DJ Spen Remix Masterclass TUTORIAL

DJ Spen Remix Masterclass TUTORIAL

In this Remix Masterclass, legendary DJ Spen puts his knowledge and experience out there for your benefit. Over the course of two hours, he’ll take an entire remix project from start to finish – from selecting sounds and recording new ones, to even giving the track a rough mastering treatment.

With nearly 40 years in the game, DJ Spen has been involved in remixing Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Everything but the Girl, Toni Braxton, Kirk Franklin, Ann Nesby and Sean Escoffery. As well as his serious credentials, he’s also got the right attitude, which shines through in his personality and approach to music production.

Watch and learn as you see DJ Spen take on a remix of DJ Meme’s track Century from start to finish. He starts by importing the elements he’s been given, focusing on creating the backbone of the track and coming up with a basic arrangement.

Next, it’s time for Spen to drop in new elements, and he’ll have nothing but the best: he calls up a session player, Ziggy Funk, right within the session, and the two record parts when Ziggy arrives. With the new material in place, DJ Spen continues by adding some more of the source audio to the remix, finalizing the arrangement, and then sets about adding vocals. By the end, he’ll also have mixed and mastered the entire tune.

DJ Spen works with Steinberg Cubase as his DAW of choice, and the vast majority of the plugins he uses within the session are Steinberg devices. By sticking within his DAW, he shows that you don’t need the fanciest plugins in DAW-town to get a great sound, and that you don’t even need to run the latest ones – some of his plugins are legacy Cubase devices running with a 32-bit bridge!

Across 14 chapters, you’ll see the evolution of DJ Spen’s remix from empty page to mastered track. This is a masterclass that shouldn’t be missed by those who want to improve their remix game – a skill that can set a career alight under the right conditions!

DJ Spen Remix Masterclass

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
    DJ Spen introduces the course, recreating the moment he unpacked the track and materials he’d received from DJ Meme.
  • Chapter 2: Making Arrangements
    DJ Spen arranges files and starts setting up the beat in Cubase. He even calls a session player to arrange recording as part of the remix.
  • Chapter 3: Fleshing out the Groove
    Ziggy Funk arrives in the studio. While he gets ready, DJ Spen builds the beat to make a solid foundation ready for recording over.
  • Chapter 4: Recording Bass
    Ziggy Funk and DJ Spen lay down some bass over the project to set the tone, demonstrating how a producer and player can work together.
  • Chapter 5: The Keys to Rhythm
    Some rhythmic chord stabs are laid down with a Korg M1 piano sound, giving the work-in-progress some more harmonic identity.
  • Chapter 6: Altering Melodies and Sounds
    The bassline is retuned slightly in Cubase to alter its melody, and another re-record of the keys is made, firming up the rhythm section.
  • Chapter 7: Adding Strings
    A pad sound is brought into the track to carry the musical feel along under the sparse chords. This has to work with the orchestral sample.
  • Chapter 8: More Musical Additions
    Ziggy and DJ Spen add some high-frequency elements and other melodic parts to give more fodder for the track.
  • Chapter 9: Mixing with EQ and Compression
    Back on his own, DJ Spen works on the beat using EQ and compression on its elements to tailor the sound for frequency content and power.
  • Chapter 10: Mixing Synths and More
    DJ Spen mixes the rest of the tune, taking on the synths with EQ and compression, and demonstrating his multiband compression tastes.
  • Chapter 11: Rounding out the Arrangement
    The original track elements are brought back in, and work is done on the lead and background elements, resulting in a whole arrangement.
  • Chapter 12: Adding Vocals
    DJ Spen records two layers of vocal parts into the tune, fine-tuning and mixing each to make them both work with each other and the track.
  • Chapter 13: Rough Mastering
    Time for the final stage of any production. DJ Spen takes us through the stereo, multiband compression, EQ and limiting for a rough master.
  • Chapter 14: Track Playthrough
    See and hear the final track playing from within the DAW project to see the end result of the whole course.

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