Integration of Playlists and Collection is a Fail in Usability

Engine DJ is a step backward in the contextualization of our workflows and separation of our DJ use cases.

Our Collections was where we would store the music, our Playlists would be our selected tracks we “took to gigs”. The separation worked. I could have my Collection untouched, and just drag a track into a Playlist or two or three in Prime 1.6.2… and if I wanted to remove it from any of the Playlists… I could select “Remove from Playlist” and it was taken out, and the song would remain in the Collection and my other “Playlists” where it appeared- alternatively- I could just play out of crates of a sub genre… or what ever- I could either prepare- or go digging in the crate.

Now, with 2.0… they went backwards and made the “Collection Crates” behave like Playlists so we could order our Collection Crates. If you create another “Playlist” in 2.0 you are only creating another “Collection Crate” that can be ordered.

If you are thinking of upgrading, really consider if you want to lose this separation of Collection and Playlist with easier toggling in the interface, versus a long single scrolling list.

Bummer. It will now take a year + for them to sort out all the new issues.

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I successfully migrated backward to Prime 1.6.2 from Engine DJ 2.0 and will continue with the old Engine Prime until 2.0 gets sorted. But having a long list of sortable Collection Crates pretending they are Playlists marketed as a Feature is nothing but spin.

You want painless Engine DB management?- do as I do, and only use an external SSD and back it up duplicate to another SSD. Do not bother with Engine Sync. Engine 2.0 was to address the confusion IMO of this duplicate Engine Sync situation. I only ever used an external SSD and will only do so. Use the onboard HD for recordings only.

Notes for Denon: Now that you took the leap to simplify the sync action since the sync and duplicates was a usability nightmare… by getting rid of V1 Playlists… can you consider the following?:

Now each db record related to the Track now has another variable noting its position in a Table (Crate) based on the user selected positioning in the console/sw. This makes it the sortable playlist function. OK fine.

Could you not just add another variable to that Table that is a user set binary Y/N determining if that Table (crate) is to be treated like a Playlist in the Interface Only. If set to Y, you bring back your interface Playlist Tab for the “selected playlists” of the selected Tables show in the Playlist Tab within the interface. It is still the same Table in your upgraded db schema. Let us decide if we want a crate to be Collection or if we want it to be a Playlist.

The whole idea that collecting, sorting, and choosing tracks to play all occur in a single hierarchical level is silly given the human context is the touchscreen. You need to address the user in this update.

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Totally agree with you 100%. This has to be to worst idea I have ever seen in regards to usability and workflow. There was absolutely no reason to mess with what was already a working system that made perfect sense to anyone coming from another computer based dj software.

It seems to me that there is only Serato DJ using crate + playlist. I am wrong? What do VDJ and Rekordbox do? :thinking:

I believe that Serato only knows Crates, and Rekordbox/Traktor know Playlists. I know no software which has 2 collections of “lists”, except for Engine 1.6.2.

I believe it was a good call to merge the 2 concepts. Now, if there are small things which should be polished on this new unified concept (ie no duplicates are allowed), than that’s open for discussion, but I firmly do not want to look for my “lists” in 2 seperate places. One sort of list should suffice…

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I agree that sync manager was useless (I don’t know about now because I refuse to use it after the mess last year).

The best way to remove a track from a playlist is to do it all on the unit itself. I don’t remember on hand but I’m sure you can remove a track from a ‘proper’ playlist on the desktop by clicking on the left hand panel playlist - not the right hand drive side. When your drive is plugged in, the folders etc appear on the left side too & I’m sure that a right click there brings up ‘remove from playlist’.

My work flow hasn’t changed. I basically treat my former crates as crates. I have now created a playlist called ‘Playlists’ and added all my proper playlists into that folder. New playlist? Just create it as a sub within that holding Playlist folder.

When I add new tracks, I put them in my genre labelled folders on my laptop as normal. I open Engine & drag them into my folders (in my mind, my genre crates as normal). The newly added tracks appear at the bottom of that folder. I analyse (don’t use automatic), set cues, loops etc. Insert SD. Drag new tracks (individually) into my ‘genre crates’ on my drive. I can then create a playlist whilst I’m there if I want.

I do not have my ‘proper’ playlists inside the Engine desktop. Instead, I backup my SD onto a 2nd SD card. Will do these backups every few days & keep the 2nd one in my DJ back-pack. I also make a 3rd backup on my Seagate expansion pack… but will temporarily rename Engine Library because the incoming SD backup contains the folder ‘Engine Library’. Once backed up, I call it SDBackUp(Date) . Here, I also backup my laptop music files, engine library, backup folders etc.

Thanks for your remarks.

Please do this as a test with a song you can add back into your collection: ie have the file on your desktop before you do this:

Create a new Collection Crate in Engine 2.0 on the desktop. Create a second Collection Crate in Engine 2.0 on the desktop.

Add in that song into both.

Try deleting it from one Collection Crate only. You will only see “Delete from Collection” in Engine 2.0 Let me know Right Panel vs Left Panel…

Go check the second Collection and see if it is there. In my case - it was deleted in both spots.

NEXT: Sure, you could add a Collection and call it Playlists… so you can order your songs.

My whole point is that now appears below your preexisting heirarchy in the Prime 4 6" display…

On the Prime 4 the number of hand gestures (if you have your Collection Crates hierarchy open) to now get to the Playlists Collection crates you created at the bottom (or top) is far more then a single tap of a Playlists tab. This adds time for accessing.

If I am playing live and want to dive into a preexisting playlist to grab a two track segment… there is far less hand gesturing in 1.6.2 than in 2.0.

Your preference is a Use Case and is valid. My preference is also a Use Case and is valid. Both should be supported in user centred design of workflows.

My suggestion to Denon is to allow us to decide how we want the experience to present itself to us.

happy mixing!

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If you delete from collection, then yes, it will delete from both. You must select delete from playlist if you want it removed from just one folder (from left sided panel).

I agree that the scrolling down to my ‘playlist’ folder is a pain & I certainly preferred the old system of crates & playlists. I see 2.0 as a backward step IMHO but it is workable.

Tbh, the only benefit for me personally is the clock :rofl:. Not bothered about the lighting & certainly not bothered about streaming. ZipDJ is awesome & regarding the reluctant acquisition of some ‘cheese’, I just buy individually.

Neither am I a fan of the new sync behaviour too. I also do not see the total number of tracks in each playlist (on the unit) & all in all, I generally see more bugs & less stability than any other version to date.

First & foremost, I think Denon should start fixing some long standing bugs (like channel leds increasing when actually turning down EQ knobs) rather than adding features. Best to fix some basics & to have top notch stability which brings greater confidence when playing out.

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Thanks for your reply- I have to double checked this…

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Hmmm. In mine, I can Remove from Playlist… from the left panel only. If you want that removed from the drive too, you move over to the right drive panel, select the track within the playlist & click Remove from Drive. It will remove from that specific playlist only - not from the Collection. Of course, this is presuming you are removing from a ‘proper’ playlist from your drive. If you remove a track from a former ‘crate’ (now a playlist), as ‘remove from playlist or drive’, it will be removed but will remain in the collection. The problem here is that the track will not be in any folder at all! It will essentially be floating in limbo land. You will only see it by searching by name. This is why I keep my former crates (now converted to playlists) treated as crates - because it holds my collection in visible form.

Hi, yes I confirm in testing now that your behaviour is correct… but when I did it a second time I confirmed my original remove from collection behaviour and it deleted it everywhere…

so I removed my remarks in the original post on that and I am trying to replicate the remove from collection error now… I do not want to spout BS…

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…this is so weird…

From my original Collection crates imported from 1.6, I take a track and drop it into two newly create 2.0 crates.

I do that for a second song, drag from a converted 1.6 collection crate into the new 2.0 crates…

I select one of those crates and go to remove the first song from the 2.0 “playlist” and it shows the Remove from Playlist you have mentioned. Ok good… continuing on…

I shift focus to the second song… and I go to remove that one and it shows Remove from Playlist AND Remove from Collection.

I shift focus to the second of the two crates… and same thing for both songs… so now I have Remove actions which are different for two songs replicated across two different crates… and I do not know why.

that right there is why I am staying Engine Prime 1.6 for the foreseeable future.

(and then I add a third song to both 2.0 crates, and i select to remove the first song… and now it shows both Remove from Playlist and Remove from Collection… so totally weird…)

Back to Engine Prime I go- your experience may differ based on celestial alignment and if the track is Trance or not.

It is all rather confusing & certainly not a step forward. Remaining with 1.6 might be the better option at this time - though for me, I’ve stuck with 2.0 & can make it work. Definitely not a fan of converting crates to playlists though as there was no need.

PS: I initially had some red tracks after migration but I recall I had duplicates from a year ago after using sync manager. Basically, sync manager was woeful & messed up things. Having now cleaned things up, I have no duplicates, no corrupt files or irregular numbers (of tracks) between laptop, engine & SD. That said, my total music collection is just 600! I am ruthless & will not keep music I just won’t play in all reality.

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In summary:

From left panel (Engine DJ), you have choice to remove a track from playlist or collection. Problem here is if you remove from playlist only & don’t have that track in any other playlist, whilst still being in your collection, it will be floating in limbo land. You will have it but will need to use Search to find it.

After removing from Engine playlist or collection, move to the right (drive) side & mimic the action to keep your drive & engine in sync (if you want to avoid the dreaded sync manager). I think it is just the wording which is confusing because on the drive side, it says Remove from Collection or Remove from Drive but I THINK removing from drive is actually meant to read removing from playlist. I can’t remember from my tests but if I’m wrong & it removes the track entirely, you can just drag it back in from the Engine side. Removing from collection will remove the track from there & any other playlists you had it in.

send a screenshot

i have tested here and i can see remove from playlist and remove from collection

only time i dont see remove from playlist is when highlighting a track in the main collection (which is normal)

So, it looks like the collection in the left panel is displayed as a folder hierarchy but the logic controlling which tracks to show, and which delete options are available is actually working like a filter. I.e. the top level Collection contains all tracks, and any playlists are a subset of that. If this is the case then the UX does seem poor. A clearer separation of collection and playlists would help - which brings us back to the workflow of the OP…

Nothing has changed from 1.6 to 2.0 in the general way this panel works. It was the same for the Crates and Playlists when we had both

the first item on the left is usually an ALL item - Serato has Audio and Video (ALL) as well to further identify file type

if you delete in any of the “ALLs” it “removes from collection”, whereas if you delete from playlist/crates it removes from crate/playlist.

Is “Collection” is not self explanatory enough?

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