Like many mixing programs, Program4PC's DJ Music Maker duplicates the classic DJ console, only without the turntables. Like pro consoles, DJ Music Maker has dual control suites, one for each deck, with both offering variable pitch, looping, cueing, and multiple crossfade options, plus effects, sampling, and recording. It has some features that many free tools and other competitors lack, such as independent media players for each deck, automatic beats-per-minute calculation, real-time pitch control, and real-time monitoring with external mixers and sound cards. DJ Music Mixer 5.0 works with Windows XP to 8 and requires DirectX 9 or better. The free trial version is limited to 120 minutes of mixing time. We tried the registered program, which proved easier to use than we'd expected.
What proved easier about DJ Music Maker? The console, for starters. Designers always try to pack as many controls and displays into the smallest possible space on mixing consoles. But DJs only have two hands, which means two turntables, which means two tracks for DJ software that do with digital what DJs do with vinyl. DJ Music Mixer's dark-toned console is busy, too, at first glance. But once we'd added some tunes and loaded one each into Deck A and Deck B, the console's colorful buttons and displays came to life. This program proved easy enough to simply start playing files and pushing buttons and sliders to see what came out of our speakers, which is a good thing because there's no Help file, though the publisher's Web site has some screenshots and other resources. We started with two similar tunes dubbed off an LP, which made for an interesting mix without any effects. But the Effects tab let add echo, reverb, distortion, gargle, and other effects, and the 10-band stereo parametric equalizer (that's 20 sliders) not only compensated for room acoustics but also included lots of preset environments. Many controls can be locked for party time, too.
DJ Music Maker 5.0 costs about the same as a minute of studio time. Its two-hour trial is long enough to get acquainted, and plenty of time to have fun with it, too. We did!
Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of DJ Music Mixer 5.0. You can use the trial version for two hours.