Ultimate DJ Glossary: 140+ DJ Terms & Definitions (Updated 2024)

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Welcome to the ultimate glossary, filled with over 140+ DJ terms and definitions. With over 10 years of experience as a DJ, I’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you navigate diverse terms and phrases used in the DJ world. 

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out, this glossary covers a wide range of terms. So, if you come across a term you’re not familiar with, you can look it up here. 

Note: This glossary is regularly updated. So if you can’t find a term you’re looking for, just drop a comment below, and we’ll add it. 
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A vocal track without any accompanying music or instruments.

Air horn 

A sample or sound effect commonly used in DJ performances to hype up the audience.



A technique where a DJ spins a record backward to create a rewinding effect.

Balancing levels 

The process of adjusting the volume levels of different audio elements in a mix, ensuring that each element can be clearly heard without overpowering others.


A unit of musical time that typically consists of a fixed number of beats, used as a reference for structuring songs and mixing in DJing.


The low-frequency range of an audio signal, responsible for the deep, powerful sounds in music, such as basslines and kick drums.


A repeating pattern of low-frequency notes that forms the foundation of a musical composition, providing rhythmic and harmonic support.


The basic unit of rhythm in music, typically represented by a single drum hit.

Beat grid 

A visual representation of the beats in a track, often used in DJ software to help with beatmatching and cueing.

Beat juggling 

A technique in which a DJ manipulates two copies of the same record to create new rhythms and patterns.


The process of synchronizing the tempo of two tracks so they can be mixed together seamlessly.

Beat roll 

A looping effect that repeats a short section of a track in time with the beat, often used for transitions or build-ups.


An audio effect that reduces the bit depth and sample rate of an audio signal, creating a distorted, lo-fi sound.


Beats per minute, the unit used to measure the tempo of a track.

BPM sync 

A feature in DJ software that automatically aligns the BPM of two tracks, making beatmatching easier.


A section of a song where the rhythm and melody change or stop, often used as a transition point for mixing.


A genre of electronic music characterized by the use of syncopated drum patterns and heavy basslines.


A section in a track where the main elements, such as drums and bass, are reduced or removed, creating a moment of tension before building back up to the main groove.


The section of a song that connects two different parts, often used as a transition point for mixing.


Camelot wheel 

A visual representation of musical keys, used to help DJs find harmonically compatible tracks for mixing.


Compact Disc, a digital optical disc storage format used for storing and playing audio files, including music tracks for DJing.


A single audio track or input on a mixer.


A scratching technique that involves quickly moving the record back and forth while opening and closing the crossfader.


The part of a song that is repeated throughout, usually with the most memorable melody or lyrics.


A hardware device used by DJs to interact with and control DJ software, featuring various controls such as knobs, faders, and buttons for manipulating audio tracks.


Legal protection granted to the creators of original works, such as music, which gives them exclusive rights to control the reproduction, distribution, and performance of their work.


A scratching technique that involves rapidly tapping the crossfader with multiple fingers, creating a series of quick cuts.

Crowd response 

The reaction of an audience to a DJ’s performance, often used as a measure of success or engagement.


A control on a mixer that allows a DJ to transition between two audio sources.

Cue point 

A pre-determined point in a track that a DJ uses as a reference for mixing or sampling.


A technique where a DJ quickly moves between two records to create a new rhythm or pattern.



Digital Audio Workstation, is a software application used to produce, record, and edit audio.


A device used by DJs to play and manipulate audio, such as a turntable or CDJ.

Digital DJing 

The practice of using digital media and software to DJ, as opposed to traditional vinyl records.

Digital Vinyl System (DVS) 

A technology that allows DJs to control digital audio files on a computer using traditional vinyl records and turntables, simulating the feel and experience of mixing with vinyl while providing the flexibility and convenience of digital music.

DJ booth 

The designated area in a venue where the DJ performs.

DJ set 

A live performance by a DJ, typically consisting of a continuous mix of tracks.

DJ Software 

A computer program that allows DJs to mix and manipulate digital audio files, offering features such as beatmatching, looping, and effects processing.

Double drop 

A mixing technique where two tracks are brought in simultaneously, often used in drum and bass to create an energetic blend.


The point in a track where the bass and rhythm section comes back in after a buildup or breakdown.

Drum pad 

A touch-sensitive surface on a DJ controller or sampler, used to trigger samples, loops, or effects.


A one-off vinyl record cut specifically for a DJ to play exclusive tracks or remixes.



An audio effect that creates a series of repeating, decaying sound reflections.


A modified version of a music track, often created by a DJ or producer, that features changes to the original arrangement or structure, such as extended intros, outros, or rearranged sections, to better suit a specific context or DJ set.


Equalization, the process of adjusting the balance of frequencies in an audio signal.



A control on a mixer or controller that adjusts the volume level of an audio signal, used for transitioning between tracks or adjusting individual elements in a mix.


An audio effect that removes certain frequencies from an audio signal, such as a high-pass or low-pass filter.


An audio effect that creates a sweeping, metallic sound by combining a delayed signal with the original.


A rhythmic pattern common in dance music, where a bass drum is played on every beat.


Short for “effects,” these are audio processing tools that alter the sound of an audio signal by applying various modifications, such as reverb, delay, or filters, to create unique and engaging textures during a DJ performance.



The level of amplification applied to an audio signal.

Gain Structure 

The process of setting and managing the gain levels of individual audio sources and the overall mix, ensuring a balanced and distortion-free sound during a DJ performance.


A style of electronic music characterized by the use of digital artifacts, such as skips, clicks, and distortion.


A flexible microphone stand commonly used in DJ booths.



A technique where the tempo of a track is halved, creating a slower, more relaxed feel.

Hamster switch 

A switch on a mixer that reverses the direction of the crossfader.

Harmonic mixing 

The practice of mixing tracks with compatible keys or musical elements to create a more harmonious blend.

Headphone cueing 

The practice of listening to an upcoming track through headphones while another track plays over the speakers, allowing the DJ to prepare for the mix.

Headphone monitor 

A function on DJ mixers and controllers that allows DJs to listen to an individual audio source or a combination of sources through headphones, without affecting the main output heard by the audience.

High-pass filter 

An audio filter that removes low frequencies, allowing high frequencies to pass through.

Hot cue 

A cue point that can be instantly triggered during a performance, often used for creative mixing or live remixing.

House music 

A genre of electronic dance music characterized by a repetitive four-on-the-floor beat and synthesized basslines.


A catchy, memorable musical phrase or element, often found in the chorus of a song, that captures the listener’s attention and makes the song memorable.



The beginning section of a track, which sets the tone and establishes the main elements of the composition, often used by DJs as a starting point for mixing.


An EQ control that completely removes a specific frequency range from an audio signal.


Jog wheel 

A control on a DJ controller or CDJ that emulates the feel of a vinyl record, allowing for pitch bending, scratching, and other vinyl-style techniques.



A feature on DJ software and hardware that maintains the pitch of a track when its tempo is changed.



The collection of tracks and samples available to a DJ in their software or on their device.


An individual audio signal or source, such as a turntable, CDJ, or digital audio file, that is connected to a mixer or controller for mixing and manipulation.

Line Fader 

A volume control on a DJ mixer or controller that adjusts the level of an individual line input, allowing DJs to mix between multiple audio sources.


A repeated section of a track, often used for extending a mix or creating a live remix.

Low-pass filter 

An audio filter that removes high frequencies, allowing low frequencies to pass through.



A DJ technique that combines elements from two or more different tracks, such as vocals from one song and the instrumental from another, to create a new, unique musical composition.

Master output 

The main audio output of a DJ mixer, which is sent to the speakers.


Musical Instrument Digital Interface, a protocol for communicating musical information between digital devices.

MIDI mapping 

The process of assigning MIDI controls to specific functions in DJ software or hardware.

Mid-pass filter 

An audio filter that attenuates frequencies above and below a specific range, allowing only the mid-frequency content to pass through. This can be used to isolate and emphasize specific elements of a track, such as vocals or melodic instruments.


A section in a song, typically eight bars long, that occurs after the second chorus and provides a contrast or change in the song’s structure, often featuring different chords, melody, or instrumentation.


The process of blending and transitioning between multiple audio tracks during a DJ performance, creating a seamless and engaging listening experience.


An audio device that allows DJs to combine and manipulate multiple audio sources, such as turntables, CDJs, or digital audio files, featuring controls for volume, EQ, and effects.


A speaker used by the DJ to hear the mix while performing, typically positioned in the DJ booth.


A widely-used digital audio file format that compresses audio data, allowing for efficient storage and transmission while maintaining acceptable sound quality. MP3 files are commonly used by DJs for their digital music collections.

Multi-effects unit 

A device or software plugin that provides multiple audio effects for DJs to use in their mixes, such as reverb, delay, and filters.


Needle drop 

The technique of placing the needle on a vinyl record at a specific point to quickly access a desired section of the track.

Needle skipping 

The unintentional movement of the needle on a vinyl record during playback, often caused by vibrations or a worn stylus.


To slightly adjust the position or speed of a track during playback, often used for fine-tuning beatmatching.



A term used to indicate that a DJ is currently broadcasting or performing live, either on the radio or in a venue.


The ending section of a track, where the main elements gradually fade out or come to a resolution, often used by DJs as a transition point for mixing out of a track.



An audio effect that creates a sweeping, spatial sound by combining a phase-shifted signal with the original.


Short for “phonograph,” this term refers to the input on a DJ mixer or audio interface that is specifically designed to connect a turntable, accommodating the unique signal characteristics of vinyl records.


A section of a music track that represents a complete musical idea, typically consisting of a set number of bars. DJs often use phrasing to align the structure of different tracks when mixing, ensuring smooth and coherent transitions.


The perceived frequency of a sound, which can be adjusted on a DJ deck to change the tempo of a track.

Pitch bend 

A technique used to momentarily change the pitch of a track, often used for beatmatching or creative mixing.

Pitch range 

The range of pitch adjustment available on a DJ deck, typically expressed as a percentage of the original tempo.


The rotating surface of a turntable or CDJ that holds the vinyl record or CD.


An audio effect or control that is applied after the crossfader, affecting the output signal.


An audio effect or control that is applied before the crossfader, affecting the input signal.



The process of aligning beats or notes to a fixed grid, often used in digital DJing for precise timing.



An audio effect that simulates the natural reflections of sound in a space, creating a sense of depth and ambiance.


The pattern of beats and accents in music, which forms the foundation of DJing and dance music.



A device or software application that allows a DJ to play and manipulate short audio clips or samples.


A technique in which a DJ moves a vinyl record back and forth on a turntable to create rhythmic sounds.


A popular digital DJ software platform that allows users to mix and manipulate digital audio files using a variety of hardware controllers and DVS setups.


A thin, slippery mat placed between the platter and the record, allowing the DJ to manipulate the record without stopping the platter from spinning.

Slip mode 

A feature on some DJ decks and controllers that allows the playback of a track to continue silently in the background while the DJ manipulates the audio, returning to the correct position once the manipulation is stopped.


Individual tracks or elements within a piece of music, such as drums, bass, or vocals, that can be isolated and manipulated independently in a DJ set or remix.


A rhythmic quality that gives music a sense of movement and groove, often used to describe the timing of beats in genres like jazz or hip-hop.


A feature on DJ software and hardware that automatically matches the tempo of two tracks, making beatmatching easier.



The speed at which a piece of music is played, measured in BPM.

Tempo slider 

A control on a DJ deck that adjusts the tempo of a track, allowing the DJ to match the BPM of two tracks for seamless mixing.


A digital signal embedded in a vinyl record or CD, allowing a DJ to control digital audio files with traditional DJ equipment.


The arm on a turntable that holds the needle and cartridge, allowing them to track the grooves of a vinyl record.

Tone play 

A DJ technique that involves manipulating the pitch of samples or tracks to create new melodies or harmonies.


A single piece of recorded music, often used interchangeably with “song.”

Track analysis 

The process of scanning a track in DJ software to determine its BPM, key, and other musical attributes for use in mixing and organizing.

Track gain 

An adjustable control in DJ software that sets the overall volume of a track, helping to maintain consistent levels between different tracks in a mix.


A popular digital DJ software platform developed by Native Instruments, offering a range of features for mixing and manipulating digital audio files.


The process of moving from one track to another during a DJ set, typically accomplished through mixing or fading.

Transformer scratch 

A scratching technique that involves rapidly moving the crossfader in sync with the record, creating a series of short, rhythmic cuts.


A device used by DJs to play and manipulate vinyl records, consisting of a platter, tonearm, and needle.


The art of manipulating sounds and creating music using turntables and a mixer, often involving techniques like scratching and beat juggling.



A volume control on a DJ mixer that adjusts the level of an individual channel, allowing the DJ to mix between multiple audio sources.



A type of analog audio storage medium, typically in the form of a 12-inch or 7-inch disc, used by DJs for mixing and scratching.

Vinyl emulation 

A feature in digital DJ software that replicates the feel and behavior of vinyl records, allowing DJs to perform techniques like scratching and beat juggling using digital audio files.

Vinyl mode

A setting on some DJ controllers and CDJs that enables the jog wheel to behave like a vinyl record, allowing for scratching and other vinyl-style techniques.


Virtual Studio Technology, a software interface that allows audio plugins to be used within digital audio workstations and DJ software.

VU meter 

A visual indicator on a mixer or audio device that displays the level of an audio signal.



A visual representation of an audio signal, often displayed in DJ software to help with beatmatching and cueing.

Wavetable synthesis 

A type of digital synthesis that uses samples of different waveforms to generate sounds, commonly found in modern synthesizers and software instruments.


A control on an audio effect that adjusts the balance between the original signal (dry) and the processed signal (wet).

White label 

A promotional vinyl record with a plain white label, often used to test audience reactions before an official release.



A type of audio connector commonly used for microphones and professional audio equipment.

X-fader curve 

An adjustable setting on a DJ mixer that changes the behavior of the crossfader, allowing for smoother fades or sharper cuts depending on the DJ’s preference.


A series of DJ mixers and controllers developed by Allen & Heath, known for their high-quality audio components and unique features.


Zero beat 

The point at which two tracks are perfectly aligned in their beat structure, allowing for seamless mixing.

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Having DJ'd for several years, Chaz enjoys sourcing undiscovered tracks to come out of the underground scene. When he's not blogging about DJing, Chaz enjoys cycling around the city as well as traveling around the world.

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