It’s funny how only a few years ago, most DJs still carried around their turntables and lugged their big heavy bags of vinyls everywhere they went. Cut to now, and most of them have all switched to powerful laptops and creative mixing software. The versatility and intuitiveness of technology have taken over from the rugged, physical contact with records. I lament the loss of this time in some ways, as I’ve always enjoyed the imperfections and grainy sound of vinyls, and the pure enjoyment of spending hours in a record store, taking records out of their sleeves to listen to them on the turntable.
Although the sound quality of MP3s still leaves a lot to be desired, I still believe that the digital switch is great for music professionals. More powerful tools means more creativity and therefore more new tracks. Extracting, editing and adding bits of sounds is easier than ever, and you can find libraries full of effects to endlessly modify your tracks. Add to that the fact that you can now carry thousands of songs with you anywhere, and not to say how easy it is to share tracks and collaborate with other artists online, and it’s tough to find areas to complain. In this traditional summer festival season, I’ve picked out a few mixing tools for you to choose from, if you’ve decided to ditch your turntables and records and go digital once and for all:
- Ableton – A smart and flexible interface, loads of effects and a great help guide make this a top choice to create everything in music production, from recording to playback.
- UltraMixer – A no fuss, hands on mixer that lets you handle your tracks and makes sure all your transitions are smooth.
- Djay – Great use of the Mac Multi Touch technology for scratching and perfect integration with your iTunes library makes this an excellent choice for party mixes.
- Disco DJ – Behind a sleek, pure white interface this mixer features all the tools you’ll need to organize your music collection and have that all important mix flow.
- Traktor DJ Studio – Four playback decks, advanced effects and the ability to create your very own mixing setup. Also gives access to the Beatport online music store.
- Reason – Dreamed of owning a recording studio? This all in one package brings to you everything from a sampler to synthesizer, a sequencer, drum machine and plenty of effects.
- Ardour – Record, edit and mix audio. Ardour is a good choice for mixing video soundtracks.
PC users, check out Nick’s post on the best software for aspiring VJs.