The art of seamlessly mixing music together is a skill that can take years to perfect. The setup of choice for the last few decades has been a pair of analogue turntables, some vinyl and a mixer.
Until pressure sensitive CD turntables hit the market, the digital alternatives didn't offer the control. And you still won't be left much change from £2,000 for Pioneer CDJ- 1000 turntables and a DJM-600 mixer.
With the SVJ software, Pioneer is building on its experience in the digital DJ market to compete with products such as Traktor, PCDJ and Ableton.
SVJ is presented as a virtual set of CD turntables with an identical interface to the real ones, except you load MP3s from your hard drive. Anyone familiar with the CD turntables will be at home.
Platters don't matter
The looping, tempo and synchronization functions of the CD decks are faithfully present in SVJ. There are also a number of additional features, such as hotcues - points in any track within your library that can be played on either deck at the click of a button.
You also have the ability to trigger nearly all of the functions in SVJ directly from the keyboard, which is a must for a DJ who prefers a more tactile mixing experience.
The proper way to use SVJ is with multiple soundcards in your computer. One card provides the main audio output, while the other allows you to monitor a different channel.
With this setup, it should be possible to play a track, cue up the next one, adjust its tempo and play it over the top, without your audience having to suffer a failed mix attempt.
In addition to mixing, an audio-editing suite is included, offering auto-slicing and more control of your cues. There's also an MP3 ripping tool to build your music collection.
If you intend to use SVJ as a performance tool - and it's more than capable of that - the preferred platform will be a laptop. After all, you don't see DJs carrying MIDI towers into clubs.
SVJ is superior to the majority of DJ software, with its intuitive interface and good performance over a range of systems. If you learn all the functions, there are lots of creative possibilities, which will benefit professionals and DJs in the making. Orestis Bastounis