There are plenty of free plug-ins out there aimed at the DJ. Here’s our round-up of the best Freeware DJ tools…
VirtualDJ – Cross-platform DJ software
Despite some introductory spiel on its website about why anyone might want to use a digital DJ program instead of lugging around a big sack of vinyl, VirtualDJ is still a very widely downloaded and free app for Mac and PC.
As well as being able to play video tracks, it has a good core set of DJ features, including effects such as flanging, echo, beat slicers, loopers and more. On the video side, it also has live video effects and transitions, and you can hook it up to a projector for live performance.
It has plug and play compatibility with many DJ controller hardware units and a bunch of user-created scripts for download to add compatibility and mapping for even more controllers.
W: www.virtualdj.com – Platform: Mac, PC
CrossDJ Free – DJ performance software
CrossDJ comes in three versions, but the free edition is still surprisingly capable. It gives you two decks and three effects, two fully-featured video decks with 35 video transitions, camera integration and a titler, plus three video effects. You can record video output, though it will be watermarked in the free version.
There’s iTunes support, and also iOS remote support. If you choose to step up to the main version – at a cost of $49 – you get quite a lot of extra stuff, or to the pro version for $89 you get a bunch of video extras. Mixvibes also makes CrossDJ for iOS, so that can be an inexpensive way of getting into the software if you own an iPad or iPhone.
W: www.mixvibes.com – Platform: Mac, PC
DJ ProDecks – Windows DJ application
DJ ProDecks supports a range of input audio formats, in addition to standard MP3 and WAV files, such as WMA, FLA, AAC and MP2, so whatever you throw at it should be OK.
Load up a track and you can scratch it with the multi-wheel controller and use up to three effects per deck: echo, flanger and wah. You get three memory banks per deck for holding cue points and loops, as well as three sample slots per deck for one-shot effects.
You can also use auto loop and automix, real-time EQ and auto deck sync based on tempo, with auto beat detection. There’s a music library with support for using your computer’s keyboard as a controller.
W: www.djprodecks.com – Platform: PC
Serato DJ Intro – Scratching and beat matching DJ app
Serato DJ Intro is a cut-down version of the company’s industry-leading Serato DJ software, and is available for free on both Mac and PC. It supports various hardware controllers, including the Denon DJ MC4000 and Pioneer DDJ-SB2, as well as four-deck mixing.
You can beat match and scratch digital music files from your computer and use cue and loop points to jump around within a track. Sample slots alow you to drop samples into a live performance, and basic effects are available if you want to spice things up a little. Serato’s pedigree is excellent, so it’s worth looking into this.
W: http://serato.com/dj-intro – Platform: Mac, PC
Mixxx – Advanced DJ mixing software
Mixxx is surprisingly adept for a free app, and has features you might expect to be restricted to paid software. You get two decks with time stretching and vinyl emulation support, as well as beat looping, hot cues and pitch bend. Multiple audio formats are supported, and there’s a crossfader and EQ. Four sampler decks let you drop in samples.
The software can be skinned, and you can record your mixes to your computer and broadcast them over Shoutcast with gain normalisation, using the mic input for talking to your audience. MIDI controllers are supported for more hands-on control, and there’s support for timecoded vinyl.
W: www.mixxx.org – Platform: Mac, PC
Blaze – Modern DJ app for Windows
Although it looks like a Mac app, Blaze is for Windows. One of its unique features is SoundCloud integration, meaning you can connect to online music libraries to use them as part of your set.
Elsewhere, features include timecode support for using specialised vinyl for playback, MIDI controller input, tempo and beat sync, recording to WAV files and all the core DJ functionality you’d expect.
There’s also a selection of onboard effects. The demo version closes after 30 minutes, so you may want to upgrade at some point, but it can be reopened for a fresh 30 minutes of performance time.
W: www.blaze.dj – Platform: PC