DnB mixing tips

kkm Member Posts: 2 Newcomer

Hi all!

I've been mixing a lot of music for about 10 years now, but recently started mixing DnB again.

A lot of bomb tracks in the genre right now, but the 3-min ones are getting me to a basic level. I've love DnB for a very long time, but I was focused on minimal and techno, for a long time, in which time I didn't really listen to DnB.

Anyways, to get straight to the point, if anyone has some good experience, or guides on how to set up a nice DnB playlist (what to look for, for cue points, good key's that go along well, you know that kind of stuff), and to mix it properly, would be appreciated. I know it's a huge question, but I'm just looking for some tips here and there.


  • Milos
    Milos Member Posts: 1,842 Pro


    If you mean that you want to mix your tracks more efficently, maybe I can help.

    Use KiloHearts Dynamics plugin for the master mix (it is free, it is from KiloHearts Essentials and all the other effects from Essentials are also free!)

    You can use it for any genre.

    Put the KiloHearts Dynamics into the mester fx chain, experiment with the knobs of this plugin, but make sure you use the dry/wet knob, here is why:

    1.For making more creative approach to the way you mix.

    2.So that you can hear the compressed and the raw signal at the same time!

    With that, you will achive a great step up in the quality while retaining the vibes and emotions from your track!

    Let me know if it helped!

  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,462 Expert

    Think he is more looking for suggestions on songs to beat match and mix together.

    I loved DnB back in the day, I kind of found mixing it little challenge TBH because almost everything is at 170bpm and key is almost not needed because the beat is usually the predominant thing, the trick is cutting in on the breakdowns or key changes etc. Like DJing house, it's like trying to match a pair of socks when all your socks are black :)

    I assume being on the NI forum you use Traktor, doesn't really matter but I use Serato and what I usually do to make a "mix" or practice a set list or something is first just crate flip through songs, usually while i'm just chilling out the back and tag things into a crate first, I may get 50 songs that I like. If you are unsure, check what some of the real popular tracks are and make sure to include some in your mix along with some not so mainstream ones as this will help people identify songs in your mix and take more notice of the fine work you are doing (or the poor job of butchering them)

    Next I check to make sure each is correctly analysed and beat detected so any effects are correctly locked. I just randomly pick a track as a start and what I will do is order the playlist by the songs I start with and mix, usually add a comment to ID the order then start experimenting.

    If the songs have a lot of melody, you want to be around the same key ideally if you plan to extend mix OR find the breakdown/transition parts in the song which you can usually do with the waveform overview, add a marker as a reminder then aim to do your mix there. Try to also keep to the formula of allowing those breakdown and build up areas too as you don't want to quick mix things and have a 30 minute block of solid energy, you will kill people who can't stop themselves.

    If it doesn't work first time, start over and try again. If it works, lock those songs in as the order and continue. If it doesn't, try a different song.

    Lastly, aim for good mixes and less technical flair. No one is impressed that you can mix on the dancefloor, being an enthusiast on both sides the worst thing you can listen to in a club is a DJ fumbling tricks trying to be impressive to your favourite track, but having a really solid and flowing mix with simple flair can be a great experience so keep the effects and tricks simple and don't layer things for too long.

    It takes a decent amount of time to make a good session as it should and no amount of suggestions will replace the invested time needed. Anyone can simply beat match (cough, beat lock...) 2 songs and xfade them together, AI does that these days and DJs are dying the way records did, sometimes it sounds pretty good but what makes things sound great is when you listen for 15 minutes and dont really notice the transitions

  • Milos
    Milos Member Posts: 1,842 Pro

    Understandable, Mgee.

    By the way, in which way you mix your tracks?

    Just curious.

  • kkm
    kkm Member Posts: 2 Newcomer

    @Milos Thanks for the suggestions mate, however, I was referring to mixing tracks together, not mixing and mastering. Will keep in mind the tips! Since I love electronic music I used to produce (or at least try) a lot, but after an unfortunate break down of an old HDD, all the VSTs and Samples I've collected through the years were gone, and honestly I don't have the time to start looking for all of them allover again. But will keep in mind your tips if I ever decide to mess around with production. =]

    @JesterMgee Solid advice mate! Appreciate it a lot!

    "Next I check to make sure each is correctly analyzed and beat detected so any effects are correctly locked." - you mentioned that you are using Serato, but I'll shoot anyways: A month passed, and I'm mixing a lot of DnB, however, I've noticed that the beat grids of DnB tracks are often not on par with the actual track (in Trakor 3), and the sync option often becomes useless. When I try to use it for convenience, it usually plays the track 2-3 beats ahead of what is needed for a fluent mix. It's such a pain in the @ss.

    Do you have any experience with Traktor, and do you have an idea how the grid can be adjusted, to avoid this weird skip?

    Not using the Sync function, is an option (which is what I'm doing now for 90% of the tracks), but when you have the majority of tracks that are 3-4 mins long (1-2 mins of which are intro and breakdown), it's quite the hassle to mix without the sync. I don't want to cut through the tracks, since with a good selection, there is a lot of potential for double-downs (having 2 tracks play as one), and a third deck ready to carry out the mix.

    Coming from a lot of house, tech house and techno mixing, this really bothers me. For the aforementioned genres it's easy AF, since they are 4x4 beats, and are incredibly easy to layer and mix.

Back To Top