I’m the kind of DJ that likes to have my whole music collection available to me when I DJ. I have a massive music collection, approx. 2TB on a 5TB portable drive, separated into folders based on top level genres, i.e. Techno, Hip-Hop, 80s, etc. In each of these top folders are hundreds of subfolders sorted by artist, and within those artist folders are all the artist albums and tracks (not too different from iTunes organization). I end up with something like 60,000 tracks across several thousand folders.
As a Traktor Pro DJ for many many years, my workflow was very simple:
- Plug external HD into laptop or NI controller.
- Browse through the folders to find the track I want to play.
- If the specific folder I’m in is not already analyzed, I right-click on it and select Analyze Folder to get BPMs and other metadata right there in that folder view, which helps me pick the track I want. (Example: I recently added a new Underworld album (folder) to my music drive. I’m DJing and want to play a song from it but I don’t know any of the BPMs or keys because it wasn’t analyzed yet. While still DJing some other song, I analyze that new Underworld folder on the fly, get the metadata, and then choose which track from the album I want to play next.)
This process allowed me to access my entire collection and analyze folders in real time while DJing. However it seems this process is not doable in Engine Prime and my P4 controller. While I can browse my external hard drive’s folder structure easily enough, no metadata is displayed in any folder - BPM, key, genre, etc., nor do I have the ability to analyze those folders from this file browser mode. Instead, the only solution I can see is to add all these thousands of folders to my Collection first.
The best workaround I’ve come up with in is to create Crates that exactly mimic the folder structure on my external drive. So under Collection, I’ve got Crates for Techno, Hip-Hop, 80s, etc. and I drag and drop folders from my drive to the corresponding Crates. This works… but presents a lot of problems:
- Denon does not recommend having a massive Collection like this, especially on a spinning hard drive (and I’m not forking over the money for a 4TB SSD).
- I have to remember to manually add new music from my drive to the Collection. With the constant updating on my drive, it’s near impossible to keep the drive and the Collection in sync. If there was an auto-sync feature where EP looked for changes to my external drive and automatically analyzed anything new it discovered, it would help a great deal in terms of taking out the guesswork. Of course, I’d still be dealing with a massive Collection which presents its own problems.
Bottom line, I don’t want to have to cull down my music collection, change the way I organize things, or have two sources of truth (the external drive and the EP Collection). The goal all along when I bought the P4 was to have everything in my existing collection available to me, just like it was in Traktor. It’s this whole “add to the Collection first” mechanism that is really throwing a wrench in the way I DJ. If I could just keep everything out of the Collection to start with, and then analyze folders as needed from the file browser view (thus adding them to the Collection), the problems would be solved.
Does anyone out there have a better workflow for DJing “live” from a massive music library?