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Appeared on: Thursday, April 26, 2007
MixVibes6 3DEX


1. Introduction

Digital Music and mixing are now part and parcel. Both amateur and professional DJs use a PC or MAC with some type of DJ mixing software for their needs or even simply to listen to their favorite music. Today we will examine and present a well known DJ mixing software from MixVibes, the MixVibes 6 3DEX.

- MixVibes 6 3DEX

The latest and most powerful edition of the MIXVIBES 6 Family is now available. The 3DEX Edition will allow you to use all the DJ tricks, without a lot of difficulty. Easy to use and to install, and no extra hardware is necessary. Thanks to its optimized audio engine, a direct result of the DVS technology, this edition offers the best performance and unbelievable sound quality.

MixVibes 6 3DEX Edition is a professional software package. It allows you to mix live, with your computer, just as a real DJ would do. Some of the tools available include effects, loops, cueing, BPM counter, waveform display, so that you can create more and more technical mixes. MixVibes 6 3DEX uses the DVS Technology to provide the best sound quality with the lowest latency time.

Take a look at the Mv6 3DEX features:

3 Virtual players
Master Tempo (+-100%!) / Pitch shifting (+- 24%!) / Speed (+-100%)
Waveform display
Automatic Bpm Counting almost instantaneously
Beat matching with one click
Seamless Loops (0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 et 32 beats)
Real time effects (flanger, equalizer...)
Cueing (up to 10 cues on-fly)
Equalizer 3 bands for each player
Every audio format supported (MP3, WMA, OGG, Audio CD, ASF, WAV, MIDI, AU, AIF...)
Manage up to 4 stereo audio outputs
External controller (Hercules DJ Console, DM2 and all MIDI Controller)
You can use a microphone

Master Tempo

Professional Mv6 Audio Engine allows an impressive 100% Master tempo.

Vinyl Mode / Scratch

Thanks to the Vinyl mode, you can scratch or stop like a real turntable!

MP3 Streaming

Thanks to MP3, you can have several hours of music. Your fly case will never be smaller !

Visualization

You can use a waveform display to set your cues more precisely.

Cross fader

Use the cross fader like on real mixers, and make your own mix.

Beat Offset Visual.

Never lose the tempo with Beat offset visualization.

Seamless loops/effects

Thanks to the powerful BPM counter, it's possible to do seamless loops.

Controllable

MixVibes 6 allows you to use the Hercules DJ Console, DM2 and all MIDI controllers.

You need to have at least the following configuration in order for MixVibes 6 3DEX to operate properly:


2. Installation

The MixVibes 6 3DEX can be bought directly from MixVibes at the retail price of €79 (digital download). There is also a 20 days trial demo version if you want to test the product before buying it. The installation process is very easy, just follow the setup wizard. After installation has finished, click on the desktop icon and you're up and running. The latest software version is 6.282

.

The main screen should be familiar for those who have used in the past, DJ mixing software. By default, 3 players are available (we set two in the options for a better fit on screen).

Click To Enlarge!

The layout is configurable and you can easily change the way things are organised, depending on your preferences:

Click To Enlarge!

or like this...

Click To Enlarge!

or like this!

Click To Enlarge!

The Options menu unveils interesting information about the software's capabilities and supported features:

The General Tab. The options are easily understandable:

In the Mix tab, you can set the min/max Bpm and auto gain

One of the most interesting is the "Sound" tab. There, you can see the true potential of MixVibes, since it supports many different modes, depending on the installed Soundcard.

If you have more than one sound device installed, MixVibes finds them and allows you to select which device to use:

The MultiAudio group gives more options and allows you to set among others, headphones as output device:

The ASIO and KERNEL group allow selection of drivers and console device for lowest latency (ms):

While there are quite a lot of options in this tab, perhaps so many that for many novice users it could be confusing, probably the only two choices you need to configure initially are MULTI-CHANNEL and ASIO. Other software packages have a more user friendly interface for setting Audio output, for example VirtualDJ.

The remaining tabs offer more configuration options for Skins, Keyboard and Midi devices:

MixVibes 6 3DEX supports a variety of external controllers, such as Hercules DJ Consoles, DM2, DMC/DAC1-2-3, etc.


3. Working with the software

Let's now have an in depth look at how the software works. In general, each virtual player can handle different digital audio music formats. With drag & drop or by pressing "Open", you can load tracks into each player and then "adjust" the various settings.

The media-base view displays all the information of all the media files and can include thousands of songs. This view has two display modes:

In List mode, you can select which information should be available for viewing (title, author, genre, BPM, album, duration) with a simple right-click on the media-base. The media-base can be sorted in many ways: by BPM, by author, by genre…

You can also select the in which order the columns should be displayed:

To search for a specific file in the media-base, you can use the “Find” function which is called up on screen when you press the “CTRL + F” shortcut key . On the left pane shown below, you can sort files with ID3 tags into several groups:

Just like on a real player, the channel contains functions like CUE, Jog wheel, speed, master tempo, key, loop, beat-loop and others. Besides these functions, MixVibes channels can also offer functions like: wave display, 3 band equalizer, pan, user scripts, effects and others. Each view is dynamic and you can open and close any of them. MixVibes can save the position of each so when you close the program, the next time you open it they will be restored.

On the channel screen, you will also find a complete “Peak view” of the entire media file, which can be used as a guide by showing you in advance what is to come. Every time a media file is loaded into one of the channels, MixVibes scans it and generates a “Peak” file. This file is stored into a separate folder and will be reread the next time you load the same media file into one of the channels. In peak view you can also move the song forth and back and set Cue points for later use.

There are other functions also, like "Vinyl Mode". When set to on, the wheel will act like a vinyl record. You can go backwards and forwards, it will react like a scratch! When it's off, the wheel acts like a jog. This is very useful for mixing rapidly without using the auto beat match function.

You can set the monitor and output channel. The monitoring function can be activated directly from the channels, and each channel has a button for this feature. You can also switch the output number “on the fly” for each channel.

In the middle of the virtual player, you will find the "Tempo Mode". Mixvibes 3DEX provides 3 kinds of pitch. You can select them simply by clicking on the icon:

Probably the most useful function for mixing, would be the "MT" setting. Finally, the vertical tools can be used to add effects (1- Compressor, 2 Sustain, 3- Reverb) or create loops.

At the bottom, you can select/deselect several "racks" with different functions:

Auto BPM Rack
Another simple way to preview your sound is the “Auto BPM Window”. This window displays the incoming mixed sound.

Control panel
Yet another feature of this software is the ability to use a control panel as a mix table. Indeed, this window will control:

  1. The Main volume
  2. The record volume and launch
  3. The volume of your inputs: wave, microphone, line, cd.
  4. Equalization of bass, medium, treble and enable/disable button

After setting up the audio system (as discussed in the previous page) you can control each output from the “Main Volume” rack.

Gain/Compressor/Limiter panel

Here you can set the auto-gain and compressor features:

Cross Fader
A cross fader is available. The sound on your first deck is set on left, and the second deck on the right. The two buttons under “A” and “B” correspond to the Auto Beat Match. When you click on one of them, it will launch your media file at the same beat as the other one.


4. Conclusion

Testing DJ mixing software comprises two parts, the features and then its performance.

The MixVibes 6 3DX includes most of the required features to cover all your DJ mixing needs. It will auto search the BPM of each track, supports many different digital audio files, can work with ASIO drivers, and use external controllers to make your DJ mixing life a lot easier. The GUI is good, it's highly configurable too and there are several built-in skins to choose from. It would be nice if there were other skins to download, at least from the Mixvibes.com site.

For our tests, we used several different Audio formats, mostly dance music. With the help of Hercules DJ Console, we were able to get a full overview of the software's main capabilities. However, there were some glitches. On several occasions, the software reported the controller was not connected. However, everything worked just fine. This could be a bug or a software glitch.

We worked mainly with the Hercules DJ Console, MK1 version as Soundcard and external controller. At times we had GUI glitches as shown in the above screenshot. Also, we didn't like the default mapping of the keys, but this is something that can be changed easily under options. While most functions worked without any problems, we came upon a major problem. Most of our mixes turned out to be slightly out of sync, at least with the "AutoBeat Matching" function.

There are several options under the AutoBPM rack window, where by default "Auto Mix Large" is selected. Changing to other modes didn't make any significant difference or improvement:

Looking at the Auto BPM window, we can see that our mix is out of sync. This required manual intervention to make it right (bass peaks should be aligned). Pressing the sync button again may sync the two songs but may not.

The effects and cue points work well and will change your mixing tunes. The auto-gain and built-in compressor were nicely done and lastly, we liked the fact that ID3 tags are supported. However, you cannot add any kind of filtering like which songs have not been played in a specific target folder, or have played within the last 10 days, etc... But this isn't available in other similar packages either. Harmonic mixing is not supported, at least with the built-in functions and there isn't a related column under the mediabase area. You can record the mix in either wav or mp3 format. The CPU load is very low (with ASIO drivers and Hercules DJ Console connected, around 15% on an Asus A6JA laptop) and rises up to 50% when loading a new file into the virtual player.

After having used the Mixvibes 6 3DX in a real life performance, I must say I am not very happy with its built-in auto beat-match functions. Sometimes they work wonders, sometimes they simply cannot get a perfect sync, no matter what. I do understand that DJ Mixing software requires manual intervention but competition software (e.g. VirtualDJ) offers better capabilities in this area. On the other hand, MixVibes 6 is well known for its very good support of timecode CD/Vinyls, however this version doesn't support it.

Lastly, there is a big MixVibes community around that can help you with any problem you will encounter. There is also a fully working demo that should be tested before proceeding with a purchase. I also tried the MixVibes 6 Pro demo, which I found more complete and with much better features. More features means higher cost for end user so determine your needs and decide which MixVibes version is the perfect choice for you.



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