Mashups are when a DJ or producer mixes multiple pre-existing songs into a singular original project. Some may think the mashup process is as simple as cutting two songs together, but it’s more complicated than that. If you want yours to sound good, it is essential to understand the basic concepts of mashups.

Some DJs think Mashups are the essential skill for DJs to differentiate themselves. More than a mixtape and more complicated than a beat match, a mashup demonstrates both your technical and musical skill. And, as one DJ writes, “A good mashup can change your life.”

What Do I Need to Get Started?

Not much! As long as you have a good Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) such as Ableton Live, FL Studio, or Logic Pro, you should be good to go.

However, if you want to cut time out of the process, you should get beat-matching software and a key-matching tool. This allows you to save some time by cutting out a few of the steps. 

Mashups are complicated. That’s what makes them so fun to listen to. Here are some considerations to get you started:

7 Tips to Create Killer Song Mashups

  1. Choose your music wisely. Choose tracks with similar beats per minute (BPM). A beat-matching tool can help, but you notice the change in tempo less if the BPMs are already close. Also, the song should also be in the same key. The BPMs and keys are usually listed on the tracks, which can help guide your decisions on what to put with what.
  2. Mix and match track parts. Using an instrumental of one song and the vocals of another is an interesting place to start a mash up project.
  3. Take it easy on samples. Beginners or professional DJs alike can fall into the trap of using too many samples. But remember, just because your preferred DAW has 300 samples doesn’t mean you have to use all of them.
  4. Apply equalization (EQ) and effects to the vocals. One of the best ways to make your mashup stand out is to use EQ on the vocals. However, even afterward, your songs can still sound dry. If so, try sound effects, such as reverb, filters, delays, etc., to finesse the sound.
  5. Get the levels right. Volume inequities create problems, too. If your vocals are too loud or soft compared to the instrumental, it can ruin your track. Re-level your vocals until they fit the instrumental.
  6. Listen with fresh ears. After a while, your ear needs a break. Time away gives your creative side a chance to develop new ideas. Plus, taking a break can also ensure you hear the flaws that you missed in the initial edit.
  7. Practice makes perfect. You aren’t going to make your masterpiece mashup on the first try. Get some feedback on your work from trusted sources and continue to experiment and try new things. Remember, the essential tool of a DJ, more than the software, the track, or the sound system, is the ear. Practicing your craft is one of the best ways to train your ear and improve your sound.


Mashups can differentiate your mixtapes and sets from the many projects out there. They can also provide experience and insight into the music production world. If you choose your source material wisely, leverage the different parts and software tricks you have available, and take your time building the track, you can improve your mashup skills and create your unique sound.

Sources:

Morse, Phil. 5 Reasons Why DJs Should Make Mash-ups (Not Mixtapes) To Get Bookings. Retrieved 9 February 2011, from https://www.digitaldjtips.com/2011/02/djs-make-mash-ups-not-mixtapes/

How To Mashup Songs (Using Free or Paid DAW Software). (2021). Retrieved 29 December 2021, from https://djcity.com.au/blog/how-to-mashup-songs-using-free-or-paid-daw-software/ 

How To Make A Mashup: 9 Tips You Need To Know. (2021). Retrieved 29 December 2021, from https://www.betterdjing.com/how-to-make-a-mashup/ 

David, J. (2021). 7 Tips For Creating Awesome Covers and Mashups. Retrieved 29 December 2021, from http://www.fightingfriday.com/boston-band-blog/7-tips-how-to-creating-awesome-covers-and-mashups 

4 Easy Steps To Making Your First Ever Mashup – Digital DJ Tips. (2021). Retrieved 29 December 2021, from https://www.digitaldjtips.com/2012/03/how-to-make-a-mashup/ 

“What Are DJ Samples & How To Use Them Correctly?”. Learn How To DJ – Grab Free DJ Lessons At Howtodjfast.Com, 2013, http://www.howtodjfast.com/dj-samples-correctly/