The first rule of mixing two songs together is to make sure the BPM of the songs are the same. So what if they are not? Can you still mix them together, and if so, then what is the best way to do it? In this article I will show you exactly how you can smoothly mix two songs with different BPMs.
To mix two songs with a different BPM you need to use the tempo fader on your DJ controller, or, if you don’t have a dj controller, adjust the speed in your DJ software. Match both BPMs and you’re done. It’s really as simple as that.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind when mixing two songs with a different BPM. There are also different way to mix, depending on the BPM difference. Continue to read to learn more.
Table of Contents
- The Mixing Proces for Songs with Different BPM
The Mixing Proces for Songs with Different BPM
So you’ve found two songs that you would like to mix together. Unfortunately the BPMs are not the same. There might be a big difference like 30 bpm, or three might me a small difference like 5 pm or less.
The mixing proces of a BPM difference of 5 BPM will look way different than a Bpm difference of 30 BPM or even 50, 60 or 70 BPM.
Songs with a small BPM difference (1-10 BPM)
If the two songs you’ve chosen have a small BPM difference, then you’re in luck. This is the easiest to mix. A lot of electronic dance music songs have a bpm in these kind of ranges. So if you’re a house DJ for example, mixing songs with different BPMS will not be a problem.
Example 1 of Mixing Proces
Song 1 : 125 BPM
Song 2: 127 BPM
Now, song 1 is playing and almost reaches the part where you want to mix in the next song. You can do a couple of things
- You can adjust the bpm of song 1 to match the bpm of song 2 before it reaches the mixing point
- You can adjust the bpm of song 2 before you are starting to mix it in.
There is no right or wrong in this scenario. What I tend to do is, if I know what song 3 is going to be, I already want to be a little bit closer to song 3. So, if song 3 was 130 bpm, I would adjust song 1 to match song 2. Because going from 127 BPM to 130 BPM is a smaller difference than going from 125 BPM to 130 BPM.
Example 2 of Mixing Proces
Song 1: 120 BPM
Song 2: 130 BPM
Now this is a bit more challenging because the bpm difference is too big to just adjust one of the two songs. In this case you need to adjust both songs so that the BPMs will match each other.
So here is what you need to do
- During song one you slowly speed up the BPM until it reaches 125
- You adjust song number two match the 125 BPM of song 1
So in this case, song one needs to be faster and song 2 needs to be slower. Don’t worry though, 5 bpm is not a big enough difference to really hear the difference. Of course, someone really listening could hear the change but people on the dancefloor won’t notice. Especially when you do it slow and steady.
Songs with a medium BPM Difference (10-30 BPM)
This BPM difference is a lot more trickier than the previous one. With this BPM difference your DJ skills will be put to the test a little bit more.
Don’t worry I’ll explain exactly how you can also mix these BPM differences.
Example 1 of Mixing Proces
Song 1: 110 BPM
Song 2: 95 BPM
These song have a big BPM difference, but no BPM differences are un-mixable.
- Look for a part of song 1 that you can loop. For example an instrumental part of the song or a vocal part of the song that is isolated. Check out my article on looping if you don’t know how to do this.
- Once the part is looped, slowly adjust the tempo to match 95 or 100.
- Start song 2 with 95 BPM or 100 BPM depending on what BPM you’ve chosen. This is a difference of 5 BPM so that’s still good to mix.
In the case above, I would probably lower the BPM of song 1 to 100, because that way the tempo stays a bit higher, which the crowd often prefers.
Example 2 of Mixing Proces
For mixing BPM differences of 30 the proces is the same as the previous one.
Song 1: 70
Song 2: 100
- Find a part in song 1 that is good for a loop. Because it takes a bit longer to get to the desired BPM you might need to set a longer loop or let the loop play twice, or even more. As long as it takes you to get the BPM right.
- Adjust the BPM to match the 100 BPM of song number 2.
- Mix in song number 2 at the start of the loop.
With these bigger BPM differences you might need to change the BPM range of you DJ software. The tempo fader on your DJ controller can be limited to a certain percentage of the original BPM.
So if the original BPM of the song is 100 then the limit might be between 94 and 106. If you increase the tempo fader range you can go higher or lower, like between 84 and 116.
You need to find this setting on your DJ controller or DJ software, do you can adjust the BPM to a much higher or lower BP.
Songs with huge BPM Difference (40 and more)
Now for this BPM difference I would just tel you to drop it on the one. No mixing involved. However, sometimes a huge BPM difference might be a lot of fun.
What I’m talking about is double or half BPM mixing. This is mixing for example a song with 75 BPM with a song of 150 BPM.The beauty of this is that, although one song is much faster, both songs will stay aligned. To really grasp this, it would be best to test it out for yourself.
Example of Mixing Proces
Song 1: 80 BPM
Song 2: 162 BPM
As you can see the BPM of song 1 is almost half f the BPM of song 2. Here is how you make this work:
- Set the BPM of song 2 to 160 (because 160 is double the BPM of 80)
- Wait for the mixing out point and mix in song 2
The most important thing in mixing like this is to be aware that because song 2 is double the speed, 1 bar of song one is 2 bars in song 2. You can learn more about bars, and how it’s used in mixing, in my phrase mixing article.
No BPM difference is too big to use in your mix. There are always ways to make it work. You just have to remember that the bigger the difference, the more people will notice. Sometimes, dropping a song on the one is not a bad idea, and to mix it up, you should drop songs on the one sometimes.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me! I will be happy to help you.