Software for Salsa DJs recommendations ( simple,good,no need scratching mixing)

Discussion in 'Salsa Music' started by PielCanela, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. PielCanela

    PielCanela Sabor Ambassador

    Is there any particular software that you (djs) use, or favor, for salsa Djing?

    I am hoping to find something that is straight foward, i wont be mixing, scratching, i just need something that will let me add songs to the queue easily as I plan to look at he crowd and adjust as need it. I also would like something that will stabilize (make the same) the volume with all the tracks

    also if i want to hear the song before queuing it, is there software that will allow me to do that, it seems that this may be a hardware thing, but just wondering
  2. chrisk

    chrisk Super Moderator Staff Member

  3. sunsoul

    sunsoul Shine Officer

    I have been doing some DJing at my salsa parties that I started up last year. Basically, I would suggest the following:

    Djay 3: This is a great little piece of software, but it is currently only available for Macintosh at the moment. It integrates fully with iTunes (that is a real strength, as it was designed exclusively for the OS X platform), and does all the simple things well - you can add songs to the queue, edit the length of a song, pre-cue, and set the sound/gain/pitch, etc.

    Visually it looks good too, as you can add the album covers to the virtual turntable. It is well designed, and only about 70 dollars or something like that.

    Djay 3, and any decent DJ program will let you listen to a track before playing it (one turntable will play the song, the other is for setting up the next song), and within iTunes you can set the sound levels...

    The really good DJ programs like Traktor, or Virtual DJ are expensive. Maybe 250 dollars or more? Perhaps you could use the basic edition of Virtual DJ, that would be a lot cheaper. But, if you don't want to do a lot of scratching or mixing (as that is not really used in salsa) then they might not be what you are looking for. Both of these programs are full of options, and very powerful pieces of software, but not so easy to pick up and use if you are just starting out I would say..

    I did a bit of research over the last few months, I can email you some links when I get back home.

    To kick things off (no www, just http:// and the link below):
  4. Flujo

    Flujo Sabor Ambassador

    That's cheating! Seriously, it is. Getting that perfect balance is half the fun...a little tweak here, a little tweak there. It's part of the art. :)
  5. chrisk

    chrisk Super Moderator Staff Member

    Huh? With my limited experience in DJing, I've found that 'Replay Gain' (Normalization of perceived loudness) to be a helpful tool. As CD's are recorded with different loudness, you can easily end up playing them at a volume that can hurt the ears of the listeners/dancers. As to avoid that it's nice to have 'Replay Gain' available and limit the loudness before. When people then still complain about the music being not hearable, you can always increase the 'master volume' in your software or on the mixer itself.
  6. salsa4fun

    salsa4fun Sonero

    I use Traktor from Native Instruments.

    Anyway, I know there's also a free DJing software that runs on Windows/Mac/Linux. I just didn't have the time to check it yet. I think it's called 'mixxx' or something like that, so you can Google it.

    If any of you guys have any experience with it, please share...
  7. chrisk

    chrisk Super Moderator Staff Member

    I briefly tried out mixx when I started to DJ sometimes, but all I remember is that I wasn't impressed with it at all. I proceeded to look further and ended up with 'Ultramixer'. While it's also available for Windows, Mac and Linux, it's not for free and costs a bit of money instead. But so far I'm quite happy with it whenever I gave it a try.
  8. Flujo

    Flujo Sabor Ambassador

    There is a smiley at the end of the comment :) but I'll shut up about that now.

    Mixxx is ok for a free program even though it lacks replay gain, afaik. For queuing in headphones you'll need two outputs: one for the PA and one for headphones / one output for each channel of the dj mixer.

    Are you on Mac or PC?
    A good 4 output usb soundcard should sort you out either way and M-Audio, Focusrite & Edirol have some good ones.
  9. DJFreddy

    DJFreddy Descarga

    I must say that Serato is the most stable software out there used by many clubs and lots of traveling DJs including myself! LOL............

    SERATO Rules!
  10. Latinmusik

    Latinmusik Sonero

    I work with Traktor from Native on Mac. I like that I see the cover and that I can play all my Itunes Playlist. And I love my small pocket Faderfox (!
  11. Chris F

    Chris F Tumbao

    I'm a Serato guy but I think if you are playing in locations that already have a PA system setup you are probably best off with an inexpensive hardware midi controller solution. In these setups you get the tactile feedback of a mini turntable/CDJ/whatever while retaining all the functionality/convenience of playing digital files from your computer. Most of these solutions are in the $250-700 range.

    Vestax Spin + DJay (Mac Only)
    Vestax VCI-300 + Serato Itch
    Numark V7 + Serato Itch

    If you want you can look into a full featured DVS (digital vinyl system) which is Traktor or Serato Scratch Live. (or torq I guess!) Either of those will set you back about $400 (used) to $700 (new) but they are more flexible and support pretty much any turntable (ex: technics 1210) or CDJ (ex: pioneer CDJ-xxx) as well as an assortment of hardware midi controllers.
  12. PielCanela

    PielCanela Sabor Ambassador

    i am on pc
  13. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    I reviewed some software in the last days and am left wanting. Ended up with the two instances of winamp, each playing to different sound card, so I could both keep party flowing and preview the songs. Also I'm quite annoyed that most software tries to emulate vinil - so backwards and wasteful. Also I understand that they want to sell their hardware, but that should not be my problem. What I'm looking for?

    Primary requirements:

    Flawless playback - there should be no sound quality issues with modern hardware and software if you play prerecorded stereo sound to stereo output. For example, Traktor which was a strong contender failed me on this issue. I chose Winamp, because it has worked fine for me over 10 years.

    Easy, flexible work with the music library - i want to find my songs, by the mood, genre, style, tempo, dancability, artist, title, when I last played it and so on. Priorities could be different for each DJ. This is where computer software should shine over boxes of vinil, but it does not do that much.

    Solid playlist functionality - while the word might not be what oldskul DJs like, it the the tangible result of DJs work in the salsa party. Order of the prerecored songs.

    Prelistening of the songs and minor adjustments. Adjustments should be very small if quality music is prepared at home and sound system works well.

    To find appropriate music and reliably play it back in the order which suits the party best at the time. I don't think it's too much to ask. The less tools get in the way the more one can express their crowd reading skills, artistry, charisma and so on.

    Secondary requirements:

    Cue points
    Reply gain
    Other sound adjustments
    Ability to store adjustments, playlist and other settings, to use at the later point.
    Good looks
    Flexible interface
    Ease of use
    Song analysis

    These things are not that hard to make. (I worked on various major audio creation products for years, but not DJ soft). It might get tough when you have huge amounts of sound you want to manipulate on the various unreliable hardware, but this is not the case. For salsa dj you play back prerecorded quality sound with the minimal adjustments.

    I did not check out Serato software that's recomended in the forums, what product exactly is it, Scrath, Itch, Scratch live, SL4? I did check Traktor, Mixxx, Virtual DJ, Abbleton Live and probably something else. Some of that software is good for specific uses, looked pretty fun - if you are DJ of loop based music and you create your music live. Not the case for salsa. Most of it is better than Winamp, I'm ashamed for my choice, but there is no way I'm gonna sacrifice reliability for some bling bling. I even carry audio CDs, test CD players and cue a song there at all times, in case computer fails. How lame is that! ;)
    What I did see for current DJ software that their top priority is to sell their hardware (neat toys, i must admit), to emulate vinil/CD players - to pander to habbits of existing DJs, to beat match, play loops, mix tracks. Also it seems visual style is more important than functionality.

    On the other end are winamps, foobars, itunes, wmp, which will suit most my requirements, besides preview of songs. Adjustments can be done on the external mixer (which I do). User throws in bunch of songs and goes away, which is not exactly what we want, right? ;) Also built-in players like itunes and windows media player usually look crappy, think they know it all the best, try to sell you music. Their primary goal is not the playback, but sale of songs and other media. (I've worked on that dark side of the industry as well.)
    Reasonable solution could be to use combination of tools that do their job, link them and customize to your needs. Separate program for library management, separate for song preparation and playlists, separate for reliable playback. But then again, winamp has all these plugins and libraries and it wants to take over your computer. Big winamp is bad. It's worse than Traktor or Virtual DJ, almost as bad as itunes. I like the small winamp that does not let me down and i know code that runs has been working for many years. Once you use plugins/VST it's gambling.

    And the last part of the rant is about visuals. Why can't they let people separate components of functionality and arrange them the way it suits. Customize size, colors, fonts and so on. I want to see what's important on my screen and you don't know what it is. (Well, now you do).

    Hopeless part is that I'm not gonna change it, for example take mixxx and make changes I want would take too much time. I don't want to be a DJ or DJ software writer, I want to dance. I play music because I love it and people ask me. If someone else is able to do that I'm just gonna dance. And yes, I prepare playlist with some 4-5 songs forward and then go to the dancefloor, only do some adjustments if levels are not right. In this scene every dude counts and I love dancing and DJs don't get much money for the work. They do it for the ego, love, to help out or other reasons.
  14. DJFreddy

    DJFreddy Descarga

    @ Smejmoon,
    I am a Serato user for life. Serato does all you state above and more. There is no other software out there that compares to the stability that Serato has. This is why it is the most used software in many top clubs and traveling DJs. I suggest you go to a store near you and test run one. I know Sam ash will connect one for you if you tell them you are looking to buy one. They might have one already connected for clients to use. Take a spin drive just like if you are buying another car and you will fall in love with it just like I did.
  15. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    So I downloaded this ;they don't say if its demo, trial, full version, whatever. I could not even find manual. It looks cute, that's best I can say. :) I could not even configure audio outputs. It does not look like it would do much without external controller.
  16. DJFreddy

    DJFreddy Descarga

    What you downloaded is the off line player. It will not work to its full capacity until you purchase the soundcard it brings. It will work with many controllers, I use mine with the denon 4500 and it works like a charm. I have been using it since 5 -6 years ago when it was only in its beginning stages, I believe it was the 1.7.1. Back then it did have some bugs. Right now it united with Ableton live a few years ago which it will make it even better in the future.

    Go to sam ash and try it out using the full version which will enable you to use all the bells and whistles.
  17. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Cool, but that's too much for the purpose. "Simple,good,no need scratching mixing". I own external sound card for better quality sound, but if they force coupling with some hardware that's scam to me. And price is just wrong. It's playback with minor modifications and shiny gui on top of the file system. Or am I wrong?

    What functionality do you use, when you play salsa?
  18. DJFreddy

    DJFreddy Descarga

    I am not just a one Genre DJ, I play all types of music for all Genre's. What I need my software to provide is STABILITY. Meaning, it must perform at all times with minimal setbacks. Serato has always delivered at my event's but one time a while ago. That was the only time that it froze up on me when it was the 1.8.1 version I believe. Other than that one time it has performed flawless. No need for me to have an additional sound card the one Serato brings delivers great sound.
  19. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    I totally agree with you here. The new software or update to existing one I'd run a lot at home first under high load (other programs at the background, low memory) for a while to see how it works. Stuttering when being tortured is ok, but crashing is a no no. :)

    Ultramixer looks close to what I want, just checked the demo version.
  20. matty

    matty Shine Officer

    in which area do you find that virtual DJ doesnt meet your needs?

    i think it has just about all the features you mentioned there.

    in what way do you mean?

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