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Launch Turnplay and you're greeted with a gorgeous knockoff of the Technics 1200, long considered the gold standard among DJ turntables. If you missed out on the chance to own one, this richly rendered iPad version might just scratch the itch. However, if you put "The #1 vinyl record player for iPad" in your app title, you've really got to deliver. Unfortunately, this iPad music player isn't quite the equivalent of the classic wax it tries so hard to emulate.
Turnplay features all the standard 1200 controls: +/- 8 percent pitch slider, start/stop, a power button, and the requisite lights. Turnplay integrates with your iPad's iTunes library, so you can play any of your local tracks. Music in the cloud also shows up when you browse, but to download them, you'll have to go back to the Music app first.
Playback is easy, but loading tracks into the app is cumbersome. Songs load individually, so unlike an actual turntable, you can't just pick your favorite record and drop the needle. You can move the virtual tone-arm to skip within a track, but Turnplay is a turntable that essentially only plays single songs, rather than albums. A recent update adds a queue feature, but you'll still have to add each track manually, and the option to queue entire albums is sorely missed.
Putting more dust in my grooves, the queue feature displays album art to represent individual tracks. It looks pretty, but without an additional tap to "flip" the cover, you can't tell one song from another on the same album. Turnplay makes your digital files less convenient than vinyl LPs (no small feat), with none of the visceral satisfaction you'd get from spinning actual records. It's a bit like early Guitar Hero: more of an entertaining toy than an actual representation of the experience it tries to emulate.
The bottom line. If you've never played an LP before, Turnplay is fun for a few minutes. But loading one track at a time isn't realistic, and severely limits the app's usefulness as a music player. The visuals are fantastic, but Turnplay reminds me of a record with amazing cover art but only a few good songs.
iPad running iOS 5.0 or later
Beautiful graphics. Replicates all the controls of a classic turntable. Realistic pitch controls and braking.
Must switch tracks manually. Is less functional and slower to use than an actual turntable. Album cover-based queue is cumbersome to navigate.