Disco XT Help for Mac
© 2008 Disco XT Development

View Options

When you look at the list of songs you have in your music library, Disco XT shows information for these songs.
You might see the title, time, artist, album and BPM. It is likely that you may want to change these. Perhaps you do not need the BPM column and would instead like to see a genre column? Hip-hop or dubstep? Do you use the star rating feature of iTunes and wish to have that information in Disco XT?

To do this, select 'View Options' under the 'Edit' menu. You'll see two large groups: 'Show library columns' and 'Show playlist columns'. These tell you the columns that are shown for your library and playlist. Playlists you have created in iTunes are part of your library, and the playlist these columns refer to here is the list on the right-hand side of Disco XT that is used with Automix. Untick the boxes that you do not need and tick the boxes that you do want.

You'll also see four smaller groups on the right. What are those? When the audio decks are not in waveform view, the space that was used for waveform can be utilized. Disco XT can show you information about the song on this space. You may select here what information you would like to see.

Toolbar

These are helper functions for your playlist. Shuffle the order of songs, move one song upwards etc.



• From left to right:
• Move selected songs downward by one row.
• Move selected songs upward by one row.
• The crowd is asking for the top hit that is still a few songs ahead. Pressing this button places the song at the top of the playlist, however, when you are in playback, the top-most song is not changed as it is being played.
• Bad songs? Delete selection.
• Roll the dice. Shuffles the song order completely. You can drag a few albums to the playlist and then hit this button and you have a mix!
• Do you have a playlist with ambient songs that need to be mixed together in a much slower fashion? Click this button and choose 'Very long' and Disco XT will fade the songs together very slowly. Some users wish to have a pause between each song in the playlist, in that case you could select 'Long Gap' or 'Short Gap' here and Disco XT would wait a few seconds between each song. There are several fades included and you can create new ones using the 'Fade editor' under the 'Edit' menu.

Sources

The first source is 'Music' and contains every single song you have in your iTunes music library. When you click the 'Music' source, a list of your songs opens in the song list. If you have a large library it can seem like a huge task to scroll through all those songs.



You can filter through the song list with the 'Search' field. If I type 'Holly' the song list will show my 'Holly Golightly' songs. If I type 'hip-hop' it will show songs of the hip-hop genre. Each word is its own query, I can type 'hip-hop elapse', and the song list will show song Dj krush - elapse (hip-hop). You can also add negative words with the - sign. Typing 'hiphop -elapse' would show all the hiphop songs I have in my library except the song Dj krush -elapse.

Another more convenient way is with the artist, album and genre lists. The 'Music' source has a triangle at its left side, clicking the triangle will expand the 'Music' source to show 'Artist', 'Album' and 'Genre' lists. Each of these lists have the same songs as the main 'Music' list, but the songs are organised into folders. The 'Artist' source will list each artist you have in your library. Double-click an artist from the list to show up songs from that artist. You may use the 'Go Back' button above the song list to go back again.

'File Browser' allows you to browse songs you have on your computer and hard drives. The folders can be opened by double-clicking and you may use the 'Go Back' button to go back to the previous folder again. You can load songs from the File Browser directly to your playlist by dragging and dropping, or you can add songs from the File Browser to your 'Music' list by dragging the songs above the 'Music' item on the source list.

iTunes playlists are shown as sources as well. Select a playlist from the source list to show its contents. iTunes playlists are locked and cannot be edited within Disco XT. You may edit a playlist in iTunes when Disco XT is running and the changes will shortly update back to Disco XT.

Songs in your songlist can be dragged to the playlist on the right and you can also drag songs from the songlist directly on the audio decks.
Trying to find that one song that would seal the deal with your mix? Some users have thousands or even tens of thousands of songs in their library and couldn't possibly remember or even know all of them. Double-click song to open it up as a preview. A tiny player will then activate just above the song list. If you've set up your headphones it will play from your headphones, otherwise the preview will be played through your speakers.

Preview player has a timeline you can use to skip to different parts of the song, to checkout the intro, the outro or other content. The spacebar and the play button can be used to play or pause the preview.

The song that is being previewed has a headphone icon in your song list.

Song Queues

Are you going to mix your songs in manual mixing mode? That is, do you want to play songs and then mix and crossfade them together by using your mouse and keyboard?

Example: Deck A is playing a song and Deck B has a song loaded on it. As the song on deck A plays for several minutes, you now have plenty of time which you can use to find more songs to add to your mix. Perhaps you've found a hip-hop song you would like to use. You could use the playlist on the right-hand side for storing these songs, but since Disco XT has a song queue feature you can use that instead. The song queues are hidden by default, so select 'Song Queues' or press Command+T to show the song queues. Now, simply drag and drop the hip-hop song to the queue below Deck A. Wait until the song on Deck A ends and then start playing Deck B. As soon as Deck A is played, Press the 'Next Song' button to load the hip-hop song from the queue to that player. If you wish to remove a song from the queue, press the backspace key on your keyboard.

Sample Playback

You may easily playback short audio clips and samples. Load up to six different samples and play the samples with a press of a button. Load sound effects or the start tune of your show or the end tune of your show and more.

The sample playback device has six independent sample units. If the sample playback device is not visible, select 'Samples' under 'View' menu to show it. You may drag and drop songs from your songlist onto any of the sample units to load the file as a sample. You may also press the eject button of a sample unit to select an audio file from your computer.



Sample units are much simpler than the decks. The sample units do not come with timelines or cueing. You can control the output volume of a sample unit with the slider on the right-hand side of the sample unit. You can play the samples with the 'play' and 'stop' buttons. You may also play the samples with your keyboard. You can view your keyboard shortcuts by selecting 'Keyboard Shortcuts' under the 'Help' menu. To edit the shortcuts, select 'Keyboard Shortcuts' under the 'Edit' menu.



You may apply delay and reverb effects to the samples.

Reverb and Delay

You may utilise the reverb effect to add more room to your mix. The reverb effect has two parameters. Mix sets the audibility of the reverb effect. Move the mix knob down to 0% to disable the reverb and move the mix knob all the way to 100% to have a strong reverb effect on that deck. The length knob allows you to adjust the degree of the reverb effect. Move the reverb length all the way to 100% to create a large hall reverb. At half way the length creates a large room-like reverb. Move the length knob to about 10% to have a small-room reverb.



Delay mix sets how audible this effect is. Delay length sets the time between each delay. The delay effect could be called an echo. It creates an echoing effect that gradually fades. If the BPM on the mixer display has a value, the delay length will then be set according to the BPM value in musical steps.

Recording

You may record your songs and transitions to a continuous audio file. You can choose to automatically add your recorded mix to your iTunes library as well. Add tags like album and genre to your recorded mix directly in Disco XT. Perhaps you would lie to save your mix so you can listen to it on your iPod. You might also like to burn your mix to a CD so you can share it with a friend. Disco XT saves your mix in either AAC or AIFF format. AIFF is uncompressed and the best quality but uses a lot of disk space.

Select 'Preferences' under the 'Disco XT' menu and select the 'Recording' tab. There you can choose to save your mixes using either the AAC Encoder or the AIFF encoder. You should probably use the AAC encoder to save disk space. For better archiving quality, you can bump up the bit rate. The higher the bit rate, the higher quality the audio will be but it will also use more of your disk space. Tick the 'Wait for playback to start' box so that Disco XT won't record any silence if you don't start the playback immediately after pressing Rec button.



Back to the main window: You have your playlist ready. Now, to start recording your mix, you'll press the 'Rec' button first, and then hit 'Start' to start playing the playlist. The Rec button lights red and starts counting the time since you started recording. Disco XT records the mix in realtime.



When the playlist is played through, press the 'Rec' button to stop the recording. A dialogue box will open and you can now listen to your recorded mix. You may add tags for the mix; you can add your DJ name to the 'Artist' field and the name of the mix you've recorded to the 'Album' field. Then you can either save the mix to a directory on your computer or you can add it to your iTunes library. If you choose to save it to your iTunes library, it may take a few seconds for it to appear there. Disco XT creates a playlist for you entitled "Disco XT mixes" and places the recorded mix there. In case you are not satisfied with your recorded mix, you may press the 'Discard' button to delete the recorded mix without saving it.



Microphone

You can hook your microphone to Disco XT and then talk over your mix. For example, If you need to give announcements or talk about upcoming songs. Disco XT has a Talkover button to attenuate music playback while speaking so that what talk can clearly be heard. You'll first need to set up your microphone for Disco XT. Open 'Preferences...' under the 'Disco XT' menu and choose the 'Audio' tab. Pick your device from the 'Microphone input' popup.

Which device?
If you are using a USB headset with a microphone, then the device should appear on the list. If you've connected a microphone to the line-in of your Mac, select 'Built-in input'. The 'Microphone latency' field is experimental and should only be used if you are experiencing issues with your microphone.

Done!
Now when you return to the main window of Disco XT, you can use the mic-dedicated area to control the microphone input. You may adjust the output loudness of the microphone. When you are ready to talk, hit the button with the microphone icon and it should light up red. In case the music playback is really loud, you can press the 'Talk' button to attenuate music playback while you are talking, and when you are done with your microphone, press the 'Talk' button again to resume normal music playback volume.

 

Mic talk fade

Fade type for the automix can be selected under 'Mix' menu > 'Fade'.

Mic talk fade first fades off the playing track, the microphone input is then activated and the 'Mic' button on the mixer lights up. The mixer delays playing the upcoming song until the microphone input is deactivated. Once deactivated by pressing the 'Mic' button on the mixer, Disco XT begins to fade in the next song. This allows to put speaks of any length between the songs.

Loops

You may set a deck to repeat a part of a song on the fly.




Loop in
This button sets the beginning of the loop. Although you usually need to press it only once to set the beginning of the loop, you may press it several times without using the 'Out' button in case you fail to set a good beginning point at the first try. To set the beginning of the loop, first start playback of the deck and press the 'In' button at desired location. You should quickly see a marker that Disco XT adds there. Now you need to count some beats and then close the loop with the 'Out' button.

Loop out
After you've set the beginning of the loop with the 'In' button, use the 'Out' button to set the end of the loop. Upon pressing the 'Out' button, the deck goes back to the loop beginning and then starts looping the section between the loop beginning and loop end points. To exit the loop and to return to normal playback. press 'Out' button again. You may then loop again by setting another beginning with the 'In' button.


List and Feed Modes

The playlist of Disco XT may be used in two different modes. In 'List' mode Disco XT moves downwards on your playlist everytime a song has been played. In 'Feed' mode Disco XT instead removes songs from the playlist once playd, thus keeping the top of the playlist always as now playing song, the second song as coming next and so forth.


List mode
'List' mode is useful if you are working with a single playlist or if you are making a recorded mix, because you may stop the playback and start again if needed. 'List' mode allows to test the mix, for example adding custom end and start times for songs and custom fade types.
The currently playing song is higlighted on the playlist.
In this example the song 'Zero' is currently playing.
I've selected 'List Mode' under 'Mix' menu.

 

Feed mode
'Feed' mode is useful if you are mixing for a live event or a radio show for example. Songs are removed from the playlist once played so it is easier to handle long playlists, like severao hour events.

Same songs as in the above example picture have now been played using the feed mode.
The song 'Zero' is the currently playing song.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Many of the most frequently used functions of Disco XT can be controlled from the keyboard without having to reach for the mouse. You can view the default keyboard shortcuts by selecting 'Keyboard Shortcuts' under the 'Help' menu.



To edit your keyboard shortcuts, choose 'Keyboard Shortcuts...' from the 'Edit' menu. If you want to clear all of the default keyboard shortcuts, then click the 'Clear All' button. You will then have to decide which functions you want to control using the keyboard. Double-click an item on the list to set a keyboard shortcut for it. Press the key on your keyboard that you want to use for the function. You can also hold down the Control, Shift or Option keys to include them as a requirement along with the shortcut key. For example, CTRL+R.


Hardware Controller

The physical devices we normally use with computers are the mouse and keyboard. These devices are very good inventions and server so many different uses for different computer softwares. These devices were invented when computer technology was relatively new. Back then you would use your mouse and keyboard to do spreadsheets and so forth. Using keyboard and mouse has its limitations. For example, you only have one mouse and you only have one mouse cursor on the screen. Your keyboard just contains buttons and not any sliders or knobs. Your keyboard most likely does not have buttons that light when they are active or pressed.

There are a few different dedicated DJ controllers available on the market. The controllers use the MIDI technology which is used widely in electronic music instruments and so you may also use hardware controllers that are not really DJ controllers, such as musical keyboards that have knobs and sliders. Often the user creates music with the computer and so can use the same device with Disco XT.


Photo of "Hercules DJ Control MP3" hardware controller.
This hardware is supported as 'Plug-and-Play'

 

Plug-and-Play
Disco XT currently comes with a programmed mapping file for the 'Hercules DJ Control MP3' controller and you may use that hardware controller without any adjustments in Disco XT. New hardware controllers are being programmed for Plug-and-Play functionality.


Controller Programmer
What if you have some other hardware controller? How can I program a mapping file?
The Controller Programmer is relatively easy to use.
You connect your controller before launching Disco XT and you then choose a button, knob or slider of Disco XT from the list of choices. You then simply press the button from your controller or move the slider or knob. Your controller then sends a message to Disco XT and Disco XT then remembers that slider, knob or button.

Disco XT does not know whether you have pressed a button or moved a knob or slider. Therefore you have to select the type from the 'Type' column.


Filters

You can toggle between LP and HP filter. The largest round knob on the mixer is the filter cutoff control.

Lowpass filter: Think of it like going from inside a club to a street. As you move from the inside to the outside, the concrete walls start to block sound. At the outside you could only hear the lowest frequencies of the sound, that is, the bass. The filter cutoff is like that walk from inside the club to the street.

On the right-hand side of the cutoff knob is the resonance knob.

Try this:
Start playing a song and activate the LP filter.
Move the cutoff knob all the way to the right to 19.6 kHz.
Move the resonance knob to around 40.
Now start slowly moving the cutoff knob to the left.



Highpass filter: This filter works just the opposite. Think of a old vintage radio with tiny speakers and then a modern 2.1 subwoofer system. With highpass filter you would kind of fade between the two.

Select 'Fade Editor' under the 'Edit' menu to create fades for Automix that uses these filters.




Fade Editor

You can create new fades and transitions with the advanced fade editor. You may then use the fades you've created as many times you wish without any manual intervention The fade editor enables you to create new fade types and edit existing ones. Fade types are used when in Automix mode or when activated by using the 'Move to Next' button on the mixer.

To open the Fade Editor, choose 'Fade Editor' from the 'Edit' menu. Select a fade to edit from the available list on the left or press the '+' button to create a new fade. With Automix, as a song starts to reach its end, Disco XT starts the playback of another song and creates a fade between the songs. That is, it gradually reduces the volume of the ending song and at the same time gradually increases the volume of the upcoming song. With the fade editor, you can create customised fades for Disco XT.



If you look at the visual overview of the fade, you'll see the song that is about to end at the left-hand side and the new song at the right. The lines indicate the volume of the song.

Fade out: This indicates how many milliseconds it will take for the song that is about to be faded out from 100% volume to 0% volume.

Fade in: This indicates how long it takes for the new song to be faded from 0% volume to 100% volume.

Using the Curve slider allows you to exercise precise control over the fades, making them anything from very steep to very gentle.

You can also apply filter effects to the fade type. As previously mentioned regarding the volume of the song, with the 'LP filter' and 'HP filter' options you can use filters instead of this volume. LP filter gradually mutes the higher frequency signals, similar to what would happen if you would add more and more pillows in front of your speaker until you would only hear the very low (bass) frequencies. The HP filter works just the opposite, as if at one end you have a huge speaker system with subwoofers and at the other end you have a small travel radio. It would fade between the two, and in the end you could only hear the highest signals.

You can use 'Brake Stop' to stop the song by gradually dropping its playback speed down to zero. Think how a turntable would sound if the electricity that makes it spin would be cut off - it would take a few seconds for the spinning to stop.

10-band Equalizer

Perhaps you sometimes play outdoors, sometimes indoors, sometimes in a small place or sometimes in a larger place. With the 10-band equalizer you can fine tune your sound to match the environment you are in. You can also emphasise characteristics common to the kind of music you play. Disco XT comes with equalizer presets for different musical genres from classical to techno, these presets can be loaded with the EQ button below the equalizer.



The equalizer has 10 separate sliders. Eeach controls different frequency of the sound. You go from low (bass) frequencies to high (treble) frequencies from the left to the right, respectively. You may right click slider to reset it back to the centre. When the slider is at the centre, the particular frequency it would change is unaffected. To amplify a frequency, you would raise the slider upward and to attenuate a frequency you would move it below the centre.

In this example I have amplified bass frequencies quite a lot, amplified middle frequencies a little less and attenuated the higher frequencies.



Preamplifier:
Digital audio signal has a set limit. It can go from 0 to +100. When songs are mixed for CD release and the like, a process of normalization is used. In normalization the volume is adjusted so that the loudest part of a song is the maximum allowed. That is, the loudest part of the song is that +100. If you try to amplify low frequencies for such a song, it would exceed that +100. To amplify the lower frequencies by +100% (as an example) you should first move the preamplifier to 50% so that the loudest part would become +50, and now it would be much better to adjust the lower frequencies.


Using the equalizer it would be very easy to distort the sound. Disco XT comes with a limiter that is added automatically to the last step of the sound system. This prevents distortion of the sound. You should however use the preamplifier to control the loudness when using the equalizer because too much limiting can make your mix sound unnatural. If the limiter has to do enormous amounts of limiting to the sound it can make a pumping-like effect and can also disturb the original mix of a song.

Edit Start and End Times

You can easily adjust start times and fading times for your entire playlist. You can use the end and start tools for previewing songs, similar to the songlist preview player. The editor is hidden by default, to show it select 'Playlist Mini Player' under the 'View' menu.

First, double-click a song on the playlist and it will start playing. Song elapsed time and timeline will start moving forward.

I want to skip the intros of the songs completely. If I would leave all the intros in place, the overall feel of the mix would be interrupted all the time. It depends on the particular mix, but If I would be listening to someone mixing dance music, I would appreciate it if they would keep it beating up. I mean, people often want to dance to the music and not have constant interruptions. So I use start and end times to cut intros and outros out of my tracks.

With end times however, Disco XT analyses songs automatically when they are loaded to decks. Disco XT inspects the last 20 seconds of the song to see where the audio finally diminishes and then sets the end time there. For songs for which you have manually adjusted the end time, Disco XT won't overwrite it with that analysing function.

Setting start time: Double-click a song to load it to the editor. As the song starts to play, wait for a good start time to come. When you've reached a good start time, press 'Set' button to save it as the start time. Now press the 'Cue' button to pause the playback. You may try listening to the start time by pressing the Play button. If you are satisfied with it, that's it!



Often you need to further adjust the start time. To do this, you simply press and hold the time field above the 'Cue' and 'Set' button and drag left and right. After you've dragged, hit 'Play' to try it.
The process is the same with setting the end point. Select 'View Options' under the 'Edit' menu. From the 'Show playlist columns' group, you can tick the boxes 'Start time' and 'End time'. After you press 'OK', the playlist now shows the start and end times for the songs. Start and end times are stored in the Disco XT database file and the times will be available after restarting the computer or closing Disco XT.

Decks and Mixer

The interface of Disco XT has been inspired by DJ hardware.

Decks



The 'Decks' device is a pair of identical audio players. These players are like your media player or CD player but have some additional controls for DJs. Why does Disco XT have two audio players and not just one? Because with one audio player, you could not make any transitions. Take a CD player for example; if you only had one CD player, after playing a track, you would need to eject the CD and then load another CD to the player and start playing it. This would create a pause in playback. But with two CD players, you could load the second CD into the other CD player while the first one is still playing. That way you could create a seamless transition between the two tracks.

Loading a song to a player:
Simply drag a song from your songlist over a deck. The deck display will change colour. You may also select a song from your song list and hit Command+1 to load it to the left deck and Command+4 to load it to the right deck.

A Player has a large display. This display can be used in two different modes - wave and normal. By default, the players have wave view enabled. Use the button with the icon of an angled line to toggle between wave mode and normal. The wave view shows a waveform of the song. The higher the waveform reaches at a point, the louder that part is. You may zoom in and out of the waveform with the '+' and '-' buttons. You can click on the waveform with your mouse and then drag it left or right to change the song position. Disco XT shows both elapsed and remaining time, the elapsed time can show the time more accurately (1/100th of a second) or the elapsed time can just show the time in minutes and seconds. Click the elapsed time to change the level of precision. The 'previous song' and 'next song' buttons are used with song queues, you can show the song queues by selecting 'Song queues' under the 'View' menu. With these buttons you can navigate between the songs in the queue list. Simply drag songs from your songlist to these queues to store the songs there.

Mixer


Now you know why you have two audio players, similar to having two CD players; that is, to playback tracks without pauses when you need to change a CD.

If you would have two CD players, how would you connect them to your speakers? You could connect one CD player easily, but what about the second one? That's where the mixer comes in handy. CD players are still a popular way to DJ (although not that practical anymore in my opinion). The common hardware setup is like this: The DJ has two CD players and has connected both to a mixer. The mixer allows the DJ to adjust the loudness of each CD player separately. DJ mixers also have a control called 'Crossfader'.

So the mixer is used to do a transition between the songs, that is, to fade out the now-playing CD and fade in the upcoming CD.

Try this:
First make sure you are in manual mixing mode, Make sure the 'Manual' selection under the 'Mix' menu is checked. Next, load different songs to each deck. You'll have a song loaded to Deck A and a song loaded to Deck B. To start playing both decks, simply press the Play buttons on the decks so that the green lights are lit. Make sure that the volume sliders are all the way to the top. Now try adjusting the crossfader at the middle of the mixer board. Try moving it all the way to the left and keep it there for a while, then try moving it all the way to the right. You'll be using this crossfader to transition between the two songs in your mix.
Below the crossfader are two tiny sliders: one with a speaker icon and other one with a headphones icon. The slider with the speaker icon on its left is the master volume control. This controls everything that is directed to your speakers, including the two decks, sample playback, microphone and so forth. The slider with the headphone icon on its left controls the loudness of your headphone output, when the button with headphone icon on either deck is pressed, the audio is sent to the headphone output. Preview playback from library and playlist is also sent to the headphone output. Next to the headphone volume slider is master headphone mix slider, with this slider you can mix the master audio to the headphone output as well. This is helpful when beatmixing as you can clearly hear the beats of the playing song at the same time as you try the upcoming song with your headphones.

Headphone output
You can listen to the decks through your headphones without interfering with the output to your speakers. The audience will hear your playlist through master output while you can safely listen to songs to add from your library as well as cue the opposite deck from start time and for beatmixing.


Pressing the button with a headphone icon enables the headphone output for the deck. For headphone output you will need additional USB audio interface, please read the audio setup part of this guide for more information.


Why do you need to listen with headphones?
With the crossfader you can transition from deck A to deck B. When deck A is about to end, you could just hit 'play' on deck B and crossfade from deck A to deck B, but chances are that it wouldn't sound that good, especially if you would slide the crossfader slowly. With headphone listening you can seek a good starting point for a song: skip the intro and find the first downbeat. That process for finding the start point is called 'cueing'. DJs cue the songs and so prepare the song for their mix.

How to cue a song in Disco XT
Make sure the decj is in the wave view, you'll see a visual overview of the song, press the button with an angled line icon to turn on waveform view in case you are not in the wave view. Load a song to a deck and start playback with the play button. Is there something at the start of the song that you wish to cut off before playing the song in your mix? it might be just a quarter of a second of silence or it might be a half minute long intro to cut off.



In case there is only a short amount to cut from the start of the song, press the 'Cue' button on the player. The player stops and the cue button lights red. Now use the waveform to adjust the cue point, drag the waveform with your mouse to the right or to the left. As you do this, Disco XT will play a short part of the song repeatetly, this sound hint can be used to help you to set a good cue point. You may press the '+' button to zoom the wave in for finer adjustment.

In case there is a longer part to cut from the beginning, continue playing the song until it reaches a point where you wish to set the cue point, when a good point is reached press the play/pause button on the deck to pause the playback. The light that was previously solid green will now begin to blink. Now press down and move the waveform left or right with your mouse to adjust the cue point. When you release the mouse the cue point is saved and you can return to that position you just set by pressing the 'Cue' button.

When the cue button has a red light and you make any position changes using the waveform the cue point will be replaced with the new position.

Why do you need to save it?
Chances are that you need to return to that point again, so it is good to have it stored. With the cue point saved, you can try fade with headphones and then return back to that position again with a press of a button to do the actual crossfade.

Gain
The mixer has a 'Gain' knob, which can amplify the sound volume by up to 800%. If a song is recorded very quiet it might need to be amplified with the gain knob. Disco XT does this automatically as you load a song; Disco XT analyses the song and sets the gain knob accordingly. The reason for the gain knob and the analyzer is to make each song play with same overall loudness and thus balancing the mix.

BPM Detection

BPM or Beats Per Minute is a unit used to measure the tempo of music. Disco XT has an automatic BPM detection feature that is able to analyze your songs to discover these BPM values. You may use the BPM values to ease your mixing and playlist creation. For example, you can make your playlist start with slower songs and move to faster songs incrementally. BPM values are discovered automatically when songs are loaded to the decks. Shortly after loading a song, the BPM will be visible in the mixer of Disco XT. Disco XT can also process BPM values for your playlists or even for your entire library.



Analysing songs for BPM values:
To discover BPM values for a playlist, select 'Find BPM for Playlist' under the 'File' menu. A window will open that shows the progress of the BPM analysis. It can take a minute or two to analyse a playlist. For a very long playlist this can take several minutes. You can use 'Find BPM for Selection' and Disco XT will only analyse the songs you have selected.

To find BPM values for the songs you've selected in your songlist, click the 'BPM' button above your songlist.

Beatmixing

You need to read the following sections first:
Decks and Mixer
Audio Setup

This is a short tutorial to beatmixing with Disco XT. You need to have USB headphones or audio interface for beatmixing. Please note that as BPM values cannot be detected for iTunes purchased protected songs, you should not use protected songs with this tutorial.

Getting started
First you need to disable the automation mode (if it is enabled).
Select 'No Playlist / Manual' under 'Mix' menu.

Make sure you are using the 'Advanced Mixer' mode.
Selecet 'Advanced Mixer' under 'View' menu.

Clear the decks by selecting 'Clear deck' under 'deck A' and then under 'deck B'.
If the clear is greyed out that means the deck is already empty.

Select two songs from your library that are similar:
The tempo of both songs must be similar, eg. do not select a rap song and a trance song for beatmixing because rap songs are generally slower at around 90 beats per minute, while trance is at around 130 beats per minute. You may use the 'BPM' button above the song list to find out the tempo of a particular song. The tempos of the two songs can however differ as much as 20 BPM.



Now load the two selected songs on to the decks. Drag and drop song on to the display of the deck to load it, or select the song from your song list and then select 'Load Song' under 'Deck A' and 'Deck 'B menu.

Move the crossfader all the way to the left.





Start playback of deck A



Enable headphone listening for the deck B by pressing the 'Headphone Listening' button. The button should light red when headphone listening is enabled.


While the deck A is playing, start listening to deck B with your headphones. You need to find out the first beat of the song and store it as a cue point. The song might have intro or other beat-less material at the beginning and you need to skip all of that and get to the actual beginning of the song where the beat starts.

When you've saved the beatstart as a cue point you need to sync the beats per minutes of the songs. When you look at the display of the mixer you can see the BPM values of both decks.


To sync the tempo of deck B to deck A, you need to adjust the playback tempo of deck B. To do this, you can either use the rate slider of the deck B, or you can use the up/down arrow buttons to speed up or slow down the deck B.




When you have succesfully adjusted the tempo of the deck B the beats per minute of deck B is equal to deck A.


To do the beatmix
Wait until deck A is close to reacing it's end but that it still has enough of the beat to do the beatmix. Ideally you should count the beats to do the beatmix at musically logical position. The beat of the song might end before the song file ends. The waveform display can be very helpful on detecting when the beat of the song ends. When inspecting the waveform display, when you see that the audio levels drop noticeably, that it is often where the beat ends.





When a good point for beatmixing is reached, immediately hit Play on deck B. Timing is very important as you need to get the beats synced. Now listen to the deck B with your headphones and at the same time listen to deck A from the speakers. If the beats sound like they are out of sync, you need to use the bend buttons to sync them. Even though the tempos of both decks are equal, the beats might start at different onsets and this is why the beats might be out of sync. Using the bend buttons you can speed up or slow down the deck B temporarily so that the deck B catches up with the deck A.



When the beats are in sync and sound OK; take off your headphones and use the crossfader to transition fom deck A to deck B.


Automation

With Automix, Disco XT handles the playback and mixing for you. All you have to do is select songs for playback. You can create a playlist of two hours and then leave your setup for two hours and the music will still be played and mixed together. The list on the right-hand side of Disco XT is your playlist and this is used with Automix. Drag a few songs from your song list to this playlist. Now select 'Start Playlist' under the 'Mix' menu.



Playlist:
After you've started playback, the top-most song on your playlist becomes locked and you are unable to change it. That top-most song is the song playing now, the second song on the list is the next song and so on. When a song from the playlist has been played, Disco XT removes that song from the top of the playlist. You'll have songs on your playlist, the songs are A, B, C and D. You'll start the playlist with the start button on the automation device and song A will start to play. When song A has been played, Disco XT will start playing the next song, song B from the playlist. After song B has started to play, Disco XT will remove song A from the playlist. Your playlist now has songs B, C and D. After playing Song B, Disco XT will start playback of Song C and will remove song B from your playlist. The playlist would now have songs C and D. When all four songs have been played, your playlist will be completely empty. To be able to continue with your mix you would need to load more songs onto the playlist, you could drag four songs on to the playlist when song C is playing, and the playlist would have songs C, D, E, F, G and H. That was just an example, you probably do not have any albums that have letters as song names!

The playlist has a column named 'Clock'. This shows the time of day at which a song will start playing. This can be useful for scheduling your event: First there may be pop songs from 8pm to 10pm, then you will be playing rock music until 1 am and so on.

Automation device



When playing with Automix mode you won't necessarily need the decks and mixer to be shown at all. Each of the devices that take the upper part of Disco XT can be hidden if needed. You can hide/show devices under the 'View' menu. The devices are 'Automation', 'Decks', 'Song Queues', 'Samples' and 'Mixer'. When a device is visible, the menu item has check mark on it. Uncheck all the devices but make sure the 'Automation' device is checked. This will give you more space for your songlist and playlist. The 'Automation' device shows the song that is currently playing on the left-hand side, this has an icon of an arrow pointing towards the right. The device then shows the song that will be played after that song, this has an icon of two right-pointing arrows. When you begin to play your playlist with Automix, the last part of the display then shows how long you've been playing the playlist and how long it will continue to play with the songs you have in your playlist.

The automation device has three buttons. 'Start/Stop' button: When you have loaded songs to your playlist you can start the playback with this button. You can pause the playback with the pause button. The last button has two triangles pointing towards the right, this is the 'Move to Next' button and will change the currently-playing song to the next one in your playlist immediately, this move would happen by itself when the song would be about to reach its end so you only need to press the button if you wish to end a song before it reaches its end.

Last played list and log
Disco XT can show up to 10 of your most recently-played songs. The last played list is shown above your playlist. You can hide the last played list and adjust how many songs it shows by selecting 'Last Played' under the 'View' menu. You can drag songs from the last played list back to your playlist to be replayed.

Disco XT also creates a log of your playback. Each song that is played is logged. You can view your log by selecting 'Play Log' under the 'View' menu. You can again freely drag songs from the log to your playlist. To clear the log, select 'Clear Play Log' under the 'File' menu.


Audio Setup

Disco XT allows you to listen to a song on your headphones without interfering with the output to your speakers. Most computers only come with one output for audio and that is used for either speakers or for headphones. With Disco XT you need to have both at the same time.

USB headphones
USB headphones are similar to regular headphones but instead of a miniplug connection they come with a USB connection. When you connect regular headphones to the headphone port of your Mac it will simply forward the audio signal to your headphones. However, USB headphones inclue a digital audio interface within and the interface is available in Disco XT. You may then plug your speakers to the headphone/output port of your Mac and have the headphones available as well. USB headphones is a very affordable and easy way to provide headphone output for Disco XT.

USB or Firewire audio interfaces
USB headphones are actually audio interfaces as well, but there are devices that do not come with headphones. These devices provide additional outputs and you can then use your regular headphones with them. Some professional DJs prefer to have a single audio interface to provide both the headphone and the speaker outputs. Disco XT supports this. You can use an audio interface with two stereo outputs. Other way is to use the computer's line out and audio interface together.

When you have a device you wish to use with Disco XT: First, make sure the device is connected before you launch Disco XT, because Disco XT scans for audio devices when it launches and so the device needs to be connected beforehand. Select 'Preferences...' under the 'Disco XT' menu and choose the 'Audio' tab. There are popups for speaker and headphone outputs. You will need to choose a different device for each popup. You can choose whether to use your Mac's built-in output for speakers or for headphones. When done, click 'OK' and Disco XT will restart its sound system.

Advanced options
Multichannel mode may be used if your audio interface has two stereo outputs and the interface only lists as one device on the popups. In this case, select the interface on the popup menus and then tick the 'Multichannel' box, then set the channels from the 'Multichannel' popups.



Hardware mixer
With this option, the 'Speaker Output' is used for the output of Deck A, and the 'Headphone output' is used for the Deck B. The software mixer of Disco XT is then disabled and you may connect the outputs to a hardware DJ mixer and use the crossfader and volume sliders on the hardware. This disables the use of recording function of Disco XT. This does not mean a MIDI hardware controller.

Split single output
This is a legacy option that allows you to split single stereo output for headphones and master. Because this provides mono quality audio output and since USB headphones are very inexpensive, this option is not advised. This is here because some of our users are apparently still using this option for some reason.

With the 'Refresh' button you may refresh the output device lists if you have connected the audio device after you've launched Disco XT.