Continuing on my journey of discovery of free, open source software I ran across this gem by complete accident. Let's just say that after about 5 minutes I was completely hooked!
The software I am talking about is called Mixxx, from the aptly named www.Mixxx.org
The software is a double turntable emulator which uses your mp3 library to allow you to create some absolutely mind-blowing shit. I'll prequel the rest by saying that I have no DJ experience what-so-ever, in fact, I've never even been allowed to touch a turntable before. Once I got my hand slapped, no joke, DJs don't like it when you mess with their stuff. The good news is, now YOU can slap people trying to touch your desktop or laptop. Mixxx puts you in control of your music with an extremely easy-to-use interface with tool-tips which help guide you on your voyage.
Within about 10 minutes of playing with it I was already able to cue up two tracks and start mixing them. Mixxx has a pretty sweet, and fairly accurate BPM detection algorithm which lets n00bs like me easy beat-match two tracks together.
I started out doing something very simple, mixing a Bounty Killa acapella with a bunch of random rap instrumentals. I definitely didn't hit my cues right from the start, it takes some practice to get this down, but is a great way to learn how DJs do their thing.
For the most part, this was an easy process and made me start feeling adventurous. Next up I mixed Wu-Tang's C.R.E.A.M vs. a random UK Garage instrumental I had laying around. Trying to push the boundaries of the auto-bpm-detector I mashed up Nate Dogg's "Gangsta Walk" with Coldplay's "Clocks" with an interesting result. Unfortunately, neither the acapella or the instrumental I had was of great quality but it certainly shows a nice example of what a layman can accomplish in about fifteen minutes of time. The example follows:
Mixxx is awesome for 1. doing mash-ups and 2. makes it very easy to create a full playlist and mix a live set like a real DJ.
According to their site, Mixxx interfaces with Serato, among other pro DJ equipment, which I don't have.
I didn't find a way to integrate VST or DXI effect software, which sucks because aside from a very simple EQ and flanger, Mixxx doesn't offer any FX. I could just imagine ripping a live set with a glitch vst, some reverb and a better EQ tool. Of course, the software is free and we all know that beggars can't be choosers. Another great addition would be the ability to add a third track into the mix, but maybe that's asking too much. The good news is, its open source and being continuously improved and developed, so many more functions are likely to appear in future versions. Given my experience with it, I think this project easily has a future.
Mixxx allows you to record your set in real time, rendering it as a high quality WAV or AIFF file.
Overall, I have to give this software two big thumbs up for the amount of entertainment it is sure to provide. Whether you're completely new to DJing like I am, or an experienced DJ, this is definitely worth checking out!
Would love to hear some feedback on this from a DJ.