Over To You: Which Is The Best DJ Controller For iPad & djay?

Numark Mixdeck Quad

The Numark Mixdeck Quad works with iPad and djay software, but it’s only one of many choices nowadays.

Digital DJ Tips reader Paul writes: “Please can I have your take on iPad controllers and Algoriddim’s djay software? I have the iPad and an thinking of waiting for the Numark iDJ Flex to be launched, just don’t know what to go for. Just want it for house parties and BBQs.”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Algoriddim’s djay software is a great match for the iPad so you’ve got no worries there. You’ve got a few choices nowadays, including the Numark iDJ Pro and the Vestax Spin2, to name just a couple. Even traditionally non-iPad controllers are wrestlig in on the action, thans to “backward engineering” involving the Apple Camera Connection Kit (I’m thinking specifically of these Pioneer controllers).

However, rather than detail the pros and cons of the units I have tried (as I haven’t spent much time with any of them), I thought this would be a nice one to throw over to the readers.

So, readers: Do you use Algoriddim’s djay software with the iPad? And if so what controller do you use? What are the pros/cons of your particular unit? And would you buy it again? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Please leave your answers for Paul in the comments below.

Comments

  1. Corey A. Keller says:

    I’ve owned and used the Numark Mixdeck Quad and it works great with the iPad and Deejay app. Very nice all around machine.

    • Stonedsour says:

      I second that! The mixdeck quad is a tough well versed machine and when Serato DJ comes out for it (hurry up serato!) it will be one of the best all around controllers out there.

  2. Steven V says:

    The only cons that I could see is storage. I did a couple of party’s using the ipad only with djay app. And I already knew more or less what music to bring that day. And it work out great no problems. I ran it for 5 to 4 1/2 hours straight and it was really good. The beauty of it is when people come up to me and see what am using there mouth drop. I get a kick out of that. I can’t wait for the numark idj flex to be out so I can really use it or if traktor come out with one for the traktor dj. Man I would be in heaven! I feel using the ipad for small gigs are good. Don’t really have to carry much and it does the job very well. Since it is very limited on storage just make a playlist you think is best for that day you playing. Can’t wait for my people on DDJT (Phil). Come out with more reviews on the numark idj flex and when it’s coming out.
    This is Steven from NYC Brooklyn! Let’s make it happen baby!

  3. DJ Juwansome says:

    Let’s not forget the inclusion of the Vestax VMidi which allows you to power the iPad and the Midi controller (if it is USB powered) and connect to the iPad without the Apple CCK. Also provides a single stereo or dual mono sound output:

    http://www.digitaldjtips.com/2012/11/review-video-vestax-v-midi-interface-for-ios-djs/

    I am currently working on mapping a Pioneer DDJ-SX to DJ Player, since Djay is not (yet?) mappable…

  4. I have the Numark iDJ Pro. It is light, portable and works well with the Djay software. I purchased the Numark carry bag also. With the carry bag it is easy to transport.

    • Andreas says:

      You should check this http://imect.com/djplayer/hardware.html. Dj player can work excellent with many controllers using their audio capabilities! I am planning to buy a vci 400 and I will play with my iPad 3rd gen 32GB! Now I am using the iPad for backup. Concerning the audio quality djplayer is above the medium, it has a good variety of effects and its latest version has 4 decks (so it can take full advantage of the vci 400 ‘s channels! Furthermore vci 400 is an all around controller working with every programme (serato, traktor, virtual dj, ableton) , can work as an analog mixer and it has unlimited options regarding the mapping! That’s why I choose vci 400 for iPad!

    • Miguel R. says:

      I just ordered the marathon flight case for the iDJ Pro http://www.marathonpro.com/marmaidjpro.html . I’ll let you know how it holds up.

  5. Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

    Hey folks,

    I have the iDJ Pro too. In my opinion it beats the Flex (I was planning on waiting for it to come out, but decided to get the Pro after all) for three reasons.
    1) Highly personal, but I don’t like silver colored gear. Period. Jus not my thing. :-)
    2) More relevant I think is the way the iPad is incorporated. In almost every controller that utilises the iPad it is stuck on the back of the unit as sort of an afterthought. Being mobile I often play while level with the crowd and pretty much with dancers inches away from my DJ stand. And while the stand is wide enough to keep the gear inside of it, stuff sticking out the back runs a serious chance of getting bumped into and/or leaned into. It bothered me when it was my laptop screen, but an iPad(holder) in my opinion is just too fragile.
    3) If the iPad is not really fixed, when you touch it, it is bound to flex a bit, making it less accurate in my opinion.

    Lastly, I am desperately waiting for a full DJ Player mapping for it, since I have decided after playing around with it that DJAY is just so behind the curve. Why on earth would I want HALF! of my iPad screen to go to watching two spinning disks? I do not like software that emulates real life equipment in this way. I have jogwheels, so don’t bother me with stuff like spinning circles on screen. The iPad screen should give you all those options that the controller doesn’t offer like big FX pads (granted DJAY does have those), easy library access (limited on DJAY in my opinion, is there a way to display the KEY field?) and (parallel l/r or up/down) BIG waveforms.

    Greetinx,
    C.

    • libertatis says:

      I guess the folks at Algoriddim had your wishes in mind while developing the new version of the DJAY-app. It now comes with 12 (programmable) FX pads, better library functionality and BIG Waveforms.

      You should be fine now.

  6. DJ Forced Hand says:

    I’ve tried a couple iPad-based DJ applications (including Traktor DJ at Guitar Center) but I feel that every iPad application plays the junior role to the more feature-rich laptop applications and for all the neat features the iPad offers, the problem (i see) is that the touch screen options tend to occupy the (comparatively smaller) tablet screens and require more “screen-gaze” time. There’s a petty complaint about “Serato Face” and using a tablet to DJ from just exacerbates the problem.

    Since there’s a push right now to try and quickly fill the gap for the low-end (aka tablets) market, I’m sure that more (and fancier) controllers will continue to be functional with tablets, so I think it’s too early to tell which controller is best for “dJay.” I’d simply “wait and see” for a while, not only because the controllers are becoming more tablet-compliant but because there are other, very good, tablet DJ programs coming out. I don’t suggest buying a controller for dJay right now because we’re still early in the development cycle for tablets and you’re likely to have buyers remorse in a few months when something better comes along. I know that’s not necessarily the answer you might want to hear, but it’s generally true.

    If you simply MUST have a controller right now, I’d suggest the Numark iDJ Pro, due to the fact that it’s integrated into the body of the (pretty full-featured) controller (which is superior for many reasons), but what feels best to you (in your work-flow) is ultimately the right controller for you.

    • i get that it’s nice to have iPad integration in the body of a controller, but i don’t get how it’s supposedly a strong point when in reality it only serves to waste space. i’d rather have a laptop stand to float the iPad over the surface, but that’s just me.

      in terms of functionality, i suspect the new Vestax Spin 2 would be the best …but the XDJ-R1 is set to take the top spot (oddly enough, like the DDJ-SX, seems to steal from Numark …in the case, the Mixdeck concept).

  7. I don’t really feel like any of the current iPad controllers are really great quality and actual “pro” level except for the latest Pioneer outing.

    However this isn’t an issue for a lot of people, so get what you feel like is best for you!

    • Why?, Because it said Pioneer on them?

      • No, because of build quality and features; Numark often lacks when it comes to the quality and feel of their controllers, but they often are packed with features so it almost balances out in some regards. I’ve never been impressed with anything by them, and really try and steer clear of their work whenever possible.

        I understand that many Pioneer products are overpriced, and that a lot of fanboys exist and love to push their products. However when it comes to using just an iPad I really can’t see myself using anything other than their new controller, even with the price point.

        But I’m not the target audience for this topic, just passing along my thoughts. If I was a fanboy of anything, it would be solid gear that is meant to be used… And Allen & Heath.

  8. I am in the process of upgrading from a Numark iDj Live and a 32 gig ipad. With a total “investment” of no more than $120.00 you can start learning to mix and develop your skills. The controller is VERY limited, but it gives you everything you NEED to make it happen. Being somewhat of a purist, I beleive the benefit of limited software and hardware is that YOU have to count and use your ears to mix instead of just using the beat graph on the computer screen. As far as portabilty i don’t think it can be beat, all you need is a battery powered radio, a fully charge ipad, your splitter/headphones and you can party anywhere!! I’d say get the app since it can be fully used without any controller and then go from there. Good luck!

  9. Sorry, one more thing…
    From what i am reading above it seems you can also use the mixtrack pro, i have never used one but it has gotten great reviews everywhere i’ve researched and i think it would be an excellent choice. Eventhough its an inexpensive entry level controller its still twice as much as the iDj live, but then again, you may not have to upgrade as I have done. If you can afford it I say go for it bro!!

    Always keep in mind that the people in front of you only care about the vibe/energy you set with the songs you choose to play and how well you put them together, they really don’t give a shit how much your equiptment costs!!

  10. Dan K8O says:

    I use the iDJ Pro as well and it is an acceptable controller… If you have an iPad 1 or 2. Since Apple came out with iPad 3 and 4 with lightning adaptor, the iDJ Pro case on the back cannot be closed because of the adaptor to convert 30 pin to lightning sticks out… so it looks kinda ghetto. Yes you can use the new iPad 3& 4 with an adaptor but Numark was not aware Apple was coming out with the lightning adaptor and got stuck with this design flaw… not their fault. That being said Numark has failed to address all those who have the iDJ Pro controller and iPad 3 and 4 and want the back closed. No fix so far… But this is a minor point. The major point is the iDJ Software for the iPad doesn’t compare to their laptop version and As mentioned above, there still are a lot of deficiencies… (no key detection like on their laptop version) and using spinning platters to take up 60% of the screen when using the controller makes no sense…. agreed. I now use my ipad 1 and iDJ pro occasionally to pracitce on and bring it as a back up. Obviously we should be expecting more with iOS devices for DJing…but I would hold out for now.. maybe Algoriddm will step up their iPad game given Traktor’s entry and others into the foray!

    • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

      I know the problem. I had bought the iPad 4 at the airport and ran back to swap it for a 3 about 10 minutes before my flight left. I was gonna use it with Mackie DL1608 live digital mixer, but same problem (even worse since the connector is integral part of the casing and no room for a connector if you want to lock your iPad in).

      One thing though, unless the brought out a new iPad in the last few weeks that I missed out on, the iPad 4 and the mini are the only ones that have lightning connector.

      What we know as iPad 3 (which officially is iPad New Generation or iPad Retina or something, effectively the iPad 2 with the retina screen) has a regular “old” 30-pin connector.

      Since all iPads work well (iPad 1) to very good (iPad 3), I guess at Numark they could live with that. Specially since, at the time, the Flex was on the drawingboard. And IT will have both connectors. So, I am guessing as soon as it is out, the iDJ Pro will go “discontinued”. A pity, becasue I agree with others here that it is the only REAL iPas integrated design.

      Greetinx,
      C.

  11. DJ Juwansome says:

    Forgot to mention that I was previously using the iDJ Pro with Djay, and it worked perfectly fine, however I disliked having to set the Master Tempo/ Keylock feature everytime I loaded a new song. I also didn’t like the rotary faders. In my opinion it didn’t make sence using rotary knobs unless they were infinite knobs such as the ones used on the Novation Twitch for pitch control. All that said, I did use it professionally several times, without negative incident.

    • I was facing the same dilema and decided to move up to “professional” software after using a friends Novation Twitch with Serato itch. The ipad thing is great but it can only do so much, especially when compared to the amount of information provided by pro software, you can literally mix perfectly with out headphones!!
      After hours of reasearching ALL the entry level controllers and speaking to local DJ’s I took Phils advise and went with Serato Dj and the Denon MC2000. For you it seems the mixtrack pro or pro II is the way to go as it gives you the option to use more powerful software in the future but still use the ipad today.

      • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

        Mixing without headphones, interesting concept. Sure THAT would warrant a whole new post LOL.

        I agree with the iPad offerings being semi-pro at best and there being limitations. However, a big part of the succes is dependent on the software. The other part is what you are doing with it.

        Next to “full-size” gigs (2xSC2900s/X1600, lights, 4+ hours, mini-van full of gear) I have a lot of those half/half things. I might be doing sound for a company event with speeches and such or for a fair and do some DJ-ing in between acts or during drinks afterwards. Or I play (volunteer) music at the home games of my American Football team. Or at a small house/street party. Or practice on the couch.

        An iDJ Pro, even with DJAY, is a good tool for that. I am not gonna be doing any real fancy stuff, but if need be I could scratch, mix acapella’s with it (:-)), add FX, do filters, sync stuff and generally do my thing.

        One single flightcase, 2 active 12″ speakers on stands and one small case with two integrated power/signal cables on reels. And I am off to the races.

        So yeah, if you want to be out there with all the features available, DJ software on a laptop with a full-size, fully-fitted controller is the way to go.

        For all that other stuff (I do) an iPad based solution works just fine.

        Greetinx,
        C.

      • DJ Juwansome says:

        @Edelso I do miss my Twitch so much! I was using it with a Mac Mini and USB monitor but I sold it because it is not Core-Midi compliant and as such, does not work with Djay or the iPad at all for that matter. I’m Really hoping they release a Twitch-2 or something very similar that plays along nicely with iPad!

        I was looking at buying the Numark’s N4 or Mixtrack Pro 2, but I decided on the Pioneer DDJ-SX, mainly because of the larger illuminated jog wheels. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for Djay iPad app Midi maps for the DDJ-SX…

  12. DJ SpecializED says:

    I use the ipad for backup duty. AND to dl requests i dont have. (Hotspot)

  13. DJ alt.rock says:

    I love the ipad dj apps but prefer to mix on the ipad for simplicity’s sake. That said, I’m patiently waiting on something like the upcoming Griffin DJ Connect to do proper cuing before I can take ipad djing seriously. Simply put, when you do split cuing you drop the output volume by half along with being stuck with mono and you have to use a corny analogue headphone splitter that reminds me of the radio shack splitters that I used in the 90s so I could listen to mixtapes with my special girl on the school bus…wack.

    • why not use a class compliant USB audio interface? there’s a ton available, particularly if all you want is an additional output for monitoring. in fact, i have a Griffin iMic in my bag right now that i’ve been using with several audio/DJ apps.

      sorry kid, but you need to check yourself before you comment… sounds like your intel is outdated by well over a year.

      • I guess you’re right. I was so thrown off by the coverage of y-adaptors that I didn’t realize that I could pick up something like the Behringer UCA202 and a lightning to USB kit. My bad.

  14. DJ alt.rock says:

    A major thing I forgot to mention that bothers the heck out of me is that all the major apps don’t give a single deck skin option. Ipad mini’s are so cheap that I’d easily buy a second one and a cheap mixer and go to town. That is such a simple idea that would negate the split cue nonsense and double the storage. Why wouldn’t djay or traktor give a one deck skin option???

    • Mario García says:

      Dj player can do that

    • DJ Juwansome says:

      Yes DJ Player app! Pricy but no hardware controller needed, just an external mixer if you have two iPads already. Mind you, a hardware controller can be less expensive than an iPad so…up to you…

  15. Dear all,

    I am not a Professional DJ but I give several parties, private and public and I do need some sound power and quality.

    Presently, I am using both Djay and Vestax Spin2 (either with macbookpro or ipad last generation) but I feel it a little bit “amatour” – to be honest.

    I am thinking in a more PRO controller to use it with Djay and/or Traktor software (macbookpro or ipad) – I love the new Djay 2, by-the-way.

  16. Ok my diggy Dj lovers….I need some help here…..
    So been play in with my vinyl for 20 years now…… And I have manage to track them all down in diggy format. And yes am still buying tunes all the time….not that stuck in my age lol

    So for years been playing round the world for long time and been on ones feet(dancing like nut case) for hours at time ( you know what I mean lol) but I got diagnosed with rumortode arthritis ….in both feet and back……total bollox when ya only 36……

    So I can not drag my box of tunes no more. Being a raspberry ripple has seen to that…so got myself an iPad mini 64g….even less to carry than the iPad …I know, don’t….
    So I have been looking at controllers and none of them seem to have the mini in mind…
    Look at the numark idj pro….for iPad, has any of you got a mini?….what controller to u use?… Is it light ?

    Basically ….can some help this old timer with not two feet to stand on, work out the best controller for a mini…..

    I have looked and looked, but need some feed back from the Dj family on this one

    Jibbers-

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