Touch DJ Evolution by Amidio for iPad boasts an ability to provide a seamless platform for visual mixing. The application’s design prioritizes performance over any likeness to an analog DJ setup. This is particularly apparent when it comes to pre-cueing. While other all-in-one DJ applications attempt to handle pre-cueing through a mixture of solutions, Touch DJ Evolution ignores pre-cueing altogether, leaning on the precision of its visual interface.
The crossfader stretches across the top of the application, which provides an expanded level of precision when blending tracks. The screen is split into two waveforms (blue on the left, pink on the right), tracking from the bottom to the top of the screen. Lower frequencies are denoted by darker shades of the respective colors within each waveform. Within each waveform there are several translucent buttons, which open menus for gain, EQ, effects, cue points, pitch control and loops. Tracks are selected and their names are displayed at the top of each waveform. The spacing is well thought out, and there is little incidence of mistakenly triggering any control.
Since the application was designed without a cueing feature, the entire middle column of the screen is devoted to beat matching. Simply tapping the center column lines up the two waveforms in phase and BPM, making it easy to perform a smooth transition. For practice sessions, this feature gives a perfect glimpse into how one track can be transitioned to another. In a performance setting, the lack of cueing must be coupled with an above-average knowledge of each track, in order to prevent awkward transitions. Additionally, when mixing tracks that are not purely instrumental, a considerable amount of pre-performance preparation (setting cue points) is necessary to prevent mixing lyrics over one another.
Beyond the seamless mixing, Touch DJ Evolution packs a few extras that give it better control than other applications in its class.
- X/Y Effects Control – Upon tapping the button labeled “FX” the user is given the option of seven built-in effects: filter, delay, gate, repeater, phaser, chorus and bitcrusher. Not only is the wide selection of options appealing, but the controls for the effects are manipulated by tracking fingers across a square, reading the X/Y coordinates of the touch within the square. Professional manipulation with the filter and phaser are quite easy, while the other effects take some practice. The bottom line is they sound great, and are easy to switch on and off; simply press or lift your finger within the square.
- Set Cue – Allows for unlimited cue points to be set throughout the track. This helps to compensate for the lack of headphone pre-cueing, but the restriction of having to trigger the cue points in sequential order stunts the users ability to trigger cue points that have already been passed in the track.
- Loop – The lack of preset loop counts strays away from the extreme user-friendly nature that permeates through the rest of the application. With a patient meticulousness, the user can manually set loops and manipulate those loops into halves on the fly, duplicating a loop-roll effect.
- Sampler – Users can access the sampler on the second screen of the application. There are six presets along with the ability to load user-created/recorded samples and trigger them during playback.
- EQ – A Three-band EQ allows for basic manipulation of specific frequency ranges.
Of the all-in-one DJ applications, Touch DJ Evolution is the closest to being performance-ready. If a user’s set consists of purely instrumental tracks, it could be seamlessly performed using an iPad (even an iPhone) and this application. The application is designed for easy use and manipulation versus aesthetic similarity to an analog DJ setup, prioritizing the sound over the look. Adding headphone pre-cueing would give it the ultimate stamp of approval. The free version gives a limited range of options as a teaser, but allows users to learn how to navigate the application. Upgrading to the premium version unlocks the ability to import songs from the user’s iTunes library (a necessity) along with eight other features, that are well worth the price.