Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Moving A DJ Library From Serato Into Traktor

We’re constantly being asked by Serato DJs who have recently discovered Traktor and want to give it a shot about the best way to easily move their library across without having to start all over with cue points, BPM information, and so on. The good news is that moving your library to Traktor is relatively simple. Watch today’s video inside and learn how to make it happen!

As the video mentions, you’ll need to be sure to download the SSL Database Importer, which is available here.
Remember that Serato Scratch Live doesn’t write beat grids to tracks, so setting a starting cue point is the best way to have a guideline as to where to drop your beatgrid. Since the track still retains BPM data, you don’t have to worry about asking it to reanalyze BPM upon adding to the Traktor Collection (unless you think you might need to)!
Have another set of software that you want to see a video of how to convert your DJ library data to and from? Let us know and we’ll investigate! 

When And How To Change Track Key In DJ Software : Mixing In Key

Mixing in key is one of the best ways to create a smooth mix that resonates from track to track, increasing or decreasing energy in a way that makes sense to the ears of your audience. But did you know that you’re able to manually adjust the key of a track in some DJ software to match it to the playing track? Read on to learn when this is possible and how to make it work with key detected tracks.

Keylocking in modern DJ software (and on some turntables, like the Stanton STR8.150 at right) allows DJs to alter the tempo of a song without effecting the pitch – preventing tracks from becoming higher or lower pitched just because you want to mix them with another record. This makes more drastic beatmatching possible between songs that aren’t close in tempo, without turning your track into a slowed-down monster or high-speed chipmunk track.

Keylocking works by resampling the playing track at a different speed and readjusting the pitch to an equivalent offset to bring it back to “normal”. The issue becomes that at more drastic adjustments in tempo, the keylocking algorithm is really put to the test, and the track begins to degrade in playback quality. Try it now – throw on a track with a solid melody, make sure keylocking is engaged, and listen to what it sounds like at +/-50%. Sounds like those garbled old pirated tracks from Napster that were horribly resampled, right?
But in this article, we’re going to talk about the other thing that many audio engines are capable of, keylocking’s often-ignored cousin:


Pitch-shifting isn’t just for rappers and Skrillex vocals, it’s actually a useful tool that allows DJs to alter the key of a song. While this process in traditional vinyl format was un-connectable from the speed at which a track played, some DJ softwares use their audio engine to allow DJs to incrementally adjust the key without altering the tempo.
Because tempo-locked pitch shifting works in the same way that keylock does (resampling the audio), you can’t get away with altering it too dramatically from the original key value – but it’s generally reasonable to move up or down a key, giving you a number of new options to use while mixing in key.

If you’re not already familiar with the basic rules of mixing on the Camelot Wheel / Openkey Wheel / circle of fifths (pictured above), the idea is that songs mix best when they have “compatible” keys – which are generally regarded to be up or down one hour position on the same circle, or to the alternate circle on the same hour position. You can also boost the energy of a mix by increasing +2 hour positions on the wheel (more information on the theory here at Harmonic-Mixing.com - but be sure to read our caveat at the end of this article about using your ears!).
So if the track you want to mix won’t fit into the normal mixing-in-key rules, you can try altering the pitch of the track using your software’s pitch shifting abilities. Read the three sections below to learn how:


Traktor has a pretty visible key knob sitting right in the middle of the internal mixer (at right). Right click the knob and you’ll be given a dropdown that allows for finer or more corse control of the
parameter – but at a default setting a single press of the +/- buttons adjust the knob 1 semitone. On both the Camelot and Openkey wheels, this is equivalent to an increase or decrease of 7 on the wheel.
Traktor Knob Adjustment Tips: When you’re adjusting knobs in Traktor using the mouse, it’s easy to get frustrated, especially with a laptop trackpad.
  • If you want more precision when using the mouse, hold down shift while adjusting any any knob and it will slow down the rate the knob moves, allowing you to make more precisie adjustments.
  • Double click any knob to rapidly return back to the zero value.
  • Hold control, click and hold on a knob, and release control to enter a knob takeover mode – allowing you to jump between the current setting and any other when you click the mouse.

CHANGING TRACK KEY IN VIRTUAL DJVirtual DJ, despite often getting unfairly looked down upon by DJs who use other softwares, is actually one of the best softwares for key mixing for a number of reasons:

  • Built-in key detection
  • Dynamic key tag displays that change when key adjustment is made
  • Recognizes and changes between Camelot key + musical key
  • Key adjustment is locked
Because of the above feature set, changing the key of a track in Virtual DJ is remarkably easy – just rotate the key knob in the Effects section, and it will actually alter the key tag info displayed (as shown in the GIF on the right). Just like in Traktor, each notch on the knob is 1 semitone, or 7 positions on the circle of fifths.


Surprisingly, Serato’s products do not have the ability to change the pitch of a track independently of the tempo. Serato continues to show its devotion to DVS roots even in the controller-centric Serato DJ! At the time of writing (things could change!), enabling key lock in any Serato program locks the key at 0%.
You can disable key lock and change the pitch of the song by adjusting the pitch fader, but you’ll then be unable to change the tempo.


As with nearly every article we ever write on mixing in key, it’s critical that we put this warning: your ears are often the best tools for the job! Don’t ever limit yourself by just mixing in key if something else sounds good and certainly don’t mix in a track that sounds awful but has a matching Camelot Key tag. If you think it sounds bad, so will someone in your audience.
You should always use pitch shifting / key adjustment carefully – using it on well-known songs will have your audience asking “What’s wrong with this track?”, and dramatically changing the key more than two semitones starts to degrade the audio signal. Check your mix in your headphones when you’re experimenting with altering a track’s key before you bring it into the mix, every time!
Do you find yourself altering the pitch of a track your trying to mix in regularly? Let us know your tactics in the comments.

Check the awesome voice of Lorde

From the sparse facts that I have gleaned from Internet sources surrounding the latest flurry of online blogging buzz on Lorde, I feel safe in my assumptions that it has perhaps come as a startling surprise to the burgeoningly talented chanteuse, but nonetheless a welcome one.
As seemingly from out of nowhere the enigmatic young New Zealander has put out an outstanding debut EP of alternatively creative organically felt alt-pop, that has been gaining rapid support and praise over the past few months, not only by the blogging fraternity but also by her contemporaries.
Taking on the name Lorde, Ella Yelich O’Connor’s meteoric rise as a blogosphere and tastemakers darling has seen Universal Music expediently ink her to their global imprint.
The source of all this warranted whirlwind of excitement stems from the former tentative online release of “The Love Club EP” that has now sharpishly with label backing found itself a more profitable outlet on Itunes NZ.
From a project harbouring an alluring esoteric presence of proficient self-assured vision, Lorde’sThe Love Club EP” delivers an array of sensitised emotive alt-pop gems in gleaming succession from dainty, doe-eyed opener “Bravado”, popular bloggers favourite the stripped back and magnificent “Royals”, alongside my own personal favourites the exquisitely innovative, rhythmically uplifted and expressively worn “Million Dollar Bills” & “The Love Club” culminating in a swathe of ruminatively intense melancholy in the shadowy atmospheric finale “Biting Down”.
We don’t get to hear too often of fresh faced New Zealand talent, but over the past couple of years it sure has seen a notable and exciting eclectic mix of emerging artist talent surfacing from it’s female lead players Zowie and Ruby Frost, now with such an impressively awesome debut setting course, let the Ellie Goulding creative likeness with Marina Diamandis-esque soaring vocals Lorde be
counted amongst them.

Axwell Announces Center Of The Universe

Fresh off the back of Swedish House Mafia's sold-out world tour, International DJ & Producer Axwell,today unveils a sneak peek of his long awaited track "Center of the Universe”.  
Anticipated for a few years now by his fanbase, the remix debuted on Pete Tong's  BBC Radio 1 on May 10th. The original version of the track will premiere globally this weekend. Yesterday the song made its US premiere on Sirius XM Electro Ben Harvey BPM, and check below for the full list of stations.  Axwell’s Remode version of “Center Of The Universe” will be available for purchase exclusively on Beatport on May 30thvia Axtone Records and on all digital portals via Ultra Music on June 24.
Kicking off the first of his solo appearances, Axwell celebrates Memorial Day Weekend at the grand opening of the brand-new Las Vegas hotspot Light Nightclub at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Light is the first club by Cirque Du Soleil, which features pyrotechnics, mind-blowing special effects and of course, the best DJs in the world. This Saturday, May 25 from 11AM until 6PM, Axwell with be joined by electro-house DJ Zedd. And if that isn't enough ammo to keep the Axwell fiends at bay, he keeps the party going with a special after hours set at LIGHT Nightclub on Sunday, May 26, 11PM until 7AM.
Axwell  returns as a solo artist to play his first hometown show in over a year, Axwell has partnered with Where’s The Party? by Carlsberg to both curate and headline a massive tent for 9,000 party-goes at the iconic Swedish Maritime Museum in Stockholm which will be transformed into a nightclub space for the first time ever. Carlsberg will be offering consumers from around the world the chance to be there and tickets can also be purchased for the event from www.smarturl.it/AxwellWTP.
The ground-breaking interactive video for “Center Of The Universe” launched via Carlsberg as part of their long-standing partnership with Axwell on their now global ‘Where’s The Party?’ campaign. Users are invited to follow the story of a man on a journey to find the party. Viewers must #followthebeat and explore Axwell’s new track using dynamic web audio technology.
Check out the Interactive video now at www.wtp13.com.
Axwell, or Axel Hedfors, is a heavyweight within the electronic dance music community, a genre that has exploded over the last few years.  As well as being a DJ, Producer, and last year embarking on a world tour with Swedish House Mafia, Axwell has also had the time to win two Swedish Grammys, been nominated for an American Grammy and has topped charts worldwide with the monster hit “Don’t You Worry Child.”
Axwell is also the owner of Axtone Records and half of DEP/\RT\/RES alongside Sebastian Ingrosso, which kicks off at Ushuaia, Ibiza on June 19, every Wednesday through to September 11.


In the early days of club music no one would have envisioned in their wildest dreams the aura now surrounding this music genre - a powerful, dynamic style that has changed the world, brought people together and united cultures. Borders and prejudices have collapsed, giving way to mutual respect and love. Chicago, Detroit, Berlin and Frankfurt were among the original key locations ushering in this music movement, which went on to take the world by storm and has now exerted a major influence on all musical styles.
On 9th June 2013, their 9th birthday, BigCityBeats are assembling the world's hottest DJs for a gigantic one-day festival in the city where it all began. Over a period of twelve hours the energy of a music genre pulsing in every metropolis of the world will discharge in the heart of Europe. The Commerzbank-Arena Frankfurt will become the WORLD MUSIC DOME, the world's largest rainproof open-air dance floor.
Packing the main stage will be stars such as

The event will be made up of a seamless string of 11 concerts, all introduced by none other than Frankfurt's own SVEN VÄTH, who will play a special opening set on the stadium stage.
Surrounding the Arena will be 10 micro floors, the club music circle, which will showcase every aspect of electronic music. The first micro-floor line-up alone reads like a major festival:
Further highlights on the individual micro floors to be posted next week!
For the first time in its history the Commerzbank-Arena is opening its gates to an open-air festival of the club music scene. The hallowed turf will be transformed into the world's largest open-air dance floor - with a 100% rain-free guarantee, thanks to the largest 'soft-top convertible' in existence!
The BigCityBeats WORLD MUSIC DOME will transform Frankfurt for 12 hours into the capital of global DJ culture. Advance ticketing for the most explosive birthday party of all time is already well underway. Earlybird tickets are already sold out. Tickets are available on www.bigcitybeats.de!

Key facts:
09 June 2013
11.00 – 23.00

Trance Top 1000 -2013 edition revealed

amsterdam, May 27th 2013
 - Last night, during his A State of Trance radio show, Armin van Buuren had the honour of announcing his very own ‘Gaia – Tuvan’ track as the ‘ultimate trance track of all-time’.

The track, released under Armin’s Gaia moniker, became the most voted track on the 2013 edition of the Trance Top 1000. The official and independent Trance Top 1000 list, also published in 2010 and 2011, is a great reflection of how old classics and future classics impact the music taste of today’s trance lovers. In the Top 3 this year, are Armin van Buuren (under his Gaia moniker), Delerium and Tiësto.

Thousands of votes on tracks and remixes came in, reflecting upon more than 20 years of trance music history. What’s striking about the 2013 edition of the Trance Top 1000, is the fact that it’s not only filled with 90’s classics, but also with new tracks by upcoming names. ‘Rank 1 – Airwave’, the number one in 2011, is now 7th on the Top 1000. Other Top 20 tracks are those of Paul van Dyk, ATB, Sasha, Oceanlab, Motorcycle and Dash Berlin. 

The Trance Top 1000 is an initiative of Armada Music, the record company that has won the International Dance Music Award for ‘Best Global Dance Label’ five years in a row. The complete Trance Top 1000 of 2013 can be found on www.trancetop1000.com.
The Trance Top 1000 is available for streaming on Spotify!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Zerodebug d(–)b Modular DJ App for iPad : Review

As iPad DJ apps steadily get cooler and cooler, eventually something’s got to give and make the tablet more of mainstay in DJ rigs. Zerodebug’s d(–)b takes one more small step on that path. Its modular interface for up to six deck control, along with some useful performance features and reliable beat grid analysis and syncing make it one to watch. Is it worth the nominal app fee? We examine the v.1 results inside.

Reviewed: Zerodebug d(–)b Modular DJ app
Price: $16.99 (on iTunes
Available: Now
Requirements: iPad with iOS 6.0 or later

The Good:  Slick modular interface that scales decks and controls seamlessly to the available screen real estate. Fun loop roll adds a key dynamic element to mixing with the app. Beat grid editing. Kill switches for the 3-band EQ. Ability to use Sync or pitch & nudge for mixing.
The Bad: No effects (yet). No crossfader. Some clicking artifacts when the processor load is high. Template editor requires a lot of patience and some learning curve.
The Bottom Line: This isn’t yet the groundbreaking iPad app that’s going to have you chucking your laptop from your performance rig, but it is a capable platform that you can use to create legitimately seamless sets. Plus, big promises for future additions have us looking forward to more.


iPad DJ apps kind of feel like pre-iPhone smartphones. We’re into the platform and excited by the possibilities, but we’re still anxiously waiting for some brilliant breakthrough that swoops in and changes the game forever.
Zerodebug (formerly AppBC), the makers of the Ableton Live iPad controller, touchAble, brings us d(–)b, an intriguing modular approach to iPad mixing. It’s not yet the Holy Grail of iPad DJ apps, but with its v.1 release, it may be laying down the source code for the brighter future to come.
Layout flexibility defines db. The app can host 1-6 DJ decks at a time, each one with controls that you can arrange and size to your liking, that is if you don’t just choose one of the pre-baked templates. Flexible audio options let you pre-cue tracks in stereo, use split output audio to do mono monitoring, or hook up any class-compliant USB Audio Interface with the iPad Camera Connection Kit for secondary stereo outputs, as well as better audio quality. 

While not checking off every single feature from the digital DJ list, db sets you up for proper mixing with access to the iTunes library,  color-coded waveforms zoomable in real time, 4 cue points per deck, 3-band EQ with kill switches, loops from 1/64th to 8 bars, loop roll, tempo and beat grid detection, sync, beat grid editing, pitch & nudge ability with  10% / 1% pitch control, and internal recording.


Control menu bars across the top of the app, which d(–)b calls System Bars, hold buttons to activate/deactivate monitoring, zooms in/out of the waveform, activate/deactivate sync, open the Grid editor, open the Browser, scroll though any template pages, or create a new template.
A secondary System Bar can be hidden to save screen space. This one has the delete, record, sync, and settings buttons, as well as the template load/create controls.
The delete, zoom and sync buttons all work by first holding them and then selecting the waveform to zoom or sync or the element — be it a cue point, deck, playlist, playlist track, etc. – to delete. At times it can feel fine to execute these hold-and-presses with one hand, and other times using two hands seems more appropriate.


Go to the Browser screen and d(–)b reads your iPad’s iTunes library. The app will have to analyze each song before use for the waveform, tempo and beat grid, and you can analyze songs within the browser one at a time or all at once. It took d(–)b about 20 minutes to analyze 100 songs on the iPad 3 we used to test it. Keep in mind that d(–)b’s saved data from track analysis seems to amount to about 1MB per song, which can eat up a significant chuck of your iPad’s storage if you have a large music library.
You can sort track by various song criteria, and the Browser is also where you can create playlists by dragging songs into them. To load tracks, you just drag them from the Browser list to one of the available decks above it.


I found d(–)b’s beat grid analysis to be quite accurate most of the time, but occasionally the Startbeat marker wasn’t placed where I wanted it, the tempo analysis was off, or the beat grid placement was slightly off.

To edit a beat grid, you hold the Grid button in the top System Bar and then select the waveform to edit. From the Grid Mode screen, you can zoom in and out on the waveform to see the grid at the resolution you want. You can drop a new Startbeat wherever you want it, and that will align the rest of the beat grid accordingly. To do this, you can simply drag the waveform to the place you want it, or use buttons to either fine tune the Startbeat’s placement or to move it left or right by one beat at a time. You can also re-enter the tempo manually, or if the app misread the tempo by a common fractional error, you can double, half, or multiply the tempo by 2/3 or 3/2.


d(--)b template editor: a six-deck page in the progress using the app's preset horizontal deck.
If you want to create and save your own d(–)b templates, it’s a bit of a slog to work through the template editing system, but on the plus side, you can create a template for any control elements that you want sized the way you want them. A template includes 1-6 pages and 1-6 decks, so it could be 6 decks on one page each, 6 decks all on a single page, 4 deck on 2 pages, and so on. You can use sizable Containers or Windows to construct custom decks, or use d(–)b’s preset decks and control elements to make constructing a template much faster.
The modular design and seamless resizability of every element in d(–)b is impressive, but I’m guessing that many users will be satisfied for the most part with d(–)b’s preset 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-deck templates.


We tested d(–)b on an iPad 3 running iOS 6.1.2. There were a couple of performance quirks that popped up, but Zerodebug seems to be working diligently on addressing problems, having already updated d(–)b to 1.0.1 to fix some of the original bugs.
Sometimes the timing of setting cue points or loops felt off. For example, setting cue points in real time was hit or miss as to whether they’d land on the downbeat. For now, it seems better to set them with playback paused so you can line them up. Zerodebug confirmed to us that the cue-point setting is not quantized in this version, but that quantized cue points will be strongly considered for future updates.
Also, launching cues with loops simultaneously worked only sporadically. And a few times after setting a cue point and then resuming playback, the audio would not kick in right away.
During our tests, playback audio had some occasional artifacts — clicks mainly — when the processor experienced a usage spike. These occurrences came when playing three or more decks at once. We’d like to note that the iPad we were using had reached zero storage capacity while d(–)b was analyzing hundreds of tracks, and we don’t know for sure if the playback glitches were associated with that.
One really commendable feature was the Loop Roll. It responded impeccably in our tests, and picks right back up with the continuous play of the track when you’re finished. Choose a loop value, and then hold the Roll button for as long as you want. With Roll held down, you can change the loop value, which is key to getting the most from this feature.
The EQ kills also stand out. If you quickly tap a kill switch, it will toggle, if you press it for a longer duration, it will act as a momentary switch. The kills were instrumental in creating layers of music with 3 or 4 decks playing, although we still found no requirement for the full 6-deck capacity.


As a v.1 app, d(–)b lays down a solid base of intuitive usability and customization; mostly smooth response to scratching, fading, and button presses; and some welcome features like Loop Roll, EQ kills, and EQ triangle.
It does, however, feel like a work in progress. The app’s promo video (see below) promises features to come, such as MIDI mappings, FX modules, and MIDI clock. We’d also like to see keylock, the option of a crossfader, and maybe even DVS support down the line.

Of course, with the limited hardware of the iPad, we’d rather see stable performance than rushing to stuff all the DSP-intensive features into the app right away. Recent iPads — iPad 3 or 4 — would be best suited to run d(–)b, so owners of these luxury items may not balk too much at the $16.99 price for a still-developing app. If you have any faith in Zerodebug to keep providing free updates until the feature set is rounded out, and you’ve got an interest in trying out one of the more creative DJ mixing iPad apps, you might as well dive right into d(–)b.