Transitions DJ


Mixing is the art of taking two or more pieces of music and combining them into a single work. The principle technique for mixing music is beatmatching, in which a DJ synchronizes the beats of two songs.


Beatmatching is a technique used to align the beats of two songs so that they are in sync with each other. In order for the beats to be in sync, two things must be true:

  1. The songs are playing at the same tempo i.e. the time between beats is the same in both songs.
  2. The beats must be in phase i.e. rhythmic notes (bass drum, snare drum, etc.) occur at the same times.

Transitions DJ has two buttons corresponding to items 1 and 2 that can be used to beatmatch:

  1. The toolbar button labeled 'sync' will synchronize the tempos of the two songs when enabled.
  2. The grid lock button beneath the magnifier slider will lock both songs in phase when enabled.

By enabling both buttons, the songs will be beatmatched. If the grid lock and sync are enabled, but the beats of the song do not sound in sync, the tempo may be set incorrectly. See Changing the BPM for how to adjust the tempo.


Crossfading is a technique for transitioning from one song to another during a mix, used together with beatmatching. The usual pattern of mixing music is to have a single song playing, bringing a second song in so that both songs are playing simultaneously, and then fading out the first song out so that only the second song is playing.

A crossfade is accomplished using the crossfader, a slider that varies the volumes between two audio channels. The crossfader is located in the center of Transitions DJ, between the playlist and the waveforms. When the slider is positioned to the left, the song on the top deck will be heard. When the slider is positioned to the right, the song on the bottom deck will be heard. When the crossfader is positioned in the center, both songs will be heard.

To perform a crossfade from the song on the top deck to the song on the bottom deck:

  1. Position the crossfader to the extreme left so that only the song on the top deck is playing.
  2. Beatmatch the two songs and align the bottom song with the top song at the point where you would like to perform the crossfade. See the next section for tips on how to choose the crossfade point.
  3. When playback reaches the time you wish to bring in the bottom song, move the crossfader into the center position.
  4. When playback reaches the time you wish to fade out the top song, move the crossfader all the way to the right.

Choosing the Mix Point

The previous section explains how to crossfade one song into another, but does not explain how to align the two songs to produce a good mix. In order to choose a good alignment, it's important to understand how songs are structured. If you take a look at song annotations, you will notice that most sections are 8 bars or measures in length, or equivalently, 32 beats in songs with 4 bars per beat. There are exceptions, but most music you will encounter follows this pattern: songs are broken into 8 bar/32 beat sections. It is on those section boundaries where you will want to fade in one song or fade out another. So when mixing, align the section boundaries of the two songs and then fade in and out on the boundaries.

In addition to aligning songs on their phrase boundaries, there are some rules of thumb for selecting the phrase types during which to perform a crossfade. There is much flexibility on where you choose to do a fade, but you should generally avoid fading when both songs have vocals. Intros, Choruses, Breaks, Instrumentals, and Outros are the best sections to do a fade. Verses are almost always a bad time to do a fade.

Some examples of good combinations of section types for a crossfade:


To loop over a section of audio:

  1. Select the section of audio in the waveform to loop by clicking the left mouse button and dragging. The number of beats you have selected will be displayed in the waveform as make your selection.
  2. After making your selection a loop button displaying a coiled arrow icon will appear in the waveform view. Enable looping by pressing the loop button. The loop button should change color to green. When playback reaches the end of the audio selection region, it will jump back to the start of the selection region.
  3. To disable the loop, press the loop button again.

Cue points

Cue points can be created to mark particular times in a song. When triggered, playback will seek to the time marked by the cue point.

Adding a Cue Point

To add a cue point:

  1. Click the left mouse button in the waveform view at the point where you would like to add a cue point marker. A "+" button should appear to the left of the selection cursor. This is the add cue button.
  2. Click the add cue button to create a cue point. A colored marker will now appear to mark the cue point. A number will appear in the marker to indicate the key that can be pressed to trigger this cue point. There are four available key slots for each deck. If all keys have been assigned, a cue point can still be created, but it will not have a trigger key.

Triggering a cue point

There are two methods for triggering cue points:

  1. Click the left mouse button on the cue point marker in the waveform view.
  2. Press the number key assigned to the cue point. The number label on the cue point marker indicates the key associated with the cue point.

Deleting a cue point

A cue point can be deleted by clicking the "x" button next to the cue point marker. The "x" button is only visible when the mouse is near the cue point marker.

Key Lock

Transitions DJ has an option to enable key lock when the playback rate is changed using the tempo slider. When changing the playback rate using devices like turntables, the pitch of the audio will also be raised or lowered. This results in what is commmonly known as the chipmunk effect. Key lock can be enabled in Transitions DJ to preserve the original key of the music. Key lock requires a lot of computation which may result in performance problems on low-end processors.