Deckadance: Delve Into The Devine
As a huge fan of Image-Line products there was no hesitation. Armed only with a driven curiosity and with little to moderate product knowledge, I knew my delve into the devine with Image-Line’s leading DJ application ‘Deckadance:Club Edition 1.8′ was an absolute must. The realisation that Deckadance could work as a self-contained remix machine became a mouth watering prospect. It was time to shake the dust off some previously buried music sketches and get busy!
Midi Control: Deckadance can be controlled using a computer keyboard or a midi controller. There is an indepth breakdown of all keyboard shortcuts for Deckadance at the product’s main page website. Using the ‘setup’ option to the bottom right of the ‘hint window’ opens a dialogue page with lots of configuration presets for many third party midi controllers. If your controller is not listed, relax, because Deckadance will have already scanned and identified your midi connections. If you make any adjustments to the midi config or folder locations in this page, click ‘save & exit’ or press ‘esc’ to return to the front page. Choosing ‘midi’ from the hint window opens a controller config window at the bottom of the Deckadance GUI:The window displays an indepth list of all the parameters in Deckadance which can be assigned to a midi controller using a simple ‘midi learn/unlearn’ feature. With Deckadance setup and fully mapped the fun begins!
Loading files, Colour code & Cue points: Using the dedicated browser in Deckadance allows you to search your folders for compatible audio files which include: MP3 (Id3v1&v2), FLAC, M4a (iTunes), WMA, WAV, AIFF and OGG. From the dedicated browser in Deckadance you can drag and drop into the playlist or directly into the track window. Alternatively, clicking the arrow button below the track window opens a dialogue box where you locate and load your files into Deckadance. Once a file has been loaded in the track window Deckadance automatically places hit points at defined transient peaks in the music and sets the track starting point at the very beginning. The creation of a ‘start’ point and of ‘cue’ points within a track can be altered by a click-hold & drag of the audio to a start point of your choice and by activating the ‘start’ button in the transport control panel and by right clicking on a cue slot number. The new ‘start’ point will reflect a blue marker in the track window while ‘cue’ point markers show as yellow. The coloured waveforms in Deckadance is a cool feature. Each slice in the audio is colour coded to represent a particular hit type e.g. red = bass, yellow/green = snare and blue = cymbals. Using colour as a visual clue to the hit types in the audio enhances the speed of the workflow in Deckadance because it gives you instant reference point for where you need to place your markers and cue points.
Loop & Leap: With ‘start’ points secured and all ‘cues’ in place you can begin to explore the depth of Deckadance as a quality remix tool.
If you have mapped midi notes to trigger cue points (and you really must) then navigation from cue to cue can now jump or leap back and forth through the track. From here the next level of mash-up tool is loop creation. This involves the ‘loop’ and ‘leap’ functions. Drag the audio to a point where you want the loop to start and right-click on the ‘loop’ button. A section of the audio will be bracketed by red markers. Next click on the ‘leap’ button. Now click on the plus or minus buttons to extend or decrease the loop duration. Press play and you have it. If you have mapped midi notes to trigger the loop & leap functionality (and you really really must!) you can enjoy a devine Deckadance experience by introducing performance related loops ‘on the fly’. Furthermore, you can record your performances as automation and scores in the piano roll!
Relooper & Samplers: In addition to cue point navigation and ‘on the fly’ looping Deckadance adds a further two mash-up tools in to the mix, namely; Reloop & Samplers. ‘Reloop’ functions as a glitch effect and provides 7 filter fx that, when selected individually and activated, affect the audio output. There are 3 Reloop sequence panels each hosting variable patterns. When triggered (assuming by now that you really have mapped Reloop to midi notes?) Reloop glitches the audio according to the conditions of the sequencer patterns and how you have determined they interact. Similarly, Reloop performances can be recorded in to the piano roll. It should be mentioned that when the audio outputs in Deckadance are not multi-routed to mixer channels then the Reloop X-Y pad at the fx stage can be used to morph through variable fx states. If the outputs are multi-routed to mixer channels then the X-Y pad feature is disabled.- ‘Samplers’ in Deckadance provide the ability to record audio from either Deck A or Deck B (and both in seperate samplers) or load hits and loops from your own libraries. The ‘sampler’ function adds a multi-layer capability to Deckadance’s depth of performance and can also be triggered via midi.
The point from where I began to embrace this cool piece of software was established fairly rapidly with the excellent remix features in Deckadance: Cues, loop & leap features, sampling, relooping and a very impressive and detailed midi control functionality. Deckadance came as a huge suprise. It is both inspiring and exciting especially when exploring the combinations and possibilities of its features. There are very few plugin applications that provide the generous array of remix tools offered with Deckadance and then capable of such depth and variation in performance. Divine Deckadance.
A fully functional demo of FL Studio is available for download. Should you purchase FL Studio you will receive Life-Time Free Updates to all future versions of the product. Spend a minimum of $90 on ANY Image-Line products and receive a 10% reduction…
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