Mixed In Key Live delivers accurate and impressive key detection, instantly, through drag and dropping anything from one shot samples to whole songs. It’s Mac only, though, and it’s definitely expensive for what it is.
First Impressions / Setting up
Mixed In Key Live is such a simple idea it’s a wonder nobody has done it before. It’s a little app that sits in your utility bar at the top of your Mac, and gives you key and BPM info instantly for anything you drag to it, and also anything you play on your Mac.
Upon installation you have to jump through a few security hoops depending on your macOS version, and I had to install a plugin too, but once that was done, it was all set up and ready to go.
You can elect to have it start at login if you like, which would be a good idea, as I suspect anyone who buys this will want to be using it all the time.
There are two ways to use this. The first is to drag a music file to it. It “listens” to that file, and in a few seconds gives you a key and BPM readout. You can drag individual samples, loops or whole songs, and if there’s any detectable BPM info, it’ll give you that too.
The second is to have it “listen” to your system audio. It’s interesting to watch it “making up its mind” as it listens to tracks – something we’ve not been able to observe with Mixed In Key before. It works with anything you can play on your Mac.
Key can be displayed in musical notation, Camelot or both, and the app will hover above your other open apps to always be there when you need it.
You can also click to expand the app to see what notes it has detected, to understand what it’s used to decide the key, which is a nice touch.
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It’s surprising nobody has thought of this before. I can see producers and DJs loving having this there all the time, and even musicians could use it, as a learning tool.
As it can “listen” to any system audio, you could use it with Spotify, your DAW (by preview-playing samples), YouTube and so on.
It’s important to note that it doesn’t write the key info to your files like “big” Mixed In Key software does, and that brings me on to my only gripe about this – at $58, it’s expensive. Indeed, you’d pay the same for the full version of the software.
Mixed In Key obviously identifies this as a “new” use case for its algorithms, but I’d like to see this included with the full Mixed In Key package and with the Mixed In Key Studio version, and sold for a lower price if for some reason somebody wanted to buy only this.
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For that reason, we’ve dropped a star from our rating, as we feel it’s just too expensive for many people who would otherwise find a use for it.