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  • Ric

    nice article, ive used mixed in key since version 3 and now have version 6. I just bought a bunch of track from beatport and was trying to decide whether i should overwrite all the beatport info ie key and bpm, with MIk 6 or not? according to this article, the best bet would be to just trust mixed in key i guess.
    I have to wonder in this day and age why it isnt industry standard for all producers to include key and bpm in the title of the tracks they make…wouldnt that make things a lot easier for everyone?

  • Harmonkeys

    Hi all,

    I did not hear all the sound but let me tell you that you’re completely wrong about the song Almost Home (Agoria Remix) that the human consensus hears as a F# min (assuming that most of the tools are wrong) while it is actually sometimes A min (or 10A), sometimes D MAJ (or 10B).

  • Weaver2

    Now, if only Denon’s “Engine” software wasn’t complete garbage. I never thought I’d find something worse to use than Rekordbox but here we are.

  • Jopinho

    I’m sorry i missing something how about BPM

    • jopinho

      but i like the test thanks

  • Markku Uttula

    Funny thing here … to me, a software developer by day, crime fighter by night – and a DJ whenever it fits in the schedule … at one point (right around when Traktor introduced key detection) Mixed-In-Key and Traktor were using the same detection library (zplane’s tONaRT) … but a quick look at zplane’s site seems to assert that this is no longer the case?

    The problem with this is of course – if you change your detection algorithm at some point, every key detection before the new one becomes “invalid” (or actually, “inreliable”) with everything detected with the new algorithm … ie. they should no longer be concidered “compatible”. Can’t help but wonder what NI is using these days?

    • YV_Miami

      Hey Markku, here’s info direct from the source. Mixed In Key used tONaRT library in Mixed In Key 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 which we released back in 2008. We created custom technology on top of tONaRT for Mixed In Key 4.0 (which gave better results), and made a huge effort to improve our results for Mixed In Key 5.0 which used mostly custom technology with a tiny bit of tONaRT underneath it all. We haven’t used “stock” tONaRT in 4+ years, because we wanted to create our own algorithms.

      The new Mixed In Key 6.0 uses 100% custom technology and no longer uses tONaRT at all.

      • Markku Uttula

        Interestingly, zplane site still lists MiK as “product that uses their library” whereas Traktor no longer is on that list. Granted, whether software package even wishes to be listed or not probably depends on the options of their license.

        For some reason they are still listing MiK there… of course, in software development, to “build something on top of something else” strongly implies that the “something else” is still the low level foundation … somewhere down there. I do not imply to know any specifics (because I don’t) … just reading some marketing blurps ;)

        • YV_Miami

          We have huge amounts of respect for zplane, and some of our software (iMashup, Mashup) still use parts of tONaRT. So, their listing is accurate and the quality of their technology is fantastic. Their Elastique code is the industry standard for beatmatching music inside software.

          • Markku Uttula

            Heh… some times I really feel like I’m not running on all thrusters. Finally connected the dots of who it is I’m talking here with… had a funnny feeling “this nick feels kind of familiar from somewhere” :) Could’ve just taken your word as gospel from the get go :D

  • lolmayonnaise

    You didn’t account for relative minor/major scales. According to your chart Rekordbox recognised Alan Fitzpatrick’s ‘ We Are Forever Young’ as C#M, not A#m. C# major should have the same notes as A# minor, providing there is no accidentals.

  • http://rustyryan.net/ RJ Ryan

    Mixxx lead developer here. Great writeup! I would have loved to see how the Queen Mary University key detector stacks up.


    It’s also open source and available as a VAMP plugin. Mixxx is adding key detection in Mixxx 1.12.0 and will have the option of using KeyFinder or the QM key detector. You could try out the QM detector in the latest alpha releases of Mixxx 1.12.0.

    • http://rustyryan.net/ RJ Ryan

      Feel free to email me if you’d like to try it out: rryan@mixxx.org

    • Rob

      I second this, the only thing lacking currently is a program that can write the result to ID3 tags.

      Can’t wait for mixxx 1.12

  • Mark Davis

    Kudos to Mixed In Key for achieving the 95% accuracy rate reflected in this report. This rivals the accuracy of professional musicians used to compile our online database at camelotsound.com

  • calgarc

    the best key finder i own are my own ears! the software is great for organizing music. but part of learning my music is knowing which keys work with what.

  • Michael Heß

    Thanks for this great comparison. I’ve been on the harmonic mixing trains for years now, and I like to see how this topic has progressed over the years.
    That said, thanks for finally proving a long term theory of mine, that is that VirtualDJ does not care about MIN/MAJ detection. My own observation showed that it always detects minor keys. But of course I could not be sure if this is a subjective impression of mine or not. But with the Baseline results shown in the google doc it is pretty obvious. :)

  • http://erikveland.com ErikVeland

    Djay 2 for the iPad has key detection, but requires a 64-bit device (iPad Air).

  • DJ_ForcedHand

    Kudos to your starting the new year out with such a good article.

    • stefanhapper

      Absolutely agree on getting DJ Endo’s opinion on this. Also a follow-up with Native Instruments on their poor results would be interesting.

      Here is a chart that compares the results from DJTT and the one by DJ Endo from August 2013 (only taking the minor keys, as DJTT tracks are 95% minor keys)

      • DJ_ForcedHand

        Heh, I admire your use of spreadsheets. I used to use these frequently to show why my ideas were good ones.

  • Rootballa

    Really!!! No Melodyne analysis?

  • DJ Possess

    I am an avid strong supporter of BeaTunes and have used it for years. This app is priceless to me in adding key, color, missing data, year, genre and most recently album art. The Matchlist function is the bomb. Yeah, some DJ’s are gonna whine and cry “know you’re music” blah blah, but look; I belong to a record pool and get hundreds of new songs a month. I cannot “know” every new tune out there and keep things fresh. The Matchlist is a tool, not a crutch and it helps me tremendously. If you have a very large library and use iTunes, when you initially get the program it will take time to sort thru. But once you’re data is synchronized, adding new songs and keeping things current is very easy. Well worth the money.

  • Gulli Johansen

    When MIK 6 was released I though why should I. All my DJ software have key detection. Now I see why and I’ve upgraded :D . It looks like MIK has some problem with DDJ SX ass it won’t analyze any song while it’s connected

  • Palace One

    Do a training with your ears and after a few weeks you have no problem finding the keys with a keyboard.
    for harmonic mixing, just make your setlist and search the keys. The harmonic mix shouldn’t be the most important thing during a gig so it’s just a nice side effect while mixing and if you have the keys then you can mix sometimes after the camelot wheel

    • Dan White

      I agree that that’s a great skill to have – and it’s important to check your keys on any sets that you have planned out. That being said, many DJs don’t just “make a setlist”. Being able to have the key of any track in your library is something that only automation or incredible amounts of free time will accomplish.

  • Ricardo Thomas

    Thank you for such an informative test!

  • Matt

    Mixed in Key is $58, Flow is $58 but contains Mixed in Key as part of the software. Is there any reason to buy MIK over Flow? Is the Flow analysis data not as portable or something?

    • YV_Miami

      Flow is a self-contained app – it doesn’t update ID3 tags, so the results are only visible inside the software itself. Mixed In Key is like a plug-in for Traktor, Serato, Ableton Live, rekordbox and iTunes.

      The question which one you should get depends on whether you want to mix 100% inside Flow, or whether you want to use other DJ software

      • Matt

        aha makes sense! thanks

  • http://chayanroy.com/ chayan

    I had huge hopes on keyfinder, Ibrahim where are you man :D

    • Ibrahim Sha’ath

      I’m on it! In the next few weeks I’ll be starting a crowdfunding drive to get 1000+ songs analysed; that should allow me to up Keyfinder’s accuracy and will give us as a community a big database with which to do comparative tests like this one.
      Thanks for your support =)

    • Michael Heß

      Yep, same for me. I started to blindly trust KeyFinder by now. The accuracy is so high for me, that the few misdetects that I might find by keying manually are not worth the time invest.
      But I would also love to see an update of KF based on this test. Not sure if the dataset present in this test is big enough for Ibrahim to finetune his algorithm further though.

  • tr4gik

    And the winner is …. of course. That’s why I been relying on MIK since version 4.

  • Barry

    What about plug-ins? Anything work for using it to detect samples in production such as ableton?

    • YV_Miami

      Ableton Live doesn’t show any meta-data, so it’s hard to browse samples by key. I’m a Live user, and here’s what I usually do:

      1) Select all the files in my Basslines folder on disk, and drag them into Mixed In Key. Analyze them, and save them to a “Basslines” playlist.

      2) Do the same for all other folders I have. The result should be a separate playlist for each type of sound – Bassline, Pads, Leads, etc.

      3) Drag and drop from Mixed In Key into my Live session

      It’s not elegant but it works -Yakov

  • YV_Miami

    I think Traktor Pro 2.6.6 accuracy is wrong. I just bought 13 of these tracks from Beatport, and ran them through Traktor 2.6.1 and Traktor 2.6.6. Both of them gave the same results as Traktor DJ, so NOT what’s shown in DJTechTool’s Google Doc.

    I think Native Instruments is reading the Mixed In Key 6 tag from the file and showing it as their own. Dan, did you analyze in Traktor *after* you analyzed in Mixed In Key?

    • Dan White

      All of the files had their Key tags stripped from the ID3 tags after each test. That being said, I’m about to run Traktor again as we also were surprised as this outcome and discrepancy between Traktor Pro + Traktor DJ

      • SirFlexAlot

        Forgive me please, but good methodology would have removed this potential for error. Put all the songs in a directory, make a copy of that dir, do key analysis on the copy, repeat for each app. It’s the only way to prevent previous runs from contaminating your data.

  • nrg242

    ever think about testing mixmeister?

  • chris

    the current possibilities are still a bit skimpy.

    so you still need to feel it, – in the egg * (political correctness) or in the breasts

    pure intensities and the themes of the song will be for ever made by hand

  • Esbeesy

    I had an idea this would be the result being an avid Traktor user, I can get songs mid set, throw them in and not once have I ever been let down by Traktor’s harmonic detection. Very impressive to see MIK has upped it’s game to a similar level though, I remember using KeyFinder because it was the best AND free.

  • DJ Tw1x

    thank you for this artice! it saves me about 60 $… or about 40 €.
    i have thought about buying Mixed in Key 6 about two weeks ago, but if Traktor (i own it since 4th December…) is more accurate than their key-detecting-Software, i won’t buy Mixed in Key.

    best regards from Germany and have a nice day!

    • Dan White

      I’ve updated the article above with some more recent results – Traktor is actually just really good at finding some metadata stored by Mixed In Key

  • freaky

    Did you clear the key Tag in your file before the test was done?
    Because Traktor Pro use previous enterer key tag during there analyses,
    in the result will be very similar then previous Key tool.
    On cleared Tag the result will be more different.

    See also: http://blog.dubspot.com/endo-harmonic-mixing-key-detection-analysis/

    • YV_Miami

      I think you’re right. Traktor may have been reading ID3 tags during this test, since Mixed In Key was used first. I am not getting the same Key Results for Traktor that Dan posted in his Google Doc

    • Dan White

      That’s the interesting thing – the ID3 tags were cleared between tests, but it seems like Traktor still managed to get its hands on MIKs results. The article is updated to reflect.

      • stefanhapper

        Bummer! I’m sure many of us would have hoped that the Traktor results would be really that good. But 54% is very disappointing.

        At least it’s clear now: if you want harmonic mixing – then either you can have half-decent results with Keyfinder or you need to invest 58 $ for Mixed in Key (which is what I will do).

        Thanks again for the test and for updating the article following the comments on Traktor.

        • KILLMeDJ

          Yeah that is disappointing, I was hoping Traktor would have been waaaay better!
          I do like their colour system though.
          Colours are pretty =)

          • Ken Smith

            After you run your tracks through MIK, Traktor’s colors are correct. Their 1m is in A minor and is the same as 8A on the Camelot wheel. MIK doesn’t just add the Camelot tag, it writes over all the old, incorrect ID3 info for key.

  • Patch

    Traktor – 98% ?!?

    That’s pretty damn accurate!

  • stefanhapper

    Thanks for the very interesting test

    Most striking for me is that Beatport has wrong key information for a third of their songs – and even more: artists don’t seem to care about it

    • chris

      btw: artists play her style of mood. There is no recipe for this.
      most of the studios have her own style. And all of them her individual sight.

  • Ibrahim Sha’ath

    I’m pretty sure Cross on the iPad uses my Keyfinder algorithm, which explains how close they are. Looks like I have some work to do on accuracy, though! Thanks for including KF, Dan!

    • Dan White

      You’re welcome – interesting that Cross uses Keyfinder. Does Rekordbox not use it?

  • Ted

    Kinda bummed out Rapid Evolution 3 isn’t tested : would’ve loved to see more free alternatives other than KeyFinder

    • Dan White

      It’s in there! After beaTunes and before Traktor DJ…