DJ World Studio for iPad [rating: 4/5]
DJ World Studio for iPad by Little Worlds Studio is billed as an iPad Digital / Vinyl hybrid mixing deck, for both beginners and aspiring club DJs. I was lucky enough to have a copy to play with while on the road last week.
Here’s how I got along with my travelling companion.
Most of the controls on DJ World Studio ($19.99, View in iTunes) are fairly intuitive. Those that you don’t immediately recognise have nice clear icons which give you an idea of their purpose. And of course, once you play around with them it’s reasonably obvious what they do. The app also has a tutorial, so you are well covered as a beginner.
I am a passable “digital” DJ. i.e. I am awful using real vinyl, but can get by on digital setups. In other words I can’t “scratch”, but I can do rudimentary “Beat Matching” and “Cross Fading”. Luckily DJ World Studio will actually do some of the “Beat Matching” for you, as well as make your attempts at hard core scratching sound reasonably palatable – at least to you! I’d recommend you stick a set of headphones on when first experimenting with this app, so as not to alienate loved ones – or neighbouring travellers in my case. Once you have your performance honed you can show off to your family, or perhaps start auditioning for that top club DJ spot in Ibiza.
Because I was travelling I had most of my core comfort music on my iOS devices, so I was very happy to discover that the guys at Little Worlds Studio had included a fairly eclectic mix of electronic music in with the app. It is music that is very obviously chosen to work best with the app’s beat matching capabilities, spanning garage, trance, house, breaks and more. So that set of music enables you to get the hang of the nuances of most of the app’s features before you start trying to sync Neil Diamond tracks to one another. I tried that. And it was hard!
Beat matching is usually achieved “automagically” by tapping a button, but can be tweaked, and re-tried; and all the time you get two streaming sound wave graphics which clearly show where the more prominent parts of the two tracks playing are synced up. You can then quick cross fade at a button tap, or slowly cross fade using a slider. But the basic workflow of leaving one deck playing, while you cue up new music on the other deck is all there in the app. But you need the visual help provided, because you can’t stick a set of monitor headphones into any iOS device to listen to music you are queuing up ready to play – not without stopping the music you are actually performing, which doesn’t work too well for your listeners.
For me personally the array of controls in DJ World Studio make sense, with the only minor niggles being that one or two are a bit too small, and the overall colour scheme of neon blue and purple is not to my liking. But that is a really minor niggle when what this app puts out sounds so pleasing, and is so much fun.
Being able to import your own music is a boon. And when I have more time I really can see myself putting together some fun mashups using DJ World Studio. And it is amazing how fast time flies as you get stuck into loop ideas, and cross fades, and hunting for that perfect performance. On one occasion I missed my stop on a long subway ride as I was so engrossed in the app.
An expected feature in any app that apes a set of vinyl decks, is to have the cover artwork of your imported music shown on the relevant deck – and DJ World Studio doesn’t disappoint.
The menu system for choosing music from your library or the app itself is a scrolling text menu that works just fine. It pops out over the relevant deck. But it doesn’t scroll quite as smoothly as I would have hoped, or bounce. Again, just a small niggle. But one it would be nice to see polished in future updates.
As well as scratching, which is what most people associate with any image of twin vinyl decks, there are all the usual digital controls that you expect for the more electronic orientated genres of music. Pitch bending, low and high pass filters as well as digital effects including Reverb, Flange and so on.
You can also set different size loops in tracks, and precise points to jump back to, as well as record what you are doing so that you can then re-mix over your own previous creations.
On top of all that there are a wealth of nice touches, which do come in handy when using the app; Sorting tracks by length and BPM is one feature I particularly liked. Another was the Spectrum Analyser displays. Ultimately being able to easily export your mixes to a Mac or PC via iTunes is another feature I hope to make use of – once I actually make a mix I am happy to show to people!
DJ World Studio comes in five languages at launch: English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, which is very nice to see. Some of the people in Shanghai who saw me using the app seemed very taken by it, so perhaps Chinese should be next on Little Worlds Studio’s localization list?
Recommended. DJ World Studio is well made, and priced realistically for what it offers.
- Competent Digital Mixing Desk.
- 30 Free tracks included.
- iTunes / iPad Library Integration.
- Scratching sounds good.
- Beat matching is a great help for starters.
- UI a little garish for my tastes.
- Some controls a little fiddly.
- Auto Beat Matching not perfect.
$19.99 (View in iTunes)
Released: Feb 21, 2011
Size: 107 MB
Seller: Little Worlds Studio, sarl
© (c) Little Worlds Studio 2010
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.