Flow 8 Deck: Mixed in Key’s 8-Deck DJ Software, Supports Stem Files

DJing has advanced from a two deck affair to reasonably incorporating four decks in more advanced sets, but there hasn’t been a DJ software that easily allows DJs to venture beyond “simple” four deck mixing. For the DJs looking to mix on eight decks (with full Stem file support) the time has come with Mixed in Key‘s new DJ software, Flow 8 Deck.

Mixing with 8 Decks

Like the name says, Flow 8 Deck is an innovator in DJ software with its ability to play eight decks of audio simultaneously. This has been possible before in DAW softwares, but this is the first time we are seeing it in a specific DJ deck format. DJs who use Pioneer, Numark, Native Instruments, Akai, and other major controller makers will mostly likely find their 2-deck controllers supported natively by Flow 8 Deck. The DDJ-SB, the Kontrol S2Mixtrack Pro and many more are all supported.

The 8-deck mode on the software puts each deck’s waveform side by side on the left and right sides of the mixer; a total of four decks per side. The active track is then shown in more detail below the tracks on the respective sides of the controller. For having that many decks, it sounds really busy – yet Mixed in Key found a clean way to layout all the necessary controls a DJ needs to see to control 8 decks. Next to each deck is an EQ, Filter, and a pitch fader nuzzled up next to the waveform.

Stem File Support, Dimensional Mixing, Retina Support

There has also been a lot of talk about Stem files, and while most DJs will use Traktor to control them, Flow has the ability to play back these files as well. Interestingly enough, Flow is also more than able to display up to eight waveforms of Stem playback – something that Traktor is struggling with while they figure out CPU/GPU issues. Mixed in Key took the dedicated Stem controllers out of the equation by giving DJs the ability to control Stems, using the EQ knobs for the volume of each Stem. The High knob controls Vocal stem, the Mid knob controls the Melody stem, and so on.

On top of Stem support Flow 8 Deck also has a new way to mix called Dimensional Mixing. Sometimes, a DJ wants to chop up a track or skip to the last breakdown, but without any preparation. Dimensional Mixing allows a DJ to click anywhere on the audio waveform of a track and cross-fade to that point. Cut the song short or chop up a breakdown simply by clicking around on the waveform. A new spin on beat jumping that adds more fluidity.

Mixed in Key has also included retina support for every screen in the software; each screen looks is sharp and clear. There’s also clear indicator lines – “Visual Flow Lines” – which show the decks that are playing in key, as well as a minimalist design that combines color along with motion to indicate important information.

Dynamic Playlists

A final notable feature in Flow 8 Deck is its integration with the Mixed in Key algorithms. Mixed in Key has been working on its key detection software for years, and the software brings in that knowledge with “Dynamic Playlists” – which automatically can bring up tracks that work well together based on their key, energy, and tempo.

As more companies develop DJ software there may be a pilgrimage to new styles of mixing. Flow 8 Deck is definitely for those seeking more decks to play and it is an interesting piece of DJ software that deserves to be put to the test by DJs all across the world. The software is only available for Apple DJs however a Windows version is on the way.

Flow 8 Deck is currently available for Mac OSX 10.9+ for $58 and it is free for current Flow DJ software users.

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  • Emily

    I recently downloaded flow onto a new computer to see this update… except I can’t even use the program any more because for some reason none of the tracks are showing up – like they’ve been imported and prepared but I go onto the decks and the “name, BPM, key” stuff shows up but I can’t see the tracks – they’re off the screen and I can’t use it anymore. Does anybody know a way to fix it? Please?

  • camy white

    How can i go back from 8 Decks to a older version, I need the version back 🙁



  • NKLY

    Seems like a neat tool… would be nice if there was a demo version.

  • deejae snafu

    too bad that UI looks like it just came back from 1997…considering how far digital design and art has advanced in the last decade or so, you’d think some of these devs could come up with a UI that didnt make you want to barf.

    • Chad Pranke

      You caught us, our design is clearly a blatant ripoff of PCDJ 🙂

    • Chad Pranke

      Seriously though, we love to talk about design, it’s something we spend a lot of time and thought on. If you have some specific feedback about Flow’s design we’d appreciate hearing from you at contact@mixedinkey.com.

    • Cory Mathews

      Devs almost never design UIs…

  • TuneToned

    If this latest offering from Mixed In Key LLC is anything like Mixed In Key version 7.0, i will skip it. I purchased Mixed In Key 7 after they announced the latest incarnation of Mixed In Key would offer a cue point feature and energy level detection. Unfortunately all the cue points that are created with Mixed In Key 7 are inaccurate and never placed directly on the downbeat. This now makes the end user have to delete all the cue points created by Mixed In Key. Thus creating unnecessary clutter in the DJs workflow and there is no way to remove all the inaccurate cue points automatically. Speaking from experience I would not purchase anything from this company because their products never deliver all that they promise. The only feature from Mixed In Key that works and is useful is their key detection. However that feature alone was not enough to compel me to purchase it. I have ears and I am very satisfied with them. Another major reason why I also would recommend not purchasing any products from them is their customer service leaves much to be desired. They ignore emails that you send and provide no real professional support. In 2015 this company still does not supply their customers with live chat and/or a telephone number to contact them when they require technical support or have a question. The only customer support they offer is a very rude, obnoxious, and condescending employee named Chad P. Good luck getting him or Yakov to respond and help solve any of your technical support issues. Perhaps you might have better luck if your name is David Guetta or Kaskade. There is no comparing Flow 8 Deck to Ableton. Ableton is a brilliant piece of code and it offers a demo for users to try unlike Flow 8 Deck. Its highly ridiculous that the creator of Mixed In Key does not value their customers and offer them a demo of any of their products before they shell out a minimum of $58 dollars for one of them. The creators at Ableton, Native Instruments (Traktor), Numark, Virtual DJ, and Serato all offer demos to their customers. These companies also offer their customers telephone numbers to call in the event they experience technical issues. From experience the techs at Native Instruments, Numark, and Ableton all offer excellent customer support. I can only imagine what asinine upgrade fees this program will have. If Mixed In Key 7 is any indicator, they will charge you 50% of the original purchase price for whatever program you purchased. I would assume that just like Mixed In Key Flow 8 Deck can not function without having an internet connection. The requirement of needing an internet connection in order to utilize their programs needs to removed. If you own a Mac and a Windows computer you will need to purchase 2 seperate licenses. All in all the practices and policies of Mixed In Key LLC are disgraceful. If you are looking for good reliable software stick with Ableton, Native Instruments, Serato, or even Pioneers latest offering of Rekordbox. Yakov you should spend more time and proceeds from the upgrade fees you charge customers and fix the bugs in your already released softwares like Mixed In Key instead of releasing new ones. Damn i just exceeded my monthly rant limit.

    • Fayek Helmi

      I have to say a couple of things about this post:

      1) i agree completely with you thoughts on the software. i too fell under the spell of automatic hotcue placing during detection. and i too was sorely disappointed when i bought it to try it. this brings me to my number 2:
      2) i dont however agree with you on the customer service, im not saying that it was a less than pleasant ordeal for you, but i personally sent an email and was responded to promptly and was satisfied with their responses.

    • timtam

      Customer support has always been speedy and helpful imo.

    • YV_Miami

      There’s no monthly rant limit, and I appreciate the feedback. There’s a lot you said in there. I’ll reply in short, but I read everything and paid close attention.

      1) I’ll make sure that Chad reads this and understands that you’re not happy. Customer support is a hard thing, but we’ve been working really hard for 9.5 years to make sure that our customers are happy. Chad joined my company in 2007 and has been working here since – so if he screwed up, I am sorry. He is the most qualified guy to answer questions besides me, and he tries hard to be helpful to everyone.

      2) Lesson learned on cue points: we’ll add a button that removes them if needed. It’ll be in the next free update in MIK 7.X. We’ve also improved the algorithm itself, so the problem you described is no longer there – I haven’t seen it personally. On that note, integration is always the hardest part of creating software. We wanted Pioneer to make it official and allow Mixed In Key to write data to rekordbox, and we even submitted a petition to them:


      21,000 amazing DJs in our community supported it, and we still got nowhere. So that’s how hard it is for the “little guy” to get anywhere in the DJ business. It’s an uphill battle every day to make sure that Mixed in Key works correctly with all other DJ software. We work hard to make it possible.

      3) I’ll consider phone support if we get bigger.

      4) “All in all the practices and policies of Mixed In Key LLC are disgraceful.” <– you're welcome to your opinion, but I disagree. We put so much heart and soul into this software and the art of DJing over the last 9 years that I don't think this is a true statement for most people who used our software or read our book.

      Hopefully your experience improves. If you wanna shoot me a private email, it's yakov@mixedinkey.com


    • Chad Pranke

      Hi TuneToned, this is Chad P from Mixed In Key. Please accept my apology – I’m sorry that I didn’t provide you with the level of support that you expected and deserved, that’s my fault and there is no excuse for it. I want everyone to have a positive experience with our software and with our company so I hope that I can do better the next time you need help with something.

      • Jairo Torres

        Hey Chad , I just purchase mixed in key 7. I didn’t know about flow 8 deck, same price could i change that to flow 8 deck, i don’t even download the software. Or do i need the mixed in key to run flow 8 deck? I have a numark s7 ii. please help me
        Thank you

        • Francis Ronan

          Hi Jairo / Chad .
          Does flow 8 Set cue point automatically
          Does it basically incorporate MIK 7

  • Spencer "Thunderball" Thayer

    Abelton just needs to change a few things to make it more DJ performance friendly. This is really just a poor mans Abelton.

    • YV_Miami

      Spencer, Ableton Live was a big inspiration for this software. Main things that it can do better than Live:

      1) Instant support for 30+ DJ controllers, even including APC controllers used for Live
      2) Every song is automatically analyzed for key and shows meta-data in a clear way. It’s a lot easier to organize a set than Live
      3) Every song is analyzed for how danceable it is on a scale of 1 to 10. We call that “energy level” analysis, and it’s displayed clearly in the UI. If you have a large music collection, you can filter by Energy and see what’s appropriate for early-night, for mid-set and for headlining.
      4) Most importantly: every song is beatgridded automatically and chopped into segments. It’s like taking a file in Ableton Live and making anywhere from five to 14 separate clips from it. You can play each clip by clicking on that section of the audio wave

      Basically, it’s a smart DJ’s Ableton Live, not a poor man’s.

      Live had 10 years to make it awesome for DJ performance, but they never tried to make it DJ-specific. So we stepped in. -Yakov

      • deejae snafu

        sorry but ableton does A LOT more than this software. and when i make my clips in ableton i know they are gonna work right , because I chopped them up myself….. not an algorithm. i appreciate MiK for trying to innovate… but lets keep things in perspective. i also value MiK for key detection..but lets face it they just dont have the R&D budget of NI, serato, ableton or pio to develop a real competitor in the performance realm.

        • YV_Miami

          Sounds like fighting words 😉

  • mr nice

    nice idea to use eq for steams.

  • Fayek Helmi

    meh, a bit of an overkill no? i reaaaly have a hard time seeing anyone mixing 8 tracks at the same time and having them come out decently… don’t get me wrong i dont want to be one of those “REAL DJING IS ON 2 TURNTABLES AND A MIXER” People… I’m all for pushing tech forward to give us better results.. but 8 tracks is way too much in my book. even with stems.

    I started with 2 decks then i pushed myself to go into 4 decks because i figured 4 is 2 times better than 2. made a few mixes, but felt that it was way too much happening at the same time… i’ve recently stepped it back to 3 and it’s my favorite combination now.

    Plus this leaves me a 4th deck to use for either remix decks, or a drum machine later on if i want to (or if NI adds native maschine decks in traktor 3.0 like the hopeful article today on DJTT)

    • YV_Miami

      I agree about 3 deck mode being the ideal in many cases. I do the same thing too when I’m mixing music that’s “full of sounds” and doesn’t go well with layering. That’s why we have a super-clean 4 deck mode. Works for my DJ sets most of the time: http://flowdj.com/Content/images/screenshot_4X4.png

      • Fayek Helmi

        i do respect pushing stem support further… don’t get me wrong. didnt mean to rag on it.

        I’m a believer in stems. although i don’t believe that a DJ should rely 100% on stem separation. it’s just an extra layer of control to use when necessary.

        But this is precisely what we need to keep the stems movement going… putting more and more stem friendly stuff out there until everyone has no choice but to adopt it or get left behind.

        Having said all that, hate to say that i was not a fan of mixed in key at all, and i found it’s analysis abysmal…. but i know a lot of people use it consistently and love it so i’m not claiming it’s bad, i just think that it’s definitely not made for my kindof music and dj style i guess… i’d rather manually rate each song.

        • David De Garie-Lamanque

          i only use it for its original main feature, even though i bought for the possibility of instant cue points as well, the feature was very poorly implemented with cue points placed arbitrarily most of the time and off beat all the time in Serato.

          • Chad Pranke

            Hi David, if you haven’t yet send an email to contact@mixedinkey.com so that we can see what’s going on and help you with this. We released an update around a month or two ago that should result in cue points being placed perfectly on the beat so if that’s not happening for you we want to know about it.

      • deejae snafu

        id also like to point out that with 8 decks , and provided you can customize the mapping… you can set up isolation decks for 4 decks. not sure if this would be redundant with the stem format, but i have often wished traktor had 8 decks so i could map it iso style.

  • jabbarman04

    Awww… so you still have to click the track to skip parts? No skipping automatically?

    • YV_Miami

      Do you think this is too easy already? 😉 Try it