The latest version of popular key analysis app Mixed In Key has just been released. Mixed in Key 7 brings automatic cue point creation for Serato and Traktor, automatic playlists based on energy level, and a more streamlined and simple workflow, with the opening screen now combining analysis and browse into one window. The new app is a free upgrade for Mixed In Key 6 owners; full pricing at the end of this piece.
The new features in full
Automatic cue point analysis
Mixed In Key’s unique new cue point analysis feature automatically sets eight cue points in a song that you’ve set for analysis, in either Traktor or Serato DJ. Our experimentation showed that they tend to be intelligently chosen and usually right on phrase.
While some DJs might question having software auto-detect and place cue points, Mixed In Key’s creators are presumably banking on the fact that most DJs tend to put cues in the same, obvious points like the start of the song or beginning of a break. Auto-creating these does away with having to manually do them yourself whenever you load a new track, which could speed up your workflow, especially when handling a large batch of music. This is also quite handy for jumping to different parts of a song if you want to skip around, making it a great complement to Serato Flip for making quick edits.
Of course, Mixed In Key can’t always accurately guess where you want the other cues to be, but you’ll be able to edit them anyway within either Traktor or Serato DJ later on. This also means that if you analyse your songs using Mixed In Key, you can technically have a “bilingual” DJ library that has cues already for both software, something that would definitely come of age were Mixed In Key to allow you to edit the points it’s chosen (surely a feature that’s coming).
Auto energy level playlists
Another new feature in version 7 is the ability to create automated playlists using Mixed In Key’s “Energy Level” tag, which lets you create dynamic playlists based on three energy categories: Low, Medium, and High energy. Having this feature onboard means you can quickly round up songs that are likely to be good for warming up the floor, and separate them from ones that you may only wish to play at primetime.
Again, some may question the need for this, but that’s missing the point: These are tools, not rules (a mantra here at Digital DJ Tips). Having the software quickly pile your tunes into three rough energy level categories does some of the heavy lifting for you, and if you’ve ever played a tune in a warm-up that felt like a good idea at the time but turned out to be far too “full on” for what you intended, you may just find such a feature more useful than you’d care to admit!
Is there still room for standalone key mixing apps?
While Mixed In Key was revolutionary when it first came out eight years ago, bringing a simple system for harmonic mixing to all DJs, most DJ software these days has key detection built in (Serato excepted). However, programs like Mixed In Key, beaTunes (the playlist creation and key detection software) and KeyFinder (mainly because it’s free) have all endured.
In Mixed in Key’s case, accuracy, feature set (it remains the only software that can spot key changes within a piece of music, for instance) and its platform-agnostic approach have meant it has endured as a “premium” key analysis product where many guessed it would fall by the wayside. That it’s managed to become more and more fully featured while still remaining deceptively simple to look at and extremely easy to use (you can see the subtle development of the software over the years here) is definitely one of its strengths.
With mooted forthcoming support for Pioneer’s Rekordbox cue points, it’s not hard to see Mixed in Key strategically positioning itself as the go-to track preparation program for DJs, outputting to whatever DJ software the DJ wishes. Will we see Mixed In key evolve into a full-on DJ library management software, combining the best bits of Serato’s offline mode, iTunes and Beatport Pro? Only time will tell, but I’m willing to bet it’s on the cards!
Do You use Mixed in Key and if so, do you intend upgrading? How do you think automated cue points will impact your DJing workflow? If you’re not a user, does a separate key analysis app instead of the one baked into your DJ software appeal to you? Let us know what you think in the comments below.