Virtual DJ Pro 7 Review

Virtual DJ Pro 7 4 decks

Virtual DJ Pro 7 with four decks running (Click to enlarge.)

Review: Virtual DJ Pro 7

Virtual DJ sometimes gets a bad press. Maybe it’s because the manufacturers and developers, Atomix, began many many years ago making some seriously toy-like DJ software of the same name (mind you, it would run on anything). Maybe it’s because the company doesn’t have “pedigree” by not being an all-round electronic musician’s software developer like Native Instruments. Maybe it’s just because the “Virtual DJ” name itself gets “real” DJs’ backs up. Whatever the reason, it’s relatively common to hear the software being derided by both the aforementioned “real” DJ’s (you’re not a DJ unless you can beatmix 1970s funk on two cassette decks blah blah) and snobby digital jocks (“no pro would be seen dead on Virtual DJ”) having a dig at it. So can Virtual DJ Pro 7 which was released today, do anything to placate either group?

Well, the first thing to say in any review of Virtual DJ Pro 7 is that Virtual DJ is, in fact – and has been for a long time – very good software. It is stable, easy to use, insanely configurable, powerful and because of all of this, wildly popular. It is more immediate than Traktor for the beginner, it will work on just about any hardware, it has busy and helpful user forums, and has been consistently ahead of the pack in many areas, not least video mixing. It also has built-in key detection, something none of the others has managed yet and arguably a must-have DJ tool nowadays.

Multiple decks finally arrive

One area where Virtual DJ was starting to show its age was the number of decks it could support. While you’ve been able to have 10 samples happily looping away in time to the music in Virtual DJ for years, you still had to make do with 2 decks. Not any more. Virtual DJ now has as many decks as you want (up to 99, in fact). While nobody in their right mind is going to want 99 decks, having 4 is certainly worthwhile, especially with controllers like the new Denon DN-MC6000 badged “Virtual DJ” and ready to take full advantage. The four-deck layout is clear on the eye, intuitive and much needed. This alone makes Virtual DJ 7 a cool update.

In four-deck mode, the decks get a clear colour each – orange, green, red and blue. You can split the waveforms into pairs at the top of the screen, and there are several other waveform choices too, with a new “wave” button to cycle between them. There is a six-deck skin that has all 6 decks along the screen horizontally where you choose which ones are going to be controlled by the main “decks”, although strangely enough, this six-deck skin is not available in the highest screen resolution.

Better routing, inputs and outputs

So long as you have a sound interface that has inputs as well as outputs, you can now wire Line-ins (ie anything analogue) right there into Virtual DJ. That means you can not only sample Line-in sources (to replay, scratch, add FX to etc), but also route them to any deck at will, and you get get full control on the input stream, including applying effects, visualizing beat-waveform, synchronising and beat-matching. I have not had a chance to play with this feature yet, but I am really looking forward to doing so. It’s the same for the microphone. Seen the DJ Shiftee Traktor Kontrol S4 video where he samples his voice thorough the microphone? Think that.

Virtual DJ Pro 6 decks

Where once it could only support two decks, now it has up to 99… here are six decks running on the new software.

You can also now control Rewire applications from within Virtual DJ. It’s not quite the Bridge, but it’s also a versatile way of getting composition software slapped straight onto one of those virtual decks, again with visualizing the beat-waveform, synchronising and beat-matching just like with a normal MP3. This is an incredibly powerful addition.

Virtual DJ has an awesome number of out-of-the-box mappings for DJ hardware including equipment from Pioneer, Numark, Denon, Vestax, Gemini, Hercules, Stanton, American Audio, Behringer and Reloop, and everything is configurable too. In Virtual DJ 6, the developers added VDJScript, a language to help power users modify the software to do exactly what they want it to do with any hardware (or keyboard shortcuts, come to that) and that really comes into its own with the multi-deck capability of Virtual DJ 7. Those Virtual DJ 6 “under the hood” changes are blossoming now, with the more obvious improvements in this version building on their foundations.

Other improvements

The company is claiming the “pure scratch mode” sounds “even more real than the real thing” (maybe…) and that Advanced Master Tempo gives clearer-than-ever sound, even at extreme pitch changes. Clearer than ever it may be, but mixing hip hop at 140bpm is still going to sound rubbish. Still, improvements are improvements I guess.

I’m really not sure about the GeniusDJ premium subscription service, though, that “tops up” your music folders with music based on what you already like, automatically. I am very intimate with my record collection and need to know tunes inside out before they dare claim a place in my iTunes and then my DJ software. I certainly don’t want some algorithm downloading and stocking up my virtual crates with stuff it thinks I’m going to like. I’ll definitely pass on this feature.

Speaking of virtual crates, they’ve improved the database management, with bulk ID3 / file renaming, more fields, and the ability to nest virtual folders. This is to be welcomed as library management was never one of Virtual DJ’s strong points. For me, their take on Apple’s cover flow “look” still looks tacky, and the waveforms still aren’t as pleasing or intuitive as Serato ITCH’s (although they’re much better than Traktor Pro’s, and the new “wave” button at least gives you some options).

Conclusion

Overall, anybody who doubts the power of Virtual DJ should be silenced by this release. Vinyl bores are still going to slag it off, just like they probably slag off anything that’s happened since 2002, and the snobs will continue to find reasons to deride Virtual DJ, but for many DJs, this will be a very pleasing release. I am actually excited about taking it out to DJ with, and loading up samples and loops onto those virtual decks to see where it take my next set. It is up with the big boys in nearly every area, and surpasses them in many. Well done, Atomix.

What do you think? Is this the future of software DJing, or do you prefer Traktor or Serato? Or are we all heretics who deserve to burn at the stake for our digital crimes against DJing? Do let us know in the comments…

Comments

  1. Marc Tauros says:

    I started to DJ digital with VDJ back then. It was a really nice piece of Software, but i went to Traktor cause of the 4 Decks.

    I’ll definitely give it a try.

    Like you said – Well done Atomix

  2. I am a DJ known as 1 1 1 1. I’ve used virtual DJ since version 5. Virtual DJ 7′s new features are going to help me reach a new level for creative and abstract mixing! If there is a DJ software with more or the same features(all,not less), please educate me! My love goes out to all the Virtual DJ users and developers! God bless you

  3. Traktor today do not have much to offer, a bad sound when keylock, no sampler, poor support for plug&play HID/MIDI controllers, very poor support and inflexible update, complicated registration for BFU, …
    Virtual DJ does not actually available to professional skin as Traktor.
    I want to only Virtual DJ MIDI controllers version without video as Serato ITCH

  4. Please let us know about the Numark V7 with Virtual DJ 7. Can 4 deck control happen with 2 Numark V7s?

  5. Phil Morse says:

    Two V7′s cannot control the four decks in Serato ITCH, but I am not sure about Virtual DJ. Anyone else?

  6. Like @Isa I’ve been using VDJ since version 5, chiefly because I grew into learning how to use it and because I could (and still cant) afford decks/controllers. For the types of mixing I do the multiple decks can and probably will come in handy. The ‘Line In’ feature does sound intriguing as well and I have seen the DJ Shiftee video.. still in awe. I’m quite excited about this update, can’t wait to get my hands on it.

    Thanks for the grade A review Phil.

  7. I am not the biggest fan of this “we try to please everyone with our software approach”. This is not really user friendly and at the end of the day no usecase is properly covered. Traktor had exactly the same problem with Traktor Studio. What I like about Virtual DJ is the scripting facilities and the Skinning options. When spending time on it I think it is possible to make something real awesome.

  8. @ Phil Morse
    Okay, thanks bro! Just anxious to know about about them with a pair of Numark V7s for Virtual DJ 7. I hope Serato Itch will one day make the Numark V7 like the Xone:DX for 4 deck control. When The Bridge rolls out, I hope they add a sampler to their software as well. Maybe Numark would release a Vestax Pad One type controller *** scratches my head ***

  9. VDJ would probably be my choice if I ever left Torq.

    I’m still “eh” on more than 2 decks. I know some use them effectively, but I’ve seen many who who are just “eh” with it. So they have four decks, and some claim to do four-deck work when they’re only using two decks at any given time (switching around between the four). Others I notice take dull bland music and then layer it together into yet more dull bland music.

    I used VDJ when I played in Slovakia. It worked beautifully. I also like the companies who build software so I can pick and choose my hardware…as well as be able to switch from midi to timecode if I so choose. I’m not a fan of having to have multiple installs of the same software because one was built for midi and the other for timecode.

    I’ll have to download the demo and give it a go.

  10. I’m a VDJ user since 2006, first with laptop, then TimeCode vinyl and after that CD’s on my 800′s

    now for small gigs I have a Hercules RMX controller and for home 850′s

    I would love to see that work all together! Then I have 4 decks, and I have softpatched every button on the CDJ’s and RMX to do as I like with the handy coding.

    I’m trying setting it up but my Macbook only has 2 USB ports…

    A USB hub doesnt seem to work unfortunatly

    • Phil Morse says:

      Have you tried a powered USB hub?

    • djgreggydee says:

      Have you tried using a ASIO USB driver, with this you can run upto 8 channels in/out of a single USB port. You need to then go into sound control panel and assign each channel to be going in or out and to what devices are running on them.
      hope that helps boi !

  11. Hmm… After reading your review of VDJ PRO I’m having second thoughts about moving over to Traktor and the Traktor Kontrol S4.

    • Phil Morse says:

      You can get a 28-day free trial over at their site so you can try it out. With the Denon controller it would make an awesome DJ setup.

  12. I have been using Virtual Dj these days for a while now in club and when I was on demo tour with Pioneer Dj using two Cdj2000s/even one at times with DJM-800/DJM-2000 for cross fade/effects etc(with midi to USB adapter cable you can use DJM800/DJM2000 to cross fade in Virtual Dj via midi) …. So, seeing the four deck to 99 deck option really cool. As for the the beat mix on vinyl junkies etc… At one of our demo shows I put on some random house+jungle tracks and demo how Virtual Dj does not always auto beat mix/match perfect. You still have to know how to beat/mix/ match etc… Also, the extra features to FX that Virtual Dj is pack with wow to being able to create skins etc…, no wonder it won best dj software at WMC 2010″By popular vote, VirtualDJ won this award over its competitors such as Serato Scratch Live, and Tracktor Scratch Pro.”

  13. i been using vdj pretty much since the begining, all most the whole ten years its been running i have also use traktor dj studio and serveral other programs as well as 12’10′s i started to go digital when i got into making my own tracks and doing mash ups , i can only add the only points missed here is that all formatts move forwards in time from big old walnut tv’s to waffer thin 3d units on ya wall etc too how we listen to music , 1970 whatever is was sony walkman now its the ipod iphone iwank or whatever it is, no matter how we play it, it shoud be about feeling good about what we play and making people enjoy what we play, so if it on a deck or digital who cares IT ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC ;)
    PEACE guys n gals keep it loud n proud x

  14. this realease realy is awesome ther is free home edition that anybody can download and try as long as he likes the sound modification o n that free edition i only 10 minutes and the controlers are 10 minutes so in 10 minutes you can rty what ever modification you like after that you get back at the setings as if you listen to a normal sound config but if you close and star vdj again you have 10 minutes :) so this is one realy nice product it maybe dosenot have the big names on his side like dubfire or whatever but its still one awesome product :D

  15. What about the sound quality?

  16. Anders Kromann says:

    @Phil Morse
    You can get an almost full version, the “Home” edition on their website which is almost perfect for testing because it does almost everything the pro does, except for broadcasting and allowing hardware. Also this Home Edition is free of charge and does not have a limit in use.

  17. DJ Splosion says:

    @DJ Ramiro.
    The sound of vdj is Amazing. It has been a great evolution since vdj 6

  18. Phil Morse says:

    Anders, great spot for DJs who just want to experiment. Hopefully will stop the stream of VDJ users on Twitter moaning that “my trial version of Virtual DJ just run out”. It’s a smart move from the company, because they’re hands-down the most popular beginner’s software.

  19. I can’t wait to try playing with more than two decks at the time and specially sampling from line-in’s. VDJ has been the best software for DJs that actually DJ with creativity, as opposed to the ones that just like to turn knobs and push buttons at random thinking they are being creative. VDJ has everything a DJ could want. If anything, I hope VDJ fixed or better the way it plays when key lock is active, not because of the quality of the sound but because it made things difficult while beat matching long passages, of course, not using the synch feature.

  20. Definitively not a beginner’s product. A beginner should learn to dj on two turntables and a mixer, and then star looking for ways to get his creativity going. VDJ in itself can DJ for you, but then it would be just like a cassette player. So no, it is definitively not a beginner’s product.

  21. Been using VDJ before it was VDJ “Atomix MP3″ and it just gets better and better.
    I dont agree with the articles comments about the subscription features its a handy and cost effective way to keep up to date with music whats the difference between this and a record pool?

    • Phil Morse says:

      Hey Simon – I guess the only difference is I’d personally never allow record pool music near my DJ software until I’d auditioned it. I want only tunes I know and love and have accepted into my set to have a chance of getting on one of those 99 decks! :) But then again, I don’t really like the idea of record pools either. For me the fun records are the ones that Beatport, the record pools, the other DJs etc. don’t like or miss entirely. Just me, not saying it’s right…

  22. Howdy, that makes sense I guess its really a personal preference. For some of the mobile cats record pools are more popular. I like to pick songs out too personally but I can see the benefit of the feature.

  23. @ tech

    I’m a VDJ user and own an NS7, I’m able to control 4 decks on the fly, decks 1 and 3 go on my left NS7 deck and 2, 4 go on my right deck. I’m pretty sure it can be configured the same way using the Numark V7. If you have any questions on how to get it setup you can always go to the VDJ forum under hardware. There’s always people willing to help, myself included in that bunch. Hope this answers your question.

  24. hi

    thanks for the post
    I’d love to see a roundup for controllers that will be ideal for VDJ 7. I’ve been using it since v5 in live gigs and have had great success with the software. It barely uses any RAM, it scans files for bpm and key super fast, and all around is a great piece of software.
    if you are doing beat matching make sure you fine tune with the push forward/backward buttons before dropping it into the mix.

  25. Phil Morse says:

    We’re doing a controller roundup next week that will feature this info.

  26. Virtual Dj is for fun, that’s it, if you want to show skills use turntables or CD players, VDJ is a toy, just press play, then sync and you are a DJ? For gods sake, no! I know that professional CD players/ turntables and mixer are very expensive, then save money. DJ (CD or vinyl), lap top jockey should be the name for those that use software (any software that you like), if you can beatmatch using CD players/turntables, then you’ll agree with me, VDJ is a toy.

    • Phil Morse says:

      Hey “DJ”, why do you think beatmatching with CDs or turntable is more skillful then digital DJing? I can, and I don’t. ;)

      CDs and turntables are one way of DJing, controllerism is another.

  27. DJ DIZZI DEE says:

    The argument of beat matching and DJing on CD players or vinyl vs. digital playing with software like VDJ is so-so oldschool and outdated! Which is true art, painting on a canvas with paints and oils with a brush or what George Lucas produces digitally for movie viewers? They are both forms of art! Besides that, does the crowd really care what you use to produce a hot mixset? No! When going to a restaurant do you really care what utensils the chef uses for your meal or do you really just care about the end product? Personally I don’t care if the chef uses a George Foreman Grille or hot stones and coals to cook my chicken, all I know is that it better be good!

    For my sets I use a combination of internal mode mixing coupled with analog sources like turntables and CD turntables. To me it’s the art that we create using the medium that we enjoy to do it and that is the bottom line!

    Great job on Virtual DJ V7!

    • westman says:

      I agree with you 100 % . I m a club dj , i have 4 , 5 gigs a week , i m using vdj for almost 3 years .personally I prefer vdj to traktor .

  28. Anyone who has actually worked with VDJ knows that it is not really a competent beat matcher… i mean its ok for computer software but no one playing live with VDJ is using the sync button mixing is done by ear. not at least with anyone ive seen trusted with actual set time.

    old mate elitist here has probably never even used the software before. vdj is quality software, its the cheapest way to get digital tracks on separate channels into a standard mixer. this is the best way to learn simply because it is the cheapest. beatport ftw. yes i can beat match on decks and no i dont agree with you vdj is no more of a toy than any other mixing hardware or software.

    I second the quality question… what output sound quality does version 7 have?

  29. Phil Morse says:

    Sound quality is fine, never been an issue for me, but of course it is highly dependent on the sound card you use.

  30. I love Vdj! I own Serato Scratch and Traktor. And I must
    tell you Vdj surpasses them in so many ways. I don’t understand why
    the so called hardcore old school dj’s resent it so much.

  31. Well, I’ve been using VDJ for a long time… always loved it… It only had a bad sound problem, at least till the 7 came out… that’s now finally fixed.. Using it in a combination with AA VMS4 controller…and it works wonderful… tried the VMS4 with Traktor, not doing it for me… The only thing I noticed people don’t like about VDJ is it’s looks, it’s flashy, colorful etc… so I changed the skin once and suddenly noone had a complaint… but I stick to the original skin… And I honestly think that very soon it will be the top software out there because of it’s ability to work with almost anything right out of the box…

  32. please help me to download free full version of Virtual DJ Pro 7 with 4 decks running. pls…

  33. Another vote on VDJ over Traktor here for doing a set of new to me tunes that i dont 100% know inside out…
    Dont get me wrong i love Traktor for properly mapped/ striped tracks, but i hate how it beatlocks then you have to use the phase feature if things go fubar..Oh and things do go fubar if that CBG isnt done properly.

    To me VDJ’s best bit is the ability to ignore synch, and use Earball mark 1 – just like a pair of CDJ’s but better, ’cause a quick flick of the eyes to the wave confirms 100% visually what your hearing, if needed ..Its a tool, its there so ill use it to pull off the best mix i can.

    Also, DJ… So you just press auto on digital djing yeah?
    No counting beats, no listening to phrases to drop in the mix at the perfect moment, no tweaking the eqs so there ain’t an overkill of any certain frequencys when you bring in the new track? No cutting ?
    By god VDJ is good if it can do all that, someone show me how i missed that feature!

    DJ-ing aint about beatmatching and wanging over the cross on intros outros or breaks, there is a little more finesse involved for a professional sounding mix .. Really!

  34. I started in ’98 with Techics 1200′s and a Vestax mixer… then Final Scratch 1.5 which failed at the club twice in my first night, (and it was boxed and never used again)… I then bought CDJ’s upgrading with each release, as I did with so many different brands of mixer’s untill my DJM-800 which I stuck with untill recently. Pioneer have for my opinion provided the most reliable equipment for the last decade almost…

    My only experience untill recently with Denon as a brand, was turning up to Clubs who didn’t have pioneer gear… Something like 19″ rackmounted gear and I would cring… Sorry to Denon fans but my experience was horrible… So it was almost overlooked by me, by almost accident I discovered the MC6000

    Burnt by dodgy digital equipment I took a long while to jump onboard… The MC6000 which would continue to work as a stand alone mixer if “digital” failed on me gave me the courage to give it another try, coz I have my CDJ-1000 MkIII’s pluged in! (but I kept my DJM-800 just incase)

    I must say I’m extremely impressed, and have finally sold my DJM800 now as I am confident…

    …at home I just have my laptop, Virtual DJ Pro Full, my DN-MC6000, and my 52″ Samsung LCD to practice mixing with FullHD mp4′s SOOO FUN!!!!!!!!
    …at the club I plug in two CDJ’s and it’s strickly mp3′s!
    I still have a track nervously cued up ready to go on a CDJ for fear of crashing, but I find I’m using the actual CDJ’s less and less… (maybe I’m getting lazy to burn all my newest tracks to CD)

    Just my two cents:
    Autobeatmixing isn’t cheating, and if you rely on it and not your ears your gonna fail miserably, I use it when I cue up, but wouldn’t touch it during the mix… after all algorythims are never acurate on accapella’s, and only about 90% of the time on tracks…
    I spent thousand on Vinyl, this made me reluctant to go CD’s, but it was inevitable… Completely Digital is inevitable in my opinion…
    In the past, the best DJ was the best on 1200′s, then it was the best on CDJ’s… in the future every DJ’s set-up will be as completely unique as his equipment and style… Exciting times

  35. DJ iffybag says:

    I’ve been using VDJ for about 6 years now. The latest version is great, but I still get slightly embarrassed when I’m asked which software I’m using… why don’t they just call it atomix? Virtual DJ just sounds like you’re virtually a DJ… almost, but not quite. That’s my only gripe really, it has a rubbish name.

  36. I have used VDJ pro 7 and hercules RMX timecodes at several parties, the software was and is very reliable and easy to use. Keep up the great work Atomix.

  37. DJ iN-tRaX says:

    I would consider myself as a hardcore VDJ user, because I use it for about 10 years now. It all started with a softwarw called ‘eJay DJ MixStation’ which, honestly, was very crappy. Because of that, I can understand why people still laugh at VDJ and why Atomix, to this day, has problems with it’s credibility amongst Virtual DJs. They think of a toy-like user interface with few options and believe that nothing has changed. Traktor, on the other hand, was a stable and very professional DJ software ever since. But if people would just sit down for a few minutes and try the new VDJ 7 out, they’d be like: “Woooooooow”. In the last few years, Atomix managed to get away from the childish “play around” interface and built a serious, highly professional DJ application, that in some categories now even beats its main competitor Traktor. I am proud to see how things have changed since I did my first DJ steps with the DJ Mixstation as a kid!

  38. I used to dj with Traktor pro, but then I decided to give VDJ a shot, since I found some problems running traktor with windows 8.
    I must say y have been really impressed. The thing that I most like about VDJ, is that its really easy to use iTunes with it. Music is really organized and all playlists are editable (Bpm, Key, etc.).

  39. Is this working with pioneer ddj-sb and numark mixtrack?

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