Are you wondering how you can use headphones for cueing? One of the most crucial skills for a DJ is using headphones for beatmatching and cueing. With the help of headphones, you will be able to listen to the sounds that cannot be heard from the speakers. This will enable you to listen to the sounds that the crowd cannot hear. For a DJ, headphones are an essential equipment, as it will allow them to mix tracks. Headphones make it easy for the DJ to decide when to make channels audible.
Most of the DJs use headphones for deciding the starting cue point. In simple words, the audience will not be able to listen to the track until the DJ wants them. In this article, we have created a guide for the beginner DJs who want to enhance their cueing skills.
Have a look at the right way to use headphone for cueing.
Controls for Headphones on the DJ Controller or Mixer
Every DJ mixer has a port for the DJ to plug in the headphones. The mixer consolidates a cue mix, cue buttons for each channel, and headphone volume control.
Headphone Cue Mix
Most of the DJ mixers or controllers have a cue mix; it can be a crossfader or a knob. When the cue mix is in the middle, you will be able to hear all the channels clearly. If you turn the knob to the left, you will be able to listen to the left channels; they are channel 1 and 3. Moreover, if you turn the knob to the right, you will be able to hear the channels 2 and 4; they are the right channels.
The fader or knob can be adjusted for blending the channels so you can hear the sounds in the headphones. It will enable you to beatmatch and EQ the upcoming track. The DJs can even turn or slide the knob for completely shutting off a channel for cueing. This is also useful for scanning through the track. An imperative thing to keep in mind is the cue mixing when you are buying a DJ mixer.
Another important control for cueing is the cue buttons. This will allow you to choose the channels that you want to listen in the headphones. There are a few DJ mixers with cue buttons for different functions, such as booth monitor, samplers, and effects. These buttons can be found on the expensive DJ controllers and mixers.
Thanks to the cue buttons, you can close specific channels for cueing and beatmixing several records. It is excellent for DJs using multiple decks.
Volume Control for Headphones
On the mixer, you can find volume knob for headphones. It will enable you to adjust the volume of different channels only in your headphones. When adjusting the headphones volume, it will not have any impact on the master volume (volume of the speakers).
The Right Way to Wear DJ Headphones
Before you move on to know how to cue or beatmatch, you should know the ideal way to wear the DJ headphones. Some of the DJs are comfortable with their headphones on and they can beatmix while wearing their headphones. They will not take off their headphones during the whole set. It requires you to practice a lot, as you will not be hearing the end product on the speakers. This is why it is recommended not to try this yet, as you are not an expert.
Most of the DJs use one ear headphones to listen to both the sounds, from the speaker and headphones. This makes mixing a DJ set convenient and simple. The exceptional quality headphones come with a swivel joint. This will enable you to use your shoulder to hold the headphones on to your ear. It is an ideal way to cue for the DJs without the cue mix button on their mixer.
Additionally, some of the DJs EQ, beatmix, and cue up a song with their headphones on. They remove the headphones once the track is played and is ready for beatmatching. The DJs will then mix without their headphones. You can use the headphones when you are making a small adjustment to the beatmatching. This is to ensure that the end product is perfect.
Hence, you should wear the headphones in a way that you like. For beginners, it is recommended to take off the headphones when the track is ready to be played.
Using Headphone For DJ Mixing
After you are familiar with the right way to wear the headphones and the controls of headphones, you are ready to learn how to mix using the headphones. The first thing you must do is cue the track. Have a look at how you can cue a track with your headphones on.
Setting The Volume
The first step for cueing a track is to set the volume of your headphones. When you are adjusting the volume, you need to keep in mind that you should not hear any sound from the main speaker. The volume of headphones must be set at a level that will enable you to clearly hear the track in your headphones.
When setting the volume level, you need to make sure you are the volume is not too loud. This is because it can cause hearing problems. If you are DJing in a loud environment, it is advised to use earplugs. This will help in decreasing the risk of damaging your ears.
Selecting the Channel
The next step will be choosing a channel for cueing. You must press the right cue button for cueing. The cue button of the selected channel will be illuminated, making it easy for you to know which channel is selected. Once this is completed, you can put on your headphones for cueing. You can move to the next steps if your DJ mixer doesn’t have cue buttons.
Adjusting the Cue Mix
The cue mix is set to shut off all other channels. By turning the knob or sliding the crossfader, you can choose the channel that is correct for you. This will enable you to only hear the record that you want to cue.
Cue it Up
Since you will be able to listen to the channel clearly in the headphones, you are ready for cueing.
Beatmatching Using Headphones
One of the reasons why you need your headphones is for beatmixing the tracks. If you want to become an expert DJ, you need to master the skill of beatmatching. Some of the mixers have a sync button; still, it is recommended to learn beatmixing as Sync is not trustworthy always. This is because it might not work well with some of the genres. Another reason is that not all the mixers have this function.
For mixing two tracks, you will need a cue mix. The first song will be playing and the crowd can hear it. While only you can hear the second track through your headphones. When you press play, you can start the beatmixing by setting the cue mix to the middle position.
With the help of the cue mix, you can make slight changes to the records. This is to make sure you get the best beatmix. In some circumstance, you want the channel 1 to be louder than channel 2 and vice versa. So, when you are learning about beatmatch, cue mix will be extremely helpful. This is the reason why you need to invest in the mixer that has a cue mix.
Headphones and EQing
Most of the DJs find cue mix helpful for EQing your songs. It is advised to use the mini crossfader for EQ. For a novice DJ, it will be better to practice using your headphones before you perform it live. With the help of a knob, you can EQ your tracks by switching from channel 1 to 2.
Finding The Best Headphones
The market is flooded with tons of DJ headphones; this makes it a daunting and a confusing task to choose a headphone. You have to consider plenty of things when selecting a headphone. By paying attention to these factors, you will be able to buy the perfect headphones for your needs.
- Noise Isolation
- Clear sound and adequate bass
- Comfortable and durable
- Moveable ear cups or swivel
Tips for Beginners
- You should practice this at home.
- You can use the cue mix knob to keep a check on the record you are mixing.
- Try it out at your next gig.
Overall, you can invest in the quality headphones for cueing. With these tips, you can master the skill of cueing and improve your DJing skills. Sometimes, you have to mix the tracks without the monitors. In such a circumstance, you can use headphones for cueing and beatmixing. It is recommended to invest in comfortable headphones for improving your skills. You must have comprehensive knowledge about the headphones before you head out to the market.