Most DJ computer software is designed for use in either playing audio or altering audio in some way to create original compositions by remixing files imported into the program. Audio playback programs can be quite simple, though most DJs prefer somewhat more complicated programs that allow them to create and organize playlists, quickly search through audio files, and play files based on genre. Other types of DJ computer software are designed for altering audio files, usually by creating a remix based on audio content that is altered. Some software can even be used with different types of hardware, such as digital turntables, for “scratching” during playback.
A DJ, or disc jockey, is someone who plays recorded music professionally, such as a radio station DJ or a DJ who works live events like clubs and weddings receptions. DJ computer software is typically designed to assist a DJ with his or her professional work. Most of this software is intended to enhance playback of audio content, and these programs are typically similar to other media player programs. Since these DJ computer software programs are intended for professional use, however, they often have more robust tools for creating playlists, adjusting audio levels during playback, and automixing tracks for particular types of events.
Other types of DJ computer software are created for use in generating original content. Many DJs, especially those who work in clubs, are well known for creating original remixes of existing songs. Software can be used to isolate different parts of a track, especially when using a master recording with multiple channels, to then create new versions of recorded music. This type of DJ computer software allows a DJ to more easily create original remixes that can help the DJ establish a greater presence for himself or herself in a particular scene or industry.
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Some DJ computer software can also be used with particular pieces of computer hardware to emulate techniques and methods available to DJs who used traditional equipment. In the past, DJs typically played vinyl records and could alter the sound of recordings during playback through methods such as “scratching.” This is a process by which a vinyl record is physically shifted back and forth around a turntable, allowing the DJ to control how the needle is reading the audio information on the record. Digital technology can be used to replicate this process through hardware that emulates the feel of a turntable, which then communicates with DJ computer software that uses audio time codes to shift playback of the track back and forth while the DJ “scratches.”