Review: MixVibes Cross DJ 2.0 Software

MixVibes Cross DJ 2.0

Capable, professional, and versatile... MixVibes Cross 2.0 DJ software may just be better than one of the more popular DJ programs for you, depending on your particular needs. Find out why in today's review...

It's not all about Traktor, Serato and Virtual DJ when it comes to DJ software. PC and Mac users do have other choices out there, and one such choice is Cross DJ from French company MixVibes, which has recently reached its landmark v2.

Since we last looked at Cross DJ (see our Cross DJ 1.5 review), the software has acquired better effects, a four-channel mixer and sample decks - oh and a shiny new black paint job. But should we care? Yes, as it turns out…

First impressions and setting up

You can buy the software (the version we review here is actually 2.0.1) as a download from the MixVibes website, or you can get it as part of a more traditional pack, with an audio interface and control vinyl and CDs, so you can use it as a digital vinyl system with existing decks or CD players. Finally, you can buy it bundled with the company's own U-Mix Control Pro hardware. It is available in English, French, Spanish, Dutch and Italian, selectable from within the program.

However you buy it, you just install it along with drivers (PC only), and you're ready to go.

MixVibes Cross DJ 2.0 controller mapping

The MixVibes Cross DJ 2.0 controller mapping page. Note that many controllers (more than 60) are already mapped in the software.

Since we last looked at the software, it's had a bit of a makeover, but is essentially recognisably the same program. Areas of the software can be switched on and off via the "view" menu so at first it doesn't look like much else has changed, but dig a little deeper and you discover eight sample slots per deck that can be switched on and that appear under the existing two decks. Another big difference is that there are now four channel faders, not two, up the middle of the mixer. The VU meters are now tucked "inside" the channel meters (making them harder to view when the fader knob cover graphic is over the "red" part of the VU meters).

To set the software up with your hardware, you first need to check it's supported (about 60 controllers are): the page on the MixVibes website referenced from the program is out of date, but a bit of digging reveals a Cross DJ 2.0 compatibility page on the same site, which represents a pretty wide range of mapped controllers; I had a Vestax VCI-400 sat here so I plugged it in, and the available mappings all suddenly appeared, with the Vestax already highlighted. However, note that not all controllers by any means are mapped.

If your controller isn't mapped you can do so yourself; the mapping system here is quite straightforward if not exactly easy; its' somewhere between Traktor (very fiddly) and Algoriddim's djay (surprisingly easy). The mappings section in the configuration are also recognises your OS and quite nicely, gives you the option of choosing a laptop or full keyboard mapping; again, the correct one was already chosen. you can remap the keyboard shortcuts, too.

MixVibes Cross 2.0 audio routing

The MixVibes Cross 2.0 audio routing page: Audio routing isn't always easy to get your head around, but their patchbay graphics make it easier to understand.

Bear in mind that you can't just jump in and hack existing mappings; probably quite wisely, they're locked. What you can do is duplicate them and change your own duplicate version.

Finally in your setting up, you need to enable the audio routing. This tells the software what sound card settings to use for your headphones monitoring and master output. You get a choice of internal or external mixing; with a controller you'll typically use internal mixing, using the mixing function in your software rather than a hardware mixer. The software has a quit elegant "patch bay" graphical use interface to help you get your head around this typically tricky task of getting a new digital DJ set-up working; while not straightforward the first time you try and get your head around it, the way it is handled here is pretty good.

In use

So, all set up and the sound coming out of all the right places, it's time to take a look at what the software can do.

The library
First you'll want to get some music ready. The system can read your iTunes playlists and collection easily, although it does so in a dark-on-light window that looks a little like Serato's daytime mode, and is not switchable for the more traditional DJ light-on-black, the colour scheme used for the software's own collection window.

No matter really though, as it's not particularly advisable to play out of iTunes directly with this software (although you can); every time you play a tune it is analysed and imported into your "collection" automatically anyway, so best just to analyse all your tunes from the off and play from MixVibe's collection.

This task is made easier by the ability to auto import iTunes lists, Traktor playlists (including at least some of Traktor's custom data), Virtual DJ playlists, and from Pioneer's Rekordbox (more about this later).

MixVibes Cross 2.0 library

The MixVibes Cross 2.0 library boasts smart sorting, artwork, preview and the ability to import from major other DJ programs.

You can even have more than one collection. So if you are a wedding DJ to pay the bills and an underground techno DJ for fun, you can keep both sides to your DJing life completely separate (just to irrevocably remove the tempatation to slam down a sambuka and slap Beltram's "Energy Flash" on to liven up a particularly boring wedding first dance…).

There is a preview mode so you can listen to tracks quickly before loading onto a deck, and, some nice touches too - for instance, MP3 quality is shown by colour coded smiley faces, 320kbps MP3s being a cheeky little dude in sunglasses, 96kbps rips appearing very frowny indeed in the "Quality" column! Also, album art is handled nicely, with Traktor-esque top fifth views in the lists, but also the choice of having a horizontally scrolling strip of artwork too above the main list.

Decks and mixer
There are four mixer channels, two of which are for decks and two for sample channels, the latter not apparently usable for anything else. The deck channels, however, can be switched to line inputs (or mic if your sound card has such inputs), and when you're using the digital vinyl features, you can even play old-school vinyl right through the software. Assuming you're DJing with MP3s though, when you load an MP3 you get the waveform in the deck, and if you've got the main waveform at the top of the screen selected in the "view" menu, the waveform loads there too. Waveforms are monochromatic, appearing in yellow and red depending upon the deck.

Transport and hot cues controls work as you'd expect, and there's looping with the usual half/double smart looping matched to the beat, and the ability to move the looped are too. I like "smart seek" that jumps forward or back a set number of beats that you can decide, but I wished it went "up" to 32 beats, or 8 bars, which is a useful jump amount; it stops, instead, at 16 bars so you'd need to tap it twice for the same effect.

The timestretching algorithm with keylock sounds excellent, and there are three modes you can employ here: "speed" is standard, "tempo" locks the key, and "hybrid" locks the key close to the original pitch, allowing the key to finally change when you move a long way awa from true pitch (to preserve sound quality).

Beatgridding and sync
The beatgridding is excellent. There's a little control so you can do your beatgridding right there on the deck, and not only can the software handle music that's not uniform 4/4 (ie old funk and disco, rock etc) sometimes referred to as "elastic beatgridding", it can also handle music that's completely all over the place.

It does this with the addition of extra "user beatgrids" that you can lay over the standard grid to show extra sections in tracks, a dropped or added beat - anything you want. Top marks, and it steals the show against Traktor (which has very limited beatgridding) and Serato (which has elastic beatgridding but can't handle tempo changes or non-standard time signatures in the same way that Cross can).

Beatgridding in MixVibes Cross DJ 2.0

Beatgridding in MixVibes Cross DJ 2.0: It's the best beatgridding I've ever used in any DJ software.

The strong beatgridding is reflected in equally strong sync functions. The software divides sync into "snap" and "quantise" functions, allowing you to sync to the nearest beat, bar or "cycle" (as in multi-bar musical phrase).

This is verified against the beatgrid, and reflected in the waveforms with little circles that rotate at a user.choosable frequency; setting it to four bars (the maximum) lets you see at a glance not only whether your tracks are "on the beat", but whether they're musically lined up too. these meters also work like Traktor's phase meters so you can manually hold mixes in time by watching the deviation shown.

Of course, you can turn all of this stuff off and wing it, old school style, if sync isn't your thing, but again, it's some of the most advanced syncing I've seen on any software.

Effects and samples
The effects have improved immeasurably since 1.5, where they were frankly poor. Now you get decent filters, phasers and flangers, with easy effects assignment and two complete effects units to choose from. The echo and delay are a bit limited; echo is tied to the beat but there's no visual representation of which fraction or multiple of the beat it's echoing; delay is fixed to half a beat.

MixVibes Cross DJ 2.0's iPad remote control

MixVibes Cross DJ 2.0's iPad remote control: Potentially useful for wedding and mobile DJs.

The sampler features are far better than 1.x versions of the software, though - then, there weren't any! Now though, you get eight sample slots per "side", 16 in all, and they can be looped, one-shotted or set to momentary. You can sample from the decks and everything quantised up nicely. They run through the two "spare" mixer channels.

They're not up to Traktor's remix decks, more akin to Serato ITCH's sample decks. Sample sets can be stored and loaded, and indeed there are professional samples available for free to all purchasers to get you going.

Other stuff

There is a record button for direct recording from the software, which can record in four lossless formats (not MP3 though); I didn't test it but I don't expect any surprises here.

A nice touch is the availability of iPad and iPhone apps for remote controlling the software; you set up an ad hoc wireless network and then can change tunes etc from anywhere within WiFi range. For wedding DJs, for instance, this could be a godsend. These apps are mature and ought to work well.

A word regarding jogwheel control with external hardware. I tested this with a Vestax VCI-400, and the mapping supplied was very good. The jogs were 9/10; they felt slightly unrealistic when going into a spinback from free play but they were tightly mapped 1 to 1 to the software, which bodes well for the other 60 or so controllers pre-mapped. I have to say I didn't have any compatible digital vinyl here, so couldn't run any DVS testing.

Conclusion

There's no question that this is mature software and well up to the job. Limited compared to something like Traktor, it nonetheless has most of the features most DJs would want most of the time, and in some areas (I'm thinking beatgridding any sync) it's actually ahead of any.

Where it falls behind is on decks (only two, the second two channels being sample decks only) and effects (these are much better than 1.5, but could be much better still).

So who would buy it? Firstly, if you buy MixVibes' excellent U-Mix Control Pro DJ controller, it's bundled - so you would just have bought it. You might find you never want to use anything else.

MixVibes Cross DJ 2.0 pack

The software can be bought in a pack complete with audio interface and control vinyl/CDs, making it a good value digital vinyl alternative.

Secondly, DJs wanting a good value DVS system may be tempted by the all-in-one pack that bundled control vinyl/CDs, an audio interface and the software for less than an equivalent Serato pack although no cheaper than Traktor's take on it (the Traktor Scratch A6 pack).

Thirdly, mixing DJs who truly mix all genres and ages of music may well be drawn to it because its breatgridding will continue working where others are going to fall. Traktor is basically only good for electonic musc when it comes to beatgridding, and while Serato can handle same-tempo "live" stuff better, only MixVibes Cross DJ lets you beatgrid pretty much anything.

And finally, because MixVibes also developed Rekordbox for Pioneer (the library management software Pioneer is pushing hard across its CDJs and new controller XDJ-AERO controller), Cross DJ plays nicely with that too. So DJs who play professionally on Pioneer gear in the clubs may choose this as their party/home DJ software because all thier cues, loops and so on should in theory work on both systems.

I think the one things MixVibes should concentrate on to get more traction for this software (apart from continually improving it, of course) is getting good mappings for all controllers in to it as soon as it can. Although that's hard to do (no surprise there are notable absences even from its pretty up-to-date supported controllers list at present), it would give MixVibes a market differentiator - "the DJ software that works with all controllers".

As it stands, the software does nothing wrong and an awful lot right - but whether that's enough to tempt a decent proportion of the masses away from the more highly marketed leaders of the pack apart is something that remains to be seen.

Product details:
Price: €39 (+ VAT where applicable)
Buy from: MixVibes website

Are you a MixVibes Cross DJ user? Do you like 2.0? Have you seen anything here that would tempt you to switch? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Comments

  1. King of Snake says:

    Hi Phil,
    Thanks for picking this up. i like the review.
    It’s a bargain so i will grab it, also because my controller is directly supported (Reloop).
    I didn’t see anything concerning ‘mixing in key’ though, so i guess i need to do that off-line.

  2. Good review Phil, thanks! I have a couple of questions though…

    Do you think the combination of CrossDJ and Rekordbox is better than Traktro and iTunes?

    Can you do advanced MIDI mapping in CrossDJ? For instance, I’ve mapped Traktor to turn LEDs on/off on my K2. Can CrossDJ do the same thing?

    Are the sample decks polyphonic? i.e. if you wanted to could you play all eight samples in one deck at once, or are they restricted to being played one at a time?

  3. I purchased the U-Mix Pro controller and it came wit the 1.5v and I believe I have the option for the free upgrade. I love the controller and sound card combination which I use with Traktor. I am not against trying the software out (because at this point for me it is free) but I already changed workstations once (serato to traktor). I suppose I wouldn’t know what I think until I give it a try but is it really possible to “fall in love” with a new workstation? They are all basically the same now. I firmly believe it is all about what controller fits your comfortability and then getting that hardware to map well with the software that compliments your style (define style however you like). I must admit if the beatgridding is that advanced AND some type of jump or move feature then it may save me time editing my own tracks in Ableton. But then I am stuck on this software only.
    just some thoughts. Thanks for the review.

  4. Hi, can the Numark n4 work with this?

  5. I have been using Mixvibes Cross since my digital conversion from my HDXs and absolutely love it!! I tried Virtual DJ and DJay but I feel the layout of Cross is more my cup of tea. I love the iTune integration and the fact the my controller (Umix Control Pro) came witht he full version of the software and is mapped perfectly. One other aspect that I like is that with the new version (2.0.1) I remapped my pitch slider to control the effect depth (as the Umix only controls the amount)to have more fun with the effects.

    • alvaro vasquez says:

      HI my name is alvaro I love music, and I bay the cross dj video plug in on 12/28/12. and I have the new relice. butt I like to found, a tutorial. can you please help me. whit may cross dj video plugin please. and the new relice, wend I mix I can se the video.

  6. Hi, although this software is relatively cheap is there anywhere you can download a free trail with? so i can test it out to see if it works for me? I’m currently using virtual dj but having problems with tracks pausing when loading songs to the other deck so i’m seeking alternative software, Thanks

  7. Their website says it supports the Numark Mixdeck pro does it support the Mixdeck Quad?

  8. I’m glad to see a review of this product, although I already own it. It’s my go to as a person who can’t really afford to shell out $100 on Traktor.

  9. It came with a ION Discovery controller I bought when I didn’t know if I was going to ever DJ more than the one time I bought the controller for. Now that I am professionally performing and have a better controller, I still am running CrossDJ. There is virtually nothing I dislike about it (I would like to see the effects improved). It is laid out nicely, performs well.It is pleasing to the eye unlike something like Virtual DJ. The price/performance ratio cannot be beat.

  10. Just downloaded the free Mac version

    and I have to say I’m impressed with how easy it is to use. Mixed a bunch of tracks by cuing up waveforms by eye, no headphones and then using the match/sync features to mix.
    Less keen on the fugly interface but still would be impressed if it cost £30. As the the £30 version, the only obvious difference is that you can use it commercially.

  11. sameoldsong says:

    “Traktor is basically only good for electonic musc when it comes to beatgridding”

    I disagree.

    First (and that’s a fine point, I admit), I think what you really mean to say is quantized music, not electronic music. Lots of old electronic music–usually created on analog electronic devices–has tempo drift. And most current music doesn’t drift, including a good chunk of non-electronic music. Nowadays, you can easily quantize live instruments and voice.

    Second, and more importantly, a lot of music with drift is still amenable to beatgridding in traktor. only in the most pathological cases you cannot find two- or four-bar loops suitable for mix-in and mix-out. sure, it can be a bit tricky. but ultimately, it’s more rewarding than warping a track completely straight. the warped track just doesn’t have the same “feel” as the un-quantized original.

  12. Hi Phil, thanks for this site I make sure to read stuff on here most days! Knowledge
    Is power as they say! And you never stop learning!

    I’ve never posted before but when I saw mixvibes review just had too… Hopefully it will help other DJ’s thinking about using MV software.

    Short history I went digital late 90’s / 2000 with PCDJ Red and a USB mono sound card back then and a 30gb Tiny laptop! Had some good years with that and various laptop upgrades and FX software, but then got fed up with all the glitches that came with PCDJ and windows OS etc… Moved onto various numark hard drive controllers inc idj2 / D2 / DDS ( still have them all – DJ’s love gear don’t we! ) must say numark have some brilliant products and ideas, shame they don’t last long with product lines and upgrades.

    Wanted to go back to laptop a year or more ago so the search started… Went for the denon controller and itch, loved itch but wanted a full size controller! More gear! Went to BPM and saw the denon mc6000 (the mic imputs sung it from getting the ns6)

    Got my mc6000 and traktor… Upgraded to full… Wasn’t feeling it, ok will get VDJ, I had a go on the home version was ok but the library on my new 13″ Mac pro? Can’t see it that good! Oops, so started lots of head scratching?! I’ve spent all this money and wasn’t comfy at my gigs or relaxed!

    Got an email through from denon, mixvibes available on mc6000? What is mixvibes? Clicked on the link and downloaded the trail version, as soon as I used the music libary I was hooked, so upgraded to cross 1.7 (it was so cheap!)

    It loaded and synced with my MacBook straight away no problems. It’s so easy to use, the music Mangement / playlist / folders section blows the other software away! It has transformed my gigs with less stress and hopefully a better show with a few loop tricks n hot cues etc…

    I could go on a bit more but won’t! All I would say is buy this program first it’s very cheap and really nothing to lose! You can have as many program’s as you like but make sure they work for you. Finding the right tunes in the easiest way really is the way to ensure your gig are a success!

    Keep em’ dancing! (40+ DJ reborn with MV)

  13. MixVibes would be great to use with the recently released Numark Mixdeck Quad…… is mapping available for it??

  14. Beltram – Energy Flash… Showing your age there Phil. What a tune, I used to play that at the Dance Factory… Aah… Memories.

  15. Hmm very interesting review! I guess a controller like the A&H K2 could be mapped to this as it is just a generic midi controller?

    Does anyone know if there is a 4 deck upgrade on the cards?

  16. Are there any file types it won’t play?

  17. Wow, my first reaction: Sounds like these guys removed everything I hate about Traktor: No Smart Playlists, Inflexible Screen Layouts, limited beatgridding. I should sell Traktor and switch!

    After a quick Google: Only 6 cue points. Boo. Unclear if my Traktor cue points would work in Cross DJ. Not compatible with my Traktor controller unless I make a custom MIDI map.

    Anybody use both systems or switch between the two systems?

  18. I have been trying to get Traktor to work for me since 2006. There always / always / always is some bug or issue with Traktor where I could never trust it and always feel like I need to be a technician versus “feel the music”.

    The F2’s Sample Loops not being able to reliably sync with the Main Song was it for me.

    I think Native Instruments formula is to “do the best they can” but sell, sell, sell and now they have this fancy colored buttons they will put everywhere for wiz-bang. And that strategy will work for them (in terms of sales).

    Mix Vibes Cross DJ is a blessing for me. It is very well designed, sounds great, and whatever they created: it works. Solid.

    It’s also amazing how much functionality they fit in the very small graphic design areas, but they made excellent design decisions.

    When I have time, I’ll map one of my controllers and get more serious with using it for gigging and on the fly music making.

    Mixvibes Cross let’s me focus on the music. Mixvibes is build and designed to focus on the Music versus the Video Light show that Traktor (marketing) has become.

    IMHO most of the DJ Demos of Traktor (either Dubstep or Hip Hop) sound like crap – and, ha, ha – they seems to all sound the same. Short attention spans, repeats, repeats, repeats, no story being told by the music, just “look at me” stuff.

    Thanks MixVibes for being there. You guys are awesome.

  19. Due to this review, I have been seriously considering purchasing this product. I am currently using Mixxx and Serato DJ Intro with a Mixtrack Pro. However, I feel DJ Intro is too limited (no gains, vu meters, midi mappings) and mapping Mixxx is a little too time-intensive for me.

    For anyone using this product, how easy/hard is it to map a controller? I would be interested in adding a shift button, so I can add in a few more cues and a gain knob for each deck. I would also like to remap the pitch bend buttons to “change pitch range”, or perhaps a “relative pitch mode” so I can really fine-tune my beatmatching.

  20. reason808 says:

    I had a bad enough experience with this software that I feel the need to warn others who may come across this review.

    Details here:
    http://www.digitaldjtips.com/forum/threads/anybody-using-cross-dj-2-0.5239/#post-28879

    To be fair, my experience may not that of others.

  21. Great review. Glad MixVibes is getting some good press here and on a couple of other forums. I’ve been using CROSS for years now, in clubs in Paris regularly, and have never had to complain about the reliabiliy or audio quality. I just felt like the brand never got the proper exposure although the product is really reliable from my experience.

    I believe the partnership between MixVibes and Pioneer on Rekordbox naturally benifited Cross in terms of database management. And now that the HID is implemented too, this software is a serious option for professional DJs who spin with CDJs and want to get the best out of there Pioneer gear.

    Cross already shares advanced database metadata with Rekordbox, that’s a big deal : I can switch from Djing with a USB key back to CROSS without loosing any of my Cue points, loops, !! Big time saver :-))

  22. Hi Phil & others,
    I’m fairly new to DJing. I wet my feet with the mixvibes dj app and having read dozens of reviews and opinion and decided that Cross seemed to be the right computer application for me above Traktor and Serato. I then rather naively went ahead and bought the 5 star rated vestax 380 controller with the intention of using it with Cross. Turns out though that the mapping for the 380 is somewhat half-assed and I was wondering-provided I can sell the 380-what you consider the best controller to be for this software?
    Cheers,
    Tim

  23. DJRicoche says:

    Mixvibes Has already made some significant strides since this review was written. Support through the website is great most of the time as well. Cross is now at version 2.6, which adds 2 deck + 2 Samplers OR 4 deck operation, automatic Key detection (and matching), Full Recordbox Sync compatibility including import AND export, Video Plug-in Tight HID integration with the latest Pioneer CDJ’s and more! This software has enormous potential to take knock Serato & Virtual DJ off their pedestals, providing they can get more controllers MIDI mapped out of the box (and mapped well, not just basic stuff).

    I love Mixvibes, and hope to see them continue to develop to become the digital DJing “standard”

  24. Cross 2.6 sounds great!!

    Will it work for me with 2 x Cdj1000 and 1 x Ecler Nou4 mixer??

    Will I get full functionality of sync, quantise as well as loops etc?

    Can I midi map my Nuo4 ?

  25. Gr8 product. I got the LE version with my Denon Controller.

    In my opinion it compares well with the other software types like Trakro & Serato. (I wont mention Virtual DJ as it would insult your product to compare).

    I use both Cross DJ and Traktor with my controller due to the fact that both have their pro’s & con’s. The only criticism is that I dont like the filter on Cross DJ when mixing tunes. Its not as refined as Traktors and the Cue and Effect functions very basic. However for mixing Rap and sampling I find Cross DJ the bomb. My controller is more responsive due to the low resources requirement on Cross DJ and I easily mapped my Keyboard to trigger and manage samples.

    Great product and great work. Lets refine it now.

  26. I am having tons of fun with Cross DJ and U Mix Control Pro Controller.

    Bought the U Mix Control Pro and it came bundled with the full version of Cross DJ (I think the disc it comes with is v1.5 but you need to make an account on the Mixvibes forums and enter your license# of Cross DJ in your profile and you can download v2.7).

    Anyway, I have used serrato scratch live in the past with 1210s and this is a whole different experience. Cross DJ just works…Its easy, intuitive, reliable, and does a lot in a concise small package. If you plan on playing out on CDJs the ability to import and export cue points to and from Rekord Box is a huge plus since you can prep at home without an expensive CDJ setup.

    The downsides are: The effects (still) seem really limited and U Mix controller although well made and layed out nicely – may feel a bit cramped when your coming from a 4 channel mixer.

    For the money, this package is great value imo

  27. please help me i try too enter to my cross Dj LE 2.0.1 but no enter i need the license key please help me this is my email abdielroberto12@gmail.com

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