In their final DJ Expo update ScratchWorx revealed big changes to the upcoming version of Virtual DJ that will let it mix on “up to 99 decks.” This is meant to come in handy for controller users who want to mix on four decks (the American Audio for instance or some Denon controllers ship with light versions of Virtual DJ).
But wait hold on UP TO 99 DECKS? Hearing this made me curious about Virtual DJ. Who’s using it a who’s it really meant for? Here’s what I found out:
Virtual DJ may not be seen as the flashiest software, but it has a huge user base around the world and an active community online. It’s compatibility with many audio files (including karaoke files) made it popular among mobile DJ’s early on in the laptop game. The LE version of the software also gets you mixing internally at a pretty low price which may have gotten the attention of laptop DJ’s just starting out. Poking around the Virtual DJ website a bit I found out the Pro version has some interesting open features built in. I can’t attest to the performance as I haven’t used Virtual DJ but it boasts some pretty heady ideas. Perhaps people would want to see this stuff in Serato or Traktor? Here’s what grabbed my attention:
Plugins: There’s a sizable library of effects plugins you can download from Virtual DJ. Users can also program their own plugins in C++ and submit them for download. Pretty neat for programmer heads and keeps the effects section expandable for users.
Skins: Being able to select your on screen interface would really appeal to DJ’s who want max comfort and usability. Skin’s again are programable and thereby customizable for the programming savvy.
Video: The native version of this software does video. No additional plug ins or purchases needed. And you can download or program your own plug ins for video as well.
So in review, this software mixes on 4 (or more) decks WITH video and has customizable skins and audio effects. Throw in the Numark Virtual Vinyl for turntablists and this software surpases Traktor, ITCH, and Scratch live as far as features doesn’t it? Serato and Native Instruments will presumably catch up in the video department but perhaps retain the additional costs (Sratch-SL comes at a heavy price tag for the add on alone). The changeable skins and expandable effects are interesting ideas, but I imagine downloading and programming mods for your DJ software comes at the expense of stability.
And it’s all about stability isn’t it? Serato and Traktor users often stick by the product because it’s what they are used to and it works. Numark hasn’t done a particularly good job marketing Virtual Vinyl as a viable scratch control option (the video above showing the total control plus DJ mixer PLUS interface as the setup seems cumbersome and counter intuitive). Numark has also jumped ship in some ways by endorsing ITCH and the NS7 as their next gen controller. Yet while staying out of the realm of club and scratch DJ’s Virtual DJ maintains a loyal fan base. Without experiencing the program for myself it’s tough for me to comment on VDJ further, but I’ll stand by the old adage that it’s not about the software you use, it’s about the end result and your performance and creativity as a DJ. It’s cool to see new controller and scratch options coming out to help users of this program take their game to the next level as well.
Any VDJ users out there? I want to hear from you as to why this is your software. Leave your comments below!