REVIEW: D-JAY: FOR PAUPERS AND PROS

If you are having a party, you’ll want to play music that will set the right tone. DJAY is a very capable Macintosh audio software solution that will provide both beginners and veterans the tools needed to mix the music just the way it sounds in a night club. – at a very reasonable price. djay boxRecently released version 3 of Algorithm’s DJAY provides a solid software system that can appeal to beginners and experts. Simple enough to use right out of the box, with a little time and a bit of talent, you’ll be mixing the digital music from your Mac just like the pros.

Upon launching DJAY with the usual click of your mouse, you will be presented with three basic panels: The largest panel on the left will be a familiar to most – the good old ‘DUAL TURNTABLE’ metaphor. To the right of this fully active  ‘DUAL TURNTABLE’ design, there will be a couple of re-sizeable panels that represent your iTunes PLAYLISTS and CONTENTS, providing access to your complete Macintosh audio collection. As expected, these playlists can be promptly sorted or viewed as Albums, Artists, Composers, Genres, or Playlists. Assuming the average Macintosh user is as familiar with iTunes, as one is with standard Mac OS software, getting up and running with DJAY for Mac will be pretty easy for most and you will be spinnin’ in no time at all.

In the upper right hand corner is a handy SEARCH field that will quickly find particular titles from your integrated iTunes playlists. Once the correct title appears in the playlist, located just below the search field, putting the music into play is as simple as  dragging the song title directly onto one of the twin TURNTABLES located on the adjacent panel. With a USB hardware item such at the Griffin iMike, you can set DJAY up to preview one song while the other song is already in play. DJAY can be configured to display actual album graphics matching the song selections that are on each of the turntables. Seeing the current song graphics spinning on each of the turntables is not only very cool, it is useful as well, as it provides the related visuals to help the disc jockey keep track of all musical activities.

DJAY software window layout

Below the listing of the song titles, there is the AUTOMIX window, which will AUTOmatically MIX music so you can hop onto the dance floor and enjoy the party too. With AUTOMIX activated, you can easily set up any number of tunes to mix seamlessly  from one song to the next while tending to other distractions or setting up additional requests from party patrons. AUTOMIX can be activated by clicking on the large, centrally placed AUTOMIX button, from the Library menu or with Hot Keys (Shift-Option-A). At that point, songs from the currently selected PLAYLIST will begin to play. The order of the AUTOMIX selections can be modified by dragging titles from the playlist directly onto the inactive turntable. Clicking just to the right of the AUTOMIX button is an additional little square icon with an arrow facing downwards that will slide open the AUTOMIX CUE window. You can drag song titles on the fly into the AUTOMIX cue window to line up any number of songs that will flow flawlessly from one to the next. AUTOMIX is so very easy to use it may actually cause confusion if you change the selected list after activating AUTOMIX. The order in which you perform the ‘actions’ will determine which playlist the software is selecting the songs from. Until you get used to the ritual order of things, you might hear what you think is random songs being played but in actual fact the DJAY software is doing what you told it to do – playing the songs from the Playlist that was selected when you activated the AUTOMIX feature. Thankfully this seemingly random selection of music can be easily re- set by de-selecting AUTOMIX, choosing the intended playlist, and then re- selecting AUTOMIX. Ultimately the way to avoid any confusion with this aspect of the AUTOMIX feature is to open the AUTOMIX CUE window and then to drag in the songs you want to mix together one by one. This is almost as hard to explain as it is to deal with at first, but it is worth mentioning because the software is not messing up, it is just doing what it is programmed to do and you will be thankful to discover the process of controlling AUTOMIX is worth the short concentration curve.

The HISTORY window which can be activated by way of the WINDOW MENU, hot keys (Shift-H) or clicking the tiny CLOCK Icon that is found just to the left of the giant AUTOMIX button is very useful for review and archival purposes. As songs are played, a playlist is continuously compiled to document the titles and order in which each and every song was played. The disk jockey can choose to SAVE this information generated in the HISTORY window as a genuine PLAYLIST in iTunes, print/save this list of songs as a PDF for future reference or even drag songs in the list that were played earlier right back into the AUTOMIX PLAYLIST or right on to the TURNTABLES if desired. And finally, at the bottom of the HISTORY window the total length of time consumed by the songs listed in this WINDOW is displayed. The HISTORY window is a very convenient and useful tool for the amateur music lover as well as the professional disc jockey.

BEATMIXING is a must have feature for any pro level audio mixing software. While BEATMIXING properly takes a little practice, skill and patience, DJAY offers the tools to get the job done. When you drag a song onto the turntable window DJAY does a very advanced sophisticated analysis of the audio data and in addition to the tempo, DJ locates every single beat in the song. When you press the SYNC BUTTON, DJAY not only matches the tempo it also aligns the ‘beat grids’ of the two songs that are playing. DJAY contains sophisticated programming that will ‘Find the beat location and BPM (Beats Per Minute) and will analyze the overall intensity of the audio signal to keep the volumes equal so you don’t get one song much louder than the other.’ The user can push the SYNC BUTTON multiple times in order to direct the software to line up the beats to ‘human’ ears. Due to the excellent programming, BEATMIXING can indeed be accomplished with DJAY with its present tools, but I would hope that   future consideration would be given by Algorithm to add an audio wave presentation to provide the disc jockey with visual guidance, allowing for more speed and accuracy during the BEATMIXING process.

DJAY is basically pretty easy to use, it integrates very well with iTunes and has a clean, practical interface. DJAY is sophisticated, with many exciting features that would benefit with better documentation and perhaps even some online step by step video demonstrations which would show off some of DJAY’s key capabilities. Download the demo version of DJAY http://www.djay-software.com/download and find out for yourself just how well this software performs. At only $50.00 USD, people may think that DJAY is a not worthy when in fact DJAY is a bargain at twice the price.

  • Below is a listing of some of DJAY powerful features:
  • iTunes Integration
  • Supports music purchased from iTunes store
  • Drag and Drop Mixing
  • Full song search capabilities
  • Beat and Tempo detection
  • Change the pitch  (alter key) of a song while choosing to retain the original tempo
  • Preview a song while another is playing
  • Automix music in advance or on the fly
  • Scratch mix or loop music
  • Use the Multi touch trackpad on the Apple notebook to control various effects
  • Record your mixes
  • Midi Controller support
  • Live Microphone mixing
  • Print, Save, recall previous mixes using the History feature
  • EQ your music, add various effects including reverb and echo

Detailed Technical specifications:

http://www.djay-software.com/specs

System Requirements
Compatible with Snow Leopard
Mac computer with an Intel or PowerPC
(G4/G5) processor ?(1.25GHz or faster; 1.8GHz recommended)
1GB of RAM
Mac OS X v10.4 or later

PRICE: $50.00 USD
Available for online download
http://www.djay-software.com/

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