What is timecode

Q. What is timecode?

Timecode is a special audio signal recorded on a standard vinyl record or audio CD that allows you to use traditional vinyl or non-MIDI capable CD decks to control song playback in VirtualDJ.

VirtualDJ 'listens' to the audio signal coming from the timecode record/CD playing on the vinyl/CD deck and can work out the song position, what speed it's playing at and which direction, allowing this to be replicated on the virtual deck in VirtualDJ. This allows you to use traditional DJ hardware to control song playback in VirtualDJ.

Timecode was particularly important in the early days of DJ software because it allowed you to use a familiar hands-on hardware interface to control the software that the DJ was already used to using. At this time, there were very few DJ MIDI controllers and most of these were very basic with limited capabilities.

Nowadays., MIDI and HID controllers have mostly superseded using timecode with high quality professional units available that are able to replicate the look and feel of traditional decks. Some controllers are even available with active spinning platters, which closely replicate the technique and feel of using and mixing with real vinyl.

MIDI/HID controllers have the advantage of being able to directly interface with the software, so can control more than basic song playback (E.g: Samples, effects, song browsing, etc.), can be custom mapped and can provide full two-way feedback where the controller has a suitable display screen (E.g: Song time, track name, BPM, etc.) A selection of popular controllers can be seen on the hardware page.

If you wish to use timecode with VirtualDJ, please see: Timecode Requirements.

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