Glossary of DJ Terms

Call it slang, jargon, terminology, or just a plain old list of words. Below is a list of DJ terms with their definitions for reference. If you have any more terms to suggest please contact us!


Audio Interface – An external soundcard connected to a laptop through USB or Firewire. This soundcard gives your computer a selection of usable audio inputs and outputs.

Active (Studio Monitors) – Studio monitor speakers including an active internal power source, thus eliminating the need for an external amplifier.

Bass – The lower end frequencies of an audio output.

Beatmatching – To match the BPM of two tracks in order to mix or blend the tracks.

BPM – Beats Per Minute.

Cans – Headphones

CDJ – CD Turntables play digital formats just like a vinyl turntable does. CDJ’s play many digital formats and sometimes beyond CD’s sometimes they also play music from USB.

Cue Point – A point within a track that is saved so it can quickly be returned to.

Channel – A channel refers to an audio input/output or combination of both. On a mixer a channel usually features volume and EQ control.

Crossfader – A fader found on most DJ mixes which is normally layed out horizontally rather than vertically. The crossfader controls the fade from one track to another. DJ mixers with more than two channels can sometimes have more than one track assigned to each side of the crossfader.

Decks – Referring to turntables as a pair.

Equalizer (EQ) – Is a tone control for audio. Used in mixers to change the sound of a channel.

Hamster Switch – A switch used to reverse the channels on a crossfader. This is used by scratch DJ’s who find it easier to perform some tricks and scratch techniques with the crossfader this way.

Hot Cue – This is a cue point set to a button which is available for quick access. You could also set a hot cue point using a sampler to play a loop.

Lows, Mids, & Highs – The 3 types of frequencies that a standard 3 band EQ controls. Lows are the low tones, mids are the middle range, and highs are the highest frequencies.

Passive (Studio Monitors) – Studio monitor speakers not including an active internal power source. These monitors would need an external amplifier.

Pitch Slider – The slider found on turntables, CDJ’s, and DJ controllers which allow the DJ to control the speed/pitch of a record when beatmatching.

Sampler – A sampler stores a section of audio for playback. This audio is often played in a loop and is sometimes shortened or lengthened on the fly based on the features of the sampler.

Timecode Vinyl/CD’s – Timecode disks allow you to control your favorite DJ software with turntables or CDJ’s.

Waveform – A visual representation of a piece of audio.

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