Review: djay 4.0 For Mac

Review Summary:

f you want your DJ software to look beautiful, to hide its workings from you, and to have lots of "wow" factor moments - from the cool animations when you put "records" on the decks, to iTunes just being "there" when you boot up, to ridiculously simple Midi mapping - you'll love it. While professional and specialist DJs (four-deck techno DJs, mash-up kids, hardcore controllerists, touring pros) will still find djay limiting, and club DJs would probably justifiably feel a bit silly with two almost kitsch spinning Technics on a MacBook screen as their software of choice, for the consumer/DJ - everyone from party DJs to semi-pros playing in bars - this is now a serious contender.

Review: djay 4.0 For Mac
  • Review: djay 4.0 For Mac
  • Rating: 5
  • From: Algoriddim
  • Version: 4.0
  • Price: $19.99
  • Reviewed by:
  • On November 17, 2011
  • Last modified:February 18, 2014
Behind the deceptively simple exterior, djay for Mac just got some pretty advanced features.

Behind the deceptively simple exterior, djay for Mac just got some pretty advanced features.

Review: djay 4.0 For Mac

The djay software platform has come on in leaps and bounds in recent months… if you’re an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad user, that is. The poor old Mac version got left well behind as Algoriddim, the software’s producers, clambered over themselves to keep up with iOS’s rapid advances.

So while the iOS versions are pretty much universally respected, the Mac incarnation (this is strictly an Apple product) has come in for a bit of stick, with “no waveforms!” being the enduring criticism. Well, it’s been a long time coming, but today djay for Mac got one hell of an update. And the launch price is US$19.99. Bear that figure in mind as you read our word-exclusive first review of djay 4 for Mac…

Keep it simple, stupid…
Coming from the Apple way of thinking, Algoriddim – the maker of djay – has always tried to keep things slick, attractive in use, and more than anything, simple. It sometimes felt that they had tried too hard to keep things simple, resulting in a program that, while dazzling to use, couldn’t… well, couldn’t actually do very much.

So when we saw the feature list for the new version, we were more than a little surprised at how much the makers claim to have packed in: Harmonic mixing, on-the-fly audio analysis, iCloud integration, Midi learn plus plug and play support for many modern DJ controllers, innovative effects… the list goes on. This is a long review, but suffice to say there’s plenty we don’t even touch on.

The question is, though, how effectively have they integrated these into the package? And how much do the new features compromise the software’s basic tenet – easy to use, great to look at? We’re going to look at djay anew, rather than compare back to the old version. With all the new features, it is asking to be compared not to its previous incarnations, but to other top-flight DJ software, so that’s how we’ll approach this review.

First impressions

First thing is that it is simple to install – you drag it to your applications folder and you’re done. Thanks, Mac.

Upon opening the program, it is still good looking – two turntables with convincing felt-look slipmats occupy the top two-thirds of the screen, and the bottom third is what to all intents and purposes looks like the iTunes library (why it lists my iTunes books and movies, I don’t know – these need removing from the items displayed by default, I’d say).

djay 4 for Mac review - deck

One of the virtual decks. Notice the smoothed, almost blurred, 3D photo type appearance of the graphics.

The main new thing you notice are the waveforms at the top of the screen. They are pretty much identical in use to those offered in the iOS versions; they don’t overlap, and are small and grey – nothing multicoloured. To be honest they’re disappointing – waveforms should be parallel in my view, and there should maybe be an option to have them coloured to show the frequencies, like Serato and now Traktor do. It would just make them more useful, and I can’t see that it’d upset Algoriddim’s sleek and smooth design ethic – after all, coloured waveforms can look really nice.

The display has got kind-of “smoothed” edges, a bit like someone’s pointed a camera down on a real set-up and snapped it. There’s a hint of 3D about the controls, and some digital sharpness is sacrificed for a more grainy, analogue look – it’s hard to explain but it kind of makes your screen look like it’s a piece of DJ gear, at the expense of sharp fonts – at least, in the main window. You’ll either like this or not, but it fits with the idea that djay is a close copy of two decks and a mixer, even in look and feel.

The library
One thing that I’ve always disliked about DJ software is the way it insists on visibly running its own library of your music. I’ve already got a music library, thanks – it’s called iTunes and it works just fine. If my software needs to do something else just to let me DJ with the tunes I keep in iTunes, then I’d like it to do that behind the scenes, and not hassle me with the details. Traktor is worst for this; Serato and Virtual DJ are better but not flawless.

djay gets it right, though, in my opinion. It basically appears as if the software is just presenting you with your iTunes library, and some decks bolted on! All your iTunes playlists are there, as are all the columns for you to choose from and rearrange. While djay does indeed have to analyse your files, like all other software, it spares you the details.

One thing you can’t do is edit your ID3 tags right from in the software – it would be good if this were possible, for adding comments to tunes as you play them (for instance). And of course, the software still has to analyse your music. (Best to let it do it all in one go via the Library menu, because then you’ll be able to sort by BPM and key from the off.) Six views are possible: your left-hand screen lists from iTunes, sorting by artist, by album, by genre, by history, and an innovative newcomer, by harmonic key.

Music in the key of iLife
When you sort by harmonic key, you’re presented with a circle of fifths which shows you all the songs in a particular pair of major / relative minor keys, but also allows you to quickly peek at neighbouring keys that are likely to mix well with the currently selected song or group of songs.

When djay loads or analyses your music, it works out the key for you, thus doing the job of standalone software like Mixed in Key, right there in the program. Harmonic mixing is a big bonus of digital DJing, and this is the easiest in-software implementation of it I’ve yet seen. While I’ve not tested how accurate their algorithms are, assuming they are there or thereabouts, it’s a great addition.

djay 4 for Mac harmonic

Having a ‘circle of fifths’ right there in the library and the ability to analyse key from within the software is excellent.

On top of all of this, it’s possible to digitally alter the key of the tune you’re playing on the fly, in order to attempt to match keys throughout your DJing. All of this digital key manipulation has a downside in that it inevitably reduces sound quality, but as long as you’re listening out for unacceptable compromises, it can be great fun, especially for matching acappellas up with instrumentals. (By the way, both key analysis and on-the-fly pitch changing are also present in Virtual DJ, but not in Serato ITCH or Traktor.)

There’s a little switch bottom left that lets you turn the library from night to day to make it visible DJing in all conditions. Would be good if it could invert the colours of the rest of the window too. There’s a pretty cool auto-playlist to the right that you can drag tunes to, and their album covers appear when you do – nice for parties where you are having too much fun for anyone to DJ! A fast, instant search box completes the library features, and overall they’ve done a nice job of it.

The decks
This is strictly two-deck DJ software. If you’re looking for four decks, look elsewhere. It also ties itself tightly to the two turntables and a mixer idea, with two convincing-looking turntables, complete with needles that move across the “records” as they play, and even the Technics-style on/off knobs and red lights, lighting up the strobes round the edges of the “platters”. The decks are impressive, and visually fun to look at and spin on, if a little kitsch. A big, chunky crossfader, pitch controls and volume faders, plus standard EQ knobs complete the old school look.

Playing a record involves dragging it onto the turntable, which invokes an equally impressive piece of virtual vinyl flying across your screen, with the old record flying off the turntable back the library if you’re replacing something on a deck. If there’s cover art it is used as either the whole record’s surface or just the label in the middle, depending on how you set things in preferences.

You would normally then drop a cue point at the first beat, and use the trackpad or mouse to find that beat; when you do so, the waveform zooms right in so you can see the individual beats easily, zooming automatically out again when you’re done. The cue point appears both on the waveform and as a dot on the record itself.

There are actually very few further controls to tell you about at this stage, which is in keeping with the “keep it simple, stupid” philosophy of the software – the rest is there, but you have to go and look for it. There’s a keylock toggle, the aforementioned key change control, a sync button (there’s no beatgridding; sync will attempt to match the beats – if it is out, pressing it again moves the track 1/2 a beat which will nearly always match it for you), and a big red record button top centre – and that’s about it.

Closer inspection (much closer, in some cases!) does reveal a few more controls: There are channel gains hidden in the VU meters, channel pans at the bottom of the meters, pitch bend controls at the bottom of the pitch faders, and subtle little controls above the waveforms that allow you to toggle them from always-zoomed to only-when-needed-zooming, as well as similar controls for instantly activating the loop and FX sections to turn on/off whatever you’ve got set (more on loops and FX next). But for overall, two-deck DJing, djay remains simple, fun to use and non-threatening to beginners.

The effects
Clicking an innocuous-looking arrow at the top of the library opens a small extra bar of controls that contains a lot of goodies, the first being the effects section. This is accessed by clicking a tiny FX button on the chosen deck. It turns out that djay now has some powerful effects, accessible in three ways, with little arrows above and below the “FX” lettering, there to cycle you through the options.

djay 4 for Mac effects

Here, the two effects (echo and flanger) are daisychained together. Notice the filter that’s available too.

The first is “instant” effects. They’re called Absorb, Drift, Sway, Crush, Punch and Twist. Absorb is like a low pass filter and echo combined into a progressive effect. Drift is the hi-pass version. Sway is a long-cycle flange-type effect. Crush is a resonating bitcrusher. Punch is best described as an extreme, digital-age deck slowdown, and finally Twist is like a reverse censor function. All of these effects have no parameters at all – you press and hold a button to turn them on, releasing it when you want the effect to stop. They’re for short, sharp bursts, and because they sound great, they’re a lot of fun.

The second way to access the effects is kind of like a manual version of the above, and best controlled using two fingers on the trackpad, because they’re X/Y effects. You get echo, reverb, flanger, phaser, bitcrusher and gate, and each effect has one parameter, triggered by the X axis. Meanwhile, all effects are also combined with a filter, and the Y axis controls that: up for high pass, down for low pass. I particularly liked the bit crusher / filter combination here.
The third way to access them is more conventional – this is the only option that gives you a wet/dry, for instance. In this mode, you get the same effects as just listed plus the wet/dry and single parameter controls, but you get two separate effects per side, which can be daisychained, Traktor-style, into one unique effect. In this mode there are two filter knobs too.

I think Algoriddim has got this part right – there aren’t dozens of effects, and there aren’t multiple parameters per effect, but if you want easy access to great sounding one-button FX they’re here; if you want to make use of the trackpad to do something special you can do that too; or if you’d rather get creative by build something unique, you can do that as well. There’s a good balance of ease-of-use and power. Just as importantly, the effects all sound great.

It is worth mentioning here that all of your Audio Unit effects (you’ll have some in GarageBand) are available too, via the menus at the top of the screen; two sets, one for either deck. They open in small popup windows.

Cue points
There are four cue points per deck, and these are colour coded instead of numbered.

djay 4 For Mac cue points

Multicoloured cue points: Notice the dots on the record to show them.

One is accessible via the deck controls, because it’s the first cue point that marks where you’ll want to start playing a tune from, and thus it’s pretty much essential. The second, third and fourth are accessible via the cue points section, and are red, green and blue respectively. You drop a cue point by pressing its coloured button, and jump to it by pressing a small arrow button next to that.

Cues appear on the surface of the vinyl as well as in the waveform for the track, which is a nice touch, even though it can look like your records have multicoloured measles when they’re all dropped. If you’re on iCloud / iTunes Match, cues appear in all libraries across all of your devices running djay. Erasing cues is possible by holding the desired cue button for more than a second.

Looping and skipping
Looping has three modes of operation; like with FX, they’re selected using little up and down arrows. The first is a simple loop, from 1/16 of a beat to 32 beats, with three controls: on/off, halve and double; familiar stuff, and whatever you set here is instantly accessible by clicking the loop control above the deck, so no need to come back to here to find it. Perfect for those 16 or 32-beat loops to buy yourself some time when you’re late to a mix.
The second option is manual looping, with loop in, loop out and reloop controls – like the first option, this is pretty standard stuff. The third option is pretty neat, though, being a “loop roll” function – this allows you to loop any length from 1/16 of a beat to two beats, by holding the bottom down. You can move between loop lengths by dragging the cursor when the button is held, and when you release, the track carries on playing from where it would have been had you not engaged this feature. Like the use of effects with the trackpad, this is good because it makes use of the trackpad in an innovative way.

Skipping lets you navigate through the playing tune by beats, from 32 down to 1/8. For me this is good for moving subtly back or forwards through a tune to extend or shorten it (best done with 32 beat – eight bar – intervals) or for correcting phrase matching when tunes have drifted apart (for instance, one tune has a four-beat dramatic pause in it; using skip, you can “skip” the other by that amount so their bars line up again, even while in the mix).

Samples
Yup, djay has its own take on that flavour of the month, sample decks. You access them by pressing a little button in the middle of the effects bar; upon doing this you see six buttons. They come set to Gunshot, Sirene (sic), Bass Drum 1, Snare Drum 1, and Hi-hat 1. Pressing the button triggers the sample.

djay 4 For Mac samples

Choosing a sample and assigning it to a button; you can record samples from here too.

By each sample, there is a small arrow that opens the options in a little window. Here you can choose which sample the button is set to trigger; there are a whole host of sound effects provided, nearly all of which are better than the infamous, tired old Virtual DJ samples we all know and love!

You can adjust sample volume, and also toggle one-shot status, meaning the samples will carry on playing after you’ve taken your hand / cursor off the button. They can’t be beat-looped, though, like in other software. It is possible to record samples straight from either deck or the microphone, and save them for future use, and this is simple to do.

Overall, these sample decks are a good start, but are limited compared to most other solutions.

Using external gear
The software will play just fine with any external audio card, meaning you can route your pre-fade listen and master to wherever your headphones and speakers are situated in your system. Same with the microphone – it can use your Mac’s built-in microphone, obviously any microphone plugged in, or a mic on an external sound interface. The microphone channel has echo (useful) and autopitch (not to be taken seriously but pretty neat!).

The software can also use a splitter cable solution, where you buy or assemble from other cables a cable that splits your left/right audio output into two mono channels – one for the speakers and one for your headphones. It’s a good stopgap, if nothing else. Algoriddim actually has its own cable available for this.
As far as DJ controllers go, the big news is that it now works out of the box with a number of DJ controllers, although not all by any means. They’re listed on the Algoriddim website. So no more being tied to the Vestax Spin – it is now possible to enjoy this software straight out of the box presuming you already own one of these controllers. I’d hope Algoriddim would press ahead and map more, because this is where software falls down a lot of the time.

Even bigger news, though, is that you can now make your own mappings, because djay now has Midi learn – and it’s the friendliest, fastest Midi learn I’ve seen on any DJ software to date.

Midi mapping for the masses
To use Midi mapping, you just plug in a Midi device – I tried it with the Novation Twitch and the Numark DJ2GO, and it recognised them both instantly. You then touch a control, and it recognises it. You choose a “target” (turntable 1, turntable 2, mixer, music library etc) , and a list of actions appears depending upon the target you chose and the type of control you touched. You them just select the action, and presto! It’s mapped.

Midi mapping djay 4 for mMac

This is some of the most intuitive, simple yet powerful Midi mapping I’ve yet used in DJ software. It’s impressive.

Below this simple window there is a little triangle called “Show Advanced Control Options”. Here you can specify the type of control a little better – so you can differentiate between normal knobs, infinite knobs, and jogwheel types, and also specify toggle or hold for buttons. Hi-res Midi is supported. Furthermore, you can “invert” the control if it’s operating in the wrong “direction” for you. More than that, you can choose the speed (slow/fast) and reaction (smooth/responsive) to set jogwheels for exactly how you want them to feel. This stuff is all done on simple drop-downs and with faders. It’s been excellently executed.

Finally, you can specify Midi out messages to feed back to your controller, for complex mappings. You can also define a “shift” modifier key so it’s easy to map shift-button Midi items too. I tried it with Numark’s DJ2GO, for no reason other than because that’s such a small controller that I knew I could map it to the hilt without spending all my reviewing session doing so! As well as duplicating all of its controls (admittedly there aren’t many), I used a shift modifier to turn the jogs into fat filter controls, and mapped EQs to the volume and master/headphones knobs too, adding extra functionality. Once finished, you just save and you’re done.

The only issue I could see was that there is no “soft pickup”, so sharing faders and non-infinite knobs using shift is risky, because when you next touch the knob without shift pressed, it jumps to the current position rather than waiting for you to move it to where it was left. Maybe something for Algoriddim to look at (unless I am missing something here).

DJing with it
I think the best way to DJ using this is to have a controller but also to use the laptop. The reason for this is that Algoriddim has built in some fun multi-touch gestures, and there are also extensive keyboard shortcuts to get to lots of functions. Learning a combination of the two would be ideal.

djay 4's mixer section

djay 4′s mixer section: all well and good, but a bit superfluous once you’ve got it mapped to your controller.

Having said that, from what I have seen I think it is perfectly possible to map this software to just about any DJ controller. For instance, the VCI-400 from Vestax has lots of buttons that could be utilised for the samples, one-hit effects and so on. The very idea that once-lowly software like this could pack the VCI-400′s numerous controls with exciting functions shows how far the software has come.

In writing this review, I spoke to Algoriddim about some of the features, and they said they had just mapped a Numark NS6 entirely to djay without having to write a single line of code, just using the Midi learn functions. That’s pretty impressive.

I didn’t like the beatgridding (or lack of it) and sync; because the BPMs are rough (there’s no decimals, so two tunes shown at “121″ may be at 121.1 and 121.9 and you wouldn’t know), I used sync to save me manually beatmatching, but sync also tried to guess the phase at the same time, often wrongly. This can throw tunes out of phase. Touching the button again usually corrects this but it’s not ideal. I’d rather have the option for sync to just tempo match for you, or for the phase to be defined by where you drop the first cue point, ie for the software to assume that that first point is the downbeat.

I also feel that an alternative view would be nice. Now that the software can be mapped to all range of external controllers, it would be good to knock the mixer out of the screen view, for instance, in the same way that you can choose to do with Traktor, and like Serato ITCH is anyway. It seems a bit passe to have controls on the screen “magically” moving when you touch them on your controller in this day and age.

Overall, though, djay is really satisfying to use – the effects are innovative and fun; it looks great; using playlists straight from iTunes without worrying about adding them to the software’s own collection is smart; and it is now undeniably powerful software – once you get under that deceptively simple exterior, that is.

Conclusion

My, what a long way djay has come. It now deserves to be considered alongside the big boys. It’s not as fully featured as Traktor, but it’s also about a hundred times easier to use. It is kind of like a two-deck Virtual DJ minus the video stuff and with a GUI that’s immeasurably nicer. But the way it handles the library and its overall ease of use make it more akin to an open-platform Serato ITCH.

None of these descriptions do it justice, however. Because one thing djay undeniably is, can be summed up in one word: Apple. All versions – djay for iPhone, iPad and now Mac – are “Apple” products through and through. They have the ease of use, power-under-the-hood and user experience that the best Apple products deliver.

djay 4 for Mac plus Numark dj2go

We mapped this little Numark DJ2GO to djay 4 in about 20 minutes flat, jogs and all.

If you want your DJ software to look beautiful, to hide its workings from you, and to have lots of “wow” factor moments – from the cool animations when you put “records” on the decks, to iTunes just being “there” when you boot up, to ridiculously simple Midi mapping – you’ll love it. The difference now is that it’s actually getting more and more capable as a piece of software you may never outgrow.

But there’s more, something we haven’t elaborated on yet. This software can now work with iCloud (and the just-launched iTunes Match), meaning you can sync it with your iTunes library in the cloud. That means you can buy tunes from your iPhone, practise DJing with them on your iPad, and then have them waiting for you on your MacBook when you come to DJ that evening. All of these devices can run djay, and cues and BPM information edited or added in will appear immediately in all of the others. There’s even a remote control available for iOS that’ll let you control the djay app on your MacBook over wifi (Virtual DJ can do this last thing, too).
While professional and specialist DJs (four-deck techno DJs, mash-up kids, hardcore controllerists, touring pros) will still find djay limiting, and club DJs would probably justifiably feel a bit silly with two almost kitsch spinning Technics on a MacBook screen as their software of choice, for the consumer/DJ – everyone from party DJs to semi-pros playing in bars – this is now a serious contender.

If you’re already sold on the whole Apple way of doing things, and anxious to try cloud music and DJing, it’s going to be very tempting for you just to throw in the towel and go with djay as your platform of choice, especially because it is priced at launch at $19.99! That price is frankly ridiculous for fully fledged DJ software complete with key detection. Anyone who looks at that price and thinks this isn’t to be taken seriously will miss out on an absolute bargain.

Product Summary

Review Summary:

f you want your DJ software to look beautiful, to hide its workings from you, and to have lots of "wow" factor moments - from the cool animations when you put "records" on the decks, to iTunes just being "there" when you boot up, to ridiculously simple Midi mapping - you'll love it. While professional and specialist DJs (four-deck techno DJs, mash-up kids, hardcore controllerists, touring pros) will still find djay limiting, and club DJs would probably justifiably feel a bit silly with two almost kitsch spinning Technics on a MacBook screen as their software of choice, for the consumer/DJ - everyone from party DJs to semi-pros playing in bars - this is now a serious contender.

Review: djay 4.0 For Mac
  • Review: djay 4.0 For Mac
  • Rating: 5
  • From: Algoriddim
  • Version: 4.0
  • Price: $19.99
  • Reviewed by:
  • On November 17, 2011
  • Last modified:February 18, 2014

Are you a djay DJ who’s been waiting patiently for this update? Does the idea of DJing using the cloud across all of your iOS devices excite you? Have they prices it too low to be taken seriously? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…

Comments

  1. Great write up. Can;t wait to get home and install it. I suspected the DJAY waveforms would be a little underwhelming compared to the options found elsewhere, but having seen this style used for iPhone/Pad already I assumed we’d get the same versions.

    Big thing for me is whether I’ll be able to map 4 onto a Pioneer DDJ-S1. From the sounds of yoru write up that’ll be possible, which is good to hear. I’m going to upgrade my SPIN to a DDJ-S1 in the new year and would like to retain the option to use DJAY with it as well as Serato ITCH (if I decide I prefer DJAY still!).

  2. You mentioned something about the waveforms zooming in, can you clarify how that works? Also to clarify, the sync buttons do or don’t sync tempos?

    • The BPM sync works fine, you just need to hit it a couple of times to match the beats if it doesn’t read it correctly initially. There’s no ‘beat lock’ though, so the sync can drift on longer transitions but I find it pretty reliable overall (although I’m avoiding using it myself these days).

      Have a look at the short vid to see the waveform “zoom” in action. It normally zooms when you do something to the track i.e. setting a cue point. I think you can select to zoom independently too though.

    • Yes, they do sync tempo and they sync phase (i.e. line up the beats) too – I was saying if there way a way for them just to sync tempo and let me line up the beats, that’d be great.

      The waveforms auto zoom when you do something that requires precision, i.e. loop or add cues, then zoom back to full song after. you can set them to be permanently zoomed in too.

      • I agree, it’s a little funky now that I’ve played with it. If it is going to sync the phase, it should actually do that, not just skip half a beat or whatever it tries to do.

  3. Let me chime in here and right the first comment…
    djay is probable the funnest, is that a word ?
    Oh well its fun indeed!
    This software kicks ass! and right now for 20 bucks oh my god!
    Its a steal.
    I have been using djay since day one and saw the potential in this little software.
    Now that it has gone main stream I have to say I am proud of the algoriddim developers and there accomplishments.
    I have been a DJ since 1982, and I have been waiting for a simple yet effective software to hit the streets and djay has hit it right on the button.
    and the fact that they kept it all mac platform is a double bonus.
    because PC stands for (Peace of Chit) <– Latin Lingo :)
    I still use my Technic 1200's mainly for show
    but djay has sparked a whole new way of mixing for me.
    keep rocking algoriddim!!

    ~Masta Hanksta~

  4. So this can act as a cheaper way to tag your music collection with key? Does it key in the Camelot system?

    • It doesn’t key like Mixed in Key does (i.e. 1A, 9B etc), no.

      TBH I’m not sure where it stores the key info – I’ll try and investigate when I get a spare 5 mins.

  5. I waited years for Djay to become more robust. Once I got tired of waiting I moved on to ITCH. Now that it is here I was feeling a little anxious that maybe I jumped the gun, but I am somewhate comforted that Djay still, although easy to use and pretty to look at, seems to be a consumer level product. Of course I will buy it because it is essentially free, and I will try mapping my NS6 to it, but I feel no regrets investing in ITCH. A few aspects about the previous version of Djay that really made me move on was the lag I found when enabling keylock, jogwheel mapping was not 1 to 1, and the limited midi mapping because I really didn’t like the Vestax Spin, although I did map a rockband keytar to it and that became a showstopper.

  6. They should really add video next. Being mac only they could take advantage of apples codecs and quartz for transitions to do some really cool stuff. I’d love to have djay with video vs virtual dj.

  7. DJAY4 is supposed to natively support the Numark Mixtrack. There seems to be a problem with the MIDI mapping for the HotCUE/ loop sections.

    It seems that anything with the SHIFT function in it is causing the problem. Has anyone else found a work-around for this?

  8. Hi Phil,

    This is one of the most detailed reviews I’ve read in a long time. Great job, keep-em commin’.

  9. I have all of their apps Mac iPhone iPad and the remote and none of them I would use for serious DJ gigs. But they are nice for a party where you can be a part of the party and not being stuck behind inside a booth all the time.
    The update is sure a big update but still not for a club DJ.

    • I’d suggest that Algoriddim don’t see it as club DJ software either hence the way its been promoted and aligned to the SPIN particularly. Seems clear its pretty squarely aimed at the ‘amateur’ DJ based on its UI and price alone.

  10. I’m tempted to pick up the new version of djay for Mac just for fun. But I’m a bit leery of the potential for it to mess with precious tags in my Itch-analyzed tracks in iTunes playlists, especially two days before a big gig.

    Has anyone tried it out, then gone back to Itch (or other pro software) and checked to see if anything changed?

    Colour me cautious on this one…

    • I asked this precise question of algoriddim and they said:
      “djay writes its own metadata and does not manipulate existing data.”
      I haven’t tested this out yet though.

  11. Christopher Pallotta says:

    The Waveforms were long overdue.

  12. I took this software for a spin last night and was seriously impressed. Plugged my Numark NS6 in and saw DJAY flash the Numark logo over top of the mixer and next thing I saw was that 90% of everything on the controller JUST WORKED!

    My only gripes:
    Wave form sizes need to be adjustable or made bigger
    Color needs to be added to the waveforms

    Beyond that this is a fantastic piece of software!

  13. AWESOME REVIEW!!!! SO…. I took the new version out for a spin on my Vestax Spin Midi, at the club I DJ at well lets just say I LOVE THE NEW SOFTWARE! Though I wish I would have played around with it more before I played publicly, I was in a middle of a set and it froze, yes kinda unheard of for Mac software… but it froze.. I was scrolling around for my next song to cue up when I noticed that nothing was moving, I couldn’t get out of full screen mode! Finally i was able to get out of full screen mode ( while the song was still playing) but still wasn’t able to click and cue up my next song :( so finally I did the unexpected… I Quit the program and made some announcements during my 30 seconds of silence ( which really seems like FOREVER) and opened up the older version of DJay, which has been pretty dependable and never had a problem with. I’m not sure what caused it to freeze the way it did, maybe it was iTunes? Maybe I ran out of memory? not sure really, Just a little frustrating to be honest, but all in all it is a GREAT update! Now I just have to trouble shoot and figure out what caused the freeze…Hopefully it doesn’t happen again.

  14. There seems to be a problem with auto loop not staying in sync, worked fine on DJAY 3 but doesn’t now.

    Also don’t like the pitch fader reading now, when you adjust the fader for manual beatmatching your target BPM seems to take a while to show up after the adjustment figures (+ / -) have displayed, sort like a lag in the process, not great that.

    Loving the new FX and some of the other new features plus the UI. While limited stylistically, the waveforms certainly help when picking your transition points in the mix.

  15. does djay 4 work with vestax spin? probably will, but it not the perfect match anymore since the faders now look awkward?

    ist vestax going to introduce a new entry product anytime soon?

    i want the vestax spin look with the mixtrack pro features.

    • Yes, I just downloaded DJay4 about 2 hours ago, and I used the Spin with it.. It worked fine. Just make sure that you go into the preferences and change the channel for cueing.

  16. OK, here are my two cents about the djay4. I just downloaded it after reading this thread. Played around with it for about an hour. I have used DJay3 for about a year and a half now, and I must say overall I am pleased and impressed with all the new features. I am one of those guys that started on the 1200s back and 84, so I didn’t understand what the big hype was all about regarding the waveforms, that is until today. Although its still easier for me to use my ear, I can agree with you other guys….it needs to be in color.

    The one thing that I did notice in the hour that I used it was that the looping function was not as good as with version 3. It drifts like crazy, and if you push or pull on the side of the platter it is way too sensitive. Thats gonna take some getting used to.

    I used it with my Vestax Spin. No problem with connection.

    Like I said, overall I am impressed. Im sure they are gonna work on fixing the issues with the looping, and then for my needs this software and the NS6 that santa is leaving under the tree will be all I need.

    • I spoke to Algoriddim and they’re fixing the looping issue ASAP.

      • Thats great to hear as the looping is still “off” after the first update (4.0.1).

        I since found several other bugs in DJAY’s performance (via my SPIN) since I started playing around with it more this week. Have posted them on the Algoriddim forums. Hopefully they’ll start rectifying some of them with fixes in the coming days/weeks.

  17. squarecell says:

    Just finished a two-hour test set and all I can say is this is a pretty great piece of software for $20.

    Not sure it’ll unseat VDJ Pro from my setup just yet, but seeing as though I already have djay for iPad and iPhone, having it on my Mac as well is a natural step.

    Like Phil, I used it with the DJ2GO which was a cinch to MIDI map and I was up and running.

  18. First off, great thorough review! I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis. On the surface it’s a very pretty piece of software, but its beauty (and price) belies its power. It won’t replace pro-grade software, but algoriddim isn’t selling to pro DJs any more than Apple is to the enterprise.

    Just wanted to clarify one thing:
    “By the way, both key analysis and on-the-fly pitch changing are also present in Virtual DJ, but not in Serato ITCH or Traktor.”
    ITCH does actually analyze the key of your songs, but it definitely won’t key-match.

    • I’d love you to prove me wrong, but I’m pretty sure ITCH doesn’t analyze for key (I know it displays key, but you have to analyze it elsewhere – have I missed something?).

  19. Some DJs believe that if a piece of hardware/software doesn´t have an “industrial” look or isn´t packed with buttons and stuff that make it actually complicated to use, it´s not “serious club DJ stuff”.

    Well, I´ve been DJing since ´84 and after all these years I can say “who cares”. The prublic sure don´t, and the promoters (the REAL ones worth playing for) don´t either. Since CDJs took over and vinyl practicaly disappeared, only a few old-school DJs care about how serious your media looks/feels.

    Of course, any professional DJ equipment (hard/soft) must be solid, perform reliably and be rought to stand the hardships of a DJ booth. But that´s it, every other barrier has come down and a DJ should use what he feels best, regardless of look or brand or level. Digital DJing is turning tables is this regard and music is still the definite standard.

    In that regard, I´ve been using DJAY on a couple of iPad2 for some time now, and though I´ve used everything from magnetic tape to vinyl to CDs to mp3s, this is one outstanding piece of hardware/software to play with EVEN on a serious club.

    I still mix it with CDs and laptop/controller on my sets but then I´ve always mixed vinyl with CDJs and mp3s not long ago, so this means nothing in the way of realibility of the thing. Today, after using it for little over a year, I´m pretty confident to play an entire set with a single iPad2 and DJAY in front of any crowd. It may look like a toy but it´s stable, reliable, easy and incredibly FUN to play with!

    MHO.

    • Agreed – It’s all about the party, not the DJ knocking one out behind the decks…unless you’re into that sort of thing.

  20. The mapping function does not work with traktor kontrol S2. Has anyone got this to work?? I’d love to have the second option of software. DJay and traktor Pro. Any joy on this Phil?

  21. Another great review, thanks Phil.
    Just a bit more on the Twitch mapping – do you feel that you could pretty much map all of the functionality of the Twitch to work with djay?
    Also – you may recall I’m looking for a controller I can run my 1200 into. Would this do the trick? How does it route that Aux line in?
    Cheers.

  22. Before I start I will say that djay 3 was the program that got me into dj-ing; mucking around with it whenever I could and it was easy (compared to other softwares) to operate with just your computer and it’s keyboard. I can’t do a set though with only 2 decks so I went out, bought myself 2 cdj800′s, 2 ndx400s and a 4 channel mixer. That was awesome for a while, I was getting regular club gigs and rocking the house but I couldn’t keep on setting up (and packing up!) 4 decks 5 times a week do I decided to sell my cdj’s (harder than I thought it would be) and bought a vestax vci 400. I bought it second hand and it didn’t come with any software so I decided to test some softwares out before I decide which one I was going to stick with… I downloaded cracked versions of traktor pro, virtual dj 7 and djay 4 (btw I only did this for testing – always support the companies!). Traktor Pro had a steep learning curve but I ended up creating a proper 4 deck mapping that allowed the user to play on all 4 decks without any use of shift buttons and the only real downfall was that traktor 2.5 didn’t have complete eq kills and that led to some personal dislikes to the software…(on top of the fact that for some reason if kept on misreading some of the midi signals of my faders). So I then moved onto virtual dj and for some reason the midi signals also kept on getting mixed up and it just wouldn’t respond to my faders…. Nevertheless I thought that virtual dj (if I could get it working – any tips on virtual dj mapping anyone?) would be my software of choice if I was just using the vci on its own…

    But then… I moved onto djay 4… Oh what a pleasure to operate with the vci… I just plugged it in, it already recognized it and already had a mapping for it as it is a native controller for djay… Sound quality is impeccable, ability to use the iTunes library is brilliant and the new effects help bring the mix up to a new level of creativity! I’ve started setting up the vci in the clUb with djay, plugging into the mixer so I can still use 4 decks (using club cdj’s) and I know I look weird using djay in a club environment but my acapellas have never been more in time and my mixes keep on getting smoother and smoother… And at a price of only $20 you can’t go wrong!

  23. Phil:

    Looking for backup software for my Xone DX. I own djay4 for my iphone5 and it is such fun, I was wondering if the Midi Learn functionality of the new software is conducive with the DX. Love my DX but as you well know, it has been left out on an island as far as software support since A&E discontinued it.

    Cheers.

  24. Kevin, MD says:

    Lets be honest here. 95% of every Progressive House DJ performance I witness @ Mega-Clubs in a major American city, could be accomplished with this software and a serious sound card. Yes, frequently there are four of the highest quality Pioneer CDJs and mixers available on the stage. I can only remember a couple of times I actually saw someone using 3 and 4 and they were likely just cueing up ahead so they could tale a little rest. I can’t dance for hours straight so I do like to watch the DJ a bit. I know the waveforms aren’t the best, and there is no gridding. So put on your headphones and beatmatch then. People keep calling DJay inferior or a toy. Is it because you actually may have to hit sync twice instead of once? The review was excellent. I’ve found the key analysis to take my hobby DJing to the next level. I sound great! I think there is more than meets the eye WITH THE MAC version. Whenever I tell someone I use DJay, they say, “oh yeah, I play with that on my phone or iPad too.” If you like this software, check out the KB cover, or map your own controls to your keyboard. I’m so tempted to jump to Serato or Traktor, but WHEN DJay 5 comes along with higher quality waveforms, beatgrids of its own, and ability to control 4 decks, then what? We all know what is coming. 21 inch quad core tablet devices with 1TB SSD inside or hardly any hard drive and complete music library in the Cloud. This will be the controller in five years. Who will take the lead on that one? Who is already in the lead?

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