The most important Digital DJ tool: Mix Now

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CJ Greiner

Supreme Gold Member
Okay... so it might not be THE most important button in your Digital DJ program, but it certainly ranks at the top of the list with "Play", "Stop", "Pause" and... what else?

Going digital means two main things:
1. Instant access and control of your music library.
2. Automation of activities that used to be time-intensive and detracted from the rest of your show.

I think we all know how important a good search function is in a DJ program -- I've tried many of the available programs, and only a few have truly functional search capabilities. The rest just don't pass muster for one reason or another.

BUT... what about the automation of mixing functions?

It used to be that to mix CD's, you'd have to:
  • Cue up the incoming CD
  • Start the incoming CD
  • While Cross-mixing
  • Stop the outgoing CD
  • Remove the outgoing CD
  • Replace the outgoing CD with the next one in line
  • ... and cue up the incoming CD.
NOW, it's all automated:

You can select mix points in advance (or some programs will do this automatically for you)
You can have the program auto-beatmix (available on some programs)
The program will automatically select the next song from the playlist
and load it and cue it automatically
If auto-mix is "on" then the program will automatically perform the entire mixing process for you
... and then cue up the next song in the playlist automatically!

GREAT.

But, there's a button that's been neglected by programmers... and it needs to be made more prominent: the "Mix Now" Button.

_____________________
A parent thinks the current Song is too sexy?
MIX NOW
The intros are over and the B&G are ready for their first dance?
MIX NOW
You have the auto-mix set to 5 seconds, but the song starts fading out at 20 seconds?
MIX NOW
You need to squeeze 5 songs into 10 minutes (must-play requests) so you want to cut each song short?
MIX NOW
The Current song is bombing, and you've cued up a sure-fire hit?
MIX NOW
You have different songs cued up for the garter, bouquet and replacement... so you only need 1 or 2 minutes of each song?
MIX NOW
.... and so many other times during the night: MIX NOW.
_______________

The problem I have is that most DJ Program designers have made the MIX NOW button way too small.

Sometimes I use my touch screen monitor -- other times I use my mouse. It doesn't matter: this button is quite often created almost as an afterthought rather than as a major control button.

I'm very happy to say that even the DAC-3 hardware controller finally includes a "Mix Now" button -- but even that is teeny-tiny next to some of the other minor controls in the middle of the controller.

I'd like to see programmers make the MIX NOW function easier to access and more prominent in the control panel. It should be easily accessible by mouse or touchscreen.

Thanks. 8)
 

DJAlan

New Member
Of course you COULD always use a keyboard shortcut... Many programs will even let you change/make your own!

How about just having to press "F7"?? (for those old WPerfect users who remember F7 means 'exit' :) )
 

dcdj

Grand Poobah
In case you didn't know, PCDJ's "mixnow" shortcut is shift+spacebar - I use it all the time.
 

CJ Greiner

Supreme Gold Member
You guys are quite right -- I could use keystrokes. Even better... program an extra keypad with the exact commands I need.

Now all we really need is one of those keypad manufacturers to make on that has buttons shaped like we need them: "Play", "Pause", "Stop", "MIX NOW"...!

Oh wait, there are manufacturers already doing that!

But as I mentioned before, even they don't give much importance to that button. Here's what the DAC-3's button looks like: (There's nothing on prior models.)



(See it up there to the right of the beatmatching and pitch control buttons? :? )
 

DJcyder

New Member
If you can't mix

MIX NOW

If you dj skills aren't up to par

MIX NOW

If you don't Have sense of rhythm

MIX NOW

If your skeered

MIX NOW


The reason why the buttons are so small is because most dj's (stereotypical wedding djs excluded) will ignore this and use a real mixer.
 

CJ Greiner

Supreme Gold Member
DJcyder said:
If you can't mix

MIX NOW

If you dj skills aren't up to par

MIX NOW

If you don't Have sense of rhythm

MIX NOW

If your skeered

MIX NOW


The reason why the buttons are so small is because most dj's (stereotypical wedding djs excluded) will ignore this and use a real mixer.
DJcyder -- From my experience as an interactive club DJ and Pro Mobile DJ, the MIX NOW button IS extremely useful -- just as useful as the other bigger buttons...

I'll not take your insults to heart.

I suspect that as you become more involved with interactive club or mobile events, you'll realize that in addition to mixing (every?) song that there are even more things a DJ can do to really make a party successful in addition to scratch-mixing the songs.

Try not to forget that most of us Pro Mobile DJs got our start as club jocks. I do personally mix some songs myself, but as I take on more and more higher-paying gigs, I have to pay more attention to what those higher-paying clients actually want, not what I think they want. (It's not scratch-mixing for sure!)

As you know, most of these programs have very accurate beat-mixing capabilities. So:

If you can mix, but don't need to for this song:

MIX NOW

If your DJ skills ARE up to par, and you realize you need to be providing more entertainment for your client besides matching the beats manually for every song:

MIX NOW

If you DO have a sense of rhythm and are capable of leading the guests in a dance or event on the dancefloor:

MIX NOW

If you're not too scared to get out from behind the mixer...

MIX NOW.

8)

The reason why the buttons are so small is because most manufacturers and programmers are trying to exactly emulate the feel and look of an actual dual-deck player... rather than focusing on the fact that the reason to switch to a computer is because you can do SO MUCH MORE with the computer than you could with standard CD players. As they become more aware of the advanced capabilities, I believe programmers/manufacturers will update their focus to match the latest technology.
 

CJ Greiner

Supreme Gold Member
P.S. DJCyder -- if your job is as a club DJ, and you're supposed to stay inside the booth... then none of the above discussion really applies, and I agree: you should be spending your time mixing / scratching the songs manually since that's your only job.

My point of view for the usefulness of MIX NOW only applies for DJs that are in interactive nightclubs where they're allowed to get out of the booth, or for Professional Mobile DJs that are required to do more than just stand behind their equipment.

If you're on the club (in the booth) side, then I completely understand your view! 8)
 

Bryan Durio

Music and Videos Moderator
OtsDJ does this any of three ways:

1. Clicking on the Next Track toolbar button, or
2. Hitting SHIFT+F1 to fade immediately from Deck A to Deck B, or
3. Hitting SHIFT+F5 to fade immediately from Deck B to Deck A

If there is no song loaded in the other deck, the next song in the Playlist will load and play.
 

Jon Bruce

Sanity Checker
MixMeister does it too. F-something.
It also has fade to pause.

I posted a while back about X-Keys (I think) which is an small programmable USB keyboard, with customizable keycaps.
 

DJcyder

New Member
Ok i've set out to design a new skin for Virtual dj here are the features.

1. there is only 1 button "mix now"
2. there is a clock in the upper left so you can check on how much time you have left.
3. It automatically loads the mb top 200 list and plays those songs in random order

skin can be used by wedding jocks everywhere. I'll keep everyone informed of its pending release. I've attached a screen shot of this new awesome skin.
 

Attachments

CJ Greiner

Supreme Gold Member
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Very funny!

I feel bad for the client that hires the DJ that downloads that skin!!!

_____________-


Also, thanks everyone for inadvertently making my point:

On your screen... reach up and touch the screen on your "mix now" button as though you had a touchscreen and see how close you come to the STOP or PAUSE... or some other button you definitely wouldn't want to press by accident!

On your keyboard, reach up and touch the F7 or other function keys... and see how close they are to the F6, the F8 or other keys you wouldn't want to accidentally push!

On a CD controller, the PLAY, PAUSE, STOP (etc.) buttons are made deliberately large and sometimes separated so that the occasional "fat finger" won't bring a halt to the show... all I want is the same layout for the Mix Now/Autofade Now/Next Track button.

Thanks! 8)
 

Bryan Durio

Music and Videos Moderator
CJ Greiner said:
On your keyboard, reach up and touch the F7 or other function keys... and see how close they are to the F6, the F8 or other keys you wouldn't want to accidentally push!
Not only that, but just look how close the A key is to the S key! Or how close the O key is to the P key! Or how close the T key is to the H key! Or... :shock:

Horrors! :lol:
 

mp3jrick

New Member
If there is middle ground on this.....


If you happen to use VDJ.........
It is easy to "almost mix" by changing the automix shortcut to the space bar. A properly cued track of the same bpm will sync and fade with a timely stroke of the space bar. A little bend for perfect alignment and the fade length time is adjustable to up to 16 seconds for a more professional sounding mix out.

Add a loop out effect and it really sounds great.
 

Jerry Taylor

New Member
CJ, I have a white small circle sticky label on my F7 key so you can see it in the dark and make no mistakes. Simple, easy to see.
 
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