Saturday, December 22, 2012

algoriddim djay iPad App Review


If you do sound long enough, eventually somebody is going to ask you to dj a party, or maybe you just want to fill in between sets with a little something more than a playlist from your iPod. If you are like me you are not going to want to go out and buy two turntables and a dj mixing console for situations like this (not to mention haul them around). But, with the miraculous invention of the iPad, you can buy an app that does a good enough job of cuing up songs and beatmatching that most drunken partygoers will not know the difference.

I have messed around with different apps, and algoriddim djay is the best one that I have tried so far. Professional djs will sniff at the simplicity of this program, and with good reason. I have seen what a good dj can do with their turntables and there is something special about the way they can cue songs, match beats, use the fader and scratch. So this will not really apply to them. ¬

Algoriddim has taken advantage of the generous real estate of the iPad’s gorgeous screen, and put together an intuitive interface that most anybody can figure out within five minutes. If you have used their djay program for the Mac, you will see that there are a lot of similarities. On the screen you will find virtual versions of the basics that are in any dj coffin. This includes two decks with a crossfader, volume controls, speed controls and cue icons for each deck. Some really cool extras are an Automix icon, a record button (so so can save your mixes) and waveform displays for each deck. Each deck also has pop-up displays for EQ and song selection.

Pressing the song selection icon (the one that looks like music notes) will pull up the familiar music menu that you see on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. This lets you select music by playlist, artist, song, or album. On my iPad, some of the older music that I ripped in shows up as grayed out, and will not play. I am not sure why, and I guess I will have to copy those CDs in again. Bummer. But, most of my music plays just fine.

The best way to figure out how djay works is to start messing around with it, and you should be able to figure out all of the important stuff within ten minutes. When you select a song, it will populate the waveform display, and often times will provide you with the BPM. After the song starts playing you will notice that the needles on the imaginary turntables will actually move toward the center of the imaginary record as it plays. And yes, you can scratch the turntables too.

The controls on the touch screen do take some getting used to, and this type of interface will never be quite as controllable as having actual knobs and faders to move (especially for fat-fingered guys like me), but it gets close enough for casual use. The visible waveforms help with cuing up new tracks, although the one output makes things a little less cool. If you purchase a split cable, you can listen to your second song so you can cue it up properly. I really need to pick one of those up.

The Automix works well enough if you need to run off to the bathroom for a few minutes, but generally the app works better with a real person there to select songs and get things cued up. Of course, if you are a pro DJ, this app will not be up to your standards, but in my world I have already used djay for a party and a fundraiser and it worked out really well. A few times I needed to purchase a song I did not have from iTunes, and this app worked just fine in the background and it did not miss a beat.

The algoriddim djay application is full of cool features, does what it is supposed to, and is a steal at $19.99. But if you keep your eyes on the App Store you will occasionally find it on sale for $9.99. Besides being useful, it is also really fun and it is a worthwhile purchase for anyone with an iPad.


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