My favorite iPad app gets better: djay 2 is a party rocker

Algoriddim has released a major update to its revolutionary DJing app for iOS with HD waveforms, a built-in sampler and an all-new music browser that has more features than Apple's native music app.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor on
My favorite iPad app gets better: djay 2 is a party rocker - Jason O'Grady

Do you like music? Yeah, me too. (Ok, pretty much everyone likes music.)

But do you like playing with your music? If so (and you have an iPhone or iPad) you should download djay 2.0 immediately because it's one of the most fun applications on the App Store – bar none. In December 2010 I called djay my favorite iPad app, and v2 continues the streak.

Even though it's a professional-level app that's used by a number of pro DJs, what makes djay 2.0 compelling is that it's extremely approachable and has an extremely low barrier to entry. It's as easy as picking tracks from your music library for deck 1 and deck 2 and then scratching and cross-fading one track into another. And when your done spinning, simply touch the Automix button to have two playlists mixed automatically so that you can grab a drink and mingle with your guests. 

Onto what's new. 

Djay 2.0 is a complete rewrite from the ground up. Although it looks like djay 1 at first glance, it's improved in almost every respect. The main "vinyl" view (above) -- which is still my favorite -- is skeuomorphism done right. Nothing beats the tactile interface of a record on a turntable, it's such a simple and natural interface that both my kids (ages 6 and 3) take to it instantly. Just drop a record on the turntable then spin it, drag it around, and move the needle. Algoriddim took it up a notch by adding realistic grooves in the vinyl which show where tracks start and end and where the pitch changes in individual tracks — just like real vinyl. 

The Sync button, which syncs the BPM of two tracks, got a major upgrade too. Instead of a one-time sync, djay 2.0 keeps both tracks in perfect sync throughout your crossfade, continually stretching tracks so that they stay in sync and sound smooth across your mix.

My favorite iPad app gets better: djay 2's waveform layer - Jason O'Grady

One of the biggest new features is a beautiful new waveform layer (above), which allows you to visualize and interact with your music with a whole new level of detail and clarity. Old School decks are replaced by HD waveforms that give you a live scrolling view of your tracks. Distinct color-coding of similar sounds provides visual cues not previously available and all of djay 2.0's interfaces take advantage of the full resolution of the iPad and iPhone's Retina display  
My favorite iPad app gets better: djay 2's sampler layer - Jason O'Grady

The built-in sampler in djay 2.0 (above) alone is worth the price of admission. It rounds out an already amazing app and provides another tool that aspiring and pro DJs can use to sweeten their mix. While a track is playing simply touch the little grid icon in the center of the screen and the decks (or waveforms) slide away to reveal a series of drum pads that can be used to pump up the jam. Djay 2.0 includes three high-quality sample packs (Essentials, Sound FX, and Dubstep). The best part is that you're not limited to just those, djay 2.0 allows you to create your own samples on-the-fly from your iTunes library which can then be saved and reloaded later.

My favorite iPad app gets better: djay 2's rewritten music browser - Jason O'Grady

The most stressful part of DJing, whether for a house party or in a big room, is finding and queuing the right track to play next. Invariably, you'll think of a track that you want to play (or someone will request one) and you only have a few seconds to find it and queue it up. Algoriddim spent a lot of time on the re-designed music browser and it shows. Finding tracks is much easier in this release and you can easily build a playlist for the perfect set. Djay 2.0 now keeps track of what you've played and allows you to preview tracks inline. You can also swipe tracks into your playlist, make the browser full screen, and even dim it to a dark "club mode" so that it doesn't scorch your retinas like the solar white backgrounds can. 

I really wish that djay 2.0 could stream tracks directly from iCloud/iTunes Match, but the developer tells me that it's a limit of the Apple API. The good news is that you can download tracks from iCloud via Apple's Music app and they'll be available in djay 2.0. A setting to hide cloud-based music is also a welcome addition. Unfortunately, music with DRM still does not work with the app. The other thing I'd like to see is even more sample packs for the new drum pads, even via in-app purchase. While the three included packs are excellent, many people are too lazy to create their own. (Cough!) I'd like to see tie ups with popular artists - I'm talking to you Snoop and Skrillex!

Overall djay 2.0 is the app that I'm most excited about this summer and I can't wait to use it drop the need at a house party this weekend. It's the perfect music app for users of all ages because it allows you to touch and feel your music in ways you never thought possible, and sound good doing it. Djay 2.0 ($0.99 for iPhone, $4.99 for iPad) is half price for one week, so I highly recommend that you grab it (especially the iPad version) before the price goes up.

Here's the demo video:


  • All-new user interface:
    • Turntable view: Hyper-realistic "two turntables and a mixer" DJ setup for intuitive mixing and scratching
    • HD Waveforms view: New layer featuring scrolling parallel waveforms with advanced performance capabilities
    • Single deck view in portrait orientation: Single deck view allows focus on an individual deck and provides larger controls
    • Sampler view: Allows the user to add sounds to their live performance, comes with high-quality pre-bundled content
    • All-new music library:
      • Queue: Perfect for upcoming songs and requests
      • History: Offers a catalog of previously played songs with auto-saved playlists
      • Light/dark mode: Adjust to a bright day-light setting or a dark-club lighting
      • Expandable full-screen view: Dynamically switch from popover to full-screen view
      • Advanced sorting: Easily browse music by BPM, Title, Artist, Time
      • Instant preview: Quickly preview a track in the library before loading it to the deck
      • Analyze library: Pre-analyze entire iTunes music library (BPM, Beat Grids, Gain, Color, etc)
  • Built-in Sampler:
    • Pre-bundled content: Comes with built-in sample packs (Essentials, Sound FX, and Dubstep Pack)
    • Color-coded drum pads: Assign a color to each pad for easy identification of samples
    • Live sampling: Create custom samples recorded live from the two decks
    • Custom sample banks: Reassign samples to buttons and save as custom presets
  • HD Waveforms:
    • Parallel Scrolling Waveforms View: Touch and interact with two tracks side-by-side
    • Beat Grids: Visualizes the beats and bars of a song
    • Spectral Timeline: In overview mode this shows the structure of the song (e.g. verse, chorus).  In detail mode it allows the user to distinguish bass drums, snare drums, hi-hats, etc. by color
    • Slice Mode: Slices waveform into four-beat bars and allows the user to trigger each beat individually for stunning live remixing
  • Enhanced Performance Modes:
    • Slip Mode: Scratch without interrupting the flow as the music snaps back in time seamlessly
    • Loop-FX: Beat-matched looping with simultaneous XY-style filtering
  • Enhanced Audio Analysis:
    • Full color waveforms: Identifies similar musical patterns within a song and associates them with color
    • Beat grids: Editable and shared via iCloud across Mac, iPad, and iPhone
    • Real Vinyl: Virtual grooves are individually mapped and rendered for every track on djay’s virtual records. It allows to quickly identify breaks within a song, as if the vinyl was fresh off the press
    • Perfect Sync: Keeps songs perfectly in sync by time-stretching their beat-grids in real-time
  • Enhanced Support for DJ Hardware Controllers and Multi-Channel Audio Interfaces:
    • Improved MIDI integration: Enhanced djay’s officially supported hardware controllers with new pro-level features: Vestax Spin 2, Numark iDJ Pro, Numark Mixdeck Quad, Numark iDJ Live, Numark iDJ Live II, iDJ 2 Go, Pioneer DDJ-WeGo, and Pioneer DDJ-Ergo
    • All-new portrait interface: Optimized for Numark iDJ Pro

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