Traktor DJ vs djay
Today I am going to discuss Traktor DJ by Native Instruments and djay (yes the d is lowercase) by Algoriddim. If you’ve been toying with the idea of adding a tablet to your DJ setup there’s no better time than now to do that. In my opinion one of the best aspects of living in 2013 is the versatility and diversity of technology (and software) available to DJs these days. Let’s take a quick look at what these two powerful iPad apps and then decide for yourself what they can do for your next gig.
Traktor DJ by Native Instruments – $19.99
Native Instruments, the maker of Traktor DJ, claims that their app is “The world’s first professional DJ software for iOS.” While I can’t say I’ve tried every DJ app on the market I can say that Traktor DJ is definitely one of the best. NI has done an excellent job of building a powerful, professional app that is still comfortable enough and easy to use so that beginners or hobbyist DJs aren’t left out.
Traktor DJ ports the power of Traktor Pro 2 (which it seamlessly syncs with) from a desktop to the mobility and portability of the tablet. Unlike conventional software Traktor DJ is controlled primarily through Apple’s famous hand gestures. If you’ve used an iPad or iPhone these gestures should be well known to you.
Freeze mode, which is accessed by clicking a snowflake on the lower left of the screen allows you to slice a track into multiple, playable parts which are then used to create remixes on the fly! The Traktor DJ app has a 2-channel mixer and two fully-featured virtual decks each featuring a 3-band EQ with filter selections. Another excellent feature of the Traktor DJ app is its ability to pull music directly from your iTunes library and even recommend tracks that fit the parameters of the music you’re currently playing. With Traktor DJ you’ll never again run out of mixable music.
While the iPad app is definitely the bomb as they say NI didn’t stop there. They’ve also created an app for the iPhone which is practically the same thing, just optimized for the smaller screen.
Native Instruments changed the DJ world forever when they released Traktor for Mac and PC in 2000. Now they’ve changed it again with Traktor DJ for iPad and iPhone. Additional benefits of this app are its ability to interact with the full desktop version of Traktor Pro 2, fine tuning beat grids, BPM counts, and the ability to monitor each deck apart from the main outputs.
If you plan to use the Traktor DJ app as a hobby setup you’ll want to pick up a headphone splitter (functionality for the splitter is accessed via the speaker in the top right corner) but if you’re a more experienced, or even professional DJ you’ll need to pick up Apple’s own Camera Connection kit for iPad. This guarantees the highest-quality output.
dJay by Algoriddim – $4.99
Algoriddim designed djay as a means of transforming an iPad into a full-featured DJ machine. With a focus on mixing the music already on your iPad djay gives you the versatility to DJ whether you’re at a party, at home, or at the club. Automix is probably one of my favorite, and shamelessly, most used features that djay boasts. Designed as a way to put your entire music library on autopilot this is a surefire way to keep the music coming even when you’re not, or don’t want to be, behind the decks. Automix gives you the ability to determine style and duration, whether or not shuffle is used, as well as auto-sync.
Another feature that I love about djay is the ability to record the mix. This is perfect if you’d like to make a video of your evening. And when used in combination with Final Cut 10 all you have to do is import video you’ve recorded (be sure the sound is on) upload the recorded track from your DJ set and make a multi-cam clip synced to your audio. This feature alone is worth the $4.99 as it reduces the need to use a third party system or app to record, which frees you up to focus on the music.
The real meat of the app comes in the form of mixer and EQ controls, auto-cut scratching, automatic beat and tempo detection, and visual mixing with waveforms. Another aspect of this app that I love is the ability to scratch with two virtual decks. It used to be that you had to tote a duffel bag worth of vinyl to a gig just to get these same sick effects but now it’s all done virtually. A plus side to having a touch screen on your iPad is that you can mimic real vinyl scratching because you still have to use your hands to control the scratch.
I’ve always been a fan of remixing on the fly, which is a piece of cake with djay because it keeps your work in sync with the beat. Another cool feature of djay is how it utilized the power of iOS. Want to cue points on your iPhone? No problem, iCloud integration allows you to use the djay app for iPhone and sync it seamlessly to the iPad (and vice-versa).
This app, like Traktor DJ allows you to pre-cue utilizing the split headphone jack so the sounds you’re working with don’t need to be showcased to the audience until you’re happy with what you hear. Not a fan of all the swiping and hand gestures? No problem! You’re given the option of using external hardware to control djay including a number of controllers designed specifically for djay.
Whether you choose Traktor DJ or djay your money will be well spent. For the most versatile setup I’d recommend getting both. With a combined cost of $25 you certainly won’t break the bank, but it would be a shame if you picked one over the other, and in the rush to save money, missed out on a powerful app that could improve your set.