Mixed In Key 5.5 Helps You Control Dancefloor Energy

 Mixed in Key 5 comes with a tutorial to make introducing this technique into your digital DJing as simple as possible.

Mixed in Key 5.5 adds energy level mixing to its core harmonic detection algorithm.

Mixed in Key 5.5 was launched today, and brings a headline new feature to the popular key detection software: Dancefloor energy level analysis. Now, as well as automatically analysing your digital music collection to tell you which tunes will be likely to mix well with each other harmonically, the software can also give you an "Energy" rating for each tune, to help you manage your dancefloor's energy levels better.

How does it work?

The software "listens" for tell-tale elements in your track - hi-hat patterns, white noise (ie "whooshing" sounds that add tension and excitement in build-ups) and other elements, and then scores each track from 1 to 10 for energy. Banging Swedish house might be 9 or 10, while that one piece of classical music in your library is more likely to score 1 or 2. Deep house may come in at 4 or 5, and so on. It's important to note that the new value isn't necessarily associated with BPM, so it could help multi-genre DJs to change BPM rapidly while maintaining dancefloor energy - especially useful when used alongside Mixed In Key's harmonic analysis to ensure two tunes with wildly varying BPMs in a mix are also musically matched

While even the makers don't suggest this new algorithm should replace knowing your tunes well, it is a useful extra way of quickly browsing your tunes for likely matches. The energy level number can be written by the software in various places within the metadata (including the Grouping column, added at Digital DJ Tips's suggestion), and can be added to the filename too.

Mixed in Key is all about achieving smoother, cleaner, more professional mixes, and the harmonic mixing system the software has championed has revolutionised many DJs' approaches to mixing, so it will be interesting to see how this new Energy algorithm will work.

How well does it work?

In an initial test analysis of a typically varied selection of my own music, the software got it about right ("Nightfall" by Borealis was correctly identified as a "1", which isn't surprising as it's an ambient tune, while a chillout Cafe Del Mar-style tune got a 4, and a more jumpy Friendly Fires remix by Air France scored a floor-filling 7).

Mixed in Key 5.5

The software did a good job of guessing the relative energy levels of a disparate range of tunes from my collection. (Click to enlarge.)

We have always encouraged DJs to use iTunes's star ratings system in this exact way manually, but if it turns out that Mixed In Key's alchemists have indeed found a way of translating dancefloor energy into an automated rating that can be useful for DJs, they could have provided a shortcut that'll be useful especially when you're DJing with unfamiliar material or in a hurry with a pile of new tunes.

However, nothing will ever replace context ("the right tune at the right time"), or familiarity (tunes people know fill floors, tune people don't know struggle more), and it also won't replace mixing skills (a tune lovingly worked into the mix by a DJ who knows it inside out can lift a dancefloor - the same tune trainwrecked in can clear it).

Just like harmonic mixing analysis itself, the tool should be seen a tool to be experimented with alongside all the other tools available to the digital DJ, to be used alongside (and not as a replacement for) any of the other skills of DJing. In that spirit, I for one am looking forward to seeing how useful it turns out to be for me in my sets.

• Mixed In Key 5.5 is available now from the Mixed in Key website.

Do you like the idea of having software tell you energy level as well as musical key? Can you see this helping you organise your collection? Or do you feel it's taking something away from the job of the DJ? Have you found Mixed in Key useful in your DJing? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Comments

  1. It’s a good idea but 1-10 is not too many numbers?
    I do the same for my tunes. Every time I import a tune to Itunes, after analyzing with Mixed In Key, I write “Green Blue or Red” to indicate the energy level of the tune. I think 1-5 would have been enough.

    • Ditto, its what I thought straight away. Whats the difference between a 7 and 8? Or a 3 and 4? I aint got time time to think about the minute difference so the five star system works well and easy to do in itunes. Though Rapid Evolution which does my key scanning also has been doing intensity rating for a while, but ignored it.

  2. Yes, iTunes 1-5 stars is plenty for energy levels.

  3. Is it just another version or is there a way to upgrade from 5.0 ? Haven’t got an upgrade link…
    It is a fantastic piece of work, btw!

    • George Sparks says:

      Yeah, I hope this is a free upgrade from 5.0. I haven’t received any update links or anything yet though!

      • The guys at Mixed In Key confirmed a while back on Twitter that v5.5 will be a free upgrade for customers who purchased v5.0 (which includes me!).

        Like you, I haven’t received an email yet…but perhaps this is more credit to Phil’s speedy reporting – there’s not yet much (if anything) on the website about the new version.

      • I’ve upgraded yesterday. Find in your emails mail when you received link for downloading version 5.0 for the first time (just when you bought it). follow the same link and you can download 5.5 version.

    • Open Mixed In Key with an active internet connection. Give it a minute. It will tell you at the bottom that a new version is available and will provide the update link.

  4. I’m a little sceptical only because I was recently editing my music library and found that tracks that MIK had analysed as being in one key, Beatport was telling me were in another (about 25% on the tracks were wrong). I’m more inclined to believe that label. So I think I’ll stick to my trusty ears in deciding the energy.

    • Yeah I noticed the same too Eros, made a list but in my case about 20% were off. Still a high percentage I’d say, but since I use it only as an aid, a rough guide to my sets (I rely on my ears and knowledge of my music too) that’s ok for me.

    • Beatport prob use another piece of software for key scanning, it does not necessarily mean they are right. I use Rapid Evolution, which is one of the more advanced scanners, it gives Key Accuracy score for each track you scan and its never 100% or any where near that. All these software will be out some degree, if you look on the DJ Tech Tools they did a comparison a long time ago and none were really great, hence why I chose a free one. My feeling on the matter is choose one and stick with it, that why it will be off pretty much consistently and it works for me. If you change tool then re-scan your whole library so again its off consistently. Though in the end it comes down to your ears of what sounds good.

  5. Maybe they felt that a 1-10 can make for more subtle and broad scale. It takes more time and effort to master a longer scale but once you get used to it, should indeed work very good for refined sets imho. Every tool has its learning curve, but for an already sensitive DJ all these new ones can indeed help and perhaps make a difference. It will demand more work too since the files must be re-run through the new MiK I’m sure…

  6. Not really interested to pay $58 to get energy level added to my perfect working MIK5 no upgrate path then no money from me.
    I like all tools that can make my mixes better but not at anny cost

  7. I would think an upgrade link will come soon , they just released the new version today , links to update( fingers crossed ) will come soon.

  8. Ibrahams Keyfinder is actually really accurate compared to MIK and it is totally free.

    I find Beatport is also not very accurate…even though they should be the MOST accurate.

    If you really need key software to tell you what the energy level of your track is…you shouldnt be DJing…

    • If you NEED it, yes – I agree. If you use it as another tool to help? No problem.

    • I thought that BP´s key were suplied by the producer, therefore it´d be right. The most accurate way to get key is the “keyboard”, but I try not to over rely or get too tight on these things for my sets (I use more for my mixes I admit).

      • Alex, they aren’t supplied by the producer.

      • I always wondered, Yakov. It made sense that while suplying the track/file they´d also suply its key along. Anyway, I´m just glad that once I realized this difference I chose to rely on MiK for keying my music instead of sticking with BP´s!

        Looking forward to try the new 5.5, thanks for your input ;-)

      • A lot of Drum & Bass shows up as 116 or something on Beatport. It was this that made me realise the tempo and therefore key aren’t supplied by the label. Would be really weird if the label supplied key and not tempo!

  9. Mike Blades says:

    I think its good, but will be abused by less skilled DJ’s…..they will scan their top 50 downloads from Beatport and only play songs that score 8 or more for their 1 hour spot…..at 9pm…..

  10. Hey guys,

    5.5 is a free upgrade from 5.0, and we’ll start sending them out later today.

    The upgrade path from 3.X and 4.X is just $29.

    -Yakov

    • thanks

    • Testing it out right now. Most of my tracks are coming up between 2 and 8. Not sure what a 1, or a 9-10 would be. I am also getting some tracks that are saying that they could be enhanced by PN, but the tracks I am re-analyzing have already been run through PN. Just took a look in Traktor, I don’t see the energy numbers anywhere. I have checked the box to update the genre with 7-Jackin House.

      • The few songs I found that were 9 were some Breakcore, Industrial, Digital Hardcore and Electroclash.
        But I have yet to analize the rest of my Industrial collection. Could be some more in there. =P

    • Yakov , thank you .. stay busy :).

  11. shuga*foot says:

    I like MIK for what it does now. And it integrates well with iTunes. Now how does this new feature appear in iTunes? Because it doesn’t have a “Energy” field. It’s a nice add on. But I agree with most here that a 1-5 scale is much more manageable than 1-10.

    • For iTunes we write the energy level to the Grouping tag.

      • Chad, I am a long term user of MIK and I wouldn’t be without it.

        But I stopped using the public beta of 5.5 because this extra scanning takes longer and I don’t want it.

        The problem persists with the released version, so can we get an option to turn it off please?

  12. DJ Forced Hand says:

    I suppose the next step to expand this “Energy” tab is to start describing elements of the song that stand out using both internal scanning techniques and listener-created comments… please someone tell me someone somewhere has a Database with constructive comments attached to the tunes.

  13. I would use it like I do harmonic mixing, as a blue print. It looks as if it may open one’s eyes to many possibilities of mixing instead of playing the same old playlist. I don’t think it will replace actual DJ skills. Yet, it looks like a cool tool to have.

  14. There´s nothing to fear. There will always be “good” and “bad” music in every level of energy – and I doubt anyone could ever come up with a software or algorythm to tell one from another.

    DJs still have to read their crowd and choose good music for a moment. A bad “10” track could kill the vibe and clear a dancefloor, as much as perfect harmonic transition could too.

    There´s a lot more to good DJing than numbers and formulas. We should look at this as an evolution of the tools available to us for better and perhaps easier, faster DJing.

    This new MiK feature could accelerate someone´s learning curve to better music and DJing understanding for instance, that in itself would be worth it for beginners imho.

  15. This will be a great tool in discovering new possibilities in your playlists that you may not have noticed before.

    1. Know thy music.
    2. Know thy hardware.
    3. Use your ears.
    4. Read the crowd.
    5. Allow programs like this to make you better.

  16. i can’t get the energy number to appear in any metadata field of the files, any help?

  17. Don’t forget the Elite mode (under “Personalize Your Copy” section), this sends stacks of information back to the MiK database;

    http://www.mixedinkey.com/EliteMode.aspx

    …I think this will eventually feed into the iMashup app to reduce the need for analysis of tracks on the iOS device.

  18. I have been a MIK & PN user almost since their release and have nothing but good things to say about their products and I’m especially happy with their customer care “SECOND TO NONE” IMO Yakov, Chad and the crew are not just another software company they Actually care and listen to their customers and are always very helpful and i must say I know of no other company like them they are in it for the love of music not just to make a quick buck, I take my hat off to that sort of loyalty and many other companies really should take note of this, when you purchase a product from them IMO you are a respected client and not just a number, and 58 bucks is a small price to pay for that.

    • I second that very much Steve. I´ve always had great advice from them on the forums and have absolutely nothing to complain about PN and MiK, they work flawlessly imho. Only praises for their customer support too. Recently I´ve changed computers and had instant support from Chad. I´ll gladly purchase another license for my new MacBook (was using only PC and Windows untill recently), satisfied as a client/DJ and happy to support their excellent work.

  19. Does anyone actually know where MIK have generated this new data element from? Have they just tapped into EchnoNest’s Danceability value in their API and they’ve put a funkier label on it alla ‘Energy’?

  20. Hi guys,

    I thought I should make you aware of one thing. I mean those of you who appreciate the harmonic way of mixing and choose to rely on software analysis and beatport tags. I am a professional musician, educated in classical music, so I know the theory and have my ears trained well. I don’t really have firsthand experience with MixedInKey or other software, but I know that Beatport is VERY often with their key tags. If one would rely on their analysis, no actual harmonic mixing could be ever possible. I really think there is no other way, at least not yet, to analyze your track correctly, than doing it manually, with a keyboard and your ears. If you learn that, It takes really a few seconds to do that.

  21. I found all automatic algorithms for detecting musical key to be inaccurate. I wrote my own app for my iPhone to help manually determine the key of tunes, without having to sit there with a keyboard plonking away at it. There’s a review on this site somewhere. DJ Tools, check my website. It’s very cheap, and you will learn to recognise keys when using it.

  22. Oh, and if anyone’s interested, here is the theory behind harmonic mixing http://operandlabs.com/tutorials/item/1-the-circle-of-fifths

  23. I own MIK 5.5, and was wondering if it was possible for Serato DJ to know the energy level without having to be manually added??

  24. I asked the guy about this via email but I don;’t think this will detect which of my choppage, breakcore and extratone tracks are more ‘energetic’ than others…

    if someone with IDM/jdownloader could download the tunes on my soundcloud, and scan them with 5.5 and tell me the energy levels, I might consider an upgrade from v4 :P

  25. Does mixed in key compatible with Windows 8 64 bit

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