22 February 2006

iDJ, therefore iAM


As you can see from the smashing photo, I broke down and bought a new toy, the mind-numbingly obviously-named iDJ. Numark's first try at a dj-tool for iPod users, it's left me with a bitter taste of disappointment - not because it's bad at what it does, because it isn't (very much a case of doing exactly what it says on the tin), more because with a little bit more thought and effort it could have been the ultimate answer for anyone that has ever lugged three flight cases and a box of tunes to a gig.

So what does it do? Well, it takes two iPods and lets you play them at the same time. And that's about it.

Oh, and it glows blue in the dark.

Seriously - I knew when I bought it that it had no pitch control, so no beat-matching, but it's the little things that are disappointing. The feed to the headphone lets you listen to the master feed, or the cued channel, but not both at the same time. And the cue switch is on the front - not the top, the front (just to the right of the Numark logo in the photo). It doesn't add any functionality to the iPods, I'm using it with a 5G w/video, and 3G B&W and there are a couple of frustrations with cueing tracks up using the standard iPod controls - for example when you select a track it auto-starts, so to cue up a track you end up playing this fun game of pausing the track after at least 5 seconds, and then hitting Reverse to go back to the start of the track.

On the plus side, it boosts the sound coming from the iPod. I've hooked up an iPod to a regular mixer before, and I've always found I've had to turn up the gain as the basic sound is pretty weak. Removing the line-out from the equation, and taking the sound directly from the dock-connector really makes a difference. There's also an s-video out for the left dock, so you can run visuals from one iPod and tunes from the other, but the ability to mix between two videos would have been sweeter still.

The lack of pitch-control does temper what sort of a set you are going to play, no dancey-dancey oumph.oumph.oumph for sure, but for indie/rock type-stuff it works fine. Arriving to a gig with only a record bag (yup, it's smaller than a 12") is pretty sweet though.

Oh, and did I mention that it glows blue...

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