Review: Mixxx 1.10 DJ Software

Sometimes you get what you pay for- but once in a while, you get a gift. A real gift; one that doesn’t suck, and if you enjoy that gift enough, you may decide to give back. That’s the scenario with Mixxx, the open-source DJ software that offers one of the best free alternatives to the big commercial programs. Its well-rounded feature set and impressive results make it an outstanding introduction to digital DJing or a streamlined solution for laptop-only performance. Let’s examine its latest features and the overall package.

Reviewed: Mixxx 1.10.1 open-source DJ software
Price: Free
Sample Rates: 44.1, 48, or 96 kHz
Audio formats: Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV, AIFF, with recording available.
Live Streaming: Via Shoutcast or Icecast (Streaming or recording to MP3 requires a third-party LAME encoding tool.)
Replay Gain: Normalization of track audio levels is available in Preferences.
System Requirements (Recommended):2 GHz or faster CPU, 1 GB RAM, soundcard with 2 audio outputs, Windows 2000, XP, Vista, or 7 (32- or 64-bit) / Mac OS X 10.6 or later / Linux: Mixxx officially supports Ubuntu Linux. However, Mixxx can build on almost any Linux distribution.

The Good: Very good results for tempo and beat detection, beat syncing, keylock, quantize, and other types of processing. Beatgrid adjustment. Looping and sampler decks. Mic input with talkover button. Traktor and iTunes library integration. Supports multiple audio interfaces. Decent configuration options. Recording of sets. The “free” version is the “full” version.

The Bad: No multi-effects engine. Limited number of MIDI controller mappings available. Somewhat complicated MIDI mapping scheme. No 4-deck support yet.

The Bottom Line: What’s more important than your money? Your time. Obviously, it costs you nothing to download and try Mixxx, yet this long-running open source project makes it worth your while if you seek an easy-to-use, but still fairly powerful program. It’s great for Internet radio or other laptop-only uses. DVS, CDJ, and growing MIDI controller support also make it an attractive performance option for resourceful DJs and Linux users.


Mixxx's default layout.

They say it takes 10 years to become an overnight sensation, and that’s pretty much the case with Mixxx. Tue Haste Anderson created Mixxx in 2002 as part of a doctoral thesis, and a new development team took over in 2006. Although it has garnered around 1,000,000 yearly downloads for a while now, the latest update to v1.10 added many key features that upped the ante for a free program.

Specifically, those new features include:

  • 4 sampler decks that output to the main output
  • more looping features
  • a mic module
  • DVS support
  • new track deck features such as quantize (for automatically setting cue and loop points on a beat)
  • beatgrid adjustment (for fixing the placement of the down beats if Mixxx incorrectly detected them).

We’d still like to see a proper effects engine (rather than the single flanger effect), more loops and cue points per track, 4-deck support, and… well, the sky’s the limit. But it’s so uncouth to complain about a free, open-source project, so that’s not the goal here. Mixxx continues to grow, and bigger things are ahead.

While on the subject of open source, we’re a little more forgiving of some bugs and other shortcomings, such as Mixxx’s light or inconsistent documentation. I tested Mixxx 1.10.1 on a 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro with 4 GB RAM and running OS 10.6.7 Snow Leopard. Besides a couple of bugs that didn’t effect performance (I’ll mention those later), Mixxx ran buttery smooth the whole time. But as the software also supports Linux and many versions of Windows, keep in mind that there may be small inconsistencies with what’s written here and your own experience.

Note to Mac users: The version available in the Mac App Store, Mixxx 1.9.1, does not include DVS support due to some kind of licensing restriction, and as such does not include the other great features of the latest edition, which you can download from


One possible advantage to Mixxx as you first install it is that is supports multiple audio interfaces, which you can setup in the Preferences. So if you have a two-channel audio interface that you make your master output, you could use your computer’s internal audio output for headphone cueing.

The Mixxx audio preferences. The software supports multiple audio interfaces at once.

Also in the Preferences, there are different layout skins to choose. The standard official skin, Deere, has a traditional look that harkens to Traktor; LateNight and Phoney offer different styles of stacked, horizontal decks; and Shade cops an Ableton-inspired feel. You can create your own skin if you like.

The Shade skin turns Mixxx all Ableton-y.

Focusing on Deere, the official interface, you get a Traktor-style track deck with a large overview waveform, a smaller summary waveform, BPM and time remaining display. The pitch slider with Sync button has adjustable ranges in the Preferences.

Six deck configuration buttons let you:

  • Toggle the spinning vinyl icon in the deck.
  • Toggle repeat track.
  • Eject track from the deck.
  • Adjust the beatgrid: position the playhead over the correct spot for the downbeat and then press the button.
  • Toggle quantize: With quantize on, loop in/out and cue points will snap to a beat.
  • Toggle keylock.

At the bottom of each deck, you have fast forward, rewind, and reverse play buttons; a looping section, and 4 cue point buttons. Just press a cue point button to set the point and again to return to it. Cntrl-cuepoint button (Mac) erases the cue point.

The standard Mixx track deck with the Vinyl widget showing.

The expanded looping section includes Loop In, Loop Out, and Loop Toggle buttons, as well 8 preset quick loop buttons for 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 beats. Additionally, Loop + and Loop – buttons double or half the loop length, respectively.


In the mixer section, you have your two-channel volume faders with level meters for each channel as well as the master output, which include the mic input and sampler decks. The two channels have Gain and 3-band EQ, including High, Mid, and Low Kill switches, as well as PFL headphone cueing buttons and an FX button. FX toggles the single effect available, a flanger, which has LFO, Depth, and Delay knobs.

The single effect is better than nothing, and the flanger sounds pretty good. Obviously, a proper effects engine would be nice, and the word is that one is in the works. In the meantime, a better effect mix knob would help apply more of the flange to a track. As it stands now, even with the Depth knob cranked, the effect sounds pretty subtle.

At the top of the mixer sit the headphone and master volume controls, and above the level meters, Mic, Sampler, and Vinyl button show or hide those control modules.


A simple Mic module gives you a talkover button to activate the mic input (which can be an internal mic or any external input chosen in the Preferences) and a volume knob with level meter. You can also set the mic input’s active crossfader orientation, from left, right or middle (always on).

Each of the four sampler decks come with an impressive level of features. Each one displays the name, waveform, and BPM of the sample and includes a pitch slider, volume knob, headphone cue button, 4 hotcues, play/pause button, repeat, keylock, sample eject and crossfader orientation buttons. Just like in the track decks, you can mouseclick the BPM display to work as a tap tempo.


If anything, the Mixxx library goes above and beyond what other DJ software libraries do. It was, however, also the source of a couple of bugs. When you right-click a track in library and bring up the Properties dialog window from the contextual menu, you can edit the track tags, BPM, and even cuepoint information. It’s quite helpful and usually worked fine. But sometimes the changes applied in the Properties dialog didn’t show in the library. For example, if the BPM was incorrectly detected as half or double the actual BPM, buttons in the Properties window can easily fix that. But those changes didn’t always show up later in the library.

Another problem was changing Properties of a track that did show up in the library in one location, but not in another location, like a playlist.

With that out of the way, the Mixxx library generally offers a lot of flexibility and options. It will read any existing Tracktor playlists and sample/loop material, as well as your entire iTunes library. You can analyze tracks from the library, create Crates and Playlists. You can rearrange the order of track attributes such as, artist, genre, BPM, duration, rating, year, key, etc., and order tracks according to those attributes. While all of this is what we’ve come to expect in a DJ software library, the point is that it’s all there and working in a free program.

The Browse section of the library can also access your computer’s entire file directory, and the library has a Search field, as well.

All of the Mixxx skins leave the Library untouched. LateNight adds stacked deck waveforms.

Mixxx also has the dreaded Auto DJ function. Just dump some tracks into the Auto DJ folder of the library, hit Enable Auto DJ button, and you’ll be free to have a smoke, take a leak, or chat up the cutie who’s been looking at you — please not all at the same time; we expect better of you. The Auto DJ starts mixing in a track about 10-30 seconds before the end of the previous track, depending on the track. It does not beat sync unless you set it to beat sync in the deck, but you have to do that each time there’s a new song, and that kind of defeats the purpose. Let’s just admit that the Auto DJ is not a DJ Replacement button, but that it could conceivably come in handy in an emergency, so why not have it?

The library also stores a folder of any Mixxx Recordings you’ve made In the Preferences, you can choose the audio format and quality level of your recordings or if you want to split the recordings at a certain size, like 650MB for CDs. To record to MP3, you have to install a third-party LAME MP3 encoder, which the Mixxx manual walks you through.


Due to the small resolutions of some the Mixxx skins that are suitable for netbooks or tiny laptops, and the fairly comprehensive QWERTY keyboard mappings for control, you get the sense that a big part of Mixxx’s users are rocking it on just a laptop in very mobile situations. The standard keyboard shortcut layout covers loading and ejecting tracks, looping, hotcues, crossfading, tempo adjustment, EQ kills, and more. I did not have the same experience on a Mac keyboard as what’s listed in the manual, but the keyboard mapping is adjustable.

Besides, Mixxx includes a good start on MIDI controller compatibility, with Mixx Certified mappings for 13 controllers — including the Midi Fighter Classic (Review | Buy) — and community supported mappings for 29 controllers. They would love to have you fill in the blanks by creating a new mapping. The functionality and quality of documentation among the community-supported mappings varies.

I tested Mixxx with the community-supported mapping for the M-Audio Xponent (pictured at rightReview | Buy). It was a nice way to resurrect a controller I had mostly placed on the shelf. I was able to control Mixxx almost entirely from the Xponent. With the exception of some browser functions and Sampler Deck control, keyboard shortcuts could make up for what the controller mapping didn’t provide.

With the absence of a lot of effects in Mixxx, I had some extra controls I wanted to map to Sampler Decks. You can add new MIDI controls via the MIDI Controllers Preferences, but you’ll need to know the MIDI Note that each control on your hardware sends out. That’s a bit more complicated than the simplified MIDI Learn schemes that we’ve been spoiled with over the last several years, but at least it’s possible.


When it comes to open source software that means to emulate or replace a high-end commercial package, I tend to be wary of the stability and quality of the critical processing. Once I completely uninstalled the old version of Mixxx from the Mac App Store and installed Mixxx 1.10.1 from, the software performed remarkably stably at low latency settings and a sample rate of 48 kHz. Any bugs I experienced did not affect the most critical aspects for a DJ: continuity and quality of the audio and the stability of the program.

Also, the quality of Mixxx’s critical processing tasks (time-stretching, keylock, BPM detection and beat sync) was generally excellent. All of those processes compared well to commercial programs. The occasional problems — incorrect BPM detection and incorrect beatgrid placement — are not uncommon in other commercial programs, and are both fixable in Mixx. You can adjust the BPM from a track’s Properties in the library or from using tap tempo in the track deck, which I don’t recommend for accuracy – and the track deck’s Adjust Beatgrid button works just fine.


Currenty, Mixxx stands as a triumph of the open source model where other open-source projects in the world of music software fall on their sword. I know little of Mixxx’s past and whatever challenges it has faced, but its future looks bright.

The Mixxx developers seem to have taken a healthy approach to slow growth. Other open-source programs have tried to offer tit-for-tat features mirroring their commercial counterparts and have sacrificed user friendliness, stability, or both. Mixxx on the other hand has kept its claim to novice accessibility while adding pro-level features incrementally. It’s still not tit-for-tat with Traktor for example, and maybe it never will be. It doesn’t have to go that route.

A kid mastering Mixxx on a cheap controller will in my opinion be much less likely to throw a laptop against a wall in frustration than a complete novice trying to jump into Traktor Pro with no background.

If nothing else, millions of people will continue to download Mixxx because using its Auto DJ at a dinner party looks cooler than iTunes. Who cares? Maybe they’ll learn something about digital DJing and stop trying to shout requests at you when you’re concentrating on your set. Well, we can dream can’t we? That’s what the Mixxx developers are doing. Check it out.

More Info: 

controllerdjfreewaremappingmidiMixxxopen sourceSamplerseratoSoftwareTraktor Tips
Comments (47)
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  • Fran

    Ok bear with me, I’m from the Technic turn table era and back on the scene after a long time away. Can I transfer any tune from any source e.g. DJ tunes?

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  • Lesley D'souza

    I have a Onkyo Bluetooth music system device saved on my laptop Window 8, but when I select the output master as Onkyo Bluetooth, in the MIXXX software, it hangs and does not go forward until I deselect it and go back to the laptop output. Can someone help me save the Onkyo Bluetooth as my master audio output.

  • Esteban Acosta

    I always thought BPM detection was its biggest weakness. I wish it would at least have the option to (logically) round to the nearest integer. Auto beatgrid adjustment would be nice, too… Besides that, and lack of effects, it’s an amazing program!

  • Kristinee Mariee

    How do you connect it to a Pioneer ergo, I can’t seem to get it working..

  • Djstudda

    I have the toshiba satellite with touchscreen with windows 8. Will I still be able to use this with program with my rane Ttm 57sl with cdj900s?

  • Paulo Truta

    I got a USB 5.1 soundcard and a Hercules Dj Control Mp3 for 60€ and i’m rocking with them on some Bars here in Portugal. When i get to more serious places (Like discos), i use the Pioneer CDJ-2000’s they have and i’m good with that. I didn’t need to spend a lot of money and i have a true mobile solution for simple djaying on bars or for some emergency 🙂

    Also, mixxx never crashed on me, and i sometimes do 5 hour mixes and record them all 🙂 Congratulations for the Mixxx team and community.

  • Sad and disappointed user

    I tried this software for about 1 week and it continuously froze and slipped for half a second everytime I opened a window. Just trying to drag some songs to the crates I was trying to create made the track grind to a halt. It sounded horrible. I have a good computer, but this software simply cannot handle having any other windows or even a browser open.

    I really wanted to like Mixx, but I really cannot recommend it to Windows users. Maybe I’m the only one with this problem, but I am uninstalling it and trying something else.

    • John Dick

      My experience using Mixxx on Windows has been the exact opposite. I’m running Mixxx on a small Windows 7 netbook. Many expensive commercial DJ programs cause my system to choke. But Mixxx runs without a hitch, even when I have other windows and an internet browser open.

  • acapellas4u

    Hey Ryan, great app, REALLY great. Let me know if there’s anything we can do to help on 🙂 our members would love this tool

  • Andrew Northern

    I have this on my work computer. As someone who dj’s 2-3 night a week i really like to look at the waveforms of my new tracks. I just let this guy run on auto dj on one of my spare monitors and when i hear something interesting i look over and see what it is. Thanks for an awesome program.

  • Clément Bonne

    as a cross by mix vibes user i am pretty sad of hearing nothing about the latest update with bring great new things such as sampler and even better beat detection

  • Anonymous

    How many developers are working on Mixxx currently?


    • RJ Ryan

      Hi there,

      It’s hard to quantify. We have a core team of probably 5 or 6 people and a community of 100+ contributors who send us patches infrequently. The problem is that we’re all volunteers working in our spare time so maybe 5-6 people’s spare time adds up to about 1 full time engineer.

  • thartofnoise

    “Currenty, Mixxx stands as a triumph of the open source model where other
    open-source projects in the world of music software fall on their

    From where do you get this?

    It seems you never heard of programs such as Audacity (which has 5 mil downloads on cnet alone), JACK, SoX, Ardour, Rosegarden, …

  • ZIIK

    Think there already is more cuepoints unless my mind is playing me a prank. Think I tried mapping 8 on each deck on my launchpad a while back and it worked even though they are not visible in the skin.

    Correct me if I’m wrong… Been testing some software recently and could be confused. But I’m pretty sure.

    • RJ Ryan

      Yup — that’s right. There are 37 hotcues per deck/sampler we just don’t have enough room in the GUI to put buttons for them. They are addressable via HID/MIDI or keyboard control.

  • Bloodhound

    mixxx in my opinion is actually a pretty good competitor in the total spectrum of DJ software. its rock solid on ubuntu, and can even support timecode with a little effort! if you are a newbie dj or want to try a different program to spike creativity in a new environment, mixx is for you.

    i will say again: MIXXX IS WORTH THE EFFORT.

    you may not be banging out tunes with it on the big stage, but put linux (free) on a laptop and get Mixxx (free) on that laptop, and transfer your digital music over, and you have a totally free Digital Dj system. its that easy. i love mixxx, and am trying to incorporate it more into my set.

    if you even turned an eye at this article, try this program!

  • Lauti

    Add video! I started with djing with mixxx like 4 years ago. Eventually got traktor, but I learnt the essentials with mixxx

  • Jim

    Cool to see stuff like this. Make sure to keep thinking outside the box instead of just trying to duplicate existing programs. I think the future of DJ software will come like this, not from the big companies. There was a guy in the forums making his own DJ software that had some cool features that none of the commercial programs have. Keep it up!

  • tr4gik

    meh ..

  • RJ Ryan

    Hi there (and thanks Markkus for the warm review) — Mixxx’s lead developer here. If you’re interested in Mixxx, here’s what we’ve got coming down the pipeline:

    Mixxx 1.11.0 is in beta! We are getting ready to release the stable version very soon. You can download the beta here:

    Among the new improvements:

    * Massively improved beat detection (like.. 10x better than 1.10.1! and it can handle non-constant-tempo beatgrids)

    * 3-band colored waveforms

    * HID controller support — support for HID script (our scripting system for MIDI controllers now adapted for HID) and preliminary support for a lot of HID devices (Pioneer CDJs, Eks Otus, WiiMotes, Sony Sixaxis, Traktor Kontrol F1, etc.).

    * Set-log / history feature so you can keep track of your set lists automatically

    * Revamped/improved AutoDJ — (yea, I know.. not that interesting to the DJTT crowd 😉 )

    * Point-and-click MIDI mapping — the old MIDI learn wizard is gone and the new one is point-and-click based.

    * Advanced search — try a search query like “artist:’Com Truise’ bpm:80-110 played:>5” and you get tracks whose artist matches ‘Com Truise’ and with a BPM between 80-110 and that you have played greater than 5 times.

    And to respond to Markkus’s comments — 4 decks and an effects system are in the works and on track for being included in Mixxx 1.12. (also a master-sync system, built in key detection, and more!)

    Hope you like it! As always, please hit up our


    IRC Channel:


    for live help from the team and documentation.

    If you run into any bugs, please file them in our bug tracker
    and we will get them fixed.

    And finally, if you’re a programmer or artist and are interested in working on Mixxx please join the project! I’ll warn you, it’s addictive.

    A new skin someone is working on w/ the fancy new waveforms:

    • Eduardo Beattie

      I love this project! It’s what got me into DJing in the first place, and I found it is a very solid piece of software. I did a few small contributions to the wiki, and reported some bugs. What I find amazing, is that I, a simple user, suggested the automatic key detection, and now, nearly a year later, I see it confirmed for a future update. I remember when Mixxx didn’t have autoloops, or adjustable beatgrids, but eventually they were added. Mixxx will continue to grow into even better software and eventually it will be as fully featured as traktor. Thank you Mixxx!

    • Brian Foster

      Point and click MIDI mapping is pretty sexy.

    • MrPopinjay

      New skin looks lovely!

    • Quine

      Thanks for the excellent response and for all your hard work on the project so far! One thing I have been wondering: with the runaway success of so many tools (outside the music software space) with an emphasis on APIs and plugin interfaces so the community can add features, why not do the same for mixxx?

      I’m very confident that if you guys expanded your API to include full control of the software and a well-documented plugin interface, people (such as me) would dedicate tons of their time to making amazing plugins that far surpass functionality offered by commercial competitors. I think this is an area where music software is really lacking, and I would love to see you guys lead the charge!

      • RJ Ryan

        Hi there,

        Good idea! Mixxx already has a pretty advanced scripting interface based on Javascript/ECMAScript. We built this for supporting MIDI controllers — all you need to make a super-advanced preset for a MIDI or HID controller is to write some simple Javascript. We’re looking to expand this into a general script interface for use even when you don’t have a MIDI controller.

        We’re building an effects framework that will include the ability to write your own effects plugins. Our sound-decoder system is already modular and supports audio decoder plugins.

        As for an actual native-code plugin system (instead of Javascript) for extending Mixxx’s functionality I think since Mixxx is open-source there is much less of a need for this relative to proprietary software where the code is not available. We’re a very welcoming community and instead of putting your awesome new feature in a plugin, we’d rather you build it directly into Mixxx so that every Mixxx user benefits from the new hotness. To some extent this is how Mixxx got where it is today — most new features are written by people who are just scratching their own itches.

        • Quine

          Yep, I think the work you have down with the low level js interface has been fantastic. I definitely vote for the general interface, as well as a higher level (js) one as well.

          I totally agree that there’s no reason to built a native interface. Adding a high level JS interface could really expand the community support I think. For example, I’d like to write something akin to:

          MFPro.on(Note.e2, function (event) {
          // Set filter to neutral
          var filterLevel = 100;
          // Filter out the track beat by beat – not the smoothest effect but
          // it illustrates the idea hopefully
          var filterTimer = Mixxx.setBeatTimeout(function (info) {
          if (filterLevel > 0) { filterLevel -= 10 }
          else { clearInterval(filterTimer) }
          }, 1)

          *on is a typical event receiver, setBeatTimeout would be like setTimeout, but synced to the clock so it triggers once every x beats. Just quick ideas of course, but hopefully these illustrate the power of such an API.

          With something like this, I could implement something akin to “super combos” in just a few lines of code. I realize this would be a substantial amount of work, but I wanted to share the idea since I think Mixxx is the perfect place for something incredible like this to happen!

    • DJ TeeOh

      What about Mac users?

      • RJ Ryan

        Hi DJTeeOh,

        Mixxx is available free on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Were you referring to something in particular?

    • Shams 93

      Tried the beta and its awesome on ubuntu 12.04, even though I haven’t compiled a souped up kernel yet. Works great with the bcd3000. I’m definitely interested in the ladspa effects subproject for Mixxx, effects are the only thing missing, would be a nice option as my laptop is quad core so it can definitely handle realtime ladspa.

    • Russell Rutter

      “4 decks and an effects system are in the works and on track for being included in Mixxx 1.12. (also a master-sync system, built in key detection”

      I will ditch my traktor pro 2.5.1 if this is in there. FX are main reason why i use traktor and the 4 decks.

  • Stewe

    It’s nice to see Mixxx is growing! Respect!

  • David De Garie-Lamanque

    i’m very much accostumed to Ableton Live for live performance and Djing, i gotta say, Mixxx is awesome! and it’s way more user friendly than Traktor, although it would benefit from more effects and filter knobs

    • conor rynne

      it is possible to use Mixxx with Ardour via JACK. This would allow you to use more production-oriented tools and tons of effects – even for a live performance

  • DJ Peter Lo

    Would you recommend this to newbies who are thinking of giving DJing a try?

    • Scott Donaldson

      Defiantly, Especially if you don’t own a mac or are low on cash.
      If you own a mac and can spend a little bit of money I’d personally suggest Djay which is on the App Store for 9.99 which is a good price for Dj Software and EXTREMELY good for newbies (plus theres “lite” versions of the software on the iPod and iPad).

      But defiantly get Mixxx, I’ve used Djay, Traktor, Mixlab and Mixxx at public venues and if you don’t need effects or “paid for” features, It is really good and won’t let you down.

    • Lylax

      hell yea……its free……imho for a noob i would download all the trials i could for each program and give them all a shot. you will find one that you will fall in love with.