Not so long ago we reviewed version 4.0 of DJ Player, the DJ app that many serious iOS DJs have taken to heart – especially those who aren’t looking for the typical “spinning disc” approach to DJing.
Since then the team at Stereomusik & iMect has been busy working on improvements. The question is, what else could the development team give us without moving too far away from the clear professional workflow of the previous version? In finding out, we won’t cover old ground; we’ll just focus on the new functionality. (Update: Here’s a DJ Player v5.0 review.)
(By the way, before we begin, the current version of the app is v4.6.1; however, all of the features discussed came at version 4.5.)
The list of new features below is impressive in itself, however if you look at the relative “footprint” of the app it is now a mere 1.6Mb in size (compared with 17Mb of the previous version). I’m not sure how this is achieved, but it is an incredible feat! Here’s what they’ve crammed in:
- Improved key lock in +/- 16 % range – Full details on the custom key lock functionality were described by the development team in the press release. The main point here is that the key lock functionality sounds really smooth between +/- 16%;here are no gaps or juddering, even on a first generation iPad. You can switch key lock on/off via the “Lock” icon on the deck screen (just above the vinyl-view strip)
- Reverse play If you tap the pitch slider anywhere but the slider, the track will play in reverse momentarily. If you press the “Reverse” icon (near the “Lock” icon!), the track will play in reverse continuously until you press it again. This can be coupled with the “Slip” mode, so the track bounces back to where it should have been
- Artwork and duration display on track list page – The track list page has always been a strong feature of the DJ Player app. The addition of miniature artwork thumbnails gives a more familiar feel to the screen – especially if you’ve come from a background of thumbing through crates of vinyl or boxes of CDs. Duration is a handy addition as well, eliminating that risk of loading a 25-second intro instead of a eight-minute disco monster! With space as a premium on my iPad, I tend to ensure I’ve only loaded tracks over a specific duration anyway
- Sort by duration – With the addition of duration metadata to the track list page, you can now also sort by duration too
- Improved resolution on all devices including new iPad – With the reduction of app size, it’s clear the developer hasn’t just implemented a standard “Retina Display Support” approach. Typically, when developers improve the resolution of an app, it increases in size and as such takes up more space – even if your device doesn’t have retina display
- Twitter integration – Using this setting, you can automatically or manually post your track detail or device camera photo to Twitter. The neat twist here is that you can choose to have this occur automatically at a given interval or manually at a press of a (“Camera”) button on the mixer page
- “Deck Shark” protection – This is the flipside to the openness of the Twitter integration; it stops other DJs seeing what tracks you’re playing and will not post the current track detail to Twitter (even if auto Twitter posting is enabled). Deck Shark can be activated by tapping the track title on the deck screen
- Live camera background integration (iPad 2 and upwards) – You can either use this to tweet front or back facing camera photos during your set, or alternatively use the camera to provide a background to the app during use. This would be great if you had the iPad video output sent to screens around the club, crowd shots and the DJ Player app visible to all!
- Online manual – Finally, some detailed explanation on how the more complex elements of the app work
In addition to the features listed above are a number of tweaks in the interface and background code to bring performance improvements as well, so tracks should load and analyse quicker.
DJ Player has gone from strength to strength with this latest update ticking many of the boxes on our “What To Look For In An iOS DJ App” list, while working on older devices and remaining universal. Let’s consider the few features left on our list that DJ Player hasn’t tackled yet:
- In-app recording – If this could be achieved then that would be perfect, however if it came at a cost of the existing functionality stack, or by compromising performance or reliability then we can live without it
- Sampler / sample pads – The eight loops / cues could be used as sample triggers, if only there was a way to press the cue point button and play until your finger came off the button
- USB Midi support – However, with the wealth of functionality now available within the app, it’s hard to see how the experience or creativity would be enhanced massively with a USB Midi controller, unless you want to incorporate scratching
None of these “missing items” detract from the overall experience, which make it difficult to find any negatives about DJ Player.
By the way if you’re a Red Bull BPM DJ user (the two programs are related), rest assured that all of the features mentioned will be coming to the app very soon…in fact, the lush green valley screenshot in this article was taken using Red Bull BPM DJ v2.0 (just to prove that it will be available!).
- Key lock
- Social features (and Deck Shark protection!)
- Camera functionality
We don’t like:
- Price … although you could always try the Red Bull BPM DJ app for a reduced price
Ease of use:
Download from: App Store
What do you think?
Have you used DJ Player? Are you a fan of its approach? What do you think of the new features? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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