How To DJ Without Headphones?

After a lot of videos like this one started floating around a lot of DJs started defending DJ Steve Angello saying that he can mix without headphones. I’ve seen a great video showing Steve Angello mixing without headphones (I couldn’t find it). Now its clear that what DJ Steve Angello was playing was part of a pre-recorded set to sync with the fireworks. But when he does mix without his headphones, that raises the question, how can you DJ without headphones?

Its an old DJing party trick to know how to DJ without headphones. Its not as difficult as it looks. Here’s how:

Its a lot easier than you think to learn how to DJ without headphones, especially for someone like Steve Angello who is an adept studio producer.

All any DJ has to do to be able to mix without headphones is to drop his tracks into any serious audio software like Logic pro or Ableton live and reset the tempo. So DJ Steve Angello for example could set his tracks to 126 BMP so that they’re all exactly the same speed.

Then when he goes to play his gig he locks the tempo fader at however fast he wants the music to go. +1.8 for example. Now all of his tracks will be playing at 128bpm.

So how does he know when to DJ mix in the new track if he is DJing without headphones? Thats easy too. Any DJ that has ever made a demo CD knows what I’m talking about.

When you DJ mix the same tracks over and over again you get to know how they mix with other tracks. You can eventually recognize the exact cue point at which to throw in the next record. You can just feel it. You hear a certain crash or a certain sound and you’ll know thats why you have to press play on “X” song.

Furthermore, when a song is in key you can play it with any other song within the same key, at any point and the mix will sound good. DJs used to have to mark the keys of their tracks themselves but these days they use software like MixedInKey.

And if the song is the same BPM already then is very easy to get them in sync. All you have to do is bring the second song in and listen to your dj monitor speakers. You’ll be able to tell if the song is a little fast or slow at which point you can just give the Pioneer CDJ a little flick to get them matched perfectly.

Anyone with access to common music production software can do this and can learn to DJ without headphones.

DJ Steve Angello takes it one step further though. He doesn’t do this with CDs anymore. The only thing he brings to his gigs now are SD cards. Thats right, little memory sticks with all of his music that can be stuck into the new Pioneer CDJ 1000s and Pioneer CDJ 2000s. So you won’t even see him moving around CDs.

Now you know how to DJ without headphones, are you going to try it yourself?

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