The tool of the DJ trade are constantly in flux. From turntables (Technics 1200 MKII’s) and CD players (Pioneer CDJ’s) to digital hardware (Pacemaker DJ), DJ hardware and software, devices are getting smaller, while packing in more features than anyone ever thought possible. Today’s digital DJ has at their fingertips the ability to mix beats, set cue points, create loops and apply a myriad of effects that 20-years ago would take up half the rack space in a recording studio. Walk into any club or lounge today and the laptop with DJ software from companies like Rane (Serato), Native Instruments (Traktor Scratch Pro), Atomix (Virutal DJ), and M-Audio (Torq) reigns supreme.
Just when we thought the laptop, which disrupted CD decks that disengaged the turntable market, would be here to stay, along comes the Apple iPad. Weighing in at under a pound, it’s much lighter and more compact than a laptop. The iPad’s multi-touch capability brings vinyl emulation directly to the screen.
Until the recent appearance of touch-screen technology, digital DJs emulated the old school way of spinning records by employing the turntable to control the playback of an MP3.Â Using special digitally encoded vinyl plates and a MIDI hardware interface connected to a laptop running DJ software, information about the location of the turntable’s needle is sent to the software, which then plays back the MP3 based on the needle location.Â Since most laptops do not have touch screen technology, the screens face you, and are not flat, it was improbable to create an effective vinyl emulator without resorting to hardware controllers.
That is all about to change with the advent of Mixr, a new vinyl DJ emulator from Noe Ruiz & Ben Stahlhood II at iPadMixr.com. The ipadmixr.com web site states that they hope the Mixr app will become the first iPad DJ application in the iPad app store.
You can see from the screen shots below, Mixr features two turntables, cue, play, pitch, and volume controls. There is a cross-fader and switches to reverse the direction of the fader and controls for effects processing. We’re anxiously awaiting release of this application to see it for ourselves. There are a few DJs who are using two iPads to control currently available loop and beat creation software, but this is the first vinyl emulator we’ve seen so far.