I’ve always wanted to be a disc jockey. Using my Mac and iTunes and CuePhase, now I can be a true disc jockey, minus the expense of a radio station.
It’s just me, my music, and… well, everyone in the house. For now. It didn’t take me long to begin filling a life long dream, though I don’t fully know, understand, or appreciate the life of a disc jockey.
These are the guys who fill in the spaces between commercials, music, news on tens of thousands of radio stations throughout the world.
For Mac users, there’s a stack of DJ software available to help you in your quest for stardom as a DJ.
Interestingly, the life of a DJ has changed through the years. For a long time, and most of my era, a DJ was the guy on the radio, the local personality for morning or afternoon drive time.
For teens, it was the guy who played music late at night, like Wolfman Jack in American Graffiti. Alas, that was then and this is now.
DJ’s have moved from radio to the dance studio, from turntables to CDs to iPods and computers. Still, I can dream, right?
The latest dream came to light with a nifty Mac application called CuePhase. Finally, DJ software that non-DJ’s could use. I was a non-DJ. Until now.
CuePhase is deceptively simple, highly elegant, but does only the basics of typical radio station style DJs.
In other words, you cue up music in a stack, click and the stack starts playing on your Mac.
So, in a sense, CuePhase is DJ software, but more automated than full of dozens of bells and whistles. It lets you play a list of songs from your Mac and your iTunes Music Library.
Wait. I know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t iTunes have playlists already? Don’t you really just stack the music and the click paly and itunes, well, plays the music?
Yes and no. Have you ever clicked from one iTunes song to another? Ouch. The old song dies a horrible death… ACKKK… and the new song starts up in a second or two. Or three.
Nope. There’s no such thing and manual mixing with iTunes. CuePhase does just that. You pull songs from iTunes and cue them up in a stack. Click play and the stack plays, but there’s a wonderful, well-controlled, flexible “mix” from one song to the next.
Better yet, a true DJ wants a measure of control, whether on radio or overlooking a dance floor. If one song isn’t cutting the mustard, so to speak, click and the next song that’s cued and ready begins playing with this nice control mix of audio; from one song to the next.
The transitions are smooth; just like a DJ in a studio would do. But there’s more to CuePhase than just sweet transitions between songs.
The whole idea of “cue” is to get the next song ready to play, so, when the button is clicked the song plays. That doesn’t happen in iTunes. There’s no “cue” to find the beginning of the song.
Some iTunes songs have an instant cue, others are a second or two later, after clicking start. Some are even three or more seconds later. No self respecting DJ would allow for that kind of “dead air.”
CuePhase searches for and finds the beginning point of music on each selection. So, when you click play, it plays right then, no delay.
Cue also means being able to listen to an upcoming song before it gets played or hits the air. CuePhase lets you cue up music, listen to the intro, for example, right in the headphones.
Yes, there are a few professional DJ applications for the Mac and the iPod. I’m not a pro. I’m a wannabe, so my standards are different. CuePhase plays music from iTunes. There’s also iPod support.
Importantly, there’s also library and playlist management, so you can set up a whole evening of music that just plays, and you can be the DJ in the middle of the songs. The songs play when you click.
Casey Kasem and Rick Dees have no need to worry. After two hours playing with CuePhase in the house, music blasting through my speaker and mixer system, I was living a dream. Intros, talkovers, the only thing missing was a few Solid Gold jingles.
On the other hand, Carol and the kids did not appreciate the rush of excitement and energized youth while I disc jockeyed away on my Mac. They went to the mall.
CuePhase was fun and a pleasure to use. You won’t be doing hip hop DJ routines, playing scratch disk and adding cool effects. But you might just entertain yourself and find yet another use for your iTunes Music Library.
As you’d expect, CuePhase doesn’t require much getting used to, the fully functioning demo works for 20-minutes. You’ll have 20-minutes of fun.