We were able to get our hands on Deej, a complete mixer for iPhone and iPad. You can make your first – and not so first – remixes of your favourite music on your device. With an attractive and very intuitive interface. It’s no secret: it looks just like many controllers on the market or computer software. If you like this world, don’t miss this review.
I was looking forward to trying this app. I’ve been liking electronic music for many years and I do my own live performances from time to time, so I know a little bit about what it’s all about. My only experience mixing on the iPad or iPhone was Djay from Algoriddim, and this one has pleasantly surprised me for living up to and exceeding my initial expectations .
Just downloading it, the first thing I did was to load a couple of songs and turn the volume up on the speakers. On both the iPad and the iPhone the interface is very comfortable to use. The controls are in a very logical position and the feel of the jog – the dials on each side – looks very good. Logically it’s more comfortable to use it on an iPad because of the size of the screen, although they’re not bad on an iPhone.
You can display the waveform of the theme, very useful to know where the breakdown -or rush- is in sufficient detail. Also, the BPM analysis is very accurate, not for making “dark” mixes but for only having to adjust the speed very slightly.
As you can see, the interface is very conservative. On each side we have the channels and in the middle the faders for the mixing. Each turntable has its pitch control and synchronization button, with buttons to increase or decrease without having to touch the fader , in the center the jog wheel that can be configured as CD or vinyl , in the upper part we will see the ona shape and the title of the song in question, in addition to the BPM and the Play buttons and CUE . At the bottom we have the knobs for equalizing.
As I said in the middle part there are the mixer controls , with two volume faders , one for each channel, the gain, and the cross fader just above them. An unusual position , not to mention unusual. I don’t normally use cross fader so it doesn’t look very strange to me, but I’m sure there are people who will miss it not being located at the bottom, where the settings button is. The only thing I do miss is more information about the theme that’s playing, with the title and artist I’d settle for.
The configuration interface doesn’t seem to be very adapted to the iPad , to go up and down the list the ideal is to drag by the sides, because if you touch where there is text you won’t be able to move it. A bit strange control. In any case, the configuration does its job. Within the settings we have another help section, in which we can repeat the initial tutorial , find questions and answers and the explanation of all the controls and how they work.
I was pleasantly impressed by how easy and fun it is to mix with this application. With other apps like Djay it’s not so easy at first. Right after selecting the song we want this one will start to be analyzed to detect the BPM and draw the waveform. On an iPad 2 it doesn’t take too long, on an iPhone 5 it feels lighter.
With the two analysed dishes and one playing, it is very easy and fast to move the jog to find the point of CUE , press the button sync to make sure they are in the same BPM and press play at the right time: you have your mix in a few seconds , thanks to the multi-touch interface and the fact that you can use several fingers at once. Obviously we won’t always nail the track, so the jog wheel to adjust the speed of the track until they are synchronized.
The three bands of the equalizer have a bit of a weird control until you get the hang of it. And they’re good enough for anyone. The only thing that currently doesn’t incorporate is an effects unit . It is not possible to apply any sound effects to any of the tracks that are playing. Hopefully in future updates they will incorporate at least the Filter and Delay .
Deej makes it very easy for us to pre-listen in a very simple way. In the settings it is possible to make different configurations. The best solution to pre-listen to the next track is with a splitter or audio signal splitter connected to the jack of our device. What they do is separate the stereo signal to get separate signals for each channel: in one the master , the mixed signal, and in the other the pre-listening where we would plug the headphones.
After the settings, we move on to the action. When we want to do the preview we just need to press the track we want at the top, between the two decks with an animation that is really good. The problem is that iDevices are very limited in this respect. A possible solution -which theoretically came with iOS 6- would be the Multi-route audio , to get independent stereo audio through the jack output and the Dock or Lightning connector at the same time.
In the application settings you can select if you want to reset all the controls when loading a new file, activate or deactivate the EQ, recommended for old devices, take out the pre-listening on the right or left channel, configure the turntables as CD or vinyl independently, the type of output or signal splitter you have, block the rotation and the limits of the pitch . Also in the next tab – on the iPhone, the iPad is on the main screen – you can start or stop a recording . You can retrieve the file via iTunes or upload it directly to SoundCloud .
Availability and price
The application has been available on the Apple App Store for two and a half years, and has come a long way with many improvements and new features update after update. It is priced at 5.49 euros and is universal: for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Deej en el App Store
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It is certainly a very good application to start making your first steps or just to spend some time. Surely won’t be a substitute for a full DJ kit, but for emergencies, doing some tests at home or hosting a party with your friends is great. I’m saying it from my own experience: get to the place in question, take the iPhone out of your pocket, plug in the jack and start the party instantly with all your music.
The only problem I could get out of it during all the use I’ve given it with version 3.1 is a problem with the option of resetting the controls. It’s interesting that the equalizers return to their original position, but if you mix with the volume faders and not the cross , the two tracks are still playing and with the volume of a lowered one, when you load a new track first the volume is turned up again and then the new track is played, so in less than a second the previous track is heard again and you might look a bit bad live or on a recording.
At the moment this sector seems to be a little bit stopped but with a lot of potential. Many DJs already have an iPad in their set to control effects or a second computer, with TouchOSC for example. Also we will have to keep an eye on what Native Instruments is doing, it is about to launch an iPad application but we don’t know very well what it could be. Deej has been developed by InQbarna, a start-up from Barcelona that has already developed several applications worth taking a look at.