Dance eJay is back and in this 5th incarnation it promises to be better than ever. If you have ever used any of the previous 4 versions then you will at home with the interface, if not, well it's easy to get to grips with so you'll be able to pick it up no problem.

In its latest version Dance eJay boasts 5000 new samples, 48 stereo tracks and other great features to help you write the song of your dreams. Or a funky dance tune anyway!

The main area of the program is The Arranger, which is used to arrange samples in order to create a song, or "mix" as the manual says. To create a mix, you open up the sample archive, which lists all of the samples available to you, split into 9 groups. All you do is drag a sample onto one of the 48 tracks of the arranger and it will now be part of the mix.

The sample archive is really the heart of the program. You can access it on any screen and preview a sample by double clicking on it or arrange them by name or even by harmonic progression.

Although you have thousands and thousands of samples to use, they are not always going to fit into the track you're trying to compose, so to help you create new sounds and edit current ones is a tool called the FX Studio.

I am not going to profess that I know what everything in the FX studio does and I'm not going to quote from the manual and expect you all to think I know what I am talking about. All I can say is that the FX Studio, allows you to add echo to samples and to change the tempo, pitch, volume and even the bass and treble of individual samples. Using the FX studio you are able to take 1 sample and transform it into a completely new one quite different from the original sample.

If you can't find a sample to edit, which is quite likely if you are going to play around with this a lot, then you can create your own samples using 4 different generators. These are the Groove generator, a Hyper generator, a Bass generator and a Chord generator. Although I'm probably not the best person to describe the functionality of each of these or even understand what they do properly, they are good for creating samples to add to your mix.

In addition to controlling how individual samples sound you can also control how each one of the 48 tracks sounds. In the same manner that you can affect the volume, add echo to the samples, etc. you can do this to the tracks, so if you wanted all of the samples on one track to always have a certain amount of echo or be at a set volume throughout your mix this is where you would do it.

If it's not enough that you can alter individual samples and tracks, you get a recording studio to capture sounds from a Mic, Synthesizer or an audio CD. Once this is done you can edit the new sample using the FX studio as described above and then save it to your hard drive to use later on in your mix.

Once you have created your mix and are happy with the way it sounds, you can then move onto the 3D VJ Box, this is where you create an animation to go with the song. By adding backgrounds and 3D objects into an arranger similar to the one that was used to create your mix you can create an animation that will move according to the beats in your mix. Once you are happy with the animation you can play the whole lot together or export the animation as an AVI file.

If you want to make your mix into a real song you can either use some of the pre recorded male or female spoken lines or create your own using the voice generator. The problem I found with this is that like all voice generators it doesn't seem human enough. If what you are after is something that sounds like it's a computer speaking then this will do fine, otherwise recording from a mic is probably your best option.

Overall Dance eJay 5 is great, simply using the supplied samples you can create many varied tracks and if you're even better at the whole mixing game you'll find Dance eJay 5 a great piece of software for putting it all together.