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M-Audio Digital DJ System User Manual

M-audio mixlab digital dj system user guide
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  • Page 1 User Guide...
  • Page 2: Table Of Contents

    Table of Contents Chapter 1 ........3 WELCOME .
  • Page 3 MIDI Tab ........52 Auto-Detect M-Audio Devices ([On]/Off) ....52 Scratch Sensitivity .
  • Page 4: Welcome

    CD, or copy them onto a media player. MixLab DJ is composed of two parts: the Torq LE DJ software and the M-Audio X-Session Pro DJ controller. Torq LE is a full-featured DJ application that has all the functions you’d find on expensive DJ CD players and turntables.
  • Page 5: Chapter 1

    TORQ LE OVERVIEW orq LE is a software extrapolation and extension of tried-and-true DJ tools and techniques for your Mac OS X or Windows XP computer. Torq is not bound by the limits of hardware—it embraces the technology of today’s most advanced audio production applications and integrates with them in a fashion that makes you part of the music.
  • Page 6: Decks

    Torq MixLab User Guide Chapter 1 » Decks DJing begins with music, so you will get to know Torq’s Decks very well. A Deck is what Torq LE uses to play back a single digital music file and is analogous to the turntable or CD player used by DJs.
  • Page 7: Pfl/Headphone Cue

    Torq MixLab User Guide Chapter 1 » PFL/Headphone Cue DJs commonly listen to a track on their headphones without letting their audience hear it. This allows them to match the tempo of the new song to the current one, along with finding the correct starting position for the song. Torq LE will allow you to monitor either Deck on headphones, and also features a stereo headphone split normally reserved for high-quality DJ mixers.
  • Page 8: Chapter 2

    SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS Windows: Minimum System Requirements OS: Windows XP (SP2) CPU: Pentium III 933 MHz RAM: 256 MB USB: One available port (for use with X-Session Pro) Mac*: Minimum System Requirements Mac OS X 10.4.6 CPU: G4 1.25 GHz RAM: 512 MB USB: One available port (for use with X-Session Pro) Recommended System...
  • Page 9: Installation

    INSTALLATION Connect X-Session Pro first! X-Session Pro must be connected to your computer for Torq LE to launch. To install Torq LE on Windows XP: 1. Insert the Torq MixLab CD-ROM into your computer. The computer should automatically display an interactive install screen when the CD-ROM is inserted.
  • Page 10: Chapter 3

    DECKS hen DJing, everything begins with the Decks. The Decks will play the music that you’ll mix and effect using all the tools in Torq LE. Traditionally, a DJ’s decks will be turntables or CD players. Therefore, the Decks in Torq have been designed to emulate both turntables and CD players, as well as offering a special hybrid mode only possible with software.
  • Page 11: Time Elapsed

    Time Elapsed This is the current location of the song, marked by the yellow Current Position Marker in the Overview Waveform Display. The Time Elapsed is expressed in hours/minutes/seconds/frames (30 fps). When the Current Position Marker is at the beginning of the song, the Time Elapsed will be 0:0:0.0. Time Remain This field indicates how much time is left before the song ends.
  • Page 12: Cue

    The Cue button will establish a primary Cue Point within a song. A Cue Point is a reference position within the track that you can jump to instantly, rather than having to seek through the track to find it. Typically, a DJ will set the Cue Point where the beat begins in a song.
  • Page 13: Deck Mode

    Deck Mode In order for Torq LE to feel familiar to all types of DJs, the Decks can be operated in one of three different modes. < Vinyl Mode Vinyl Mode will make the Deck behave as if it was a turntable. This means: 1.
  • Page 14 < Loop In/Out Looping an entire song doesn’t have much benefit for a DJ, so Torq allows you to move the Loop Markers by using the Loop In and Loop Out buttons: 1. Load a song into a Deck and press Play. The song will begin to play. 2.
  • Page 15: Speed Slider

    » QuickLoop Size Preference As mentioned above, the default loop lengths for the four QuickLoop buttons are one bar, two bars, four bars, and eight bars. The QuickLoop Size preference allows you to change the QuickLoop buttons to beat values instead of bar values: 1.
  • Page 16 < Slider Range By default, the range of the Speed Adjuster is +/- 8%. That means that if you move the slider to either of its extremes, you’ll only get an 8% change in the speed of the song. To the left of the Speed Adjuster is a display showing the current range setting for the slider: You can change the range of the Speed Adjuster by clicking on this range display.
  • Page 17: Key

    » Manual Tempo As mentioned above, Torq LE can determine the tempo of most dance music. Some music, however, is too complex or not repetitive enough for Torq to detect the tempo with precision. Fortunately, you can help Torq to determine the proper tempo through a number of different methods. The appropriate method will be based on the type of tempo correction you’re trying to achieve.
  • Page 18 < MIDI Slider/Knob Control MIDI control of the Key Adjust is different from other controls in Torq. You can assign a knob or slider to the Key Adjust, or you can assign keys on your MIDI keyboard—the behavior of the Key Adjust is dependent on your control method.
  • Page 19: Sync Button

    < MIDI Keyboard Control 1. If you have an additional MIDI controller keyboard attached, make sure that it has been properly installed and is configured to work with Torq LE. Please see chapter 6 for more information about configuring your X-Session Pro or additional MIDI keyboards to control Torq.
  • Page 20: Offset Buttons

    Offset Buttons Sometimes when mixing two songs together, you may find that the beats are aligned with each other, yet the two songs are still out of phase. This is most obvious when one song is offset by one beat, causing the snare drums of the tracks to be out of alignment.
  • Page 21: Chapter 4

    WAVEFORM DISPLAY ne of the most prominent features of the Torq LE user interface is the Scrolling Waveform Display, which takes up a decent amount of real estate above the Mixer and Effect Racks. Unlike the smaller Overview Waveforms found in each Deck, the Scrolling Waveforms only show a few seconds of the current song before and after the current play position.
  • Page 22: Loop Points

    Loop Points The Loop Points of the song (set with the Loop In/Out buttons or the QuickCue buttons) will be shown on the Waveform. The looped area of the music will appear in a lighter shade compared to the rest of the waveform. Cue Points If you’ve used the Cue button or QuickCue buttons to place various Cue Markers in the song, you will see them here.
  • Page 23: Hybrid Mode

    Hybrid Mode With Hybrid mode active, the waveform will respond exactly like the CDJ mode while the Deck controls (Play/Pause, Cue, etc.) behave like Vinyl Mode. Click and hold on the waveform. The music will continue to play While holding on the mouse button, drag the mouse left. The playback tempo will be momentarily increased, making the waveform scroll a little faster to the left.
  • Page 24: Chapter 5

    SYNCHRONIZATION t most of today’s dance clubs and events, the DJ will mix the songs together using a technique called beat-matching. The goal is to fade the volumes between two songs while keeping them perfectly in beat with one another. If done properly, the audience will never have to stop dancing as the beat of one song will blend in with the beat of the new song—sounding like one single song.
  • Page 25: Adjusting With The Mouse

    When a mis-alignment occurs (as seen above), you’ll see that the grid does not line up with the beginnings of the beats (transients) in the waveform. In the example, the Phase Grid is too early, leaving a gap between the grid lines and the transients in the waveform.
  • Page 26: Sync Button

    Sync Button The Sync button is an automatic method of synchronizing the beat and BPM of one Deck to another. When you engage Sync on a Deck (the Sync icon is on), it will change that Deck’s tempo to match the other Deck. Furthermore, when you press Play, Torq will align the song to the phase of the other Deck.
  • Page 27: Chapter 6

    EXTERNAL CONTROL One of Torq’s greatest features is the ability to use external sources to control the playback of your song files. In particular, you can use external MIDI hardware (such as the X-Session Pro DJ controller) to control various features within Torq LE. MIDI Prefs The second tab of the Preferences contains the MIDI options.
  • Page 28: Midi Learn

    MIDI Learn Every musician approaches their craft from a slightly different direction. DJing is no different. That is why Torq LE is basically a blank slate when run for the first time—there are no pre-set control assignments for any of the buttons, knobs, or sliders seen on screen for you to memorize.
  • Page 29: Chapter 7

    BROWSER/DATABASE DJ’s most important asset, beyond the gear he uses, is his collection of music. Without a wealth of top-notch tracks in his arsenal, a DJ is not equipped to dominate a dance floor. Anyone who has been DJing for even a short while will have amassed a decent collection of songs, and finding those songs quickly is the job of Torq LE’s Browser and Database.
  • Page 30: Database

    Navigation in the Browser follows a few simple rules: 1. To view any songs contained in a folder, click on the folder’s name. If the folder contains music files, those files will be displayed in the File List to the right of the Browser pane. If Torq LE cannot identify any playable music files in the selected folder, the list will be blank.
  • Page 31 < Adding Multiple Folders You may find that one folder will contain many folders that you’d like to add to the Database. A great example of this is when your music is automatically sorted by a program like Apple iTunes. Typically, there will be a folder for each artist in your collection, and each of these folders will contain individual folders for each album by that artist.
  • Page 32: File List

    File List The window to the right of the Browser pane is called the File List. If you have selected a source in the Browser that contains music (such as the Database or an individual folder), the songs contained therein will be listed here. The File List not only shows you the name of the song, but also shows the artist name, album name, track number, genre, and other fields contained within the song’s ID3 tag.
  • Page 33: Loading Songs Into The Decks

    Loading Songs into the Decks To load a song from the File List into one of Torq’s Decks, you have a couple options. < Click and Drag 1. Click and hold on the desired song in the File List. It will become highlighted. 2.
  • Page 34: Searching The List

    Searching the List The simplest method for searching is to type a keyword (or keywords) into the Search field above the Database/ Browser: Click the Database heading in the Browser pane to select it. Click in the Search field and type in your search term(s). Terms can include an artist’s name, a song title, BPM, etc.
  • Page 35: Playlists

    < Ignore Field Torq offers another method for refining your searches by means of the Ignore field. Here, you’ll enter terms that you want Torq to omit from the search results. The Ignore command will only be applied to the currently selected categories (explained above).
  • Page 36 < Creating New Playlists To start, you must create a new Playlist as follows: 1. Right-click (CTRL-click on Mac) on the Playlists heading in the Browser and choose “New Playlist” from the pop-up menu. 2. A new Playlist titled “Empty Playlist” will appear below the Playlist heading (click the plus sign in front of Playlists in order to see this list).
  • Page 37 < Reordering Songs in a Playlist The order in which your songs are displayed in the Playlist can be changed. 1. Click and drag the song up or down in the list. 2. If you drag the song on top of another existing song, releasing the mouse button will cause the song to be inserted above the song in the list.
  • Page 38: Session Playlist

    < Loading a Playlist Torq LE can import Playlists created by other programs if they conform to the .m3u file format. To load one of these Playlists: 1. Right-click (CTRL-click on Mac) the Playlist’s heading in the Browser pane. 2. Select “Load Playlist” from the pop-up menu. 3.
  • Page 39 iTunes iTunes is a free media player available from Apple for both Mac and Windows computers ( It provides an excellent way to download, organize, and rip music as well as interfacing with Apple’s famous portable media player, the iPod. Torq LE can interface with iTunes, providing you instant access to your entire collection of music and playlists without having to manually add folders to the Database.
  • Page 40: Ipods

    iPods Torq LE also allows direct access to the contents of any connected iPod (excluding the iPod Shuffle). When an iPod is connected, it will be listed in the Browser window. Like the iTunes Library above, the contents of the iPod can be searched using the Library or Playlist headings. You can also include the contents of the iPod in the Database by doing the following: Note: If you are connecting an iPod to your computer after Torq LE is already running, you will need to refresh the Browser window in order to see the new iPod in the Browser list.
  • Page 41: Chapter 8

    MIXER tep one when DJing is controlling the music. That’s what Torq’s Decks are for. Step two is blending, or mixing, the music together. As you’d expect, Torq LE has a section for that, too. While existing in software, Torq’s Mixer sounds and behaves just like a top-of-the-line hardware mixer.
  • Page 42: Eq/Kills

    EQ/Kills Next in the signal chain is the Equalizer, or EQ for short. While the Gain knob (above) increases or decreases the level of the entire audio signal in the channel, an EQ increases or decreases the level of only a specific frequency range within the audio signal.
  • Page 43: Channel Volume Faders

    Channel Volume Faders Besides going to the PFL, the audio leaving the EQ also goes to the Channel Volume fader. This is the primary volume control for the channel (though it is subordinate to the crossfader) which works just like a volume fader on a traditional mixer.
  • Page 44: Chapter 9

    When Torq LE is launched for the first time, the Crossfader Curve will be set to a happy medium between these two extremes. You can, of course, change this curve using either of the following: » Adjusting with the Mouse 1.
  • Page 45: Pfl/Headphone Cue

    PFL/HEADPHONE CUE ou’ve undoubtedly seen the archetypical image of a DJ: standing behind a set of turntables and a mixer...with a pair of headphones on. If everyone is dancing to the music they hear on the speakers, what is the DJ listening to on the headphones? He’s listening to the next song he’s going to play using PFL or Headphone Cueing.
  • Page 46: Chapter 10

    MASTER OUTPUT he Master Output is the last step in Torq’s audio signal flow before the music goes out to your audience. It contains a Master Level slider, a Master Level meter, a Master Limiter, as well as an Audio Recorder. All of these controls are located below the right Deck in a neat, horizontal arrangement.
  • Page 47: Filename

    Filename To set the filename for your recording: Click the Filename button (which looks like “...” when no name is set). A dialog box will open. Select the destination folder for your recording, then give it a name and press enter. The dialog box will close and your new filename will be shown on the Filename button.
  • Page 48: Chapter 11

    EFFECTS ffects are devices that alter audio signal. These alterations can range from subtle to extreme and can be a great source of creative fun within Torq. Each Deck can be processed individually with multiple effects, and that is the purpose of the Effect Racks.
  • Page 49: Built-In Effects

    Built-In Effects The following is an explanation of the three built-in effects in Torq LE: Phaser A Phaser is a somewhat mellower version of the Flanger. Like the Flanger, a Phaser works on the principle of mixing two identical audio sources together. However, unlike a Flanger, the timing difference between the two audio sources is very small.
  • Page 50: Strobe

    < Tweak Knob This knob will adjust the Cutoff Frequencies of the filters. » When the Tweak button is off, the knob will behave as follows: 1. Placing the knob at 12 o’clock will result in the audio passing through the Dual-Filter unaffected. 2.
  • Page 51: Chapter 12

    Buffer Size ... 51 MIDI Tab....52 Auto-Detect M-Audio Devices ([On]/Off) ..52 Scratch Sensitivity .
  • Page 52: Sample Rate

    Sample Rate Below the Audio Interface selection you will see sample rate adjustment. Increasing this value will improve sound quality (depending on your source material) but will also place heavier demands on your computer. It is therefore recommended to leave the sample rate only as high as you need it to be. If you only play MP3 files or songs from CDs, you won’t really have any reason to raise this value beyond 44,100 since that is the sampling rate used by MP3s and CDs.
  • Page 53: Midi Tab

    When this option is enabled, Torq LE will automatically set the Audio and MIDI interface options to those of any known SynchroScience and M-Audio controller and interface that is connected to your system (such as X-Session Pro). This will ensure proper operation of Torq and connected devices.
  • Page 54: Crossfader Curve Control

    Crossfader Curve Control This preference allows you to assign a MIDI controller to the Crossfader Curve parameter. You can then control the Crossfader Curve with a knob or slider on your MIDI controller. Press the button labeled “Learn” to activate it. Turn a knob on your MIDI controller.
  • Page 55: Miscellaneous Tab

    Miscellaneous Tab This tab contains miscellaneous options that affect the behavior of certain features of Torq LE. Torq Engine This setting is used to switch the Torq Audio Engine between Normal and Economy modes. This option should be left on Normal unless you have a slow computer. Switching to Economy will degrade graphical performance and have a slight impact on sound quality, but can often allow Torq LE to run smoothly on older machines.
  • Page 56: Schaffel Mode

    Schaffel Mode Schaffel is German for “shuffle,” which has become a popular form of dance music based on a triplet rhythm as opposed to a straight 4/4 rhythm. When this mode is activated, any of the effects (or parameters that quantize their values) will include triplets in their quantizing options.
  • Page 57: Sync Mode

    Sync Mode This option determines the “forcefulness” of the synchronization used in Torq LE. » Bar—when selected, Torq will align a synced Deck to the tempo and downbeat of the other Deck. Any attempts to adjust the alignment of the track will result in Torq forcing the tracks back into synchronization with their downbeats aligned (the thick lines of the Phase Grids will be aligned with each other at all times).
  • Page 58: Chapter 13

    ABOUT X-SESSION PRO -Session Pro is a hardware control surface that has been designed to give you complete hands-on control over Torq LE. This controller looks and feels like a traditional DJ mixer but allows you to do things like start, stop, and cue songs, crossfade between the two decks, and to apply EQ and effects without having to touch your computer or use a mouse.
  • Page 59: Controls And Connectors

    Controls and Connectors Top Panel Note: With the exception of the Crossfader (1) and the Power Indicator LED (6), X-Session Pro features identical sets of knobs, buttons, and sliders on the left and right side of its top panel. The controls on the left side of X-Session Pro affect the left deck in Torq LE while the controls on the right side of X-Session Pro affect the right deck of the software.
  • Page 60: Rear Panel

    10. Reset Button (Reset) – This button accesses advanced X-Session Pro programming features that are beyond the scope of this guide. For more information about this button, please refer to the X-Session Pro User Guide available for free download at 11. Kensington Security Slot –...
  • Page 61: Chapter 14

    © 2007 Avid Technology, Inc. All rights reserved. Product features, specifications, system requirements and availability are subject to change without notice. Avid, M-Audio, Torq, MixLab, X-Session Pro, and SynchroScience are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Avid Technology, Inc. All other trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.
  • Page 62: Warranty

    WARRANTY Warranty Terms M-Audio warrants products to be free from defects in materials and workmanship, under normal use and provided that the product is owned by the original, registered user. Visit for terms and limitations applying to your specific product.

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