Video: Use Your iPad With Any DJ Controller


An iPad being controller by a Vestax VCI-400. The iPad is running DJ Player software.

It certainly has been an exciting week for iPad DJing. First we saw a video showing the iPad working in a typical DVS turntable set-up, shortly followed by a proof-of-concept video showing the same software (DJ Player) using various CDJs as Midi controllers. (Go to Video: DVS Comes To iPad to view these.) Today, the same company behind those two videos has launched the third and possible most significant installment of the series, which shows how an iPad running the same DJ Player software can be mapped to any DJ controller, regardless of price or manufacturer! Here it is:


The video


Watch right to the end of the video and you'll see the iPad mapped to several different devices as well as performing Midi-learn (this is where you use the controls on your device and the app will let you map those controls to one of its features).

Points to note...

  • With DJ Player installed, your iPad could replace your laptop in the DJ booth no matter what controller you use. The iPad-only controller DJ is becoming a reality
  • The app can use Midi-Learn (shown at the end of the video), so if your Midi knowledge isn't up to much (like mine), you simply tweak the controls of your hardware and match them to the feature of the app that you wish to control. In fact, this could be great for smaller, cheaper controllers - you become the master of how your control is mapped and how you use it
  • The development team has confirmed that you can get about five hours' playback with on the app from a single charge on an iPad, but after that you're stuck. For this to really work seriously, there needs to be a way to charge the iPad too
  • While all the above isn't available in the current version of DJ Player, it is being prepared for beta testing at the moment so it will arrive in the App Store - it's just a matter of time...

To the future...

iOS development has come a long way since those first DJ apps, and iOS DJ apps now looks set to become much higher profile in the digital DJing world. If you have an iPad and a controller (or turntables, or CDJs), you're probably already considering buying the next version of DJ Player to play with all this goodness for yourself...

Can you see yourself ever replacing your laptop with your iPad when it comes to DJing? Does adding controllers to the iPad's touchscreen surface defeat the object of iPad DJing, or do you think it's a great idea? Please share your thoughts below.

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  1. This looks good, now just the charging cord and a little tweaking to the look of the software and off we go!

    • Hi Fubar, don’t forget DJ Player has a day & night mode – the colour scheme in the video is day mode. Of course you could opt for the Red Bull BPM DJ app which is a different colour scheme too!

      A powered usb hub may help to send midi data and charge the iPad at the same time.

  2. I welcome the progress, I think this is a step in the right direction.

    But do I see myself ditching my Macbook (or any other notebook) in favor of this? TBH: No!

    Maybe you can pull of a set on this, if you don’t need all the features of a full-blown Traktor Pro version. But what about managing your tunes and preparing a set? As of now, you pretty much need a computer for that anyways (not having tried out Rekordbox or Engine and their respective apps). iTunes is way more limited on the iPad, I can’t run Mixed In Key on this, hell even on the 64gb iPad my collection wouldn’t fit on. iTunes Match needs internet.

    So naaah. Maybe Tablets will replace notebooks in the DJ Booth in the near future, but right now I’d rather stick to a real computer. Plus I don’t see the huge difference in carrying a notebook or an iPad. I don’t know about you people, but I’m a male in my mid-twenties and I lift lots of objects heavier than a 2,5kg computer, don’t be weight weenies?

    • Hi rawkidman,

      Maybe the other way to look at this is…maybe keeping your laptop at home for the track key detection, maybe even set preparation but leaving it at home and using the iPad out? It means less risk for you since all your music library and key detection software is still tucked safely away at home.

      You can achieve some rudimentary set prep on the iPad using playlists in the Music Library app – although this itself isn’t great because you can’t sort by key/bpm in order to add tracks to your playlist. DJ Player uses only tracks available in playlists and shows you comment (ie where the key is stored) & bpm data, so choosing your next track within the app is simple and effective.

      I guess space could be a limitation to some, but I can remember hauling crates of records into the boot of a Mini Metro (small, rust-prone car in the UK) in the early 90s. So even a 16Gb iPad gives me plenty more tracks than back in those days – more than enough to play a decent length set or party.

      • What you say is absolutely right. But that again means, that you have to own an iPad AND a computer. Where I live the most basic iPad 3rd Gen costs Euro 450,- street.

        I even give you the point, that of course for a set you don’t need your whole library, so even 16gb should be fine. Still seems like a lot of money to me for something you could achieve with the computer you already own anyways too? I mean, yeah safety… come on, back your stuff up every now and then :)

        I had an iMac + iPad then ditched both of them for a Macbook Pro, owning an iPad additionally would be luxury and wouldn’t add anything of value. So up the point where you can completely ditch the computer I don’t see much need for an iPad, apart from wanting to spend more money, or wanting to incorporate some TouchOSC stuff or the like :)

        (I’m absolutely not hating here, I think it’s a great development, but atm still not really useful for most people out there.)

      • This development will be more exciting perhaps for budding DJs who already own an iPad, it makes the decision on what controller to purchase an easier prospect. They don’t need to be driven by the few apps and manufacturers that list iOS midi as a feature.

        For DJs who already own a controller and laptop you’re right, they’re unlikely to be tempted away from the spec of a laptop into purchasing an iPad….unless perhaps they already own an iPad as well.

  3. Christopher says:

    Itch for ipad would be great. I am too concerned about having any limitation. I will stick with a laptop for now I think.

  4. Can this be used with a kontrol x1?

    • I don’t see why not. The kontrol x1 is a midi interface, so it should be as simple as connecting it to your iPad and mapping the controls to the features you want, either manually or through midi learn.

      I wonder if we’ll see some creative users creating their own custom midi interfaces?

  5. John Jones says:

    Would this work with a Numark V7?

    • Should do, yes.

      • juwansome says:

        Oh really now, hmmm… can’t wait til the midi-learning version is available in the itunes store for download! (Although $47 is rather pricey). I want to test this with a Numark V7 and also with a Novation Twitch!

        I would prefer to DJ with my iPad because my main computer is a MacMini, which is a fairly powerful dual-core i5 with 8GB RAM, four USB ports, and much less expensive than purchasing a laptop.

        Therefore this iPad DJ solution would definitely suit my needs! Either that or I purchase a Numark iDJ Pro, but I’d prefer to use the V7 or Twitch that I already have, hopefully utilizing the built-in sound card ;-)

      • juwansome says:

        …and I see that midi version 5.0 was just released! SWEET!

  6. rawkidman has point.. about price of ipad and memory,itunes stuff etc. but i must congratulate dj player team, this is for now most inovative dj application on market ! bravo !

  7. Dj pelón says:

    How Will i connect my external hard drive ? To The iPad to play The music

  8. Dirty Disco Soundsystem says:

    Step in right direction. Do odd house parties with an iPad and Djay-all good. All points on kit, memory etc are valid but this now might open things up in the market. About time too!

    But get used to it. These things ain’t going away…

    • “But get used to it. These things ain’t going away…”

      That’s the thing. We don’t present these developments as pro-ready, rather as pointers to where things may be going.

  9. Peter Gray says:

    It’s definitely a move in the right direction but what I would rather see is an App that offered the ability for Midi mapping to an external controller, audio over Bluetooth capabilities, but concentrates on the portability and tactile nature of the IPad…using an interface that literally fits over the screens footprint adding real cross faders and buttons that ‘click’…use what’s already there, and take it to another level…:-)

    The restrictions of iPad DJing will always be sound quality and hardware limitations, not the developers creating Apps and related hardware…

  10. Peter Gray says:

    I would rather see an App that offered the ability for Midi mapping to an external controller, audio over Bluetooth capabilities, but concentrates on the portability and tactile nature of the IPad…using an interface that literally fits over the screens footprint adding real cross faders and buttons that ‘click’…use what’s already there, and take it to another level…:-)

    The restrictions of iPad DJing will always be sound quality and hardware limitations, not the developers creating Apps and related hardware…

    • In this video you can see that DJ PLAYER is now offering the ability for MIDI mapping to an external controller. This is the story.

      And if you have sound quality problems, watch the iPad on this video plays on the controller’s sound card.

  11. Q.

    What Lead would you need to plug into the ipad?! Usb to Ipad? Is it that simple?

  12. i hope this lights a fire under traktor’s belly and they come out with an amazing app of their own.

  13. THis is what I’ve been waiting for, albeit from Algoriddim (althought I suspect they will be making an announcement along these lines before the end of the year). I’m a backpack DJ who likes to travle light, and since my setup includes one turntable, any reduction in equipment size/weight is a bonus. I’m hoping it won’t be long before I can achieve my ultimate goal of a controller of my choice which acts as a stand alone mixer being fed by djay on the iPad on one side of it, and my 1200 on the other. Then I can ditch my laptop and Pioneer DJM300 which I currently need to achieve this.
    I’m excited!

  14. I may have missed something on this, but is the most recent version of the app out currently? I bought it and tried setting up my VCI-400 EGE, but there was no option to set up midi mapping. If its not out yet, do we have any idea of when it will release?

  15. I may be missing something here, but is this update not out yet? I downloaded the app and tried to set up my VCI-400 EGE, but there was no option to midi map on the “devices” page. If it isn’t out yet, do you guys have any idea when it will launch?

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