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Mixing Equipment 101

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Mixin'
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The Mixer

So you've got the mixing bug and you wanna learn more about what's involved? Even if DJ's are pretty slick they're nothing without their equipment. Take a peak at the main tools of the trade - the turntables and the mixer.

The Turntable (Deck)

Yes, this is where you spin the records and work those magic fingers. The tonearm is the arm that's placed on the record and the stylus (needle) produces the sound when it travels on the vinyl. Tonearms are straight or s-shaped. Most have an anti-skate feature, which are little weights that add more pressure on the stylus. This helps prevent your needle from jumpin' around and messin' up your groove.

The other part of the turntable - the part that spins is called the platter, probably because of it's shape. A one-touch start/stop button on the deck turns it on. Most decks also have a sliding knob called a pitch control which changes the pitch. A mixing set-up is made up of two decks or turntables. Technics is the major brand, but it's not the only one.

The Mixer

The mixer is like the magic wand that helps you create the magic on your turntable. A mixer looks like the control panel of a spaceship with all its knobs and switches, but it's not that complicated. When you're starting out you only need to know the basics of taking flight. A mixer lets you set the levels of audio coming from your two decks using two channels. For each of the channels there is a vertical sliding toggle switch called a channel fader.

There is also another one called a crossfader located near the bottom of the mixer. The crossfader sets the balance between the two channels. These are the main features of a mixer you need to worry about because they control the levels of your turntables. Once you get the hang of it there are plenty of other knobs to fiddle with. These include balance controls, which control sound to your left and right speakers and meters that read the number of beats per minute. They also give you a visual on the levels you're pumpin' out. For more mixin' and scratchin' stuff check out Introduction to Mixing 1.

Hear what the pros' have to say about mixing.

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