With the release of DJ Hero and other DJ oriented apps and games, I know there are plenty of DJs and hobbyists out there that view these types of apps with skepticism. I have to tell you, though, DJ Player, by iMecht Ltd. is a fully functional mixing app for the Ipod* that offers a number of impressive features. Having played around with it for the past couple of weeks, I can tell you, this thing is a serious mixing app. One of the things I like most about DJ Player is that the developers made a very intuitive interface that shows they are familiar with what a DJ expects, from a DJ’s point of view. In fact, if I were to develop a mixing app, this comes pretty close to what I would try to offer.
One of the key features that DJ Player offers is the ability to monitor a channel in your headphones. I did have to buy some additional cables and adapters to make this work, which I will detail below, but once the cable setup has been sorted, the ability to do pre-fader listening works like a charm. Also of note, is the ability to tap and store BPMs. Now, many of the tracks that I have purchased from places like Juno and Beatport already have the BPMs calculated, but for tracks that don’t have this, the tap ability is helpful… especially for DJs just starting out trying to learn the craft. Sure, there was a time when I would have considered this cheating, and I still believe nothing is better for learning the art of DJing than beatmatching by ear. But let’s face it, most DJ apps and many mixers already have BPM detection or matching already; the cat’s been out of the bag for some time now. The DJ Player developers would be foolish not to incorporate such a feature in today’s market.
Now, I’m not saying that this is going to replace a complete DJ rig, yet it is definitely robust enough in terms of the features to perform a complete set. For casual gigs such as house parties or just going to the beach with some friends, not having to lug around a bunch of gear and crates, this is where an app loke this can really shine. I also think this is a great set-programming tool for established DJs. Certainly mobile DJs can make use of this type of app and I think it’s a great learning tool for people who want to learn about mixing, but can’t afford a full rig.
Other notable features:
1. Ability to upload songs to your Ipod over Wifi with the included winsync program. I haven’t seen any other app that is capable of this. Just create a playlist in ITunes called “DJ PLAYER” and if your Ipod and computer are on the same wifi network, run the winsync program and input the IP address of your Ipod and hit sync. This will then upload the playlist and all associated songs to the Ipod. Pretty cool!
2. Multi-touch crossfader, pitch sliders, and pitch bend to make realtime adjustments. All of these are customizable in terms of scale and resolution and the curve of the crossfader can be adjusted as well.
3. Several effects including delay, reverb, high-pass and low-pass filters and EQ. These can be triggered via multitouch, or even controller via the Ipod’s accelerometer!
4. Low, mid and treble EQ sliders.
5. Tap function to calculate and store a song’s BPM.
6. Ability to set and save cue points on tracks. This is beneficial if you have a track that has silence, spoken word or ambience prior to the first beat.
7. Sortable playlist. You can sort by title, artist or tempo.
* When I refer to Ipod I am including Iphone and Ipad. I imagine this app would be even stronger on the Ipad with the additional real estate available.
Required cables for PFL monitoring (Headphone cueing):
1. Mini-plug to RCA Y adapter. This will plug into your Ipod’s headphone jack.
2. 2 RCA Y adapters. One for the red and one for the white ends of the mini to RCA adapter listed above.
3. Plug a normal RCA cable into the RCA Y-Adapter attached to the white side of the mini adapter. You may need RCA barrel couplers. This cable will go to your input on your amp, stereo, mixer, etc.
4. Your headphones will plug into one of the RCA connectors on the red side of the mini plug to RCA adapter. You may need one more mini to RCA adapter (not a Y adapter) or 1/4 inch to RCA adapter, depending on what type of connector is on your headphones.
The following video demonstrates real time mixing with this app. Yes, I used BPM syncing to speed things up for the sake of the video, but I still needed to monitor the speed and you will see me make bend adjustments to keep the beat-mixing proper.