In the DJ software industry, there are two adversaries who play cat and mouse, one-upmanship, and generally snap at each others heels to win the hearts and hands of DJs. But there was DJ software before Traktor and Serato, and that software was VirtualDJ, a package that had key features before the others. But one thing that it has never really excelled at is vinyl emulation. Yes, it has been able to do it to some degree, but never at the same level as Traktor Scratch, Serato Scratch Live, and now Serato DJ. That is until now, because their DVS engine has been entirely rewritten, and is more than ready for primetime, and is coming out fighting.

Unlike the others, you don’t need dedicated hardware and software. Indeed, Atomix positively makes a point of using their closed systems. Andrew Van Almen, COO of Atomix says this:

“Several months of development time went into making the best DVS engine on the market, it’s truly a game changer as the first cross platform compatible DVS software that will work with virtually all existing DVS hardware and records on the market.”

Well that’ll ruffle a few feathers in Berlin and Auckland for sure. Check out this video from the VirtualDJ Tips Youtube channel to see a Rane SL2 and Serato timecode vinyl being used just like you would in Scratch Live or Serato DJ but with Virtual DJ 8.

And this one for some controllers:

Given the entirely closed shop that is Traktor, and the small circle that is Serato DJ, will this mean dedicated VirtualDJ mixers and audio interfaces? Will we seem the floodgates opened and a mass exodus away from the top two and more interest in VirtualDJ? It suddenly became a considerably more compelling piece of software for a lot of users.

At this point, the total extent of compatibility and performance is unknown. I wouldn’t expect absolutely everything to work with zero latency, but it certainly will be fun trying to get things to play ball. I suspect that owners of Traktor and Serato gear might not be in a hurry to jump ship from their tailored solutions though. And given that VDJ8 claims to work with a very wide range of control vinyl, it’ll be interesting to see if they come out with any of their own.

The proof of the pudding is in the scratching

At BPM, we were excitedly ushered to the VDJ stand to test out the new DVS features. Obviously being the not at all easily impressed hacks that we are, we tried to break it. After a sustained period of lasers, tears, slow drags, and repeated spinbacks, VDJ8 held up amazingly well. So right away, we’re giving it a tentative thumbs up.

Of course, the best way to show off the quality of any new product is to get skilled DJs to give it a proper workout. So Atomix took a trip to the Scratch DJ academy in Chicago to create some videos for the Atomix Power Room series. Instructors Boi Jeanius and J. Marz roll out a couple of short sets for the Atomix cameras, and as we found at BPM, VDJ8’s DVS chops are up to scratch. Yeah I cracked a cliche funny.

Finally our man arkaei was tasked with making the video you see at the top of this story for VirtualDJ — to find a gifted scratch DJ and film them using the new DVS software. Given our experience with VDJ prior to BPM in the past, you can imagine our trepidation entering into a project like this i.e. not managed and controlled by VDJ themselves. But once again, it came up trumps and DJ FU pulled off tricks usually reserved for the big two, showing that perhaps the days of less than stellar scratch performance from VirtualDJ 8 are a thing of the past.

Virtual DJ 8 DVS

I double dare you

We’re happy to report that VirtualDJ 8 seems ready to be taken seriously by people most accustomed to turntables. And while the videos above do seem to back this up, the only way to find out for yourselves is to test it. So essentially Atomix is challenging you to try it out for yourself by downloading the demo version. Expect teething troubles, but do persevere and see if you can get the same performance that we’ve experienced first hand.. From a DJWORX perspective, we’d love to get some feedback on your experiences.

Are you going to download VirtualDJ 8 and give the DVS portion a spin? I cracked another cliche funny. Will you just sit back and say it’s crap without even trying because it’s Virtual DJ? Or are you willing to remove the blinkers and give it a go to see if there is a viable alternative?


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