- Created on 14 June 2011
The majority of people these days rely on their digital music librarys more than any other media; no surprise given the number of devices that now offer digital music playback functionality. Playback is often limited however to simply using your playlists or using shuffle to wade your way through your library. If you want to take it a bit more seriously however there is always the option to act like a DJ and have a go at mixing properly. One of the longest standing pieces of software that acts similarly to a hardware mixer is eJay DJ Mixstation and the latest version, eJay DJ Mixstation 4 reloaded which we managed to obtain for review (currently available for £12.79 from DownloadBuyer.com).
The main screen for eJay DJ Mixstation 4 reloaded pans out similar to a hardware mixer with two virtual "decks" that each show a visual waveform of the track to be mixed, along with providing virtual controls to allow an emulation of vinyl scratching, and control over tempo, pitch and speed so that tracks can be perfectly matched. If you have two sound cards (most of us don't, however various cheap USB solutions can be found) it is possible to both play one track and cue up the next easily which is made easier using the BPM matching, synchronisation and automatic BPM detection. There is also the essential virtual crossfader that works well to switch between cued tracks or a number of effects are also available to help swap between "incompatible" tracks. In addition, an 8 pad sampler is available as well as 1,000 royalty free samples to give a bit more interest to your DJ set. If you want to loop tracks as well, there is the ability to manually set this or use an autoloop feature.
Music is imported into eJay DJ Mixstation reloaded using the explorer window either individually or an automatic search facility can be used to search specific folders and add them to your library and subsequent playlist. The software supports MP3, WMA, Ogg Vorbis and WAV files and is compatible with iTunes playlist libraries.
The software is fully functional and offers all of the features that a DJ could require for mixing tracks, but it is not for complete beginners: although the layout of the digital mixer is fairly true to it's hardware counterparts it assumes a certain level of knowledge with very little support in the forms of guides, rollovers for individual buttons or help files. There is information out there available but you have to search for it, or figure out the controls yourself. Obviously the software is not as easy to control as a hardware mixer since you have to use a mouse (touch control on a tablet would be brilliant though if it were possible!) and it is much easier using a series of keyboard shortcuts (although these are not immediately obvious in the interface) to do more complex mixes.
Overall the software is fully featured at a low price, but would require a great deal of playing around for beginners to start using (although it is worth it in the end - for a beginners guide check here). The interface is easy to manage, once you know how, and it is possible to use the software using a combination of mouse and keyboard control to produce some good mixes with practice.