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Traditionally, DJs used two turntables plugged into a DJ mixer to mix music on vinyl records.
As compact discs became popular media for publishing music, specialized high quality CD players known as CDJs were developed for DJs.
CDJs can take the place of turntables or be used together with turntables.
Many CDJs can now play digital music files from USB flash drives or SD cards in addition to CDs.
This allows the DJ to create seamless transitions between recordings and develop unique mixes of songs.
Often, this involves aligning the beats of the music sources so their rhythms do not clash when they are played together, either so two records can be played at the same time, or to enable the DJ to make a smooth transition from one song to another.
One key technique used for seamlessly transitioning from one song to another is beatmatching.
A genre of recordings DJ plays defines a genre of such DJ, for example, you can often see terms like Hip Hop DJ, House DJ, Techno DJ etc.
Most common types of DJs include radio DJ, club DJ who performs at a nightclub or Music festival and turntablist who uses record players, usually turntable, to manipulate sounds on the phonograph record.This process ensures that the selected song will mix well with the currently playing music.DJs may also use a microphone to speak to the audience; effects units such as reverb to create sound effects; and electronic musical instruments such as drum machines and synthesizers.The title "DJ" is also commonly used by DJs in front of their real names or adopted pseudonyms or stage names as a title to denote their profession (e.g., DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Q-bert).Some DJs focus on creating a good mix of songs for the club dancers or radio audience.
With the spread of portable laptop, tablet, and smartphone computers, DJs began using software together with specialized sound cards and DJ controller hardware.