DJ Apps for the iPad

Upon its initial release the Ipad sparked up a lot of debate about its viability as a dj tool. Only a few months after its release there is a list of dj targeted apps but we are all wondering:  Are they a total waste of money or actually worth a spin?  To answer that question, I have been collecting Ipad apps by the dozens and searching for the best of the bunch. The results are a mixed bag. As you might suspect some really suck and some surprising contenders were actually a lot of fun. Check out which ones we liked after the break.

First, a disclaimer: I was hard pressed to find a lot of actual “dj apps” for the Ipad since its such a fresh product. To broaden the results we looked at anything related to djing that might be fun to use in that context.

THE GOOD

• Name: TouchOSC
• Price: $4.99

• Purpose: Customize your own Control interfaces and connect to OSC or Midi enabled software over WIFI
• Rating: Three Faders Up
• Summary: Your going to get the most bang for your buck with this app. Cant afford a Lemur? Join the crowd and try out the same concept with Touch OSC and an IPAD.  I can see touch OSC becoming a solid platform for third party development of quirky non-commercial ideas. The licensing agreement is basically open source and allows you to re-package the software in almost any way.

• Name: LoopTastic
• Price: $14.99

• Purpose: Mix and match loops and fade between scenes.
• Rating: Two Loops up
• Summary: These guys clearly put some thought into making the interface fun and coming up with original concepts on a musical interface. The built in loops actaully sound good, and it was fun to record riffs on the fly with the built in mic. The FX X/Y pad is fun to play with a long list of interesting sounding results. With 2 side by side arrangements and a crossfader to blend between them, its easy to create a longer musical story that might not quite be djing but gets close to it.

• Name: ToneTable
• Price:$7.99

• Purpose: Provides Time code control over DVS systems.
• Rating: One Thumb Swipe Up
• Summary: Tonetable provides the clearest dj utility app that has the most potential to be used in some sort of a serious context. The tracking and timing of the “turntable” interface was surprisingly good. The boys from Inklen are clearly taking the app seriously- they just released a brand new 1.1 version, which added cool features like the playable pitch notes.

Name: Baby Decks
• Price: $24.99

• Purpose: Gives you 2 functional Turntables for scratching beats and samples
• Rating: One Scratch
• Summary: I am personally not much of a turntablist so this app does not hold much appeal for me but I liked how easy and simple everything was to use. The decks worked well and you can basically do scratches and transforms fairly well.  There are several “scratch records” built right in that are easy to use and sounded good.  IMO, $24.99 is way too much for an app with this functionality but then again perhaps the development was super costly.

THE DECENT

• Name: MxNM

• Price: $4.99
• Purpose: Midi Controller for Ableton Live over WIFI
• Rating: Neutral
• Summary:The interface wont win any graphic design awards with its uber minimal design but then again fancy looking faders don’t make them easier to move. When using a computer to computer wifi network you can get the latency on this app down to about 10ms (normally up to 200ms on regular wifi). At that level it is usable for making adjustments and clip launching although the tiny buttons are not exactly “playable”. For a very in-expensive clip launching tool- this one is a decent value.

• Name: Tek Kit
• Price: $4.99

• Purpose: Cross fade between 2 beat sequences that you customize
• Rating: Jury is still out
• Summary:  You basically have 2 sequencers with drum, vocal and synth samples. Its really easy to lay out fresh patterns but the loop is only 1 bar long which gets reallllly old fast. One annoying thing- the iphone version seems to have more features so you may want to wait on a version 2 for the ipad.

•    Name: GrooveMaker
•    Price: $4.99

•    Purpose: Building and Arranging Electronic Music
•    Rating: One Thumb Swipe Up
•    Summary: If you would like to mess around with creating some mixes of various loops with zero chance of sounding bad this might not be a bad investment of $4.99. The loop’s production sounds are a little dated but for 30 minutes of fun- you get what you paid for. My only request- how about some FX?

THE BAD


•    Name: Tremor
•    Price: $19.99

•    Rating: One Thumb Down
•    Purpose: Mixing 4 Songs using 4 tiny turntable interfaces
•    Summary: This app needs a lot of work. Its nearly impossible to load any usable music onto the decks and there is no music provided with the app. Several cool features (like the mic record) were broken in the tested version and the mini- decks are just plain silly. If you do decide to spend 19.99 on this- chances of disappointment are very high.

•    Name: Daft Drum
•    Price: .99 cents

•    Rating: 2 thumbs down
•    Purpose: re-mix daft punk’s “harder, faster, stronger”
•    Summary:  Spending the .99 on a single play at the arcade will get more milage than this app. The latency on the buttons makes this “app” totally un-playable and quite frankly a joke. I kinda want my 99 cents back. Was the iphone version this bad?

•    Name: DiddyMidiDj
•    Price: $4.99

•    Purpose: Connects to your laptop over WIFI and acts as a midi controller for Traktor Pro
•    Rating: Two Thumbs Down
•    Summary: Not only is the User interface amazingly ugly, but the latency is shocking. You press a buttons and if it works at all (which often times nothing did) then something might happen 2-4 seconds later. Its ok to release a simple app that’s still in development- just don’t charge for it.

And Just for fun..

Name: Tap Tap Radiation
• Price:Free (sound packs are around $2.99)

• Purpose: Tap along to your favorite tunes
• Rating: Two Taps Up
• Summary: If your looking for a quick and easy way to work on button timing and increase your “tap” speed this a really fun choice.

• Name: Inkstrumental
• Price:$2.99

• Purpose: Crazy Animated characters act out your personal sequences.
• Rating: Two Swipes Up
• Summary: Even though its technically not Ipad ready yet, the Inkstrumental grabbed me as the most fun music app out there that incorporated dj style “tapping” and sequencing. Well worth the $2.99, these guys nailed the art of making music fun, goofy and lovable all at the same time.

VERDICT

The IPad is not exactly a dj friendly platform yet with no access to the built in I-tunes library. Until that happens, I cant see too many of the bigger software guys jumping on the bandwagon and creating some real dj apps.  There were a lot of cool individual moments in some of these apps but none of them really brought it all together in a “wow” moment.  When that happens, we might begin to take Ipads seriously as a potential dj tool.

  • JoshEverest

    Have you ever checked out a iPad/iphone app called Qusik, It might fall into the Just for fun category. Interested in your take.

  • Johannes

    Could you revisit that post (= re-post 😉 just slightly different with a title like “DJ-Apps for Tablets”?
    (“for Tablets” meaning not exclusively iOS)

  • Johannes

    Could you revisit that post (= re-post 😉 just slightly different with a title like “DJ-Apps for Tablets”?
    (“for Tablets” meaning not exclusively iOS)

  • Masta Hanksta

    This page clearly needs a fresh update because djay by algoriddim is by no doub the best DJ app for the iPad 🙂

  • Vincent

    [quote comment=”31734″]Can somebody help me out with something?

    I downloaded TouchOSC for my iPhone and Occam for OSC>MIDI conversion for OS X (10.4). I got Ableton to receive MIDI from Occam but I can’t seem to get TouchOSC to send to Occam. Either that or I can’t get Occam to receive from TouchOSC. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong…in the TouchOSC settings it is sending to the right port and it sees the network and everything. Any ideas? Thanks!![/quote]
    same problem 🙁

  • I Like The GrooveMaker you can really do some crazy remixes with it.

  • hey,
    There is a really cool Reactable App for the Ipad, it would be cool if you check it out.

    http://www.reactable.com/

  • Toast

    So you say that the iPad is not a viable DJ product..
    The one and only Deadmau5 ditched his Lemur for 2 iPads using TouchOSC.
    Ye he isn’t technically a DJ and he is more of a producer but still i’ve seen him in small clubs and he uses 2 iPads connected wirelessly to his macbook and a soundcard sending the audio to the mixer in the club… usually a DJM-800. pretty crazy how times change.

  • Ogan

    I v just found a “futur” app (still under development) that could be really exciting.
    Regarding the screenshot it seems intuitive. If the quality/usability could follow it would be a great app.

    http://pixil.info/portfolio/mixr/

  • I’m disappointed to read that you had problems with your setup on DiddyMidiDJ, I can reassure you that it is a finished and working product and that there are many dj’s round the world using it without the issues you describe.

    The latency on the controls should be very very small,
    as you can see in a video someone posted on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9g7oV3ESUQ

    If you look at the buttons lighting up in the video, that shows the time between the message sent and received back from Traktor.

    Can you send me any more information via the support forums that might help me find what the issue is on your setup that is causing the problem for you ?

    Regarding the look of the app, it’s designed to look like my real life mixer. I would consider putting a skinning feature in if there was demand for it. Personally I like the way it looks.

    best regards
    Diddy UK

  • Maurizio

    Yes why is Sonorasaurus absent from the list? Its been very good and many apps on this list are not fitting the topic.

    You can see quite apparent how the mixing works just visually here:

  • Tone Spin

    Which App do you think Richie Hawtin is using in this video posted here? I can’t quite tell..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoA4-yn6dbw&feature=player_embedded
    This Live setup looks the bomb!!!!

  • Anonymous

    links?

  • Dj Divine justice

    I think the gyroscope in Iphone 4 will make for a sweet effect tool. It can even sense if you turn around in a circle. So you could map it to your crossfader and be on channel one facing north and fade to channel two when you get to facing south.

  • Muzikizum

    Awesome! Very Helpful DJTECHTOOLS!!! You guys rock!!!!!

  • Sonorasaurus Rex, most actual utility

  • Been using the iPad, TouchOSC, Pure Data, Traktor, VDJ setup with my own custom templates for a few weeks and it’s superbad!!! Check my facebook for pics… http://www.facebook.com/djdab

  • JesC

    Ive been following the iPad since I saw a patent on appleinsider talking about a touch screen pad…and 3 years later its here! The iPad is a extention to my setup.
    I love TouchOSC (w/OSCulator). It works great with Traktor 3 and Traktor Pro. I have not noticed any lag or sudden loss of connection via WiFi. I use a ADHOC network to run your TouchOSC. I have used it at gigs and people look at me all crazy like…where’s your VCI and why are you tapping on that screen. I’ll be honest, the first gig I did with only the iPad, I did miss my VCI. I see the iPad being used a lot as a 2nd controller to trigger fx’s, cue points and so on. But I have no problem using it as my main controller.

    What is neat about the iPad’s TouchOSC is that your not stuck with 1 layout. You are the person that is designing your template and if you dont like something or want to tweak it, just goto the TouchOSC editor and mod it. I thing I wish came in a future update would be a built-in editor to do stuff on the fly.

    The iPad is a great tool, but it boils down to the person and their skills with Designing templates, OSC/Midi mapping on OSCulator and within the DJ Program.

  • Steve

    Next Ipad–USB please

  • Anybody else notice the lead-in graphic is a collage of all the programs – looks like a decent enough challenge for Jobs & Co. to prove they can all run in tandem…ah, who am I kidding. Neat write up, and I figure this is going to be the place to see somebody’s hacked…I mean, customized…iPad for use in a music rig. For now I’ll stick to being the world’s first iPad guitarist, because I use one face down as a slide – only gone through 3 so far!

  • THE FUTURE IS HERE !!!!! I love that the touch surface midi controller world is cometh !!!!

  • Clio

    Nobody see the link user MUDO send?
    Great info MUDO.

    http://createdigitalmusic.com/2010/06/06/emulator-multitouch-pc-software-makes-tablets-into-controllers-for-traktor-more/

    Awesome controller, big BOMB !!
    Really kill all this ipad toys.

  • BoomBoom90

    Thanks for posting this Ean! This had definitely been a big help and a good addition to the thread I started on apps like these. For reviews of other iPad and iPod/iPhone apps see the DJTT official thread on this here: http://www.djtechtools.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14515

  • [quote comment=”31732″][quote comment=”31724″]You forgot Sonorasaurus Rex![/quote]

    Yeah – how could you leave out the standout app?
    I wrote another review of all the ipad DJ apps out there and Rex certainly was the best and most gig-friendly. check it out!

    http://yeahdef.com/?p=5529%5B/quote%5D

    We requested Sonorasaurus, got the app and then somehow it got lost in the shuffle with the 30 others I tested. I will attempt to download it and update the list

  • nateboogee

    WHERE IS THE REPLY FROM JesC! I want his take on TouchOSC

  • Jo3

    Good article! I personally think TouchOSC is the biggest contender, we need a guide on how to set it up custom layouts for traktor.

  • I think the other freq in tonetable is for mixvibes or maybe torq. also, i forgot to mention that in the new version of tonetable, the deck can be re-sized.

    There’s gonna be timecode control in BabyDecks, too. Many of you would be very happy to know that when using these as timecode, you don’t have to listen to that timecode “squeal” anymore. That alone is worth the price of admission.

    Flare has a Hamster switch now for the transform buttons. So now the transform turns the input fader on as opposed to off. Scratching anywhere, anytime.

  • DJ Phaidon

    I’m beginning to be more under the impression that the iPad will suppliment a DJ setup, like another screen or some added visual feedback, but won’t be consistantly used as the primary controller, even though it’s being integrated in my setup as we speak.

    Tits are good.

    Forgot Mrmr by the way

  • dj broken record

    Can somebody help me out with something?

    I downloaded TouchOSC for my iPhone and Occam for OSC>MIDI conversion for OS X (10.4). I got Ableton to receive MIDI from Occam but I can’t seem to get TouchOSC to send to Occam. Either that or I can’t get Occam to receive from TouchOSC. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong…in the TouchOSC settings it is sending to the right port and it sees the network and everything. Any ideas? Thanks!!

  • [quote comment=”31724″]You forgot Sonorasaurus Rex![/quote]

    Yeah – how could you leave out the standout app?
    I wrote another review of all the ipad DJ apps out there and Rex certainly was the best and most gig-friendly. check it out!

    http://yeahdef.com/?p=5529

  • crankcaller

    Tonetable is basically a timecode like you would have on vinyl or cd. You can alter the frequency for traktor or serato. There is a third freq – not sure which dvs it’s for.

  • Fyoog

    Great review Ean, my friend has just bought one and we were on the hunt for some stuff to incorporate if possible.
    Can you or someone just confirm what Tonetable actually does? Is it like a virtual deck so that if you have timecode software you can use this in-conjunction with it? Confused?

  • Chris Jennings

    Beat Maker by Intua is pretty involved and gives you lots of customization options. It’s optimized for the iPad, but they don’t have a specific iPad app.

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/beatmaker/id285512415?mt=8

  • I have been working with the TouchOSC / iPad combination for the last few weeks and so far it has been very very stable. TouchOSC could use a complete rotary dial as well as just a few more things in order for this application to be the new hands-down midi controller app for DJ’s.

    I also saw a decent demo of ToneTable the other day. And while I love the concept I am just not sure that using this app as a complete replacement for tables (vinyl or cd) is something I can grasp yet…especially in a club setting.

    Great review of some existing products however!

  • kevin

    You forgot Sonorasaurus Rex!

  • Mr.Nicklebe

    Not much of a fan of the iPad, but still read most of this. I guess mainly to see what bad developers are trying to get away with :P. Can’t believe some of the crap I’ve seen on the iPad/iPhone. I don’t think I’ll ever be convinced by touch screen DJ stuff. Always looks unresponsive and fiddly to me, no matter how good the hardware is.

    Also you said “tits” instead of “it’s” on the Ableton MxNM review section, I loled. Other things on the mind Ean? 😛

  • Zac Kyoti

    The Android pads are right around the corner. That’s where I’m banking on some really brilliant development. Hardware that the user can REALLY get at. As far as the iPad thing though, the Korg electribe app is pretty bad ass, and TouchOSC is definitely cool.

  • jdog667jkt

    I’ve heard some cool things about TouchOSC

    didn’t JesC in the forums try using only an ipad an computer for a gig witht touchosc?

  • Ian T

    Hehe you said “tits”.

  • Great review, thanks! We shared it at http://www.facebook.com/iPadMusic – a comprehencive list of iPad demos and reviews.

  • mekon

    iPAD noooooooo
    wait for asus Eee PAD with win7 and one or two usb ports(for sound card), and of course its multitouch…and then wait for others to come with better one…

  • Ryan

    Midipad http://www.midipad.de looks to be the most exciting yet. No need for extra software, as has wifi midi. Have Touchosc already but the setup can put some off.

  • TouchOSC also has an api script (or whatever its called lol) for controlling ableton that will give you clip update features and a pretty nice layout. LiveControl works pretty well but has a bit of lag, but i’m sure there will be fixes soon.

    fun article!