If you don't want to read through the documentation, check out the Quick Start section to get up and running fast. There are sample files already loaded into DeKstasy if you dowloaded the application plus sample files. NOTE: The Quick Start section only applies to the downloads that include sample files. If you download the application only, the Quick Start section does not apply.
There is also a short FAQ available. If you have a question that isn't answered in either the manual or FAQ, please contact us.
DeKstasy is the future of DJing. It was designed and created with the professional DJ in mind, so it's simple, powerful, and totally dependable.
DeKstasy enables a DJ to use digital sound files and a computer interface to replace records and turntables, but does not even attempt to replace your mixer or any multi-channel audio output hardware.
You can import audio files, organize them, create true beat signatures, and then cue up, play, and mix them in sync in a simple, straightforward way, allowing you to concentrate on the mix and not struggle with complicated software.
The main window of DeKstasy displays information that is important to see
at any time during a performance. It shows the system BPM clock, remaining
audio left to be played, and time until the next deck begins to play. Below
this information are tabs that allow you to switch between the four main panes
that comprise DeKstasy's interface.
DeKstasy can play an audible "click track" at the system clock BPM. Although it's called a click track, the sound is a kick drum, making it easy to check beat synchronization. This can be turned on and off through the Audio menu. The click track can be configured to play out of any output device using the Audio Settings dialog.
The Import pane allows you to introduce new audio into DeKstasy. The audio source can be CD Audio (also known as Redbook format), WAV, AIFF or MP3 files. The audio will optionally be copied and/or encoded to MP3 depending on the source format and the specific Import pane settings (described below).
Importing an audio file to DeKstasy is as easy as dragging it to the Import pane's file list area. Folders containing multiple audio files and audio CD icons can also be dragged directly into the file list area. An alternate way of importing audio files to DeKstasy is by selecting the Import menu item from the Action menu on the Import pane.
If the imported track is an MP3 file, DeKstasy attempts to read the track artist, album and track name information from the ID3 tag. If there is no ID3 information the track name will be set to the file name; the other information will be left blank.
Note: DeKstasy does not import or play Variable Bit Rate (VRB) encoded MP3's. This is a feature we are considering, but if you would really like to see VBR support, email us and let us know.
If the imported tracks are from an audio CD DeKstasy will attempt to read the CD information from the internet (if this option is checked and your computer is currently connected to the internet). If lookup fails for any reason the track name will be set to the file name; the other information will be left blank.
Upon successfully importing a track, the Import pane will display the following
information under each column heading:
DeKstasy can keep a copy of all the files in the library in a special separate folder. This is useful for reducing hard disk clutter and keeping all files used by DeKstasy in one location, especially if the original files are on removable media. It keeps these files relative to your home directory at ~/Library/Audio/DeKstasy/Audio Files. DeKstasy can also encode all supported non-compressed file types (AIFF, WAV and CD Audio) into the MP3 format. This is useful for reducing the amount of disk space used by the audio files. The options on the Import pane allow the modification of these settings. Details about these options are discussed below. The copying and/or encoding processes take place only when the file is added to the DeKstasy library.
Once you have imported an audio file into DeKstasy there are several actions you can perform on it using the Actions menu.
Previewing is useful for hearing a track before performing any further actions upon it. To preview a track, select the track in the Import pane then choose the Preview menu item from the Action menu. Alternatively, holding down the option key and clicking on a track will bring up the Preview Dialog. (See the Preview Dialog section for detailed use of this dialog.)
On some systems with slower CD drives, a CD track directly off the drive may not play properly during preview because the drive can't keep up with the audio. If this happens, choose Analyze from the Action menu to rip the file first (see below) before previewing.
To set the album info of a track or group of tracks, select the track(s) in the Songs pane and then choose the Set Album Info menu item from the Action menu. See the Set Album Info section for detailed use of this dialog.
Processes the file and attempts to find the BPM of the track and create the beat signature. For Audio CDs this action will also automatically rip the files into WAV format before processing. After analysis is complete, the Accuracy column shows a percentage bar, which indicates how accurate the system thinks it was in finding the beat. No bar, or 0% means it wasn't accurate all and a 100% means it was completely accurate. Analyzing can be cancelled with the Cancel button next to the Action menu.
Brings up the Correct BPM dialog, which is used to manually edit the beat signature created by the DeKstasy analysis. See the Advanced Users section for detailed usage instructions.
Adds the selected track(s) or albums to the DeKstasy library. Once in the library the track(s) are ready to be cued and mixed. Before you can add any file to the library, you must first create its beat signature using the Analyze BPM menu item described above.
When a folder is selected, the "Folder is Album" menu item will become active. To designate a folder as an album, the folder must contain only audio files (and no sub-folders). When this menu item is chosen, the folder icon changes to a small vinyl record icon. DeKstasy will now treat all enclosed tracks as a group when setting artist and album information using the Set Album Info menu item. Any changes to album name and artist name will be applied to all the tracks in the group.
This will remove the selected track from the Import pane. Note that the actual files are NOT deleted from the file system when you use this command.
To import audio off records, you'll need to use an audio recording program to create a digital version of your record, in either WAV, AIFF, or MP3 format. You can then import these files into DeKstasy as shown above. We hope to integrate this recording functionality in our next release, so that you can record directly off a record into DeKstasy.
It's often a good idea to check the BPM analysis yourself in the Correct BPM window. Even when DeKstasy gets it mostly right, you'll usually want to fine-tune the results manually. See the Correct BPM section for more information on how to do this.
These options tell DeKstasy what to do with files when they are added to the songs library. The default settings always create new files in DeKstasy's Audio Files folder. Basically the default settings implement the following rules:
1) If imported files are not in MP3 format, they are converted to MP3 format and put in DeKstasy's Audio Files folder.
2) If imported files are in MP3 format, but are encoded at a higher bit rate (higher quality audio) they are re-encoded at the system bit rate and put in DeKstasy's Audio Files folder.
If you want to use audio files in their original locations, instead of having DeKstasy copy them to the Audio Files folder, or if you want to turn off MP3-encoding of imported items, you can adjust these options accordingly.
The Songs pane displays all the songs in DeKstasy's library and will be the
center of activity for most sessions. The Songs pane is used to perform the
following actions on a track or group of tracks:
The Songs pane displays several columns of information about each track.
Crates are a convenient way to group tracks for easily recalling set lists.
A crate is an arbitrary group of tracks. The current crate contents are always
displayed above the track list area. Once any change is made to the set of
tracks that are in the current crate, DeKstasy will prompt you to save changes
if an attempt is made to load another crate or create a new crate. The following
operations can be performed on crates:
Normally you can tell if a track is in your crate by the checkbox to the left of the track's information. If it's checked, it's in your crate. You can also hide all the tracks that aren't in the current crate with the checkbox labeled "Display crate contents only". In this state, when you deselect a track's checkbox, the track will disappear from the screen.
To cue a track, select the track in the Songs pane then choose the Cue Track menu item from the Action menu. Then choose from the list of decks available. This action loads the track into the specified deck. The status column will change to "Cued". A track cannot be cued on more than one deck, and a track cannot be cued onto a deck that already has a track on it. Un-cueing a track is accomplished in the Decks pane.
To preview a track, select the track in the Songs pane, then choose the Preview menu item from the Action menu. Alternatively, holding down the option key and clicking on a track will bring up the preview window. If the track can be previewed, the preview dialog will appear. A track can only be previewed if it is not already loaded into a deck. See the Preview Dialog section for detailed information on use of this dialog.
To delete a track, select the track in the Songs pane then choose the Delete menu item from the Action menu. Deleting a track deletes the reference to the track and any file that was created by DeKstasy (that is any file either copied or encoded to DeKstasy's Audio files folder). DeKstasy will never delete an original file. Note that you can't "undo" or restore a deleted track!
To set the album info of a track or group of tracks, select the track(s) in the Songs pane, then choose the Set Album Info menu item from the Action menu. See the Set Album Info section for detailed information on use of this dialog.
The Decks pane controls track playback and represents DeKstasy's virtual turntables. Each deck displays a waveform of the track that is loaded into it. The tracks are cued onto the decks from the Songs pane or from the Preview dialog. Once a track is cued on a deck, it can be played, looped, rewound, stopped and ejected from that deck. Each deck can only contain one track, and each track can only be cued on one deck at a time; that is, you can't mix the same track with itself. The play speed of any track on any deck is always locked to the system BPM clock. Tracks are adjusted to this BPM from their respective native BPMs.
A DeKstasy deck displays a waveform of any loaded track. The two white arrows represent the (virtual) needle. The needle points to what audio is currently playing or will play, depending on whether the deck is playing or stopped, respectively. All decks are synchronized to the same needle position. Unlike a real turntable, you adjust what part of a track is playing by repositioning the track waveform, not the needle. You can reposition the Waveforms simply by clicking on it and dragging. Using the Zoom slider, the entire waveform or a very small portion of it can be viewed in the display. The needle can also be repositioned by dragging, but this will adjust the play position on all tracks at once.
DeKstasy gives the option of keeping either the needle or the waveform stationary and in view during playback and looping. When checked, the Follow Song checkbox keeps the needle stationary during playback. When not checked, the needle moves during playback and the manual scrollbar control can be used to find where the needle is.
When zoomed into the waveform closely enough, the red lines in the waveform indicate where DeKstasy has calculated a beat. The red lines are called beat marks. When dragging the waveform of a stopped track, the needle will always align itself to a beat mark. When dragging the waveform of a playing track, the needle will still always align itself to a beat mark, but the specific beat mark it aligns to will depend on the Align To menu setting. If the Align To menu is set to 16 beats, for example, the needle will align itself to every 16th beat mark. This feature allows you to skip within a song without interrupting a musical phrase that is longer than a single beat.
If there are no beat marks in just one portion of the song, it means that the first beat that DeKstasy detected comes later in the song. The needle will still be appropriately aligned but the beat marks will only appear after the point in the file where Deskstasy found the beat. See the Correct BPM section to find out more about DeKstasy's beat indicators.
Above each deck waveform are the transport controls, track information, the playback status message, and the play time remaining.
The transport controls (Play, Loop, Rewind, Stop, and Eject) are described
Next to the playback status indicator, information on the currently cued track is displayed. This information includes the native BPM of the track, the artist name, and the track name. The progress bar immediately to the right of the track information shows how much time is left on the track. At the far right, a time is displayed in minutes and seconds. If the deck is playing but the track hasn't started yet, this field shows the time till the track starts (as a negative number). When the track is playing, it shows the time remaining in the track. If the track isn't playing or has finished playing, it shows the total duration of the track when played at the current BPM.
You can control each deck to a certain extent by using keyboard controls. To select the deck that will be affected by the keyboard, press the Tab key until the deck you're interested in is highlighted in a blue box. In this state, you can use the following keys to control the deck:
l (lowercase L) - Toggles looping for the selected deck. Spacebar - Plays or stops the selected deck. Right arrow - Skips the track ahead one beat. Left arrow - Skips the track back one beat.
The BPM pane manipulates the BPM of all currently playing music. The simple manipulations are Hold, Set To, and Adjust (gradually). The advanced options are discussed in the Advanced Users section. Hold keeps the current BPM constant. The current BPM can be adjusted by +/- 1 BPM with the adjustment arrows to the right of the current BPM display. The playback speed will increase or decrease in real-time. The Set To option will immediately set the BPM to a specific value entered into the text box. The Adjust To option will ramp up or ramp down the BPM in real-time to the specified value over the specified number of seconds.
The audio settings dialog sets the output audio device and channel of each deck. By default each deck is configured to play through the device with the most outputs. Any deck can play out of any device and channel combination. Note that in versions of DeKstasy prior to 1.0.2, using multiple audio devices at the same time could cause an intermittent static-like noise in the output. If you experience this problem, upgrade to the latest version of DeKstasy.
For each deck, you can specify whether audio will be played in stereo (using two hardware channels), in mono (with both of the deck's stereo channels mixed into a single mono channel), or turned off.
DeKstasy uses the input channel to synchronize playback to an external audio signal. You can read more about external synchronization in the Advanced Users section.
To quickly set up DeKstasy to use a particular audio device, choose the device name from the "Set defaults for device" menu. You can then modify the mapping of decks to the device's audio channels using the individual deck/channel menus.
If there are any MIDI devices connected to your system, they will be displayed in the bottom half of the Audio Settings window. DeKstasy is capable of sending MIDI Sync messages to MIDI hardware and software in order to synchronize external audio sources to its own playback. To instruct DeKstasy to send MIDI Sync to a MIDI device, check the box next to the MIDI device.
Note that no changes are applied to the audio setup until you press the OK button.
The preview dialog provides instant playback of the selected track. This may be useful before cueing or performed some other action on the track. The dialog displays the track name, artist name, album name, length of the track, and its native BPM as analyzed by DeKstasy. To preview the track at the system BPM, select the "Sync to Beat" check box. If unchecked the track will be previewed at its native BPM. A track can be previewed on any empty or stopped deck. The slider allows seeking through the track. When previewing a track that is already in DeKstasy's library, the track can be immediately cued to the selected deck from this dialog using the Cue button. Note that the deck to which the track is cued will be automatically put in the play state. If there is already another song in that deck that isn't playing, it will be ejected. Clicking the Stop button stops previewing and closes the preview dialog.
The Set Album Info dialog sets metadata information for the selected track or tracks. The dialog displays current artist name, album name, track name, and track number information. The album name and artist name are set in the text boxes on the left. DeKstasy will build a list of similar artist and album names in the popup menus on the right hand side of each text box. Choosing one of these menu items copies the text from the menu item to its respective text box on the left. This is to aid in choosing the exact spelling for albums and artists, which is important because anything but an exact name match will cause DeKstasy to treat it as a different album. To change the track name or track number, click on its text. The Save button will apply the changes. The Cancel button will make no changes. Any changes to the artist and album name will apply to all tracks in the track list.
DeKstasy's success in finding a track's beat signature varies greatly with the type of music it is analyzing. Generally, electronic dance music with a prominent, steady, and non-syncopated beat works best. When some or all of these conditions are not met, however, DeKstasy's BPM analysis may be inadequate. As a result, it will be necessary to manually set the beat signature for the track. This can be done in the Correct BPM window.
You can access the Correct BPM window from either the Songs or Import pane by selecting a track and picking Correct BPM from the Action menu. (On the Import pane, the track must be analyzed before you can correct its BPM.) No other tracks can be playing while correcting a track's BPM.
The Correct BPM interface elements are described below; you can also skip
ahead for a quick tutorial on using this window.
Located just below the left edge of the waveform display, this menu determines what action will be performed when looping the track. In the Correct BPM window, looping has a different function than on the decks in the Decks pane. Here it is used to precisely locate the beat by looping the section of music under the needle while you adjust the location of the beat within the loop. (The click track must be on for this feature to be useful.)
When you click on the loop button, a 2-beat section of music is displayed,
with the beat being set shown in the center. As you move the needle to the
right and left of the center, you will hear the beat of the click track move
behind and ahead, respectively, of the beat in the music. When you feel the
beat location is correct, stop the loop by pressing either the Play or Stop
button. The action DeKstasy takes will be determined by the setting of the
Loop Action menu:
This menu can be used to set the first or last beats at the current needle position, clear all beats in the track, or jump to the first beat. Setting the first or last beat may modify the BPM of the track. This menu is not available when the track is playing.
Use this menu to delete portions of a track, either at the beginning or end of the track. This menu is not available when the track is playing or when BPM segments have been created (see below).
Sometimes the BPM can vary in the course of the song. This may be due to inexact production methods or an ambient section in the middle of the track, but is most common on live DJ mix CDs, where the BPM often gradually speeds up over the entire CD. Normally DeKstasy wouldn't be able to use such tracks, since it requires a constant BPM throughout the song in order to maintain synchronization with other tracks. However, DeKstasy provides a mechanism for normalizing the BPM of the song by speeding up some parts and slowing down others to produce a consistent BPM signature. By dividing the song into two or more BPM segments, you indicate to DeKstasy that you want it to perform such normalization.
You can create new BPM segments by looping when the Loop Action menu is set to "Loop creates BPM segment". A new segment will be created, starting at the point specified by the needle during the loop. If no BPM segments were present before looping, two BPM segments will be created, one from that start of the track to the loop point, and one from the loop point to the end of the track. When the needle is in a given BPM segment, all other segments will be grayed out. You will also notice that the BPM display changes with the segment that is selected. Changes made to the first and last beats will now only affect the first and last beat of the current BPM segment, not the rest of the song.
The BPM Segments menu is only available when BPM segments have been created.
You can use it to perform the following actions:
When the track is playing, pressing the Return key repeatedly and in rhythm at least 10 times will cause the BPM to be set to the tapped beat.
Pressing the spacebar will start or stop the track.
When the track is looping, you can use the left and right arrow keys to adjust the needle position by very small amounts. Each left or right arrow press will move it by half a pixel, so you'll only be able to see it move with every two presses.
DeKstasy's beat synchronization can only be as accurate as the beat signatures of the tracks it plays. Therefore, it is important to make sure that these signatures are set accurately. DeKstasy's automatic beat analysis works well in many cases, but depending on the type of music you are spinning, its results can range from nearly perfect to completely wrong. Even when it comes up with a good analysis, you may still want to fine-tune the results to get that extra tight sound. Learning to use the Correct BPM window quickly and effectively will go a long way in enhancing your performance on DeKstasy.
The first step when correcting a song's BPM is doing a quick sanity check on the analyzed BPM. If it's a slow house track but the BPM says 145, you know DeKstasy didn't find the beat. You can also quickly play the track with the click track on to see if it even came close.
If the BPM is way off, you'll need to get it in the right ballpark by "tapping" out the beat. Turn off the click track, rewind the track, and press Play. When you can hear the song's beat, start tapping the return key in time with the beat. Ten taps is enough to set the BPM, but you should really go for 20 seconds or more to get an accurate reading. Press Stop when you're done, or just press the spacebar. The BPM display should now have changed to indicate the new BPM.
Once you've got a reasonable estimate of the BPM, you should fine-tune it. First set the Loop Action menu to "Loop sets first beat". Then rewind the track once more and then press Play. When you hear the song's beat, press the Loop button. Once the song is looping, turn on the click track. The beat from the click track will probably sound pretty "off" at this point. Click on the waveform to move the needle around. When you've got it positioned so that the beats are in perfect sync, hit Play again to exit the loop. You've just set the first beat of the song.
As the song continues to play, listen to the synchronization between the click track and the song's beat. If they start drifting apart, hit the Loop button again. The Loop Action menu should now be set to "Loop sets last beat"; if not, set it manually. Position the needle to sync up the beats once again, and then hit Play to exit the loop. Now the last beat is set.
Continue along through the song like this, repeatedly correcting and advancing the last beat position as you go. If after a while it seems like the beats are no longer drifting apart, you can skip ahead in the song and check the synchronization further ahead. If by the end of the song, the beats are still in sync, you're all set: click the Save button to save the new beat signature.
If, on the other hand, the beat keeps going out of sync, it's likely that the song's BPM is not consistent. In that case, you'll need to create some BPM segments to normalize the song's BPM. First, try to find the point in the song at which the BPM of the song changes enough that the click track becomes noticeably out of sync. Loop the track at this point and set the Loop Action menu to "Loop create BPM segment". Reposition the needle to correct the beat sync, and press Play to exit the loop. The song will now be divided into two BPM segments.
Now, set the Loop Action menu to "Loop sets last beat". When the beat of the playing song starts to deviate again, hit Loop again and correct the beat position. This time, you will have set the last beat of just this BPM segment, not the whole track - the BPM of the first segment will stay the same.
You can repeat this process, creating as many BPM segments as are necessary to "wrap" properly to the song's varying BPM. When all points in the song are in sync with the click track, you're done. Press Save to save your changes; DeKstasy will then resample the song at a constant BPM.
At the top of the BPM pane is a checkbox labeled "Show advanced options". These options control synchronization of DeKstasy's playback to an external audio source, such as a turntable, CD player, etc. If you wish to incorporate other audio sources into your performance, you will need to check this checkbox.
When "Show advanced options" is checked, a new set of controls and displays will appear. (You can also skip ahead to "Using External Synchronization" for a quick tutorial.)
There may be times when you want to synchronize DeKstasy's playback to an external audio source. This might happen if you are tag-teaming with another DJ, or incorporating records, CDs, or other audio sources into your performance.
The first step is configuring DeKstasy to monitor the external signal. Go to the Audio Settings window and set the Input channel to the appropriate audio device and channel. Set the mode menu to Stereo if it will be a stereo input, and Mono otherwise. It doesn't really matter whether you use a mono or stereo source, but the menus need to be set appropriately for either case.
Next, go to the BPM pane. You can confirm that DeKstasy is getting a good signal by looking at the Input Level indicator. It should peak somewhere between the middle and the end of the indicator, but be careful that it doesn't max out or clip, since that will make it difficult for DeKstasy to synchronize properly. Adjust the level on your mixer or audio device until it is in the proper range.
Usually the most reliable way to do an external sync is to tap out the beat first by hand to give DeKstasy a "hint" as to where the beat is. To use this mode, set the "And then auto-sync" checkbox under the "Tap beat" option. Then tap the Return key in time with the external beat, at least 10 times. After the 10th tap, you will notice that the "Progress" indicator will start moving by itself, even after you stop tapping. When the indicator shows that auto-sync is complete, DeKstasy will adjust the BPM to that of the external source.
To maintain synchronization, make sure the "Maintain sync" checkbox is set. The BPM will vary continuously with the external signal. In addition, the "Maintain sync" option (on the left side of the pane) will be set, and it will say "Sync: On" at the top of the window.
If the external signal drops below the minimum level (which can be set with the "Min. level" slider), the "Hold" option will be set and it will say "Sync: Off" at the top of the screen. This means that DeKstasy has lost the signal and is no longer trying to maintain synchronization. However, it will maintain the beat that was set prior to losing sync. Generally, this happens during a break or quiet passage in the external audio in which there is no beat. Once the beat comes back in, you can try to restore synchronization by choosing the "Maintain sync" option. This will only work if the external beat and system beats haven't strayed too far apart in the intervening time.
Sometimes, DeKstasy can't find a beat in the external signal, or latches on to the wrong beat. If this happens, you will need to disable auto-syncing and synchronize manually. To do this, turn off the checkbox labeled "And then auto-sync" under the "Tap beat" option. Tap the beat out on the Return key as you did previously. When the "Progress" indicator is full, you can stop pressing the Return key. If the beat starts drifting out of sync after a while, press the apostrophe key in time with the external beat a few times to correct it.