Until the arrival of the iDJ2, iPod DJing was a thankless task. Numark’s first attempt, the original iDJ, was little more than an audio mixer with two iPod docks. The problem was always that iPods can’t alter the speed at which they play tracks, making beat-matching impossible.
The iDJ2 gets round that by sucking your tunes into its own processing brain, then letting you mess around with them from there. This means you only need one iPod. In fact, there’s only one dock this time.
One iPod, two tunes… how?
Here’s how it works… you pick a tune from your iPod and assign it to the left or right deck. If you’ve previously run your iPod through the Librarian software, the track will be available instantly for you to cue up, scratch and play, along with a very simple visual display that marks out the beats and breaks (the loud bits and quiet bits, basically).
Controls are a combination of DJ turntable-style platter and pitch slider, along with mixer controls including a crossfader and three-band full-cut EQ. There’s a tap-tempo ‘sync’ section in the middle, but that’s just a visual aid.
It won’t beat-match the tracks for you, so unless you’ve mixed records or CDs before, you’ll have to spend some time learning the ropes. If your mate Dave rocks up – Dave being the generic name for a random mate – he’ll make just as much of a mess of it as he would with your conventional decks.
Serious DJ tool?
So it’s not a robot that mixes tunes for you, but the big question is, can you use it as a serious DJ tool? Yes. The pitch controllers are a bit wobbly, which make precise adjustments tricky, but you do get a digital pitch readout on the iDJ2’s screen that’s accurate to 0.1%.
That sounds clinically accurate, but it’s not enough to keep two tracks in time for long. Fortunately, a flick of either jog wheel is enough to pull things back into sync.
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The only other niggle is the headphone monitor control, which is a left/right knob rather than cue buttons you might expect to find on the channels of a DJ mixer, but it works fine.
The bottom line is that the iDJ2 does what you’d hope it would, letting you mix up tunes from your iPod as if they were on CD or vinyl. Track selection, cueing, scratching and beat-mixing soon become second nature. It works!