While the iPhone’s smaller screen makes scratching difficult, the CrossDJ interface adapts well to smaller iOS devices. It feels like a quality app especially because of the good-sized buttons and the space dedicated to each feature. Unfortunately because the decks are obscured during use of these features it can prove to be frustrating, especially when you want to set hot cues accurately. Also, the absence of a Key Lock feature will be a turn off to some.
First Impressions / Setting up
You can customise the functionality through the settings page (via the plus icon on the right deck). Standard items such as pitch range, pitch bend strength and vinyl mode can all be adjusted here. There’s also an option to use a splitter cable and also an external mixer mode. Via the in app purchase (the same one that would unlock the extended FX) you also get USB audio sound card support (identical to the iPad version).
Mixvibes has been busy recently developing the rekordbox app for use with Pioneer products (such as the XDJ-Aero or the CDJ2000), launching version 2 of CrossDJ and their video plugin. With all this activity I was worried that they had forgotten about the iOS platform, but thankfully not! During the winter period they have also updated the iPad version of CrossDJ to bring multichannel audio via USB sound card support, external mixer mode and audio via Bluetooth. The arrival of the iPhone version of the app came as a surprise and certainly spices up the competition for high quality DJ apps on smaller iOS devices.
From using the app over the past couple of weeks, it feels like a quality app especially because of the good-sized buttons and the space dedicated to each feature. Unfortunately because the decks are obscured during use of these features it can prove to be frustrating, especially when you want to set hot cues accurately, but I guess that’s a result of squeezing in detailed functionality into a small screen space. With the slightly larger screen space of an iPhone 5 or 5th generation iPod Touch you’ll see a black bar on the display at either side, so there’s the potential to display the pitch slider permanently (or something else) if using these devices. As with the iPad version, there’s no Key Lock feature which may put some folk off. Midi support would also be a welcome addition in the future for both apps; I think the Vestax Spin2 would make a good match.
DJ apps that replicate hardware such as spinning vinyl or CDJ style interfaces are not to everyone’s taste, however they do represent what most budding DJs can easily recognise as being part of the “DJ” experience. Without Midi support I would be unlikely to use the app for anything more than casually forming mix ideas. If those two areas of functionality were implemented, I could see this being an effective and fun solution to any immediate small-scale party!
The big surprise is that the app is free. This will certainly cause a stir among other DJ app developers. The advanced features such as extended FX and detailed settings can be unlocked at the cost of US$2.99 which is good value for money. By being free, it will attract would-be DJs to take a closer look and possibly shift focus away from already established and popular DJ apps.