PUBLIC BETA: Deckadance 2 — a first look

At this year’s Winter NAMM, Behringer showed the final versions of their CMD controller range. What wasn’t expect was them being powered by Deckadance 2. But looking at the screeshots and clips from the show floor, Deckadance 2 has some new features ideally suited to the evolving ways of DJing, borrowing from the established ways laid down by the major players as well as throwing in some new moves of its own. And now Deckadance 2 is available as a public beta.

Official words and download links follows:

Get the Demo installers here:



Key Features

  • Decks – 2 or 4 decks.
  • Smartknobs – Link a single knob to any number of FX & Mixer interface targets under user-programmable envelope control.
  • GrossBeat – 8 user defined FX per deck with integrated editor. Programmable and automated glitch, stutter & scratch functions.
  • Effects – Up to 3 chained insert effects per track (choose from 10) applied independently to High/Mid or Low band.
  • Sampler – 1/32 to 16 step beat-matched easy sampling. One shot, trigger, retrigger and loop modes.
  • Smart Panels – User configurable Loop, Cue, Grid, DVS, Key, Smart Knob and Tempo panels. From 2 to 8 per deck.
  • VST host & client – Hosts VST plugins. Includes Effector VST plugin.
  • Library – iTunes library support. Play lists and automated mixing options.

Known Issues

  • VST scanner launch firewall with some plugins. It lists audio units (not supported) in OSX.
  • VST ‘fast scan’ may result in no VST plugins found. Try the ‘Scan and verify’ option
  • Vinyl timecode is generating some problems (working on it).
  • Copyright notice in about box needs to be updated.
  • Gain knob in 2 decks mode and crossfader curve needs to be added to the setup window.

If you’re like me, you’ll have downloaded the beta in a heartbeat to have a trawl through this quite major upgrade. Some highlights:

Deckadance 2 beta (2)

The Interface: Scalable and switchable between 2 and 4 decks, there are neat tricks like a detachable library, and configurable smart panels in the deck view. You can decide globally on the number of panels and their location on the left or right, but can pick their contents per deck view. These include loops, hot cues, beat grid, DVS, keylock pitch and smartknob.

All these features on one single knob.

Touching on smartknobs briefly, this nifty feature lets you apply a mixture of EQ, filter, effects and VSTs into one highly configurable button. You can apply 2 smartknobs per deck for your favourite preset containing all manner of craziness. I like the fact that you can load and save them which for me means share them.

The centre panel holds the mixer, FX, samples, side by side waveforms, VST plugins and GrossBeat buttons. Most are straighforward, but more than anything, it’s been GrossBeat that has got my attention, especially from a 4×4 pad controller point of view. Essentially GrossBeat is automating the playback of your track at the music head, from scratching to stutters to glitches — all editable and saveable, and all at the press of a nicely mapped button.

Deckadance 2 beta (1)

The Baby Scratch automated. Turntablists weep now.

Yes I said scratchable. Sorry turntablists, but the unthinkable has arrived — turntable notation has been automated, and all those carefully practiced hand and fader movements can now be drawn into an editor and applied to your music with robotic precision. You can create just about anything your mind can imagine, including simulating Serato‘s slicer, and be able export and share them. You can also use it slip mode style, or use it one shot style or engaged as a loop. It’s absolutely mad and an amazing feature for controllerists to add in to the mad FX combos too. I’m expecting heaps of hate from scratchers of course, but this will not win DMC or steal your Hip Hop gigs. You’re still needed so do try to keep your toys in your prams.

Watch this clip to see GrossBeat controlled with a Novation Launchpad:

Summing Up

Deckadance 2 public beta

So first impressions are good. Deckadance 2 goes someway beyond the former version and looks set to show the old dogs a few new tricks. I’ve cherry-picked a few features that I like, but there’s much more to dabble with like DVS usage, MIDI mapping and 3 effects per deck too. But don’t take my word for it — writing more than I have would be a waste of my time and yours. I urge you to grab the time limited public beta to have a play yourself.

  • Plug-In’s… Nice, Traktor could learn a thing or two from this.

    • The problem with plugins is quality control. A poorly written one will bring an application to its knees, but the end user will shout at Image Line for having buggy software.

      • You speak the truth my Friend. I am just very interested in the potential it creates.

  • what other controllers work with it

    • Apparently, it has MIDI learn, so almost any controller with MIDI could be used. I say almost because there might be some MIDI controller out there that doesn’t work.

  • scooterADAM

    is it just me or does the imageline logo look a little nativeinstrumenty..?

  • looks promising after only 10 min playing with it.

  • loopbg

    Just today i was checking their site to check the app, saw that it’s still in V1 and thought I will wait. LOL, a V2 was just around the corner silently hiding there 🙂

    I downloaded and installed on OS X with VCI-400. The controller was recognized automatically, but the Audio setup had to be made manually. The stock mapping appears good. The 2x2x4 grids are naturally mapped to the GrossBeat, and instantly payable. So far so good.

    I quickly checked the mapping interface and was hoping to see a Shift/Modifier feature, but no. The stock mapping has some Shift features, but the user mappings cannot use Shift, which is pity. Have to wait, I guess.

    If Image Line can comment on how the licensing will work and if i can buy a license to get rid of the 6 seconds audio drop, it will be great. Don’t mind to pay for it even if it’s Beta.

  • ksandvik

    Deckadance is one of the few good solutions for Ableton Live integration — i.e run it as a plug-in inside Live.

  • acemc

    Not all that many newer controllers supported in the beta. Also seems like mapping is very basic, i didn’t see anything for mapping led outputs either. Overall it looks very promising though.

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  • Interface is very similar to Traktor, even the logo is almost the same as NI. But I love the automations on this! And such a Adobe like FX layering… It seems to be really promising.

  • Is this why there’s still no sign of the CMD range in stores – because Deckadance 2 is in beta? They’d previously said “within March” so it’s not looking good.

  • lauti

    really looks like traktor

  • So who has downloaded it and tried it? Opinions? Image Line will be reading this and would welcome your feedback. 🙂

    • At first touch, configuration part seems really confused. Why do you not have all preferences (like audio interface for example) all in one place? I like the Asio4All integration during the setup. About performance, I noticed some audio artifacts with both Audio8 and Audio10, with and without Asio4All drivers. Changing sample rates or buffer size didn’t help. FX Parts and automation are actually the killing point I enjoy more.

  • software definately needs a shift button…. cant map deck’s c & d to S4… it to scratch….load decks. working pretty good so far..

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