Djay is perhaps one of the best apps ever. The later video-based version, vjay is nothing short of an incredible feat of software engineering. I got a peek at djay 2, a standalone new app for iPad and iPhone/iPod touch, and it blew me away. I also got to meet the creators, and now that I understand how the original djay was created by someone who has actually worked as a DJ, I appreciate the small touches in the software all the more.
djay 2 is a reworking of the original app, but the largely skeumorphic look remains. Details are amped up in places, but overall the app works mostly the same: you put records on one of two turntables and you commence to mixing, scratching, looping and making beats.
The new touches add up to a whole lot, however. Beats in a song that are matched can now adjust and remain locked over the duration of the entire song. It’s easier than ever to lock in on a particular riff and jump back to it over and over again. Albums appearing on the turntables draw grooves to match the duration of a song, so you can actually see a realistic representation of a vinyl album in the interface. That last part is of no consequence to amateurs who futz around, but if you’ve ever used a real table and real albums, it’s really cool.
Then there are the waveforms. Whereas most waveforms show you the shape of the sound, typically the dynamics (volume levels, more or less) of a song, djay 2 has introduced color waveforms. The colors are interpolated using the sound, so percussion areas might map to pink and softer string portions to green. I didn’t coax a secret formula from the developers, but when you use it, you will immediately understand how much easier this is when it comes to finding portions of a song. It’s now easier than ever to jump to a beat at any point in any song. All of this is also in HD and looks amazing on a Retina iPad.
djay 2 continues a tradition of simplifying the work of a DJ’s tools, while also giving pro DJ’s a powerful instrument with which to play. Since the App Store doesn’t do upgrade pricing, djay 2 (a separate, new app from djay v.1) is now available for US$4.99 on iPad and $.99 on iPhone/iPod touch. After a week the price will go up.
We’ll have a review from a real DJ in the coming days, so stay tuned.