Something exciting for DJs who own iPads just happened. In a nutshell, the answer to the question "Will my DJ controller work with my iPad?" has just changed from "probably not" to "yes, it's pretty likely"!
With iOS6, we've learned that as long as your DJ controller is "class compliant" (best test: when using it with a Windows laptop, it doesn't need audio drivers to be installed), it should work with iPad just as it is. The short of it? You may no longer need a Numark iDJ Live, iDJ Pro or Vestax Spin2 if you want to use a DJ controller with iOS. And as iOS6 includes multi-route audio, your controller's sound card should work just fine too.
Before we start…
This is all new stuff. Many of the manufacturers we spoke to at BPM 2012 weren't even aware of this, and they also didn't know if their controllers were class compliant. It's also massive news because potentially your iPad could replace your laptop as your DJ computer - as of now!
But it's all experimental too. We want to know what does and doesn't work, so we'd love you to share your results. We've started a list of USB class compliant DJ controllers, but we want your help too. Here's what you need to know and do in order to test your controller and start using your iPad in place of your laptop for DJing...
- You'll need a Camera Connection Kit. This basically plugs into the connector on the base of your iPad and gives you a USB; it's this you'll plug your controller into. (As it only works with iPad, currently if you want to use an external DJ controller with iPhone or iPod touch, you'll have to use one of the Apple approved models like the iDJ Live or Spin2 mentioned above)
- Something's got to power your DJ controller. It more than likely the case that your iPad can't provide enough power. You'll therefore need a powered USB hub, which has the added advantage of also charging your iPad. If your DJ controller has a mains lead, you could plug it in and see what happens
- You're going to need DJ software that can work with this. The first DJ app for iPad that advertises the ability to work with multi-route audio and have Midi mapping is DJ Player 5, so if you're serious about doing this, you'll want to go and grab a copy of that should you not already have one, and be prepared to start doing some mapping. But just for testing purposes, you can use free app Midi Monitor
How to do it
Get Midi Monitor (or DJ Player 5) installed and running. Plug a camera connection kit into your iPad and USB that into your plugged in, powered hub. Put another USB between the hub and the iOS device fitted with the camera connection kit. That's it! Playing with controls on your DJ controller should now show Midi messages being received on Midi Monitor, and on DJ Player 5 you should additionally see your DJ controller's sound card recognised.
So, does your controller work? Great! Please let us know. Your next step is to come up with a mapping. Doesn't yours work? Sorry to hear that, but again let us know - manufacturers ought to be considering this stuff or risk getting left seriously behind, so we can help by making them aware.
Here's my video explaining all about this. I will be monitoring the comments below to answer issues, share tips and update the list of what does and doesn't work with iOS 6.
List of class compliant DJ controllers
Here's the current list of controllers we know will work in this way with iPad. We'll continually update this as we find out more...
Vestax: VCI-100, VCI-300, VCI-380, VCI-400, VFX-1, Spin, Spin2, Typhoon
Numark: MixTrack, MixTrack Pro, MixDeck Quad, iDJ Live, iDJ Pro, DJ2Go, N4
Behringer: CMD series (forthcoming)
DJ Tech: iMix, VTT 101
Faderfox: Most controllers
Stanton: SCS3D and SCS3M
Pioneer: CDJ 900, CDJ 2000
American Audio: VMS4
AKAI Pro: LPD8
DJ TechTools: MidiFighter Classic, MidiFighter Pro
Korg: Nano Series 2
So - don't forget to let us know how it goes for you. If you've got any questions about using iPads and DJ hardware together, please ask below.