Supacon
Formerly a DJ in Canadian bars, nightclubs, and the occasional wedding, DJ JD (aka Supacon) has been keeping quiet lately working for a much loved software company in Norway.

Creator of VideoVision and CONDENSED skins. Try them out and let send any feedback you have.

Sun 29 Mar 09 @ 12:08 am

I just picked up a Mackie d.4 Pro mixer. I love this mixer... it's packed to the hilt with just about anything you'd want for a very complicated setup, and has a wicked built in firewire audio interface that allows many input and output channels that allows you to truly harness the full power of VirtualDJ (and other software) in every way.

My excitement was hampered initially by the fact that on my new, expensive laptop - a decked out Dell Precision M6400 - I was unable to get this mixer to work *at all* in Windows 7 x64. My Windows 7 Beta experience had been great up until that fairly major setback, so I tried Vista x64, and although I could get the audio to "work" it had major audio dropouts that made it completely useless for any meaningful work.

Finally, as a last resort, I installed the Windows XP version that came with the Precision M6400 courtesy of Dell. Much to my pleasure, the mixer has been working great under Windows XP. However, there are a few glitches and minor issues that I've experienced.

Timecode works great with the built in interface in this thing. I haven't tried it a lot, but my cursory tests looked good. I'm unable to record the mixer's master out from within VirtualDJ, but I was able to do this by running Adobe Audition 3 in the background at the same time I DJ.

At one point while doing this, I had a very loud squeal occur that maxed out the main right channel and wouldn't go away until I actually powered off the mixer. Even unplugging it from the computer didn't make it go away.

Let's hope this was a freak occurance caused by something weird I was doing in Adobe Audition while running VirtualDJ.


After some initial messing around, things seemed to sound pretty good, but later, just chilling out while playing some tunes in VirtualDJ, I noticed that I was getting little glitchy clicks and pops and audio issues from time to time. I think I might have initially been a little overly optimistic about how aggressive I could set virtualDJ's quality settings with this configuration.

For the most part, it seemed like I could completely max everythign out and set 64 sample (1ms) latency, but when you use the advanced master tempo and start stretching the tempo, you get lots of distortion. In VDJ, on most audio interfaces, it seems like it's never a good idea to use the Advanced Master Tempo.

I went through most of the settings, and this is what I consider "safe" where you almost never get any kinds of glitches, pops, clicks, or audio dropouts:

Sound Setup tab:
ASIO Driver

  • uncheck Ultra-latency ASIO
    This setting might be the most important one of all. The old "Ultra Latency" drivers seem to dropout and glitch much more than the new ones. I'm not sure how great the performance and latency is, but I can't notice much difference.


Performances tab:
Sound Card

  • Latency: 512 (11ms) It might be possible to set 256 here, but it's more likely to have problems. It wouldn't be readily noticeable to use a setting lower than that.
  • uncheck Safe Mode
  • check Overclock


Scratch

  • Optimize for Quality
  • Simple Algorithm


48kHz<->44kHz
It's important to me that resampling sounds good because I use a lot of DVDs with 48Khz sampling rate. Hence, these settings are still the higher quality settings, and they seem to work great.

  • Lowpass Filter
  • Filter Taps: 35
  • check Filter Smooth




Master Tempo
Although with a latency of over 512 or over, Advanced Master Tempo with a complexity of 3 seems to work acceptably, I don't personally think that the slight improvement in quality warrants the additional problems it seems to cause.

  • Fast


With this configuration, I almost never ever hear any pops or clicks under normal circumstances, but one thing that consistently does cause a very small audio glitch still is minimizing VirtualDJ. About half of the time I do it, I get a very subtle pop in the sound. I suppose I can live with that... I'll keep this up to date in regards to other things I find.

MIDI Control (Mappers tab):
The d.4 Pro has a crossfader that sends its position (great for fading Video), and it will also send fader start/stop messages for the channels that are assigned to the crossfader.

The Simple MIDI wrapper works for the crossfader alone, but if you use this device file (save it as Mackie d.4 Pro in the VirtualDJ\Devices folder) e, you can use all five commands that the mixer sends:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<device name="Mackie d.4 Pro" author="J.D. Lien" type="MIDI" decks="2">
<slider name="crossfader" cc="0x04" min="0" full="127" />
<button name="cfstart_pgm1" note="0x00"/>
<button name="cfstart_pgm2" note="0x01"/>
<button name="cfstart_pgm3" note="0x02"/>
<button name="cfstart_pgm4" note="0x03"/>
</device>


(Note that this will override the default MIDI mapper, so it could cause complications with other controllers).

And here is a mapper for fader start and Video Crossfader (save it in VirtualDJ\Mappers\Mackie d.4 Pro mapping.xml):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<mapper device="Mackie d.4 Pro" author="J.D. Lien" description="MIDI for d.4 Pro Mixer" version="602" date="22/09/2009">
<map value="crossfader" action="video_crossfader" />
<map value="cfstart_pgm1" action="deck 2 cue" />
<map value="cfstart_pgm2" action="deck 1 cue" />
</mapper>