You’re now approved to DJ with your iPhone. Or at least the app is. I’m not sure if I can take credit for getting Apple’s attention, but Apple has approved the TouchDJ application from Amidio. That’s big news, partly because developer Amidio has consistently been at the forefront of musical development on the platform, including their synth and wild hexagonal JR Hexatone Pro.

This also is a big blog to the theory that Apple is intentionally blocking DJ apps — and a big boon to the theory that the App Store is just plain clogged, even if it may be disproportionately affecting more sophisticated applications.

Features in the release:

  • “Visual mixing,” with a clever interface that uses overlays atop side-by-side waveform views
  • Pre-listening using a special left/right adapter
  • Faux vinyl and spin effects
  • Real-time scratching, looping, positioning, EQ, effects, re-pitching
  • Onboard sampler with 3 WAV sample slots, recording from the mic
  • Uses a separate MP3 library with companion apps, since it isn’t possible to DJ from the library you sync from iTunes

Now, to me, that last point is a fairly significant one. You have to load tracks you wish to DJ separately, in MP3/M4A format. And I’m sure that this will start various debates about whether you’d want to DJ on your iPhone in the first place. But don’t look at me — I just work here. I’d be remiss if I started out the week talking about apps stuck in iPhone limbo, only to ignore them immediately becoming available. And I will say, Amidio is one of the smartest mobile music developers out there, so it’s worth checking out the range of what they’re doing.

Whether petitions and news stories did help this app to get to the top of the queue or not, I have no idea. I think maybe I’ll start running screaming headlines with things I want in them, if only for good luck.

Tomorrow on CDM: “You Know What Annoys Me? The Fact That We Don’t Have Unicorns. Magic Unicorns. Who Speak OSC.”

  • bliss

    You're the man, Peter! 😉

  • Armando

    got that email and almost pee'd my pants. 19.99 is a little steep to touch my music and mix it. Thanks for the post man!

  • It's a shame you have to load the tracks into a separate library but still it is sure is nifty. Good job getting it approved Peter 🙂

  • +1 Magical OSC Unicorns.

    Though that nomenclature may be slightly redundant.. Isn't OSC by definition Magical?

  • JavaJ

    Now lets see if they fix the fatal flaw in JR Hexatone (press and hold in the middle to randomize and it crashes everytime). Luckily I paid only $10 for it- I sure hope they fix JR Hexatone after the many months that this issue has been known (and acknowledged by them).

    Be forwarned about shelling out the cash just yet (you may want to check out their forums and see what comments users leave).

  • dyscode

    press and hold in the middle to randomize and it crashes everytime

    well that´s not exactly fatal in my book anyway but it´s bug that´s right.

    And yes I guess all those weenie DJ nerds will come screaming "Why can´t we access the iTunes Libraray"-shit. Like that review already on the TouchDJ site.

    Those are the some screaming: I get to make music because Ableton is not at Version 8.1000.3.5

    And since TouchDJ does most what any other DJ app + controller does, costing at least 10 times more than TouchDJ, the price is ok.

    People need to see the REAL value of the iPhone Software and that most programmers do their stuff on self-exploitation basis here.

    get real, people!

  • dyscode

    Those are the same screaming: I cannot get to make music, because Ableton is not at Version 8.1000.3.5

    sorry my stupid typos.

  • dyscode


    "unable to sync to itunes library"-issue

    sorry but most of the DJ apps out there don´t do that either.

    You effectivly need a seperate folder, since DJ apps store meta info about the files. Either on file basis or on a seperate library basis.

    So even if you add something to the itunes library you need to process it again whit your DJ app.

  • Craig

    Cool. Good job Peter. I've been using Quixpin and Hot Wax, both which do the same basic thing (spin 2 songs simultaneously) so it will be interesting to see how this stacks up, especially in terms of performance, since I only have a Touch 1G and they suggest iPhone 3Gs/Touch 3G.

  • KimH

    I assume this audio split set-up means you have mono music if you want to pre-listen. So now we need a piece of dock hardware for two independent stereo outs. Then, add access to the iTunes library. Now *that* would be interesting.

  • Well, I guess the only reason that you can't access the iTunes tracks, is that some day (soon?) Apple will come with it's own DJ-ing app?

  • Considering all the stuff that is going on with this app, It performs quite nicely. (iPod touch 1G 8GB) I sure it might be a bit smoother on the 3GS, But I only got drop outs while really trying to pitch up or down really quickly. Also my iPod is Jailbroken and it has mad tons of shit running that a stock iPod wouldn't. Infact it would seem that you could use qTwitter while in the app.

    I personally have decided that I'm going to put all my dance music in the Touch DJ app and remove it from the iPods standard library. I already have little time as it is so I could definitely make the most of it by using the software to sketch out mixes.

    Good for somebody that wants to mess around at a house party but in order for this to be useable enough for consistent mixing it would need a few more additions to the feature set.

    Frequency color coding comes to mind.

  • Hi,

    Peter, many thanks for the article. We at Amidio shed tears of joy while reading it. Indeed we do suppose that your previous article about the petition made the desired effect. Thanks again.

    Regarding the Touch DJ app performance. On different devices, you'll get different song loading times (faster on 3GS). But the overall performance is very acceptable even on 1G.

    I also DJ, and I made exactly what Ezmyrelda suggested – got a 32GB new 3GS and stuffed it with music. It works fine even with 500 MP3s inside it.

    Next on our list: crates, BPM stuff.

    Regarding Hexatone, it only crashes if you hit the center while playing the pattern. In "stop" mode (which is supposed to be the only time when the randomize function used) it doesnt crash. This is not fatal, and we do not want to release small updates as it takes forever to approve (for example the latest update is held for more than a month in review). We will release a big update with improved functionality soon.


  • EK

    Hey Toyo, while you're here, I'm proud to be one of those "weenie DJ nerds" (cheers, dyscode :-P), but can you explain the situation with the iTunes library – Is it technically impossible to do? Or is it expressly forbidden by Apple's App T&Cs? No one to my knowledge has confirmed exactly what the issue is.

    Regardless of the above, it looks like a fine app – here's hoping there's a free demo version (say with two pre-loaded tunes and import disabled) so I can try before I buy!

  • mark.ronson

    fred? You are Chris Randall and I claim my $5.

  • UTM

    Congrats Amidio and thanks for fighting the good fight Peter! I've been content to stay with noise generation SW and Live for remixing but the interface on this sure is compelling. For me, it's not really whether I can afford the app; I still haven't mastered BeatMaker or JR Hexatone yet!

    PS: Personally I'd rather load TouchDJ with music beds, beats and stubs of songs (perhaps the output of BeatMaker and JR Hex) rather than the complete final mixes I usually throw into iTunes so the separate library wouldn't be a problem.

  • I downloaded it last night at like 1am and by 4am was HOOKED. I immediately got at down converting my electro, trance, & techno to 192 and am now very tired at work. Is it bad that i want to dj at work now. I haven't even touched the included songs (no offense, but i just bought a bunch of stuff from Beatport & Juno)

    It worked just fine without a reboot on my 2ndGen 3g iPhone. Using only headphones i like it set to Split L/R Mixing as it's how most of DJ anyway.

    Fantastic App and it's the iphones first REAL DJ app (despite apples library access issue)

    My one concern is if the songs must be between 128-192, to import to TouchDJ then when/if the iPhone library is accessible, do the songs on our playlist need to be 128-192? Cause i have all my songs (over 1000) that need to down samples to 192 from 320.

  • Angstrom

    well done Peter,

    Can you now tell Apple to let apps access the main audio library. I really hate the iPod interface. Just let me know when it's done, I assume a couple of days is enough?



  • Simon

    That looks nice, shame I lost my ipod touch 🙁 …

    Also, +1 on the unicorns, but how about "hackable, open source Griffons now shipping"?

  • dyscode

    point taken EK 🙂

    perfect summary fred!

    it´s not that we shouldn´t question Apple's Policy about the iTunes Library, and the bigger picture behind it (copyright infringement etc.)

    but most of those I targeted, are just trolling.

    And nothing more.


    TouchDJ on my iPod Touch 2G (8GB) works nice with the included content.

  • have a look at easymix, it's a dj app using loops and samples, not mp3s, it's fun and easy to use…

  • Any blog post that prompts the comment "+1 Magical OSC Unicorns" is OK by me.

  • I'm concerned about bitrate too. Most of my music is 320 kbps MP3. I don't want to downsample to 128-192 kbps because it will lose quality.

    It would be great if it supported WAV too…


  • Jake

    For those worried about 192 I offer my humble opinion that you really shouldn't worry in terms of quality. I've being djing digitally for the last couple of years at various venues and never ever had anyone comment on the quality of an mp3. Personally I've always stuck to 192 as the minimum quality that I'd use to play out and that's always been enough for me. I will say though that you should avoid 128 as there are definitely noticable artifacts and transient smearing at that bitrate.

    Also and I mean this with all due respect to amido, but if you're playing a club with a decent sound system (function 1's) etc then for most people this isn't going to be your weapon of choice. Personally I see it as an ideal back up solution for when things go wrong (eg Cdj freezes, laptop crashes etc), and think that this is precisely what these sort of apps will excel at given the portability of the itouch/iPhone.

    Oh and finally for those worried about this being in mono if you want to cue by ear, many club sound systems are in mono anyway.

  • leslie

    Don't we have enough of so called DJ apps already..?!

    BTW; $20… you've got be joking.

    Amido is known for one thing only – poor after sales service.

    BTW; FIX the bloody Hexatone bug!

  • @daemoncel and others, 128-192 is not a strict app requirement, merely a suggestion really. I put all 320kbs on my iPod, with a few exceptions where I didn't have higher and it will load the file just fine. The point being that, because 128kbs has less information to process the app would run smoother.

  • Pre-listening? Is it no longer called cueing? Was that considered too fancy for Americans by Apple, or were they worried it would confuse the British?

  • @Marc Arsenault It was called PFL or "Pre-Fader Listen" before it was cueing. Know your roots.

  • Pros:

    * Portable and small

    * Cheap (if you already have an iPhone)

    * Functional


    * Too much restrictive: works only with MP3 128-192 kbps (no 320 kbps, no WAV). Resampling your MP3s means even more quality loss.

    * iPhone sound card is not good enough to power a respectful party, specially if the sound system is good.

    * Interface is not good as using a real mixer or a MIDI controller (for obvious reasons).


    * Add support to 320 kbps MP3 and WAV

    * Make a professional sound card for iPhone, with HiFi sound quality and two independent stereo output, and sell it together with your product.

  • @Jake: well, in a very good sound system, as you mentioned, the iPhone sound card isn't good. Also, 192 kbps will be noticeable. I would prefer to use pure WAV in these HiFi sound systems.

  • @Jake: In most parties, people are drunk and don't bother about the music or sound quality at all (specially in pop/comercial clubs).

    But in respectful parties, people will just fell that your mixing isn't good enough, without ever knowing why (or complaining).

  • @Felipe Dornelas

    Did you read any comments at all? 320k is NOT absolutely required. Have you tried to put a 320k file in the program? Go ahead I'll wait.

    It's suggestion. 320k works perfectly fine. I did it last night and documented my success in the comments.

  • Yes, 320 kbps are ok, but the less bitrate – the better for the system as the amount of data to be processed it lower.

    We have tried it in the clubs. The people freaked out. Everything was loud & good.

    (iPhone was connected to the club main mixer)

  • James

    I have been using Touch DJ for 24 hours, What can i say!!! What out Judge Jools!!!

    Reall this is the best DJ application ever, nothin compares, it's also probably one of the most addictive apps too!

    There are however a few tweaks I wish for, accessing my iTunes music library, not having to now wait for the sync application and more info about the i/r adapter, IE, where to get it.

    Problems – if you keep changing he tracks, whilst one is playing, the playing tracks graph locks. I'm using a 32gb 3gs, so I was a little suprised. This can be fixed though, by either using good old fashioned djing, or don't keep loading tracks, IE 5 times in 30seconds.

    All in all – 10/10

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  • I bought it yesterday. I had lots of fun!

    But this is not a professional app that replaces $1000 of equipment as stated by the developer. It is a fun toy for the iPhone and not something richie hawtin or any other dj in a club will use. If the developer is honest, rather than pushing the professional, replace $1000 equipment, not a toy line: then it is much better feeling after purchase.

  • aaron

    "Uses a separate MP3 library with companion apps, since it isn’t possible to DJ from the library you sync from iTunes"

    I wish apple would grow up. Not trying to start a conversation about iTunes or DRM, I'm just really getting tired of these sorts of limitations. There a decent PMP with Android2 running on it yet?

  • Justin Reed

    great work guys – first real deal dj app! Full of features, looks terrific. the sync with itunes is kind of a lame limitation accross the board on the iphone BUT it's really easy to work on a shared network to add songs and samples to all my iphone music softwares.

    Personally i try not to play 192 KB songs but i also feel it varies from song to song how badly it is affected by mp3 compression.

    and mad kudos on JR hexatone – i love that software – anyone beefing about the randomize function – i invite you to take a step back and look at how powerfull this software is.

    it's a bug and they'll fix it in their next release (can't wait – u guys r theshit)

    now i'd like to see some high quality D/A hardware with a doc connection, that'd be nice!


  • glad to see a good dj nterface on iphone, but 192kbps restriction, no real prelisten…..not for me sorry. for 5/8 euros ok, bur not 15 sorry amido.

    And Music on the video footage sounds just horrible!!!

  • I love it how nobody reads anymore.

  • dtr

    @Ezmyrelda: internet… wonderful, ain't it?

    Anyway, anyone getting a hang of the visual beat matching thing? I've been toying around with it but find it hard, not to say impossible. But then I'm not a trained DJ (although I've learned a bit on a friend's decks). Is it a question of practice or is it just not that handy?

  • dtr

    I have a feeling the low frequency response of the visualization isn't tuned very well. Even straightforward 4/4 techno tracks don't show the kick drum well. The visualization is clogged up by the bassline. I would prefer an unfiltered visualization as the beat usually also has mid and high frequency energy in it, which helps to recognize it (as in Live's audio clip waveforms).

  • dtr

    Correction: it does show the full frequency range but highlights low freqs somewhat. It 'd be helpful if the full freq range was color coded, as in FFT spectral analysis.

  • katz

    umm… ive been "visually mixing" without earphones on serato for years.

  • dtr

    finally some replies in the amidio forum. more advanced color coded spectrum analysis isn't possible coz the iphone's processor can't handle it. but the good news is they're working on updates, including BPM counters which should help a lot. see:

  • Genjutsushi

    TouchDJ 2 has just been released… downloading now!

  • hjjkhk