Review: PCDJ DEX 3 DJ / Mixing Software

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Review: PCDJ DEX 3 DJ / Mixing Software

Words by Mixdown Staff

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The last few years have seen a slew of fresh blood entering the DJ community, as we bear witness to the continued rise and rise of electronic and dance music in broader popular culture.

Combine this with the increased technification of society across the board and you have a situation where the commercial DJ has emerged as the dominant entertainment form across the events industry, and as a result, the responsibilities of the working DJ have never been greater. 

Read all the latest DJ gear, software and plugin reviews here.

Suffice to say, the modern working DJ is required to wear many hats, often doubling as the PA supplier, front of house soundie, lighting technician and even karaoke host. 

PCDJ, a longstanding stalwart in the computer based DJ software market have been one of the first to recognise the ‘swiss army knife’ requirements of the modern DJ and DEX 3, the most recent incarnation of their flagship product line, is a feature heavy and powerful piece of software that caters to both beginner mixologists and working karaoke heads alike. 

We weren’t lying when we said it was a feature heavy affair either, the DEX 3 has all the bells and whistles of the big players and then some. 

Industry standards such as FX, EQ, sync, sampler pads, 4 deck mixing and video mixing are paired with other unique and handy options like external line inputs as well as timecode, vinyl or CD mixing. Perhaps one of the biggest selling points of all for the  DEX 3 is in it’s peerless abilities as a Karaoke mixer/hosting software, which itself is quite a unique feature for a DJ software.

This is where the DEX 3 really stands apart from its contemporaries. The Singer list and Sing History features allows you to cue and orchestrate karaoke events, using the standard PCDJ workflow to independently play what would be the equivalent of house music between competing karaoke performances on a standard karaoke running sheet because: production values.

The ability to cue and sync visual data to the PCDJ software is another feature that obviously lends itself perfectly to karaoke. The ability to be able to send out visual mixes full screen, to a second display is sure to bring a sigh of relief to mobile DJs and masters of ceremonies alike.

For the traditionalists, the DEX 3 has plug and play compatibility with over 100 controllers including products from Pioneer, Denon and Numark. If your controller isn’t supported natively, you can even map it, which allows for users with MIDI controllers to utilise the software with their own device which is usually not available with other DJ software. This is an extremely liberating feature and something to which other manufacturers should take note!

The FX grid is an interesting way to implement the seven different available effects to your mixes. You can use the learn shortcuts function to map effects to your keyboard and trigger any of them with a click of a button. This works great for people wanting to DJ without a controller as the ease of use and customisation is seemingly endless.

Another interesting use of the shortcut mapping is turning up to down the channel faders. For a lot of graphic user interfaces in the DJ realm, this can be a bit of a gruelling task, especially when using a mouse. With DEX 3, you can assign one button to push up and another to push down each fader. Using this, mixing more like on a controller is possible with only your keyboard, something other computer based DJ software could learn from.

The DJ portion operates exactly as you would expect. The software seems to lean towards automixes and you can specify a few different ways to blend the songs on your queue, which is perfect for beginners or those working in the events sector.

Dragging and dropping music, video and karaoke files from your iTunes library or any other folder where you have your music stored is relatively seamless and track analysing done on the fly.

In addition to this, streaming music from Beatport and SoundCloud Go+ makes being the ultimate party pleaser possible. This integration allows for 100s of thousands of songs to be mixed natively through the software with relative ease. Search for the song a punter has been chatting your ear off about all night and see if it hits home like they say it will.

Linking DEX 3 with PartyTyme Karaoke (a streaming service priced towards businesses) allows for legal use of over 17000 songs to stream at your heart’s content. The queuing system is intuitive as you can add multiple singers to the playlist with varying amounts of tracks each. As you add a new song for that singer, the queue is uninterrupted and follows name order not track order, providing a seamless workflow throughout.

PCDJ have also recently updated DEX 3, to include a phone app for remote queuing and song requests meaning the end of the classic laminated track listing and paper request slips so common in mobile karaoke setups. A moment of silence, if you will.

While karaoke might not always be front of mind for many working in the DJ sector, it definitely pays for the modern working DJ to be able to cater to these kind of gigs at the very least at a technical level. 

In terms of workstations for this kind of application, PCDJ’s DEX 3 has to be at the very top of the list, with its unique feature set and seamless ability to transition between karaoke cabaret and core legit DJ set, it’s without question one of the most versatile and unique software applications out there at the moment.

Because at the end of the day, who wants to be carting around multiple rigs and laptops from gig to gig? With the DEX 3, all bases are well and truly covered.

Download your DEX3 free trial via PCDJ today.