Learn the Art of DJaying with Virtual DJ
I know as much about DJaying as I do about astrophysics, but stumbling upon Atomix Productions’ VirtualDJ Home, gave me hope that I could fake it in no time. VirtualDJ captures the tools and techniques of music mixing in a robust piece of software that can be used by novices and professionals alike. And there's no risk trying it out because the home version is free in the Apple Mac Store.
The interface of VirtualDJ may intimidate those of us who have no background in mixing music, but it didn’t take long for me to discover a wealth of video tutorials by avid users of the program.
VirtualDJ includes features for loading audio and video tracks, short clips and karaoke stored in your iTunes library or anywhere else on your computer. It has the mixing features, such as EQ, gain, and crossfader, found in traditional mixers. You can also link video to audio tracks for pre-selected audio enhancement. You also get real time recording and webcasting of your mixing sessions.
As explained in the program’s manual, the work and process of a disc jockey includes: 1) choosing the right music (programming) to play for the occasion, 2) choosing selections to mix together, and 3) modifying (remixing) the music for stylistic effect and seamless constant flow . It’s almost like you’re using music to create more music.
VirtualDJ can handle up to four different tracks. But for beginners, the basic interface includes four areas: the Browser for selecting music, video, audio, and sound effects from your music folders and playlists.
Two Deck controls for dragging and dropping music from the browser to the virtual decks. The decks are where you also track titles and beats per minute of selected tracks.
The other two sections include a Mixer Zone for using crossfade, gain, Volume PL Controls, VUE meters, EQ controls, and Key adjustments. The top vertical window tracks the waveform of each song loaded or playing on a deck. This area also features a Computer Beat Grid (CBG) for visual mixing and beat-matching.
Like I said, don’t let this program intimidate you. There’s plenty of resources for learning how to use it. First off, download the VirtualDJ User Guide to get familiar with all the features and preferences of the program.
Next, head over to YouTube and check several dozen of the video tutorials that professional mixers have done. I found Virtual DJ Easy Blending Syncing Tutorial, Scratching a Record in Virtual DJ, and Mixing Hip Hop in a Club Setting Using VirtudalDJ as samples of what you can do with the program.
There’s also VirtualDJ Music groups on the program’s website with a very large group of subscribers.
If you are curious about the art of DJing or you want to use your skills in a software format, VirtudalDJ seems to be a great place to start.