The iPad DJ: How To Use the iPad As a Set of...

The iPad DJ: How To Use the iPad As a Set of Decks


The iPad is one of the coolest inventions of the last few years; hipsters around the world battle to compare apps and find innovative uses for it. So what could be cooler than combining it with possibly the coolest profession in the world, DJing?! We took a look at the recent craze of iPad DJs that is taking the electronic music scene by storm…

With the recent popularity of minimal techno amongst DJ and music producers, it seems that DJs are looking to minimize their equipment as well; why spend thousands of dollars on a set of decks, amps, synthesizers and FX boxes that you have to cart around from gig to gig if you can spend $500 on an iPad that performs the same functions, but on which you can also play Angry Birds?!

Rana Sobhany, ‘The World’s First iPad DJ’ and founder of Destroy The Silence stated in a Wired interview that, “I got really inspired by the basic functionality of these apps and I started thinking about ways to incorporate iPad into a live performance. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was entirely possible to build a set around solely iPad music software and applications.” Rana is a leading figure in the iPad DJing phenomenon and plays sets all around the U.S. using only Apple equipment, chiefly iPads.

The fact that you can import your iTunes library into many of these applications, meaning that you can mix and scratch songs that you could never even dream of doing on a regular set of decks. Take a hip-hop beat and scratch it over some old R&B, then throw in some electro synth sounds on Looptastic’s Chaos Box function. For a more detailed explanation of how to use your iPad to DJ, check out Rana’s video where she talks us through each of her favourite iPad DJ apps.

Check out Rana Sobhany the world’s first iPad DJ, as she uses two iPads as a set of decks and a synthesizer!

If you are of the ‘old school’ school of thought, where you think that mixing is all well and good but you ain’t nuthin’ unless you can scratch, then check out DJ Scratch rocking out the djay app for iPad!

No risk of broken needles on this set of iDecks!

That’s right, even the scratching world seems to be getting on board with the technological revolution of the iPad DJ apps! But what about the real traditionalists, the ones who were brought up with a set of decks and spent fortunes on a huge collection of vinyl, only to be (potentially) upstaged by some kid with an iPad?

iPadAppCafe asked Danny Ashenden of London based New Disco duo The C90s, As a traditional vinyl DJ who plays electronic music, what are your thoughts on the recent popularity of the iPad in DJing?

Danny Ashenden: “iPad DJing?! I’ve not seen anyone doing it yet, although I’ve seen the iPad being used a part of a live setup as it has some amazing music production apps. That said, there’s no reason why you couldn’t DJ via an iPad very well. It would essentially just a be a touchscreen controller, so it would come down to its setup interface etc…I don’t think that it will ever be better than physical knobs and sliders, as I prefer an analog touch; however, you have things like the jazzmutant lemur which is an amazing piece of gear, (expensive though!), but the iPad could essentially replicate this at a fraction of a cost.

I’m not against DJs using iPads to DJ but I would have to see it first and experience it…depending on the program used there is no reason why u couldn’t do a perfectly good set with one or two?! It will always be down to the user who determines the outcome & quality of the product/result, within certain respects, as u are limited to boundaries of the app’s/product’s capabilities. However, I do like technology and I think that the iPad has the potential to do some great things with the DJ world, as it already has in the music production world.

I will say this though….NO to iPhone DJing!”

Thanks Danny, great points well made. Check out Danny’s DJ duo The C90s at their MySpace or see them play at loads of festivals around Britain and Europe this summer!

With all of these underground artists pushing the limits of technology by blurring the boundaries of tradition in electronic music, it seems that even global superstars seem to be getting in on the act, with Gorillaz recording an entire album, ‘The Fall’, on an iPad whilst they were touring. Front man Damon Albarn revealed on that the apps used to make ‘The Fall’ were:

‘Speak It!’
‘Solo Synth’
‘Funk Box’
‘M3000 HD’
‘iOrgel HD’
‘Dub Siren Pro’
‘Moog Filatron’

The entire album of Gorillaz’s ‘The Fall’ was written and recorded on iPads whilst they were on tour and can be streamed for free here.

So there we have it guys, not only can you play an incredible DJ set on your iPad, you can even record a best-selling album! But is this taking away from the purity of the old way of mixing? Leave your comments below!

To find out which apps you should download, check out our 5 Best iPad Apps For DJing.



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