The world of digital DJing, especially on iOS devices, has slowly but surely been evolving into something that professionals could use in an actual performance. From Traktor DJ iOS to Maschine iOS apps, the tablet is finally starting to get taken seriously.
This rise in credibility also might be because today's iPads are almost as powerful as laptops - and let's face it, the extra processing power helps apps that are a little more ambitious.
So now we have DJiT's Mixfader. At first glance it looks like you pulled the crossfader of a mixer. That's right, it looks about as unassuming as a replacement part.
You might know DJiT more for their "edjing" line of apps, which work quite well, but boy have they progressed. The Mixfader is a portable (like the size of an actual fader) unit that works over Bluetooth to perform the duties of - yes, you guessed it - a crossfader. The unit is powered by an internal rechargeable battery and comes with a USB cord to charge it with.
So what do you do with it exactly? Once you get the unit hooked up to your device, you can connect it to the DJiT apps and also use it with MIDI Software. You can configure the hardware by using the companion app, for example, you could simply use it for changing volume or even tweaking the pitch. This just doesn't seem like something most people would do as it's a single fader, but it's cool that it gives you that functionality.
The Mixfader is a beefy little unit and is equipped with rubber strips to make sure it doesn't slide off the table when you are getting radical with it. Yes, you will probably get radical with it. It's an empowering little device, and while wielding it you might start to think that you are DJ Qbert, but you are not so calm down.
To start your scratch attack download the edjing Scratch app, and make sure it's the Scratch app because there are a lot of them. Once you have this rocking, you can buy sample packs for your scratching sessions. The app will automatically sync with your Mixfader, no need to dive into the preferences menu. It's actually pretty dope - a simple but very useful function.
Once you have the Scratch app up and running, it's fairly straightforward for anyone that has DJd before - but noobs might face a little learning curve. Dig around; there are tutorials all over the place.
Once you get comfortable, the app is easily configured to fit your DJing style. There is a curve adjustment and a cut-in point control to determine where the crossover happens and how the fade behaves. Since everyone will scratch a little differently (especially seeing as how it's a touch service and not a moving record), these features are crucial to customizing your setup.
Now for the important part. Does it work, and is it worth your hard-earned cash? If you are someone that likes to DJ and would like to integrate scratching into your performance, this is a cool piece of gear. It works very well and has a ton of features like Loop, FX, and Cue Points to really tweak your performance. If you are just looking for a tactile control to use for mixing, it works well too.
You can watch a lot of the videos of people using it on the DJiT website. These clips will give you some ideas on how you might want to use it and/or integrate it into your performance. Be warned, though: you are not going to just hop on this thing and be awesome, it takes practice to become proficient and getting used to scratching on a touch surface is a bit tricky, too - especially if you're used to vinyl records.
At $129 this is not going to break your bank and it's something with which you can have hours of endless fun - and even put into a live set to bring something different to the table. People will be blown away once you're proficient.
Highs: Great apps, good prices, well made, fully tweakable and extremely fun to use.
Lows: Real scratch DJs will probably scoff at this, but they scoff at everything that isn't a Technics 1200 so who cares.