Digital DJ Power Utilities and Online Tools

As digital DJ software continues to incorporate more features, it often seems like we rely on our program of choice to do everything – from organization to metadata to actually playing the tracks. At the same time, the number of software engineers in the world has grown dramatically – meaning there are more tools being created every day for DJs by small independent developers. Today we’ve got a roundup of the best tools for DJs – read on!

DJ TOOLS iOS APPLICATION: HANDHELD REFERENCE

The DJ Tools HUD
The DJ Tools HUD

Developer: Operand Labs
Price: $0.99 in the iTunes Store

This handheld app starts off our list because it takes simple actions that all DJs need to do on a regular basis (key identification and BPM detection) and compiles the needed tools into a simple portable interface. DJ Tools includes a key identification tool (and a quick harmonic mixing/circle of fifths reference), a list of compatible keys, a BPM tap counter, and a flashlight. The key detection lets you play a key and match the generated tone – it’s not auto-detecting because key detection algorithms are subject to failure. 

Similar software: All8’s TapBPM, DJZ’s BPM Meter

ADVANCED BEATPORT SEARCH

A typical search on ABS
A typical search on ABS

Developer: Andrew Katasonov
Price:
 Free – access here.

As DJs, sometimes you need to find a track that fits perfectly in a certain mix or as a backing track for a mashup with another song – or maybe you’re trying to find songs that work well for a routine in the style of Ean’s Stage Mixing technique. Having advanced expressions to comb through Beatport’s catalog by genre, BPM, artist, key, and any combination is a major win – and we suspect Beatport might want to build this into their default interface!

SC CLOUD BROWSER PLUGIN: SOUNDCLOUD IMPORT TO DAW

The SC Cloud Browser sits right in your DAW as a VST
The SC Cloud Browser sits right in your DAW as a VST

Developer: Stagecraft Software
Price: $5, free 30 day trial
More Info:
Cloud Browser site

This VST plugin also puts a whole database directly at the hands of the DJ or producer, but this one does so with the objective of quickly importing audio found on Soundcloud into a DAW like Ableton or FL Studio. Simply search for a track and you get a full preview player right in the VST – this is super handy if you’re looking for samples and loops to flesh out an idea! Then just drag the audio directly into your project.

SC Cloud Browser also shows the license of each search result – so you’ll be able to quickly know what’s Creative Commons and available for you to use without fear of infringement.

REKORD BUDDY: TRAKTOR > REKORDBOX

Sync from Traktor To Rekordbox
Sync from Traktor To Rekordbox

Developer: Next Audio Labs
Price: $7.99 on the Mac App Store (Mac-only)
More Info: Official page

We’ve written in passing about Rekord Buddy, but it’s worth featuring on this list again especially because of the type of software it is. Independent developers and hackers have the ability to bridge the gap between the isolated worlds in the DJ industry – and in this case, Next Audio Labs wins a gold medal for allowing the merging of databases between Traktor’s and Rekordbox’s collections.

Set a cue point, a load marker, and a beat grid in Traktor, and then sync the databases with Rekordbuddy, and you’re able to have all of the same information still there in Rekordbox ready to export to your USB sticks for a Pioneer CDJ setup.

We’re hoping that Next Audio Labs tackles Serato DJ next – moving libraries back and forth between Traktor Pro and Serato DJ on the fly would be an incredible feat.

XTREME MAPPING: LESS-PAINFUL TRAKTOR MAPPING 

Drag and drop from TSI to TSI
Drag and drop from TSI to TSI

Developer: Vincenzo Pietropaolo
Price: $7.99 on Mac App Store (Mac-only)
More Info: Official page

What’s the point of having an incredible system for MIDI mapping if the interface is incredibly difficult to use effectively? This software acts as an editor for Traktor Pro’s TSI mapping files, and incorporates basic missing functions like Undo/Redo, full descriptions of all of the modifiers and parameters, and even copying mapping functionalities from one TSI file to another.

With Xtreme Mapping, Traktor mappers have a set of tools that start to come closer to Virtual DJs XML-based mapping system (which is less attractive visually, but more versatile) – and for power users like Mix Architekt, Flashflooder, and others, having a tool like this means that organizing, editing, and rapidly prototyping mappings becomes a bit more reasonable.

TRACKHUNTER

Trackhunter fetching the last four days of Deep House releases
Trackhunter fetching the last four days of Deep House releases

Developer: Flare Design
Price: Free (Mac + PC)
More Info: Official Site

Trackhunter is a software that allows you to keep tabs on what the latest purchasable releases are on all of the major online music stores, including Amazon, Audiojelly, Beatport, DJ Tunes, iTunes, Track It Down, Traxsource, and more. When setting up the software, you input the sources you want to track, the genres you’re interested in and the quality of files you want to see.

After setup, every time you start Trackhunter it shows you all of the releases that have come out since your last load – you can preview them in the application, and either add them to a saved Shortlist or ignore them (and never see them again). It’s a simple tool but does well, especially if you need to keep track of releases in a certain genre for a specific residency.

BEETS: COMMAND-LINE MUSIC MANAGMENT

Beets is not by Dre
Beets is not by Dre

Developer: Adrian Sampson
Price: Free
More Info: Official Site

Billed as “the music library management system for obsessive-compulsive music geeks”, Beets is a command-line tool that allows users to manage, import, and find metadata for your entire music library. If you’re not comfortable working in a command-line tool, you’ll probably want to find something else – but the feature set here makes it worth the hassle of not having a GUI – including metadata fetch for album art, genres, tempos, acoustic fingerprints – all via MusicBrainz, Discogs, and Beatport’s databases

We know this tool won’t be for everyone, but for our more technical-minded readers we think this could be a match made in programmer heaven.

Similar software or alternatives: MP3Tag (Windows-only), MetaBliss (Mac-Only)

SWITCH: AUDIO ENCODER

Wild audio encoding action!
Wild audio encoding action!

Developer: NCH Software
Price: Free (Mac + PC)
More Info: Official Site

Sometimes you’ll get a batch of files in a format that you’ll never want to use for DJing – like a massive collection of WAVs that you have no use for in a lossless format (if you have producer friends who are giving you tracks, this happens more often than you’d expect). Save some space and encode that audio! Switch does the trick cleanly and simply, and since it’s a cross-platform solution everyone can join in the fun. The software supports a wide array of formats, including WAV, MP3, WMA, M4A, OGG, AVI, FLAC, MOV, and more.

Note that the free version of the software will ask to install other programs during the installation – you’ll likely want to decline.

AUDIO HIJACK PRO: SAMPLE YOUR COMPUTER AUDIO

audio-hijack-pro
Rapidly hijack and record system audio.

Developer: Rogue Amoeba
Price: Free (up to 10 minutes of recording, paid after. Mac only)
More Info: Official Site

For a lot of producers, sometimes there’s audio playing back on your computer that you can’t easily download or import directly into a DAW or DJ software. Thankfully, instead of routing your computer’s system audio out and back into your interface, there’s an easier way. Audio Hijack Pro intercepts your system audio and allows easy recording of that audio at a high quality.

Want to see it in action? Check out Mad Zach’s tutorial on sampling any sound from the internet and turning it into an Ableton Drum Rack.

Have tools like these that you use on the regular? Put your favorites in the comments below (1 software per comment) and vote up other comments with tools that you use – we’ll add the most popular ones to the article! 

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  • lolmayonnaise

    Are you seriously recommending using lossy audio instead of lossless?

  • Patch

    I had high hopes for this article.

    Did not deliver.

  • Deksel

    Hey DJTT,
    Should n’t we take it upon ourselves to create an awesome, OS independent (online? Co-creative?), speed of light mapping editor that will allow us to create insane mappings really fast (for the new MF twister for example). Something like the remix decks project.
    Does n’t seem like NI is listening…

  • alkaruno

    Yet another advanced Beatport search: http://tracksfinder.com/search/advanced/

  • Ginkgo

    Another great resource: whosampled.com, and especially the iOS app. It will scan your iTunes library and reveal the sample sources of all your tracks.

  • Rayanaldo Nikola Brkljacic

    I could not for the life of me figure out how to install beets 🙁 haha

  • Dom

    So here’s my question… With Audio Hijack pro… It is my understanding that YouTube only plays at 192kbps. Anything above like 16khz is cut off even if u upconvert it to 320kps.

    • reminixe

      not 16, more like 18-19khz depending on the bitrate, though obviously 320kbps is still far superior

      The article never mentioned youtube though, this is more for finding samples or recording things directly from your DAW, as full tracks being DJ’d at 192kbps is not good

    • Faggot-Tits McGee

      Who cares about what you lose at the top end? It’s the bass you need to worry about. The vast majority of people over 18 can’t hear over 17kHz or therabouts anyway. Also “upconvert” means nothing. A 192kbps mp3 bounced as a 320kbps mp3 is still just a 192kbps mp3. My personal minimum, (and I mean minimum; as in I have to play it but can’t find a 320 kbps mp3 anywhere) is 224kbps, below this low end (and quality in general) starts to disappear

  • kkkkkl

    umm what about trainspotter? best traktor library utility

    • Futureglue Musik

      Yep. Use it all the time.

  • Jerr1233

    Good article concept, too bad that almost half the list is apple only apps. Oh well hopefully some of these developers will release PC versions.

    • Trackhunter

      Hi there, Trackhunter is actually not Mac only, the PC version is available directly from http://www.trackhunter.co.uk

    • ChaZ

      Like a twin brother of “XTREME MAPPING” who loves to wonder in PC-land.

      • achilles

        It also runs in a VM 🙂

        • ChaZ

          Oh yes! Am gonna try that 🙂 Link for cracked XTREME MAPPING?

  • santi elena is cool

    i mean belly

  • santi elena is cool

    soundcloud to your daw, are you guys serious, what about bakery to my bally app?

  • Aken

    Very cool article!

  • Gu3d3Z

    I already use the Xteme MAPPING time, a pity not been updated which makes it incompatible with the current vs Traktor, and several times I sent an email to the developer and never heard back. Undoubtedly one exelente application until the VS 2.6.2 of traktor, hopefully be updated soon

    • It’s sad to hear that. The developer is of XtremeMapping is sitting in another room next to my office. I’ll have a talk to him about it and get back to you.

      • Gu3d3Z

        this sounds like music to me …. I hope he us good news.

        • Singoalla

          And here are the good news… Xtreme Mapping 1.5 is on the Mac AppStore, bringing support to 2.6.x versions including the Remix Decks commands 😉

    • Dan White

      What does not work in XM past 2.6.2?

  • A correction to your article: Trackhunter is not an OSX only program. There is also a version for Windows and he has intent to release Linux, Android, and iOS versions.

    http://www.trackhunter.co.uk/download.aspx

  • killmedj

    I would definitely add Snapper by Audioease to this list. So good for sample hunting from the web! well anywhere on your computer to be exact.

    http://www.audioease.com/Pages/Snapper/SnapperMain.html

  • Yakov

    One more entry for this list: http://www.MetaBliss.com from Mixed In Key. An Excel-style meta data editor for ID3 tags that lets you copy/paste values from one file to another. It also has a “Global Replace” function that removes all “Purchased at Beatport.com” type of junk from the tags.

  • Saleem

    Does the SC Cloud Browser only allow you to pull loops and samples? If it allows you to pull tracks and all audio on SC, then that seems very problematic from a copyright standpoint.

  • Joe Andolina

    Looks like I have a lot of homework to do especially checking out Xtreme Mapping. Thanks for the list.

    On the mac I like Tangerine from Potionfactoryfor getting a rough set lists together.
    Beattapper is a simple bpm counter for android.

  • Alexio Beez

    I use :
    -DJTT audio script :this is a must if you use your laptop for home use and djing.

    -Tottal Comander when I want to make some music selection on a usb stick or external hdd..The best for creating folders and copying music on the fly!

    -Creevity Mp3 Cover Downloader.Since most of the tracks you rip from old cd`s has no cover art,this little guy is pretty handy.

    -TeraCopy-when I want to copy/move big amounts of music,this is better then usings windows file copy program…

    -Network WDM ASIO Link: when comes handy when jamming with your band/friends .

  • splenda

    You can download trackhunter for PC as well on their website.

    • Dan White

      Nice catch, I’ll update the article!

      • Guest

        wink wink djsevolved.com Dan =)

  • Xtreme Mapping is a must for anyone that uses Traktor. It actually makes midi mapping enjoyable because of it’s sheer speed.

    • leavesremix

      I still can’t believe Native Instruments hasn’t improved their midi mapping after all these years. Something as simple as allowing the user to adjust the the size of the window would help so much.
      I’ll have to check xtreme mapping sometime.

      • You can actually resize the window now. It’s funny they enabled that feature but didn’t really announce it. The speed in Xtreme Mapping comes from being able to use keyboard commands and do mass channel reassigns. For example I had a Maschine mapping that was using channel 1 for midi messages and it conflicted with the Ableton mapping. I went into Xtreme Mapping highlighted all the commands and changed them to channel 16 in a couple clicks. If I had to do this in Traktor it would involve changing the channels of each mapping 1 by 1.

        • Futureglue Musik

          OMFG! thanks for letting me know u can resize.

      • Jake Hale

        it’s worth the headache of setting up a hackintosh (if you’re into mappings like I am).

        I wish they would make a linux/web/chromeOS app version if they’re going to be so anti-windows.

        • Oddie O’Phyle

          I built a box with the release of 10.6 (vanilla kernal instead of iATKOS), but i do wish that they would release Traktor for RedHat. I don’t personally believe that MBP’s are worth buying for production anymore and finding a lappy that is fully compliant with OSX86 is a pain in the rear.

  • Network WDM ASIO Link Driver – Windows
    http://midithru.net/Home/AsioLink

  • Jake Hale

    lots of cool stuff: I’ll add that I use Vmware to run a virtual OSX machine to use half these tools on a PC

    • zzzuperfly

      damn maybe I should do that – or maybe not – is it is easy to set up? I have had to recover everything twice now due to hardware crashes and I am a bit vary of complicated setups nowadays…