Review: Djay For iPad

Incredible.

Console games like DJ Hero 2 might be great fun at parties, but they’re not anything like real DJ’ing. In fact, Activision have gone to great lengths to ensure that that’s exactly the case: they’re meant to be rhythm action games and in that respect they’re excellent fun. However, some of us yearn to get back behind the decks and although Djay for iPad isn’t a game, it’s as close as you can get without the feel of vinyl.

As you’ll see from the screens below, the iPad (and Mac) application presents two turntables and the simplest of mixing devices: a crossfader. Various pop-up functions dotted around the virtual decks include speed control, a three-band equiliser and a file browser; now that the iPad’s on 4.2 Djay can simply access your onboard iTunes library so any track you’ve got on your device is fair game for the software, a nice touch that means you don’t have to worry about uploading music over wifi beforehand.

The tactile nature of real records is translated as closely as possible, by using one finger you can scratch and cue the record (and there are CD-style cueing tools marked as Set and Play too) and as you do so the sound scubs in realtime, creating as realistic a sound as you’d expect. Likewise, the waveform at the top of the screen zooms in and out as you do so – lining up your mix is easy as pie.

Once a track is loaded in the iPad takes a few seconds to analyse the song, grab the waveform and pick out the BPM, so whilst you can start cueing, scratching and manually beat matching straight away if you want to make use of the app’s automatic BPM sync it’ll take a little while first – it’s no great delay though and previously loaded tracks are analysed instantly, Djay presumably saves the data it needs as it goes.

Additional tools include a clever two-fingered scratch (which crabs and flares for you, matching the noises to the rhythm of the currently playing track) and some automatic mixing tools like rewinds and brakes which help to break up your mix, which – yes – can be recorded as you go making the app suitable for studio recordings just as much as it is for live use.

Finally, a special device (which can be picked up on eBay for about a tenner) means that you can split the cueing and master audio into two distinct mono outputs, so you can make sure you’ve precisely lined up the next record before pushing it out to your party – I’ve actually managed to make one of these myself out of old bits of wire and sockets but you might want to grab one that won’t fall to bits under pressure.

In short, I’m in awe. For twelve quid you’ve got something that can power a party, transmit directly to an Airport Express or just keep you occupied on the train. It even multitasks, playing away in the background, whilst you check TSA. Wonderful.

You can buy Djay for iPad here.

15 Comments

  1. that sounds freaking amazing. shame i only have the old ipod

  2. Nice review, I wonder if we’ll see these being used in clubs one day. One question though, shouldn’t this be on apptilt?

    • The day I see an iPad used in a club ill implode.

      I die a little each time I see a laptop :(

      • Agreed, I’m still trying to like CDJ’s.

      • not having used an ipad yet i shouldn’t really comment, but i cant imagine the sound quality being ok to hook into a club system. I think we will most likely see a dedicated dj tablet sooner than later.

        On your second note i use a laptop and DVS to DJ and i will probably never use my precious vinyl again. The convenience of not having to drag around a massive pile of tracks is brilliant, plus i now have the flexibility to change my set to fit the mood of the crowd on the fly.

    • Why? TSA has long reported on the goings on in the iDevice world

      • I kind of agree though. Isn’t this the whole purpose of AppTilt? I mean, this isn’t even a game as the review explicitly states so it seems slightly odd to have here when it fits so perfectly with the ethos of AppTilt

  3. Funny, I just read the review on Engadget earlier today. What stuck with my memory qas the fact that the iPad’s limited memory sometimes reaches it’s limit if you have a few tracks lined up. Good to fool around but nothing a professional would consider using in a club.

  4. £12!? I just use Virtual DJ for free on my Windows lappy. It looks like it does exactly the same job, just a whole lot cheaper

  5. if i had an Ipad, this is definatley something I would buy, it sounds awesome and ive seen a video or 2. But also agree with the comments: id hate to see real dj’s using this

    • I cant see the point of Djing by Mp3 – it’s lazy. For start who wants to see someone standing in a dj booth playing with a laptop?

      • Its all about what you hear though, and you can do some incredible things with Abelton Live

      • Er no it’s not putting on a show. Th eamount of gawkers you get leaning over the box watching your every move is quite disturbing sometimes, watching to see e what tune comes next, what you’re doing. Sitting there and tapping a mouse is no good.

  6. You should try Cue Play DJ now thats incredible! FX, Hot Cue, iTunes library import, Full EQ’s with kills, streaming over wifi and in the next update you can record directly to your iDevice. Ferry Corsten helped to create the interface.

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