Power Block Mixing: Tutorial for DJs

Tools Needed: Mixed In Key 8, DJ controller

“Power Block Mixing” combines two different DJ techniques. Power Mixing describes the action of playing a new song every 30-60 seconds, while Block Mixing is dropping songs in the same key in “blocks”, such as 8A, 8A, 8A, 8A, then 3A, 3A, 3A, 3A.

A huge number of top DJs use this technique regularly, including Armin Van Buuren, Zedd, KSHMR and Skrillex. Power Block Mixing is a sure fire way to impress your audience by combining familiarity with fresh style and skills.


Reference video

Reference Video: Dj Puffy - Mixed In Key Episode #1 (8A)


Build a Mixed In Key playlist

You'll need Mixed In Key 8 to analyze your Cue Points and get your Mixed In Key Results. Mixed In Key 8 makes this process easy. To start, open up MIK and analyze your entire music collection. Create a new playlist like "Power 8A" and drag songs into it. You should choose songs that have the same key. In the reference video DJ Puffy chooses to use the key of 8A, also known as A Minor.

If you want to play Power Block mixes in different keys, you should create a separate playlist for each key. As the software analyzes the playlist, you can sort the tracks by key, tempo and energy. MIK also automatically adds cue points to the metadata of your tracks for easy power mixing.

Mixed In Key adds Cue Points at the beginning of the verses, hooks, and breakdowns of the tracks. You can check the results inside the audio player, then drag the cue points left and right for fine tuning. If there’s a section of a song you’d like to add a cue point to manually - click the “Add Cue” icon. These cue points will automatically sync with Traktor or Serato DJ.


Mix quickly in the same key

In the video DJ Puffy finds the catchiest parts of the songs, and then mixes in and out of the tracks within 30 seconds. In this way he paints a new sound - almost akin to a mashup. It retains the familiarity of the chosen songs, while being able to shuffle through the tracks at a rapid speed, keeping the listener engaged and enthralled. It's like playing a DJ routine for a turntablism competition. The cool thing about Power Block mixing is that it works great in club and festival sets because the rhythm and beat is never broken - and people can dance to it the entire time.

Notice how Puffy loads the middle of the song using a cue point. He's not playing the long, boring intro. He jumps into the most recognizable and interesting part. That's why you need to have Cue Points created by Mixed In Key inside every track you play - otherwise you wouldn't be able to load the "right" part of the song quickly enough.

Power Block Mixing offers a lot of freedom to play with the energy of the audience. For example, if you’ve played 4 songs that were huge bangers, you can play a low energy song for 10 seconds and drop into a huge festival anthem again. Don’t forget to give the crowd breaks so they don’t get exhausted from trying to dance to the same energy level for an hour straight. Power Block mixing differs from the standard mixing as you’re re-editing songs on the fly to remove the stagnant parts. It’s possible that you’ll forget to give the crowd a break unless you really pay attention to your audience. If they slow down or stop dancing - lower the energy - it means they need a physical break.


Ready to try it? Prep your Cue Points and Mixed In Key Results

Here's a quick start guide:

  • Analyze your entire collection with Mixed In Key
  • Decide what key you want to play inside your Power Block (example: 5A)
  • Find all songs in 5A that you like, and group them into one Playlist
  • Load that playlist in your DJ software like Serato, Traktor, rekordbox or CDJs
  • Play all the songs quickly! Stay in the same key..
  • .. and use Cue Points to play the most exciting parts of songs that you want to sample

Get the latest version of Mixed In Key on the Buy Now page.


Pro tip: If you’re playing music that’s a slower BPM around 70-90 BPM, find some Drum n’ Bass or Trap tracks that sounds good at double tempo. All you need to do is look for tracks that are exactly 2x the tempo of your current track. For example, if you’re playing a 70 bpm reggae track, find a 140 BPM trap song. When you mix them together, they will beatmatch perfectly if their BPMs are exactly 2x. That’s why a lot of hip hop can mix so well with drum and bass, because 85 BPM and 170 BPM sound so good together. When you’re doing a power block set at a slower tempo, drop in a couple double-tempo tracks to sound like a master.