I have no musical talent. I feel like we know each other well enough by now that I can confide this to you. I'm tone deaf and incapable of keeping a beat. So, I will not be reviewing djay 2. I can't. It's beyond me. What I can do, however, is relate how I've seen it used by those with actual talent, and how easy it was for me to use despite having none at all. And it turns out, when it comes to djay 2, that's a lot.
From the same team at Algoriddim that brought you the original, Apple Design Award (ADA) winning djay, djay 2 takes everything great and makes it greater. All the same super-approachable user interface elements from the first are back and not only easier to use for novices, but more informative to use even for seasoned professionals.
The turn tables, perfectly skeuomorphic as ever, now contain accurate groove representations for the albums. So, not only do they look more realistic, but trained eyes can pick out the patterns the same as on vinyl, and position the virtual needles with the same accuracy they could previously position the real life version.
The wave form representations, digital as ever, are now color coded so not only can you see the shape of the music, but you can see its composition better than ever, and that makes it easier than ever to pick just the section or instrument you want.
You get two turn tables (but no microphone, not where it's at) in landscape mode, and a single turn table view in portrait. That lets you easily choose between quantity and size, even on smaller devices like the iPad mini or iPhone. If you're just having fun, two turn tables is great even in the back of a car, on a road trip, killing time. If you're a pro, and want a multitouch screen in your setup, one big turn table on a full-sized iPad in portrait might suit you far better.
Automagic PerfectSync makes lining up two songs and keeping them lined up ridiculously easy. It just works, and with music, that's no small achievement. Slice mode divides the waveforms up by beat, and almost turns those synced waves into buttons. You can DJ like it's a keyboard. Unbelievable.
Again, I suck at music, but from an interface perspective there's just so much to love about djay2. There's a ton of functionality but djay 2 does a great job layering it so the simplest, most common stuff is up front, and the more granular, more specialized stuff is just a tap beneath, but only a tap or two away.
I had a chance to watch the Algoriddim team demo djay 2 for me a couple of weeks ago, and to speak with them about what was new and why. I came away considerably impressed. This isn't some intimidating, inaccessible pro audio tool. This is an inviting, intuitive pro audio tool that beginners can just as easily embrace and get something out of.
Hell, I've been using djay 2 for the last week or so as a music player. Watching those turn tables is a great experience. And being able to scratch like I'm in Breakin or Beat Street - only badly - is pure joy.
Pro DJs use djay, but I can't help but imagine people who dream of being DJs, or being musicians in general, will get even more out of djay 2, because they won't be afraid to play. They'll mold music like digital clay. They'll finger paint with it. Before iOS, and before apps like DJ, owning turn tables and large collections of vinyl was incredibly expensive. Learning to DJ was as much about opportunity as it was desire.
Now the first barrier has been lowered almost out of existence, and only the second remains. If you want to own the turn tables, all you have to do is reach out and touch them.
Usual disclaimer: djay 2 is a new app. Apple doesn't provide developers with a way to do paid upgrades, discounted or otherwise, on the App Store, so in order to be fairly and appropriately compensated for all their hard work and effort, they have no choice but to create a new app and charge for it again. Like many others, djay has chosen to offer a discounted sale price to everyone at launch, which is the only way Apple allows sale prices to be offered. The sale is so cheap, your next burger and fries will likely cost more, and djay would still be cheap at double or even quadruple the price.
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