The iPad has been panned by critics for being more of a content consumption tool than one for creating content. But a great pair of apps,
called djay for iPad and iPhone make a very strong case that the iPad is a wonderful tool for content creation.
Algoriddim, the developer behind the successful $51.99 djay Mac app, set out to create a version for iOS that lets you mix your iPod music library on the go. I’m here to tell you the team has done a superb job with both djay for iPad ($23.99) and djay for iPhone ($5.99).
Before I even get to the actual functionality of the app, Algoriddim needs to be applauded for its work on the user interface. You get the very clear feeling that every detail of djay has been hand-crafted by the finest designers around. The ‘hyper-realistic’ turntables are modelled on the widely popular Technics SL-1200 series and when you hold down a deck to ‘scrub’, the waveform zooms in so you can see more detail.
Djay is also one of the best apps to highlight the incredible power of Multi-Touch in iOS. Tap, scratch, spin – djay lets you do it all, just the same as in real life. I’m no DJ but I’m confident that carrying around an iPad is a lot easier then carrying around two SL-1200s and an amp.
In terms of functionality, djay provides direct access to your iPod library so there’s no requirement to add music to the app. If it’s in your iPod library, you can use it in djay.
Once selected, the album ‘slides’ in to the album slot and begins playing. In the background djay also analyses the track for wave forms and beat counts. In my tests it took around a 30 seconds to analyse a normal five-minute track.
The analysis that djay performs in the background isn’t simple stuff. It’s sophisticated on-the-fly song analysis that has ‘beat and temp detection’ and calculates the beats per minute (BPM) of each track. A recent update has made the calculations twice as fast.
Djay also provides mixer and EQ controls in the form of a ‘3-band equaliser, gain, line faders and a crossfader’ to provide extra precision and control when blending one song into another.
The Split Output mode, when combined with a split output adaptor (stereo/mono split cable) lets you cue a song through your headphones independently from the mix that goes through the main speakers. You can also use regular headphones and get the different outputs channelled to each ear, but you’ll need to have a good brain to make sense of the music this way.
If creating your own mix sounds too hard you can always use the Automix mode that auto-magically mixes your favourite playlist with ‘seamlessDJ-style transitions’. It works like this: Choose your favourite playlist, select your transition (I like the ‘Backspin’ effect) and press Play. It’s like your own perfect nightclub, but you don’t have to talk to anyone or pay for over-priced drinks.
If you like your mix you can also choose to record it in the app. Unfortunately, you’ll either need to listen to the recording within the djay app, or export it and then re-import it back into iTunes when you’re back on your computer.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to djay also check out Tap DJ ($1.19). This app has similar functionality to djay but also comes loaded with samples and sounds to add to your mixes.
There’s also an integratedvoice recorder and a ‘Gyroscratch’ feature that lets you shake your iPhone to scratch the track and the ability to share what you’re mixing with your friends with a unique tap.dj URL that is created each time you share your mix.