records to a crowd of dancing people in a club or bar.

Breakdown (or Break)

this is the section of a song when the beat is either partially or fully removed and the producer builds tension and the anticipation of the listener until the drop. The breakdown is possibly the most important part of a dance tune as it provides contrast to the power of the hook, and builds the excitement of the audience.

Hook

this describes the main melodic and/or rhythmical content of a particular song that gives it its appeal. Normally the hook is saved for directly after the introduction or breakdown.

Mix

this is the actual transition between two songs. A good mix will involve the choice of compatible records, starting the new record at exactly the right moment, and a subjectively pleasing setting of levels and effects.

Pitch

although its literal meaning refers to a sound’s frequency, in DJing terms ‘pitch’ is generally used to refer to the speed at which a record is played; 0% pitch is the original speed of the song, and anything faster or slower than that is expressed as a positive or negative percentage. It is worth noting that as the term suggests, any difference in speed from the original is going to change the way the song sounds – faster speeds produce higher pitch (the ‘chipmunk’ effect), and slower speeds produce lower pitch (voice of doom!). However, some DJ CD players and DJing software offer the option of varying the speed without changing the (musical) pitch.

Key

the key of a song refers to the root note of the main melody, e.g. ‘in the key of C’. The key a song was recorded in is quite important to a DJ, as two songs of clashing keys rarely sound good when mixed together. Making changes to speed/pitch and picking a song that can bridge two incompatible songs is known as ‘mixing in key’.

Loop

this is a section of music or rhythm that is played over and over again with the beginning immediately following the end without a gap. Most DJ software and DJ CD players as well as some mixers allow for sections of music to be looped.

BPM

an abbreviation of Beats Per Minute, which is the standard way in which the speed of a piece of music is measured. The higher the number, the faster the tune. Most genres of dance music are separated from others by their typical speeds in BPM - here are some examples:

  • 80-100 Hip Hop
  • 100-120 Chillout/Leftfield
  • 120-140 House/Breaks
  • 130-160 Old Skool
  • 160-180 Drum ‘n’ Bass/Hardcore

Your Contacts
DJ
Phone: +49-9546-9223-441
FAX: +49-9546-9223-24
PA
Phone: +49-9546-9223-35
FAX: +49-9546-9223-24
Question!
Question! Give the right answer and win 1x Thomann Rack Case 2U worth €55.
How did it take the Sex Pistols to break up after their album debut?
Conditions of participation
Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

    1. Staff of Thomann GmbH and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Thomann GmbH reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
  4. Announcing the winner

    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
    2. The prize presented to the winner may not be identical to the item description. There can be deviances regarding the model, colour etc.
    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Thomann GmbH or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
    4. An exchange, cash alternative or replacement prize is not possible.
    5. The claim to the prize or replacement of the prize cannot be assigned to a third party.
  5. Data protection

    1. The participant accepts explicitly that Thomann GmbH saves all necessary data for the duration of the competition and forwards them exclusively for purposes related to the winning process to the respective cooperation partner, who is also permitted to save the personal data only for the duration of the competition. The participant is free to withdraw his entry at any time. Please direct the withdrawal to:

      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
      Hans-Thomann-Straße 1
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Thomann GmbH is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
    2. Thomann GmbH is not liable for the insolvency of a cooperation partner and the resulting consequences for the implementation and processing of the competition.
  7. Other

    1. Legal proceedings are barred.
    2. The law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies exclusively.

DJ Setups overview

Slate Digital ML-2 Harley Benton Fusion-HSH Roasted Maple Alesis Nitro Kit Mesh Kit Slate Digital ML-1 DPA 4066-OC-A-F10-LH JHS Pedals The Bonsai Zynaptiq Intensity Sennheiser ew IEM G4 A-Band Korg KONNECT Sound Devices MixPre-6M Tech 21 DP-3X Harley Benton Dynamic-HSH FMT Charcoal
(2)
Recommended
Slate Digital ML-2

Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone For Slate Digital VRS8 Thunderbolt audio interface, similar linear and flat frequency response to the Slate Digital ML-1, Allows microphone placement that is difficult or impossible for a larger microphone, Side mounted pad switch -...

to the product
€159
Recommended
Harley Benton Fusion-HSH Roasted Maple

Electric Guitar Ergonomically shaped mahogany body, "Ultra Flame" flamed maple veneer top, Matching headstock, Bolt-on neck from "roasted" Canadian flamed maple, "Roasted" maple fretboard, Neck shape: Modern C, Clay Dot fretboard inlays, 24 Medium jumbo stainless steel frets, Nu-Bone...

to the product
€398
Recommended
Alesis Nitro Kit Mesh Kit

Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit, e-drum set for beginners, Mesh Heads for toms and snare, Nitro drum module with 385 sounds, 25 preset kits, 15 user kits, 60 songs, metronome, mono 1/4" jack outputs (L/R) to connect speakers or mixer, stereo...

to the product
€369
Recommended
Slate Digital ML-1

Large-diaphragm condenser microphone Neutral ML-1 condenser microphone that can be combined with VMS hardware and software, Optional Neutral VMS preamp ensures minimal sound-colouration (not included!), Via VMS plug-in software, you can completely change the sound characteristics even after recording,...

to the product
€849
Recommended
DPA 4066-OC-A-F10-LH

DPA 4066-OC-A-F10-LH, d:fine CORE 4066 Omni Headset Mic, professional headset microphone with removable and adjustable neck holder for left or right-sided use. Omnidirectional, 20Hz-20kHz with 3dB boost between 8-20kHz, 144dB SPL max.,TA-4F Switchcraft connector for Shure Transmitter . beige, Great...

to the product
€715
(1)
Recommended
JHS Pedals The Bonsai

Effect Pedal Overdrive, 9 Tube Screamer Overdrive modes, 5 Classic TS circuits and 2 popular mods, Analogue operation, True bypass, Volume, sustain and tone controls, 9-Way rotary control to select between Tube Screamer modes (OD-1 / TS-808 / TS-9...

to the product
€258
Recommended
Zynaptiq Intensity

Zynaptiq Intensity (ESD); enhancer plugin; innovative algorithm increases detail, clarity, density and loudness of any audio signal; suitable for single tracks, groups, mixbus or mastering; easy to us clearly arranged user interface; additional soft-knee saturating limiter at the output stage;...

to the product
€144
Recommended
Sennheiser ew IEM G4 A-Band

Evolution Wireless In Ear System Consists of UHF bodypack receiver (EK IEM G4), 9.5" transmitter (SR IEM G4) and IE4 earphones, Stereo / focus / mono modes, Up to 1680 frequencies in 42 MHz switching bandwidth, 20 Channel banks...

to the product
€985
Recommended
Korg KONNECT

Portable, Powerful Stereo PA System Equipped with: 6.5" Woofer and 2 x 1" tweeter, Output power woofer max. 140 W (top), Output power tweeter: max. 20 W x 2 (top), Frequency range: (-10dB): 55 - 20,000 Hz, DC 20V...

to the product
€414
Recommended
Sound Devices MixPre-6M

Portable multitrack audio recorder and USB audio interface Max. of 12 tracks, 6 of them simultaneous, Kashmir microphone preamplifier with 76 db gain, Inherent noise:-128 dBu max. (A-weighted, gain = 76 dB, 150 ohm source impedance), Limiter per channel,...

to the product
€918
Recommended
Tech 21 DP-3X

Preamp for bass dUg Pinnick signature model, Controls: volume, chunk, high, mid, low, comp, drive, Gain switch, Mix button, Chromatic tuner, XLR DI output, TRS input / output, Headphone output, Dimensions (W x D x H): 19.7 x 6.4...

to the product
€299
Recommended
Harley Benton Dynamic-HSH FMT Charcoal

Electric Guitar Ergonomically shaped mahogany body, "Ultra Flame" flamed maple veneer top, Bolt-on Canadian Hard Maple neck, Ebony fretboard, Neck profile: Modern C, Clay Dot fretboard inlays, 24 Medium jumbo stainless steel frets, Nu-Bone nut, Nut width: 42 mm,...

to the product
€248
Feedback Found an error or want to give us feedback about this page?

We're looking forward to hearing from you and aim to solve any problems as soon as we can.

Please leave a comment. Please enter your e-mail address.