What is a virtual DJ?
DJing is no longer about vinyl and decks anymore. DJ software have become an important part of the music industry. Where digital vinyl, software and controllers are the new thing. With these upgrades, we have so many options to choose from in different pricing according to our needs. We can get our hands on the cheaper, most effective and most convenient setup than ever before!
A huge part of this new Digital DJing spectrum is software. This software can be used on laptops and computers. The controllers can be connected to laptop or interfaces for digital vinyl systems (DVS). Virtual DJ is the one name that comes up when we talk about DJ software.
Virtual DJ is a mixing software for audios and videos. It is a widely used software and is feasible for the beginners. The software was released in 2003 by Atomix Productions. Atomix virtual DJ has seen more than 100,000,000 downloads since. It is used by many professional DJs worldwide.
The software is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and 8, Mac OS Leopard, Mac OS Snow Leopard, and Mac OS X Lion. Initially, there was a free trial version available for users, offered for 20 days, after which the user had to purchase the license to continue usage of the Pro Version. But now, the trial version for 20 days is not available anymore. Instead, the Virtual DJ HOME version is available for free. It cannot be commercially used but it allows the use of the Virtual DJ Pro features for about 10 minutes at a time.
Virtual DJ has been a software that brought the experience of DJing to our laptops and computers. It is hugely popular with controller DJs and laptop DJs. Its super smooth interface and its fine functionality make it extremely competent for all the DJ and mixing operations.
Interface and Compatibility of Virtual DJ
Virtual DJ has an easy-to-use and streamlined user interface which is familiar to most people. Even those who are not familiar with its UI find it easy to pick up on it and get used to it. You can also choose and download your own skins from the virtual DJ site and add them to your system. It also has two-deck and four-deck setup, and you also have the option to add up to 99 decks on the side. For those DJ who want to load up many tunes for longer sets or use in radio, this feature is very useful.
The Virtual DJ software is nearly universally compatible along with all its controllers and devices. With the backing of a dedicated community of loyal users, the company is very liberal of what they let their users do. This means that users can get setup files and mappings for almost every piece of hardware that here is. The software currently works on more than 300 devices with the Virtual DJ free version suitable for home use.
Features of Virtual DJ
Virtual DJ is very cheap to expand with the help of some extra bobs and bits like a module of video DJing, editing modules for sampling and cutting tracks, many custom layouts, community-made FX. The virtual DJ controller is highly effective for use on computer as well as laptop.
You can download virtual DJ and use its home version for free. This is given on the basis that you do not use it in a professional way, it is for your personal use. It will not allow you to connect to the controller for more than 10 minutes, but you can get the full version of the software for laptop only mixers.
The paid version of the software aka the advanced version enables its users to use one controller fully but again it comes with a confusing clause that you can use at home and not professionally. This costs between $49 and $149 depending upon which controller you want to get the license of. But its cheaper as compared to other sites which come with fully-suited DJ software.
You can use virtual DJ’s Professional paid version which lets you to make money from it. It enables you to use custom mappings so that you can connect it to any controller without any problem. This version comes with add on and a whole suite.
How to install Virtual DJ?
Open your browser and go to the Virtual DJ website.
On the top line, you will see the download link which will pop down other options. Click on it and from the drop-down menu, select ‘Download Virtual DJ,’ and then the interface will allow you to choose the version which is compatible with the OS that your computer has.
For controller use, you’ll have to choose from the menu and go to select a mapping file for your controller. Mappings for custom controller or controllers in general are typically not supported in the software can be found online. You can run and test the functions of your equipment before you begin mixing.
The two versions available are for Mac and PC users. Click on the link accordingly. Once you have clicked on it, the site will take you to the download portal. Click the download button again and wait for the download to start automatically. Once the download is complete, click on the downloaded prompt at the bottom of your browser to install the software. Then, click ‘continue’ on the installer window and accept the software license agreement.
Loading tunes to the library is a pretty easy task once you are finished with the Virtual DJ download. You have 3 options where either you can browse your folders directly from within the software folder navigator, add tunes to the software folder or import from iTunes. You can choose to analyze the tunes you fine in folders or the imported ones as it always best to have a look before.
How to use virtual DJ?
Virtual DJ and create an account by putting your login details and personal information on the Login window. Verify the account by the confirmation code, which will be sent to you on your account. With your account confirmed, the Virtual DJ software is now officially launched. Once, the software is launched, you have to choose the interface. The software requires you to select the interface for your mix (audio or video). A window that has the entire DJ setup, will open. On the top right corner of the window, there is a button for configuration. Click it to choose the skin.
When you click the configuration button once, it pops up a window, choose the, click on the ‘Skin’ tab and choose the Mix lab version 3.1 and then click ‘OK’. You can select any other skin as well. The reason to choose this is that it has crossfade EQ, which plays a significant role to create a good remix.
Now, you need to set up your sound card. Click the ‘setting’ icon in the top left corner of the Virtual DJ interface. A window opens, which allows you to choose external or internal sound cards. Click internal soundcard and then click apply.
To get music on the virtual DJ setup, you can use the list which contains the folders (in your computer) recognized by the Virtual DJ software. Click one of the folders, choose the audio track and drag it to one of the virtual vinyl turntables above. The music or the audio file is now loaded, and you can see a track overview. It allows you to navigate through the track on a point, by just clicking on that point.
How to mix?
To mix two different tracks, both the tracks must have similar beats per minute (BPM). If they do not have the same BPM, you can do it manually as well. Just press the sync button, and the software will do that for you.
A good mix can be created by mixing one track’s intro and the other’s outro. To do that, you can select an outro point of one track and for the other track press ‘cue’ button, which makes the track start from the intro. Similarly, there are several functions and effects available in the software for you to mix your music. Like, in the mixer portion, two volume faders control the music for each deck’s track, respectively. Then there are crossfaders used to turn the volume from one deck to another. The software also lets you mix more than one track with the options like, adjusting the speed (BPM) and applying different effects.
Firstly, you will have to check some basic requirements:
- Gain: You can find the software gain control next in the middle console. Gains are supposed to be set so the meter levels inside your software lie between yellow and green when the channel faders are set to 200. If you find it to be too quiet, always turn up the speaker or the master volume and not the gain. It is said that having gains set to 12 o’clock is fine.
- EQ: EQ can be found below the gain, and it controls the frequency balance of your songs. EQ should be set at the center.
- Faders: There are mainly two faders, the channel faders and the crossfader. Channel faders have the control to channel volume whereas the crossfaders control the blend of the two decks together. Both the songs can be audible at the same if time if the crossfader put in the middle and both the channel faders turned up. When you want to engage your mix and fade from one track to another track, you should use cross faders. Others prefer to let it be and leave centrally rather than moving the channel slowly to fade in a song.
You can notice the waveforms loading in the top sections of each deck as well as the top bar. The deck waveform displays are developed to enable its users to navigate and check the entire songs. You can assess where the breakdowns and buildups are present as well as you can look for interludes. The display of top waveform is designed to help you match the betas of the tracks.
Before you try to match up your tunes. You will have to adjust your BPMs for each track. The goal is to get them to match up exactly. Virtual DJ 2021 enables you to auto-sync the BPMs quite easily. Once you have matched the BPMs, the next thing you need to do is cue your song while the other one is already playing. Cueing means to take the first beat of one section of the track and readying it for dropping. First beats after buildups and breakdowns are usually good places to pick.
Once you have cued your next track and are ready to mix it into the first one, its time to wait. You have got to wait until the moment to mix in your songs comes. Once its up, you can count in your mind with the cue, 1,2,3 and DROP!
This requires a lot of practice as you don’t want to accidentally drop your next track a beat late or a beat early. of course, the software does have an auto-syn feature that can help you bring in the track in time but that is not foolproof and will not even work if the beat grids are not set up correctly. Hence, it is always better if you practice this beforehand so you don’t screw up in the final set, and you can make adjustments if any well in time. Once you have dropped the beat, you need to check the waveforms at the top of the mix window to make sure that the peaks of your songs are aligned.
Peaks are basically the kicks and snare drums as well as other hits and percussions. Kicks and snares are most significant for lining up two beats and easiest to pick out. If the BPMs are matched exactly then you can get the mix right pretty quickly.
Although auto-sync is not something that should rely on always but if you are only going to use your laptop and no other hardware, you might need to use it as you will not be able to effectively nudge around the decks to get the tracks in time. If you are experiencing any issues with auto-sync, then you will have to check the way virtual DJ has analyzed your tracks and tunes as it can get the incorrect BPM or put the beat grids in wrong place at times.
Virtual DJ software has always remained at the top for laptop DJs due to its uncomplicated and precise layout and easily accessible libraries. The software is perfect for practising and making sets for live and stage performances using hardware.
We hope this Virtual DJ guide gives you a brief overview of the software. Stay tuned to grab more snippets from the world of EDM.