updated 09:05 am EST, Fri December 7, 2007
First Look at Djay 2.0
Mixing music as a disc jockey can be an cluttered proposition, requiring turntables, a mixer, expensive needles, among other pieces of equipment. A decent collection of vinyl can also prove to be unwieldy for some who don't have vintage record or specialty shops nearby. Algoriddim's Djay 2.0 provides users with most of the resources they will need for doing gigs and live parties. By using an iTunes library to provide mixing material, users require little more than the app, a Mac some headphones and speakers, maybe a USB audio interface if they want to do some of Djay's more advanced features.
When Djay is launched, the main window shows two virtual turntables complete with arms, a mixer, equalizers, pitch and tempo. At the bottom of the main window are various tools and effects, and the music list sits on the right side, with any playlists that you have in iTunes.
To cue up music, drag tracks from the iTunes list to either turntable, and the small frame above will indicate the track name and artist, as well as time played. The center of the virtual record also displays iTunes album art, much like a record label, making for quick and easy identification. The needle arm can be picked up and moved to skip to a particular part of the song, and the record can be grabbed with a click of the mouse to provide scratching.
Each turntable has its own controls for speed and pitch, play and reverse, gain, equalization, and stereo panning, with shared controls for the mixer and recorder. You can use Djay to record a mixing session for future playback or distribution.
Along the bottom are several buttons: fullscreen, beats-per-minute counter, cue points, auto-transition, looping, audio effects, sampling, live microphone input, pre-cuing, and volume. Fullscreen allows for an immersive mixing experience, which eliminates all elements except for the main mixing area. The BPM counter allows you to tap the "Tap Here" button in beat with the music to obtain an approximate beats-per-minute reading, which is necessary when mixing tracks with differing tempos.
BPM pads with function buttons underneath
Cuing allows you to set up to three cue points on each record, with a second button that skips directly to the cued instance in the track. Automatic transitions provide a number of different effects to skip from one track to another, such as braking and reversing, and a set of buttons allow you to determine which direction to transition to, and over what period of time.
Looping functions similar to cuing, except only one loop can exist per track, and both an entry and exit point must be determined. The effects button contains reverb and echo effects, but Algoriddim has provided access to Apple's core audio effects for use with either turntable or the microphone, located in the menu bar.
Sampling adds a lot of spontaneous and planned versatility for mixing sessions. You can record samples from the microphone or the turntables, or add your own sounds from your hard drive, and can be saved in Djay's Sampler Library, located on the back of the Sampler window. Up to three samples can be cued at any given time, and played by clicking the individual play buttons. Pre-cuing requires USB hardware to manage the separate timing that goes through the headphones, but can be advantageous when live mixes or recorded sessions are performed.
Djay's sampling window...
...and Sample Library on the back side
Automixing allows you to walk away from the computer, and Djay will continue to play tracks while fading from either turntable when the track finishes. You can still provide input to Djay when it is in automatic mode, manually fading from one table to another for example, and automix will cue up another track for you.
Djay provides big functionality in a small package, and will make some disc jockeys a little more modular. Check back soon for a full review of Djay 2.0.