How to DJ Vinyl

When it comes to DJing, there's something special about spinning vinyl. We've mastered the art of DJing with vinyl and we're here to show you how.

DJing with vinyl may seem daunting at first, but the rewards are worth it. From the warm sound to the technical skills, vinyl offers a unique experience that digital files just can't match.

So, let's dive into the world of vinyl DJing and discover the essential techniques for mixing tracks and scratching records. It's a journey that every DJ should experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Having a complete vinyl DJ setup with turntables, a DJ mixer, headphones, and speakers is essential for vinyl DJing.
  • Building a diverse and tailored collection of vinyl records from various sources is important for having options in live sets.
  • When selecting records of matching genre, prioritize cohesion and flow within DJ sets and explore various sub-genres to broaden the collection.
  • Mastering the techniques of cueing up the first beat and beat matching is crucial for creating seamless transitions between tracks in vinyl DJing.

Vinyl DJ Setup

For our vinyl DJ setup, we rely on a pair of Technics turntables as our essential equipment. Having two turntables is crucial for mixing vinyl and learning how to mix effectively.

Beat matching is a fundamental aspect of vinyl DJing, and with our DJ setup, we've honed our DJing skills by practicing this technique. Additionally, a high-quality DJ mixer is essential for connecting the turntables and controlling the sound in our vinyl DJ setup.

When it comes to vinyl mixing, the right equipment plays a significant role in achieving seamless transitions and creating an immersive experience for the audience. We've also invested in a set of high-quality closed-back headphones for monitoring and cueing during our vinyl DJing sessions.

Furthermore, having main speakers and possibly a monitor speaker is necessary for our vinyl DJ setup to output the sound to the audience. Proper setup, calibration, and maintenance of our vinyl records and equipment are crucial for ensuring that our vinyl DJ setup operates smoothly and delivers a high-quality sound experience.

Step 1: Compile Your Record Collection

We began compiling our record collection by seeking out vinyl records from various sources, including online stores, local thrift shops, and websites like Discogs, to ensure a diverse and unique selection for our DJing journey.

The first step in building a collection is to consider tracks with similar beats per minute and production styles. This makes it easier to learn DJing with vinyl and facilitates smooth mixing. When selecting vinyl records, we need to use those that have similar beat patterns and phrasing. This not only aids in the learning process but also makes mixing more seamless.

It's important to explore online stores like Boomkat or websites like Discogs and local thrift stores for rare and original music not found in mainstream collections. By doing so, we can develop a diverse and tailored collection of vinyl records, giving us more options and flexibility in our live sets.

This approach allows us to have a well-rounded selection that caters to various moods and atmospheres, enhancing our overall DJing experience.

Step 2: Pick Records Of Matching Genre

Step 2: When selecting records of matching genre, we prioritize cohesion and flow within our DJ sets. This is crucial for learning how to DJ with vinyl records and mastering the art of mixing. To ensure a seamless mixing experience, we consider the following:

  • Vinyl Releases: Keep an eye out for vinyl releases within your preferred genre, as they often offer unique and high-quality tracks suitable for mixing.
  • House Music: House music provides a diverse range of DJ-friendly tracks with clear sections for mixing, making it an excellent choice for those learning to mix on vinyl.
  • Types of DJ: Explore various sub-genres within your chosen genre to broaden your record collection and cater to different audiences.

Step 3: Cue Up The First Beat

When selecting records of matching genre, we prioritize cohesion and flow within our DJ sets, ensuring a seamless mixing experience by cueing up the first beat with precision and synchronization.

To start, we need to learn how to identify the first beat of a bar in a track. This is often marked by the kick drum or a prominent sound that signifies the beginning of a new musical phrase.

As we prepare to mix, we locate the incoming track's first beat and set a cue point at this position. With the tone arm placed gently on the record, we rotate it back and forth to hear the beat and ensure it aligns with the playing track. It's essential to find the exact moment when the two tracks are in sync, allowing for a smooth transition between them.

This step is fundamental when learning how to mix and is a crucial skill for DJing with vinyl. By mastering the technique of cueing up the first beat, we can create a cohesive and uninterrupted flow in our DJ sets, captivating our audience with seamless transitions.

Step 4: Beat Match The Tracks

To achieve seamless transitions between tracks, our focus shifts to beat matching using a combination of tempo adjustments and manual techniques. Beat matching is a crucial skill to master for DJs working with vinyl, and it involves syncing the tempo and beats of two tracks to create a smooth transition.

Here are three essential techniques for beat matching with vinyl:

  • Utilize the pitch control: Adjust the pitch control on the turntable to match the tempo of the incoming track with the playing track. Fine-tune the pitch until the beats are aligned, ensuring a seamless transition.
  • Manual syncing: Use manual techniques such as nudging the platter or gently applying pressure to the outer edge of the spinning vinyl to keep the beats in sync. This hands-on approach allows for precise adjustments to maintain synchronization between the tracks.
  • Monitor the needle: Keep a close eye (and ear) on the needle to ensure that both tracks are spinning at the same tempo. By carefully monitoring the needle's movement, DJs can make real-time adjustments to maintain beatmatching accuracy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Start DJing on Vinyl?

We start DJing on vinyl by building a record collection and understanding vinyl equipment. As we delve into mixing techniques and beat matching, we also learn about turntable maintenance, scratching basics, and cueing records. Additionally, we explore the differences between vinyl and digital DJing, all while gathering valuable vinyl DJing tips.

Is It Harder to DJ With Vinyl?

Is it harder to DJ with vinyl? Absolutely, vinyl vs digital requires more precision in turntable technique and mixing. Vinyl collecting adds nostalgia and sound quality, but also demands meticulous care and specialized DJ equipment.

Does Anyone DJ With Vinyl Anymore?

Yes, many DJs still use vinyl. The vinyl resurgence has brought modern techniques to vinyl DJing. Vinyl's warm sound and unique feel attract DJs. Vinyl collecting, specialized equipment, and mastering vinyl mixing and scratching are integral to vinyl DJ culture.

Why Do DJs Spin Vinyl?

We spin vinyl for its analog warmth, authentic sound, and nostalgic experience. It's a resurgence driven by artistic expression, unique DJing techniques, and the physical interaction of vinyl collecting. Vinyl culture thrives, offering a distinct experience over digital.


In conclusion, DJing with vinyl is like finding hidden treasure in a musical goldmine.

The warmth and depth of the sound, the thrill of crate digging, and the technical skills it demands make it a unique and rewarding experience.

So, grab your records, cue up the beats, and let the music take you on a journey through time and sound.

Happy spinning!