UPDATE: Open source DJ software Mixxx reaches 1.11.0

Mixxx 1.11.0 open source DJ software

Free doesn’t always mean low quality. And while the big boys continue to peddle their expensive wares, there are a small number of outfits who do this stuff out of pure love. Mixxx is one such product — it’s bee around for a good while now, and while lacking the financial backing to make everything happen, v1.11.0 has been released with a heap of new high level features.

To understand what Mixxx is all about, I urge you to go to the press page and read the history. This will give you an understanding of exactly where the team is coming from, and importantly that this isn’t your average software. As open source, users are actively encouraged to get involved to make Mixxx better with every release.

To bullet point what Mixxx offers:

  • Cross-platform (Windows XP/Vista/7/8, Mac OS X, Linux)
  • Free and open source (GPL v2)
  • Parallel or split scratchable waveform displays
  • Waveform summaries
  • Spinning vinyl widgets
  • MP3, OGG, WAVE, M4A / AAC, and FLAC playback
  • Extra playback formats through plugins
  • Fast, database-powered library
  • Shoutcast and Icecast broadcasting
  • Microphone Support
  • Automatic crossfading with Auto DJ
  • Crates and playlists
  • Reads iTunes, Traktor, and Rhythmbox libraries
  • Pitch-independent time stretch (key lock)
  • Vinyl emulation
  • Quantized loops, hot cues, and beatloops
  • Synchronization and auto-beatmatching
  • 4 Sampler Decks
  • Wave and Ogg recording with optional MP3 support.
  • BPM detection and estimation
  • Bulk BPM analysis
  • Multichannel soundcard support (playback and capture)
  • Headphone cueing with multiple soundcard support
  • Adjustable EQ shelves
  • Crossfader curve control
  • Skinnable interface with 5 pixel-perfect skins bundled
  • Advanced MIDI scripting engine
  • Multiple simultaneous MIDI controllers
  • Adjustable pitch range
  • Ramping pitchbend controls
  • Multi-core CPU support
  • 24-bit/96000 Hz playback and capture
  • Crystal clear audio
  • Hardware video acceleration

And the list of supported controllers is endless. So as you can see, they’re not messing around with Mixxx. It is proper and almost complete DJ software, and I’ll address that comment later.

So what of the new features? It’s a very long list, but most definitely not padded out with filler:

  • Colored, 3-band Waveforms
    • Don’t miss a beat. These waveforms make every kick, snare, and thumping beat stand out.
  • Brand New Beat Detector
    • With a brand new beat detection system based on the latest academic research at Queen Mary University, Mixxx’s beat detection is now deadly accurate. This means your loops, hotcues, and beatsyncing will be spot-on.
  • HID and Bulk Controller Support
    • Mixxx now supports non-MIDI devices using its powerful scripting system.
    • Mixxx 1.11.0 comes with HID presets for the following devices:
      • EKS Otus
      • Traktor Kontrol F1
      • Hercules DJ Console Mk1
      • Hercules DJ Console Mk2
      • Hercules DJ Control MP3 e2 (driver no longer necessary on Linux)
      • Nintendo Wiimote
      • Pioneer CDJ 850/900/2000
      • Sony SixxAxis
  • Session History
    • Whether you need to report your setlists to ASCAP or just remember the tracks you played last night, the new Session History feature keeps track of every tune you drop so that you don’t have to.
  • Beatloop Rolls
    • This stunning new effect works just like a beatloop except when you release the button the deck jumps to where it would have been if you hadn’t started the loop. Try it out by right-clicking on a beat-loop button.
  • Preview Deck
    • A highly-requested feature, the new preview deck allows you to preview tracks in your headphones without having to load them into a main deck. Just click preview on any track in the library and it will start to play in your headphones.
  • Advanced Search
    • The library search box received some much-needed love. Try out these example queries:
      • bpm:100-120 rating:>4
        • All tracks between 100 and 120BPM with rating greater than 4.
      • artist:”Aphex Twin”
        • All tracks with “Aphex Twin” in the artist column.
      • genre:electro bpm:>115
        • All Electro tracks with BPM greater than 115.
    • For full details, see the Mixxx manual.
  • Improved AutoDJ
    • Now you can customize the crossfade period, re-queue tracks instead of removing, and more.
  • Point-and-Click MIDI Mapping
    • Getting your controller mapped is now easier than ever. Just click on the button or knob you want to map in Mixxx and then wiggle the control on your MIDI controller to wire it up.
  • New Sample Grid skin
    • With 16 sample decks, this skin is perfect for radio DJs and advanced beat-jugglers alike.
  • Time Widgets
    • Skins now show the time so you can keep your eye on the clock while in full-screen.
  • Sample Deck Improvements
    • Sample decks now have sync buttons.
    • When there is room skins now include more sample decks.
  • New and Improved User Manual
  • New Controller Support
    • Mixxx Certified Support
    • Mixxx Community Support
      • Akai LPD8
      • American Audio VMS2
      • Behringer BCD2000
      • DJ-Tech CDJ-101
      • DJ-Tech DJM-101
      • DJ-Tech Mixer One
      • DJ-Tech Kontrol One
      • Gemini FirstMix
      • Hercules DJ Console Mk1
      • Hercules DJ Console 4-Mx
      • Hercules DJ Control AIR
      • Hercules DJ Control Instinct
      • Kontrol Dj KDJ500
      • Korg nanoKONTROL
      • Korg nanoKONTROL 2
      • Korg nanoPAD2
      • MixVibes U-Mix Control 2
      • MixVibes U-Mix Control Pro 2
      • Nintendo Wiimote
      • Novation Dicer
      • Novation Launchpad
      • Numark DJ2Go
      • Numark MIXTRACK Pro
      • Numark N4
      • Numark Omni Control
      • Numark V7
      • Reloop Terminal Mix 4
      • Sony Sixxaxis
      • Traktor Kontrol F1
      • Vestax VCI-100 3DEX Edition
      • Vestax VCI-300
  • Other Highlights
    • Hamster / Reverse mode for the crossfader now supported.
    • Track analyzer has better prioritization of work and feedback.
    • Controller presets now include wiki/forum links, authorship info and a description.
    • The View menu toggles for skin elements (Vinyl Control, Microphone, Samplers, etc.)
    • View settings are now saved across restarts.
    • New latch mode for microphone talk-over button and kill switches.
    • Removed tracks now appear in the “Hidden Tracks” section of the library.
    • Locale selectable via preferences.
    • MixVibes support for Vinyl Control.
    • Quick Links section in Browse mode allows you to save favorite browse locations.
    • The –controllerDebug command-line option auto-reloads controller scripts when they change.

Going back to my “almost complete” comment. When I say almost, at this time the effects engine is woefully inadequate. The team have clearly spent time on a lot of key features, but seem to have left the effects engine on a back burner. For me, if Mixxx is ever to move beyond being open source free software, it needs more effects as an absolute priority. I know it’s incredibly daunting to be faced with the combined 1-2 of Traktor and Serato‘s iZotope effects superiority, but this just shows how important a feature is it to users. Actually, calling it a feature is a disservice — effects are as important as loops, hot cues and any other essential DJ tool.

So given that you’ve got a truly cross-platform piece of DJ software, complete with 99% of everything you could possibly want, and all for free, I can’t find anything to really moan about. I ponder the future of Mixxx, and really hope that they can shape what they have into a compelling product for manufacturers to bundle with their assorted hardware offerings.

Mixxx open source DJ software 1.11.0

As we at DJWORX continue to root for the underdog, We’ll be doing what we can to assist them to get to where they ant to be, and also to help shape Mixxx into a real player in the DJ software industry that can generate some sort of income to allow it to develop and prosper. One last thing — there’s only so long you can go with v1. At some point, you have to draw the line and jump to the next version, and an effects engine is most probably that line.

  • As a matter of curiosity, knowing DJWORX’s stand on reviewing of free software, does Mixxx stand grouped among the lot of free software?

    • Having thought about it, full blown desktop applications will probably get a review, if only to make side by side comparisons with the big boys.

  • Last Resort

    nice blog entry, will give mixxx another spin. the advanced search feature sounds really cool. i need this.

    as for your comment “if Mixxx is ever to move beyond being open source free software:”
    i don’t think you understand the concept of free-and-open-source software. why on earth would they want to move beyond FOSS? you’re point on the lack of effects is well-taken, though.

    • I get the point of FOSS. I also believe that people should get some reward for their hard work. There’s only so much that can be done on good will and limited resources. At some point, a revenue stream is needed.

      • Last Resort

        No, I think you don’t. Open source may cost money. The “free” refers to the fact that you may copy, change, distribute, study, change, and improve the software.

        Free doesn’t mean you can’t sell FOSS. E.g., Red Hat is a very profitable company that sells FOSS and related services. Also, many FOSS developers don’t work out of altruism. Instead, they are employed by companies such as Intel or Apple (both companies use a lot of FOSS in their products) or by government agencies.

        Also, there is no empirical basis for your claim that “only so much good can be done on good will and limited resources.” Cf. for example the annual Coverty Scan Open Source Report and the Future of Open Source surveys. These surveys aren’t conducted by the open source community itself. Yet, they indicate that the quality of FOSS is good and demonstrate that it even exceeds that of closed-source software in some instances.

        • Albert Santoni

          I think you’re both right here – Yes, you can make money with open source, and yes, there is only so much you can do with limited resources.

          The major difference between Redhat and Mixxx is that there’s no potential government or big business customers for Mixxx. Aside from Mozilla Firefox (which uses their search engine placement to make money), can you think of any other open source desktop application that successfully funds its own development?

          Sure, the pace of some parts of Mixxx development is slowed by the lack of monetization, but it’s not all downside. 100% of the developer time goes into real features that people are asking for, without being distracted by marketing spin or other competing pressures that you get inside a business.

          • Last Resort

            “Yes, there is a only so much you can do with limited resources.”

            That’s a truism. Closed-source developers work with limited resources, and open-source developers do so, too.

            What is the main resource needed to develop software? It’s labor. So you need to look at the man hours that go into development of a software. And FOSS is highly competitive in this regard.

            Furthermore, FOSS users are much more likely to provide feedback, file bug reports, etc. This aids the development as well.

            And lastly, what matters in the end is the quality of the code. The surveys I mentioned demonstrate that the quality of FOSS on average meets or exceeds that of closed-source software.

            That is probably one of the reasons why many major manufacturers use FOSS as a core part of their strategy. E.g., the very heart of OS X, namely its kernel, is FOSS.

            • Firstly, thanks for stopping by Albert. And yes you are quite right in what you say — the well known open source projects like Red Hat and Apache have additional offers that can bring the cash in to continue to develop the product further. But Mixxx’s offer is the same as Traktor, MixVibes, VDJ etc – a self contained product, but at no cost to the end user, but with no apparent revenue stream for Mixxx either. But people expect it to have the same feature set as the paid-for products, which incidentally people are clearly more than happy to pay for, and manufacturers are perfectly happy to pay a per unit licence fee for.

              So this isn’t about the principles of FOSS, but more about Mixxx’s own case in the market it finds itself in and how it can actively push forward.

    • One of Mark’s good friends is Sean, who does the controller support. He understands, but the thing is that if it were paid it would be easier to move forward with faster development. As it stands, the quality is there, but they are having to wait on all sorts of factors like available time of people who have day jobs.

      The devil is always in the details.

  • i love that phone. keep sneaking it into these photos.

  • That is a pretty lengthy new feature list.

  • celtic-dj

    thanks for this…looks like im gona give this a try..

  • I will definitively give a try to this! Looks like they made big steps forwards!

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  • Jared Helfer

    Honestly, I don’t think they need much for FX. If they handle the major ones (Filter, Flanger, Delay, Reverb) and maybe throw in one or two rhythmic ones (beatmasher/slicer/etc) they should be fine. To really get their customer base to grow they need to get their products in front of people, and that’s where they really suffer. Hell, I have more fun using Mixx than VDJ, but VDJ is EVERYWHERE.

  • Regarding the mapping for the Hercules DJ Console 4-Mx – I sketched it out in the hopes that someone would help tweak it, but as far as I know no one else did, so if any of you have this controller and want to give it a go, please do.

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  • Jon K

    Love the software just seems to lag too far behind console updates for the mappings, I just wish the would look at consoles like “Numark MixTrack Pro2” as this is very different and really does require some mapping as standard.

    And you know for a couple of bucks I gladly support these types of assisted console mapping updates.

    Keep up the great work, its unfortunate I didn’t realise the “Numark MixTrack Pro2” is not yet supported, as it differs a lot from the “Numark MixTrack Pro”. i will just have to use the standard software and go back to installing windows for the serato software that it comes with.

    Will just have to wait for now 🙁

    Thanks guys for all up to now hopefully I will return to “Mixxx” soon!

  • Can’t use mike ,and it is not working, can you help, I am using Windows 64 bit version

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