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Re-thinking cue types and functionality in rekordbox

I apologise, this turned into a bit of a rant, but it's been driving me up the wall since I started using rekordbox.

The state of cues in rekordbox is currently very confusing. It's unclear to me what specific disparate roles hot cues and memory cues are intended to serve, rather than just being combined into a single type that has the same functionality everywhere.

Hot cues are the most accessible type, being something you can create, delete, and jump to with pads on all controllers. However, they're limited in functionality beyond this, having only the weird progress bar style countdown around the playback controls that only appears within close proximity to the hot cue. This isn't much use for DJing.

Memory cues are essentially inaccessible from most controllers and require multiple clicks in the UI to get to. Since hitting a hot cue button reverts the UI to the Hot Cue page, manual creation of memory cues at each of the hot cue positions is extraordinarily tedious. However, they have one of the most important features attached to them: being able to see a beat countdown in the waveform view so you can align transitions cleanly, e.g. timing the next track start 8 or 16 bars ahead of a cue positioned on a break so you can tease the next track.

This leaves users in a really backward situation where the easy to access cue type is very limited in functionality, whereas the much more annoying to access cue type has critical utility, while neither type is really different from one another in terms of the semantics of what they do. This appears to be entirely artificial, since both cue types are stored in the same database table and hold identical metadata.

From my search efforts, I've seen folks ask for:

  • a way to promote hot cues to memory cues 
  • a way to have matching memory cues automatically created when hot cues are created
  • a way to have the waveform countdown use hot cues instead of memory cues
  • a way to chronologically sort memory cues (why aren't they chronological in the first place?)

Most of these are symptoms of the underlying problem: rekordbox has two cue types where it only really needs one, and functionality is artificially restricted to one cue type when it would be far more convenient for it to work with both types.

I've even seen Pioneer folks telling users to utilise 3rd party scripts to clone hot cues to memory cues. However, since you now encrypt the database for some baffling reason, the 3rd party tools are much trickier for regular users to set up. I'm a reverse engineer by trade and it took me a whole day to get the necessary dependencies built and start tinkering with the database myself.

Can we finally, at long last, please get the situation with cues cleaned up? Just giving us an option to use hot cues for the countdown instead of memory cues would be a major quality of life improvement and save everyone hours of faffing about.

Graham Sutherland

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Not 100% sure what you really are complaining about because Memory cues working like they always did and how everyone knows how to use it. Turning it upside down could be an impact for many more people than helping others. But this is your opinion and this is fine.

Let me comment to some of your arguments.

You ask for a way to promote hot cues to memory cues. This could be a nice add but be aware that there is a way to promote memory cues to hot cues. If your workflow to manage your cues starts with creating memory cues, you can convert them to hot cues easily in rekordbox. It is a function in rekordbox for a while now.

The way for automatically create memory cues when a hot cue is created, I wouldn't like all the time as I am not always have memory cues and hot cues in sync. It would need to be a setting the user can decide on. In addition this would need to be added to all devices by firmware update if this makes sence because users often add hot cues on their gear as well. It could be an issue when there a no slots left to create a new memory cue as you don't want to delete another automatically.

Regarding the waveform countdown you are correct. However to have 2 countdowns could be confusing for DJ's. It would have to be marked clearly if it would be for memory cues or hot cues. But as hot cues are instant, what is the benefit to know when the next approaches?

Memory cues are chronological sorted from the beginning. It is the hot cues which aren't. Not sure I misunderstand your ask.

I disagree with your assumption that there is only one cue needed. It goes back to the preferred way of djing. Therefore it is good to have both ways. If you want to use hot cues only - use hot cues. If you want to use memory cues only - use them. If you want to use both - you have the option. Taking away one of them is not a good idea at all. Btw. in forums of the competition where only hot cues are available there is an ask to add memory cues on top. 

If I would predict how memory cues and hot cues evolving in the future, I would assume it will go into a direction how the Opus Quad is using them. But this is just my opinion.

Frank Richter 0 票
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You ask for a way to promote hot cues to memory cues. This could be a nice add but be aware that there is a way to promote memory cues to hot cues. If your workflow to manage your cues starts with creating memory cues, you can convert them to hot cues easily in rekordbox. It is a function in rekordbox for a while now.

This is precisely the issue, though. Creating memory cues by hand in the UI is tedious. Creating memory cues is an instant process from any controller, and can be done from muscle memory. Consider how painful it'd be to set up your whole library if you either moved from a different piece of DJ software or were just starting out, and had to set memory cues for every track in the UI. Far more tedious than doing it with hotcues on the controller.

The way for automatically create memory cues when a hot cue is created, I wouldn't like all the time as I am not always have memory cues and hot cues in sync. It would need to be a setting the user can decide on. In addition this would need to be added to all devices by firmware update if this makes sence because users often add hot cues on their gear as well. It could be an issue when there a no slots left to create a new memory cue as you don't want to delete another automatically.

This point is entirely redundant if the beats / bars countdown worked with hot cues. It definitely does not require any firmware updates.

Regarding the waveform countdown you are correct. However to have 2 countdowns could be confusing for DJ's. It would have to be marked clearly if it would be for memory cues or hot cues. But as hot cues are instant, what is the benefit to know when the next approaches?

There wouldn't be two countdowns - the setting would let you pick whether you wanted the countdown to count to the next hot cue or the next memory cue. It could support an "either" mode but I don't see that being as useful.

Regarding the benefit and them being "instant",  I think you've misunderstood the use-case. I'm not using the countdown to hit the hot cue on that track - that would be silly (and I'd have to have pretty terrible timing to need a countdown for that!)

I'm using the countdown to figure out relative track positioning. For example, I'll set a cue on the first drop and another to the entry to the break in each of my tracks. When I'm bringing a new track in, I can see how many bars I've got until the break on the currently playing track. Let's say we're 40 bars out when I load it in. I can look at the new track I've loaded, hit the hot cue for the drop and instantly pause, seek backward 32 bars with beat jump, then wait until we hit the point where the currently playing track's countdown shows 32 bars away from the break, and hit play. This aligns the track such that the new track's drop will hit exactly at the current track's break entry. That allows me to tease in elements of the new track early, and drop straight across at the break transition. If I've got less time, or the track would be better positioned differently, the countdown timer lets me figure that out on the fly without needing a ton of different cues of different types set. I find this to be, by far, the most flexible way of DJing.

For this use-case, there's absolutely no reason why the memory cues should be the only ones that can be counted down to. I don't even have a particular aversion to the countdown being memory cue specific, as long as the user experience for memory cues is brought in line with the hot cues (and currently they are not in line).

I disagree with your assumption that there is only one cue needed. It goes back to the preferred way of djing. Therefore it is good to have both ways. If you want to use hot cues only - use hot cues. If you want to use memory cues only - use them. If you want to use both - you have the option. Taking away one of them is not a good idea at all. Btw. in forums of the competition where only hot cues are available there is an ask to add memory cues on top. 

If I only use hot cues I don't get the countdown, which is the whole problem here. I don't actually care whether I'm using hot cues, cold cues, warm cues, memory cues, forgetful cues, or whatever you want to call them, as long as there is feature parity between them. There isn't feature parity, hence the complaint.

Graham Sutherland 0 票
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