Sunday, 22 November 2009

Hey Mr DJ put two records on...

Finally the DJ apps that have been held back by Apple are starting to flood in. And what a varied bunch they are!

The one that's been out for a while, and is truly a magnificent turntable simulation is Flare. I've had this since launch and I absolutely adore it. I'd love pitch control, uploading my own background loops and an FX engine, but as it currently stands nothing comes close for those used to spinning the wheels of steel. Even works beautifully with time-code recordings for desktop apps like Virtual DJ. But there's something else I'd like to see added (see later on...)

The most publicly held back DJ app was Touch DJ by Amidio, creator of the uber-synth, As my coffers are stretched at the moment, courtesy of buying an iPhone 3GS, I'm not quite ready to try this out at $19.99 but that's not to say the price is too high - it really looks like a premium product and $19.99 doesn't buy you much else in the world of the desktop DJ! It uses an interesting visual-mixing technique, where you see the key beats on each waveform and line-them up before hitting the x-fader. A nice idea for getting around the obvious problem of the iPhone only having a single stereo output. But there's something else I'd like to see added (see later on...)

The interestingly named Sonorasaurus also arrived this week, with a gorgeous looking interface. I haven't seen much in the way of video demos of this (only one on youtube that I could see) and I'm not sure if it allows looping like Touch DJ appears to. It is, however, half the price of Touch DJ. But there's something else I'd like to see added (see later on...)

Also allowed out to play are abcDJ ($3.99) and "and Scratch" both by Sanken System. I think "and Scratch" is a single-deck version of abcDJ, with a price ($1.99) to match. Both apps look similar to Flare, but with extra functionality. Unfortunately the demo videos on Youtube have quite poor audio quality so it is hard to say how they truly compare. But there's something else I'd like to see added (see later on...)

Finally, from what I've seen, is DJ Player Blue Edition at the top end of premium at $24.99 for what appears to be a single-deck application. I imagine that price may be revisited fairly swiftly in light of the competition. It appears to have a Kaoss pad inspired FX section, which is nice. But there's something else I'd like to see added...

Ok, so what is it I'd like to see added to all of these? Is it the ability to use tracks straight from your iPod library instead of having to upload an additional copy of the track per app? Well, that would be nice, but I think that's an Apple restriction so you can't ask the developers to do something beyond Apple's limits! No, what I'd really like to see is this:

Use local wifi to sync and stream a "deck" on two iDevices (e.g. iPod and iPhone) and crossfade between them! So one device could output the crossfader mix (i.e. what the audience hears) and the other device could output a headphone mix for the DJ's use. How awesome would that be? No more worries about single audio output, "visual mixing", guessing the mix etc. I'm sure a few people now have a couple of iDevices thanks to upgrades etc, plus second-hand 1G iPod Touches are now really cheap.

Anyway, it's something I'd like to see :o) Any devs wanting to give it a try let me know!


  1. Thank you very much for this great overview.

    Your WiFi idea is interesting, but that there would be too much latency to use it in a professional environment i think.

  2. BeatMaker by Intua is another great app. I consider it by far the best app on my iPod. Not to mention you can "copy and paste" from Pro.

    Another entry level and catchy Dj app is Deadmau5's (deadmouse) latest Mix II

  3. Yeah, latency would certainly be too high for complex scratching involving precise x-fader cuts etc.

    Wonder if on, say, Touch DJ you could have both devices playing both tracks and then just use wi-fi to keep the matching pairs of tracks in sync? That might work. So on the "master output" device you'd be listening to the post x-fader output but on the "DJ output" device you'd be listening to whatever you wanted to (deck 1, deck 2, mix etc).

    For example you've got decks 1 & 2 playing on your master output device, and the x-fader is all the way to the right so the club can hear deck 2. On the DJ output device you're listening to deck 1, loading new tracks, pitch setting and cueing it up etc. All your changes to deck 1 are mirrored on the master output device's deck 1 through wi-fi sync, so when it's time to bring deck 1 into the mix all is perfectly matched :o)