Mike Henderson aka ENDO, a veteran DJ, Co-Founder of AGNT and MIDI Monsters, TRAKTOR specialist for Native Instruments, and Instructor at Dubspot compares the key detection accuracy between Mixed In Key and Beatport.
Harmonic mixing is becoming an industry standard for professional DJs all over the world. It is an innovative way to mix tracks together that are in the same or related keys, resulting in better sounding DJ sets. Mixing harmonically compatible tracks makes it easier and more pleasing to perform long blends and mash-ups. The goal is to eliminate key clashes.
Mixed In Key
Harmonic mixing consists of two elements: knowing the key of every song that you play and knowing which keys are compatible. You can find the keys of your songs with a piano, a good ear, and a background in music theory. To save time, you can also use professional DJ software such as Mixed In Key. Mixed In Key is an innovative tool used to scan your MP3 and WAV files to show you the key of every song. The idea behind Mixed In Key is that it analyzes the harmonies and melodies of your music and then adds ID3 metadata to every track such as the musical key, bpm, track title, artist, and more. This information helps you choose tracks that are harmonically compatible with each other quickly, resulting in super-fluid mixing.
Many of the world’s top DJs use Mixed In Key. It works with Traktor, Serato, Pioneer CDJs, Virtual DJ, Ableton Live, and various other DJ apps. Check out my article on Harmonic Mixing to learn more about Mixed In Key and the concept of mixing harmonically here.
Beatport Key Detection
Beatport has become a widely used platform for downloading and listening to new and exclusive electronic dance music. The Beatport Pro online music store uses internal software to determine the key and bpm of tracks. You can also filter tracks, genres, and artist releases by musical key, allowing you to make purchase decisions based on your harmonic mixing needs.
Mixed In Key vs. Beatport
Both Mixed In Key and Beatport offer worthy harmonic key detection algorithms, but which one is better? I thought it would be a good time to do another harmonic mixing lab report DJ Endo style to see who has the best key detection algorithm on the market. You can see my previous lab report here.
In this comparison, I’ve taken 100 songs purchased from Beatport and manually found the key of each track using a piano. I then analyzed all the tracks with Mixed In Key and compared the results with Beatport’s key detection.
Just a little background on me: I’m classically trained and have been keying songs with a piano for several years. I’ve also been a hardcore beta tester for Mixed In Key since the beginning and have sent them thousands of tracks that I’ve keyed on the piano to help with their algorithm. The chart below displays the results for every track I keyed with the piano. The tracks that were incorrectly analyzed are highlighted in bold letters.
Mixed In Key Results
Mixed In Key = 81% Accurate
Out of 100 songs analyzed in Mixed In Key, 81 were correctly analyzed. Out of the songs that were incorrectly analyzed, 10 of them were listed either a fifth below or above the correct key. When looking at the Mixed In Key Camelot Wheel, a fifth is only one step away. For example, a track that should be 8A was analyzed in Mixed In Key as 9A. Note, tracks that are a fifth apart are harmonically compatible as well. In addition, most of these tracks were tech house, deep house, and techno, so many of them didn’t have strong harmonic content.
Beatport = 68% Accurate
Out of the 100 songs that I looked up on Beatport, only 68 of them displayed the correct key. Of the 32 tracks that were analyzed incorrectly, 8 of those tracks displayed the correct root note of the scale, but wrong major or minor key. For example, a track in A Minor displayed as A Major. Also, 8 of the tracks that were incorrectly analyzed were analyzed a fifth off. The rest of the tracks were completely off.
As a conclusion, I have to say Mixed In Key is AMAZING and has come a long way with its key detection! I was completely blown away by its accuracy. Any track with some kind of recognizable melody was analyzed correctly majority of the time. I highly recommend Mixed In Key to any DJ ready to step up their mixing game. The software is under $60 and will completely change your DJ life forever!
Beatport, on the other hand, still needs some improvements with their key detection. Nevertheless, the new Beatport website is still great and completely designed for DJs. I have been spent many all-nighters digging through thousands of tracks on their website.
Congratulations to Beatport for the release of their new website, and congratulations to Mixed In Key for taking their software to the next level! However, in the key detection battle, Mixed In Key wins this round!
Immerse yourself in the complete art of DJing: from the fundamentals of beatmatching and mixing to using effects and programming extended club sets. Whether you’re a beginner wanting to learn fundamentals or a seasoned pro looking to take your talent to the next level, our curriculum is designed to accommodate all skill levels and styles of music. This comprehensive DJ program covers everything from basic mixing to advanced digital DJing with both Serato Scratch Live and Traktor Scratch Pro.
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