Engine DJ Workflow for Updating Collection

I cannot for the life of me figure out how to use any version of Engine Prime newer than 1.6.1 because version 2 (and any newer version) so utterly and completely breaks my workflow that it’s unusable.

I have a couple of thousand tracks in subdirectories named A, B, C, …, Z in a directory called “Music”. This structure was chosen to reduce the sizes of single directories because most filesystems start breaking down once you cross a certain threshold. So far, those 26 subdirectories in my Music directory have served me well.

With Engine Prime 1.6.1, I have created a crate (also called “Music”), and it contains all tracks contained in all subdirectories of the Music folder on disk. Once a week, I add new tracks to the subfolders, with each track going into one of the A-Z folders, depending on the first letter of the artist. Afterwards, I drag the Music folder from the File System Browser section onto the Music crate in the Crates section. New tracks are identified, analyzed, and usable after a few minutes.

This is what I want, and this works flawlessly with 1.6.1.

Now, with Engine Prime 2 (and any later version) this does not work anymore, and the difference is by so wide a margin that treating that functionality as removed would be appropriate.

I installed Engine Prime 2 (only it’s now called “Engine DJ”), it imported the old crates and turned them into playlists, and everything pretty much looks like it used to. Outside of the software I now add new files to the A-Z subdirectories, then in Engine Prime I drag the Music folder into the Music crate, and I now have a playlist called “Music 2”, sitting next to the existing “Music” playlist. And what’s worse, the new playlist “Music 2” doesn’t even contain any tracks, but it does have 26 subplaylists (?) called A, B, C, …, Z, which in turn contain tracks from the disk.

  1. How do I update my existing playlist with new tracks?
  2. How do I stop those A-Z playlists from being created? I don’t want them in my playlist management software; they are crutches and only exist because filesystems are shite. Why is that shite now in my playlists?

I would really love to update the firmware of my PRIME 4 to something newer than 1.6.1 but with the software being so fundamentally broken as to be completely unusable, my hands are tied.

So, I guess I have a third question.

  1. How do I use the new software when I’m adding tracks every week, without having to resort to micromanagement (i.e. importing each single track into the “Music” folder manually), without having playlists I don’t want, without having to scrap and re-import my collection every week? Am I using the software so incredibly incorrectly? Are my requirements so alien?
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There is a workaround.

Step 1. In Engine, delete your “Music” playlist. (It will delete all the sub playlists but it will keep your music in the collection)

Step 2. Drag the Music folder in Engine, it will create the playlist again with the same structure as before and it will add the new songs.

There is also a feature request which you can vote


Okay, I must not have expressed myself as clearly as I thought, because that is the exact behaviour that I consider broken because it is the opposite of what I want. I do not want to replicate the physical structure of the folders on disk in Engine; Engine is supposed to deal with playlists and entries in playlists where as my disk is supposed to deal with directories and files. These concepts are vaguely related but very much not interchangeable.

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Reading your first post reminded me of how I used to organise things.

When I started storing music on my PC I did exactly the same thing. Alphabet folders, putting tracks in each folder depending on the artist name.

I did it so I knew where things were - because this was in the 90s, before DJ software.

Once you add your music to DJ software and it creates a database, there’s no need for “alphabet folders” or similar organising, because the software takes care of that.

As long as your files are correctly tagged, it matters not where they are on your drive. You find them and organise in the software.

You could in theory just lump them all in one folder. In practise though, maybe a new folder for every X number of tracks…and that’s it.

So you want just one playlist called music then? I think you can try with a smart playlist, just make some sort of rule that applies to all the songs you import. An example could be creating a rule to include songs between 10 bpm and 300 bpm (exaggerated the range here), then any track you add to engine should go to that smart playlist

Drag Music directory to Engine Collection

It will call it Music 2 or 3 or 4, if a Music Playlist folder already exists in your Engine DJ collection tab

Then when it detects new files and auto analyze these

Remove the Music crate/playlist from Engine DJ

It will not remove the tracks itself, just the playlist name

Then go ahead to sort your library by date added and your newest tracks will be the most recent.

Then go about sorting the new tracks as you would do in 1.6

No way i’m afraid. It’s meant to benefit people that want to mirror their directories with Engine DJ

So it treats the Main directory like a folder and any sub directories like playlists.

You may just need to adjust your workflow a tiny bit.

You could start a feature request that disables sub-folder playlists creation that it appears is the behavior that you don’t want. Am I right?

Yes, exactly, which is why I would expect a software whose job it is to manage playlists and playlist entries to not care about the physical structure of the folders on disk.

Which is what I would love to do but Engine DJ replicates the physical structure of the folders, making my organizing job harder.

Thanks for you input, though! I guess I have to re-think the way I handle things…

Okay, so, updating is “throw everything away and re-create it?”

This mixing of playlists and crates (which IMO are conceptually different) sounds like a horrible idea. If “delete the old playlist and create a new playlist” is the officially recommended process for updating a playlist with tracks from disk, then I really wonder about where the collection information is actually stored. Is a track automatically removed from a collection if it’s removed from the last playlist it’s in? How does re-creating a playlist from disk not mess up the import date (which is kind of important to me)?

Do those people actually exist or is their existence merely theorized from the existence of this “feature” in Engine DJ? :smile: I have checked with a bunch of DJs I know and none of them said they would like such a feature. None of them is using Denon products, though… :smiley:

Hmm, yeah, I guess I’ll have to do that…

I guess I could? However, seeing that it has been that way since version 2, and we’re now at 4, and apparently there are not many people complaining about it, so I’m guessing that a feature request would get me absolutely nowhere.

Anyway, thank you very much for your input!

I’m afraid they do exist. I am not one of them though.

I suspect its the OGs from PCDJ / Virtual DJ era who are used to that way of working.

It is stored in the DB folder that you will find in your laptops Music directory (and any other drives that you added music to Engine Collection FROM) eg say you also have extra drives in your laptop or using an external drive to store music normally.

You would be surprised. It may be low hanging development job that may be easy to implement. Just as a user setting in Engine DJ. Make subplaylists YES or NO.

It wont mess anything up. The tracks that you added previously would still maintain the original date added.

No. Deleting a playlist does not remove a track from the main collection. You can test it out yourself

Create a TEST PLAYLIST with some tracks, DELETE the playlist, Look for the tracks in your Engine Library …they would still be there.

It does sound like a mess when i think of it.

I am going to do some testing here and see if there is a way to add that MUSIC directory without the subfolders being added as SUBPLAYLISTS

Okay. The way to do it

  • If you drag it into the Collection/Playlist tree (Left Panel) subplaylists will be created.

  • So simply drag the MUSIC directory into the Library, it will scan and only add new files.

I tested this last night and yes, this is already very close to the workflow I was using before the update. I will still test whether that’s possible without using the OS’s Finder/Explorer and instead using the Engine DJ-internal File System Browser but even if that doesn’t work, what you pictured up there is already brilliant. Thank you very much!

Addendum after the post has been closed: this also works completely within Engine DJ, when dragging the folder from the File System Browser to the tracks area of the playlist to add the tracks to. Awesome! :partying_face:

Yeah, there’s multiple entities involved here, and the interactions are unclear. (I am a software developer, so thinking about how things actually work is kind of my bread and butter. :slight_smile:)

If I start with an empty collection, and I add a playlist, and I add a track to that playlist, and I remove that track from the playlist, is it still in the collection? If so, where can I see that? If it’s not in a playlist, how do I remove it from the collection?

I guess most of that is easy enough to test but at the moment I’m a bit reluctant to do so myself, because the experiences I had last night with the software and the PRIME 4 were rather horrible; as soon as the PRIME 4 was attached to the MacBook, performance in Engine DJ tanked so massively, it’s hard to describe. Like, just reversing the current sort order of 7000 tracks took 35 seconds. Syncing playlists to the player took several minutes. Just waiting for the sync manager to be actionable takes over three minutes. Three minutes of staring at a window without any indication that there’s anything happening! If you added tracks to a playlist and want to re-sync again to get those additional tracks to the player, nope. The tracks are copied but they are not added to the playlist on the player. Deleting the playlist, sync, re-add the playlist, sync — it took fifteen minutes just to do these four simple things. But did it work? Also no! I had to delete the playlist while the player was attached to make sure the playlist was deleted from the player, and only then could I re-add it. Add to that that now that all playlists have the same order (or rather, there’s a single sort order that’s applied to all playlists), it’s a pain to switch between the playlist for the next set (because that’s hand-sorted, i.e. by play order and with drag and drop) and the whole music playlist (which needs to be sorted by added date so I can find the newest tracks).

Okay, this is getting really off-topic but holy hell, the way this currently goes, I will never buy Denon again — which is kind of a pity because the player itself is really solid, but if Denon won’t get their stuff together with their software, the player on its own isn’t really worth it.

Anyway, you have really helped me with the method up there, so thanks once again. :slight_smile:

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