Sunday, May 8, 2011

Virtual DJ vs Traktor and the Limiter

Okay, after posting so many mixes lately, it's time for some technical stuff for you DJs out there.

Virtual DJ Pro and Traktor Pro are (along with Serato) the most professional DJ software - some like VDJ but most of my friend DJs prefer Traktor. Most say it looks very professional and because of NI's extra hardware for DJs.
I've used VDJ for over two years now and i'm very satisfied with it, i love the paralell waveforms Traktor misses. I've used it for a lot of gigs and it has never crashed so far. With version 7 it's a pretty good DJ software now. But so is Traktor Pro 1.2 or in version 2.

Don't listen to people that say VDJ's sound engine is crappy, when it comes to sound quality both programs are damn good. Except of one thing: The build-in limiter.

Traktor provides a build-in limiter, which is activated by default. So let's see what it does. For this little test i mixed two tracks into another without fading the bass of the track, so they overlap while mixing.

As you can see below the peak level rises in transition from -3db (average) to -1,5db. Mixing done with Virtual DJ (no limiter).

Mixing with Traktor Pro (no limiter):

Mixing with Traktor Pro and active limiter:
As you can see on the last screen, with active limiter Traktor limits the output level all the time at about -3db (in this case here). This is how it should be, especially if you play your music on a big sound system.

There's no difference whether you record your mix directly in VDJ / Traktor or through an external soundcard (unless the external card provides sound limiting or compression).
You can minimize the effect in Virtual DJ by killing the bass of the track you're fading in and switch the fader at one certain point.

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