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A quick tap on Sync, and your tracks are matched.
As we move further and further away from vinyl, it’s become apparent that DJs both new and seasoned are looking at the iPad as a tool in their ever-changing arsenal to get your booty shaking. (Case in point: our interview with Rana Sobhany, the “iPad DJ.”) The touchscreen allows developers to re-create anything from old-school sound boards to fancy new apps that play music while filling your eyes with more colors than a tie-dye factory. While pushing a few buttons to create a bass groove is fun, the wannabe DJ inside each of us compels us to seek out apps like djay, with its virtual vinyl ready to rock your house parties.
The djay app for the Mac (5 stars, Jan/10, p71) got high praise for bringing the shockingly difficult -- and expensive -- world of DJing to the masses. Fortunately, alogoriddim was able to re-create the magic of the $49.95 Mac application on the iPad, and for just $20.
Record your brilliance for later. Next stop, mixtape superstardom.
All the fancy DJ pieces are here. The two turntables, the fader, even the BPM (beats per minute) of the tracks are displayed, with a Sync button to help you match beats between two tracks. It’s easy for app developers to throw in a bunch of pretty UI elements, but what’s awesome about djay is that each of those elements actually does something, just like a real DJ setup. It’s the little things that set the djay app apart from other apps in the space. You can move the scrubber in the waveform timeline to jump to different song sections, or, like an actual vinyl DJ, you can grab the turntable arm and move it along the virtual record.
This “scratching” motion feels natural, with just a small bit of latency that most people won’t notice. The physics of the turntables feel true to life. You can quickly spin a track forward and back to a cue point with the slide of your fingers. And to help you fine-tune your cue points, djay has a cue point feature that allows you to pinpoint the exact moment you want a track to play, and start it there with the push of a button.
The settings let you cue up the next track over your headphones.
That’s not even the most important feature of djay, either. Plug a stereo-to-mono minijack adapter into your iPad’s headphone port, so you can connect both a set of headphones and whatever speakers you’re using. Now djay will let you cue up tracks as if you were using a physical mixer, listening to the track you’re cueing up on your headphones from the right channel, while the party rocks out to the other track in the left channel. Without this feature, it would be difficult to mix two tracks together live.
The bottom line. Djay brings the fun of DJing to the iPad without compromise.
iPad running iOS 4.2 or later
All the DJing elements in a single portable package. Works with AirPlay.
Won’t stop people from trying to mix Lady Gaga with Madonna.