interview: Tobi from Ultramixer

We talk to Tobi from the Ultramixer project about their aims and methods. Ultramixer is a DJing tool for Linux, and in the near future, MAc OS X.

Mstation: When you started the project, did you build it around a wanted feature set or was there some other impetus?

Tobi: We started UltraMixer in early 2002. It is basically inspired by Tobi being an DJ and Sl@jaR an musician hobbist. Since we both were dissatisfied with other dj software and studying computer sciences we decided to write our own full flavoured dj software

It strikes me that some of the features are a little Abelton Live like in their effects -- did that software influence you at all?

Not at all. Despite the geographical closeness to Alcatech we were obviously influenced by BPMStudio. Plain spoken, we didn't know Abelton live at this time. In addition "Abelton live" is a live remixing tool, not a classical dj application - but very interesting. UltraMixer doesn't focus musical remixing but traditional mixing ("two turntables, one mixer")

In use, what abilities does Ultramixer have that you think might be missing from other DJ apps?

UltraMixer has it's strengths in it's simplicity and it's plain GUI - in constract to Traktor 3 (e.g.). Our users love the minimalistic and "tidy" user interface of UltraMixer which is restricted to the generally most frequently used features. In addition other than VirtualDJ or Traktor we have integrated two playlists besides in addition to the filearchive - because we loved this feature in BPMStudio. In the near future we will support realtime effects in various formats (like Winamp, VST) which doesn't support BPMStudio or Traktor. The professional dj gets support of ReplayGain for a constant perceived volume.

A further (technical) strength of UltraMixer is it's multilayer design. That means we build the audioengine entirely in native code and the UI in Java. That means it is pretty easy for us to support new plattforms as we actually do right now for Linux and Windows OS and in the near future MacOSX.

In your choice of language and widget sets for the project, what were the reasons you made the choices you did?

The backend (audioengine) is written in platform independent native C++ code, the frontend (graphical user interface) is written in platform independent Java code (using the particular Java Runtime Environment (JRE / Java Virtual Machine). Furthermore we use a couple of open source third party libraries.

Are you using an IDE? Which one?

We use gcc and the Microsoft VCToolkit2003 to compile the audioengine.

Other tools?

Multiple Linux distributions (SuSE 9.2, 9.3, 10.0, Knoppix 3.7, Ubuntu 5.10), WinXP, Win2000, Win98.

Ultramixer is available for Linux but you also have a Mac OS X port coming along. When will that be available?

We hope we can release the MacOSX port in beta stage in spring 2006.

Do you have more features you're thinking about adding? What are they?!

Sure, we have a lot to do in the next years. Milestones will be, Beatmatching, Timestreching and real-time effects (VST-Plugins), Scratching, Waveform.

Thanks a lot.

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