Apple’s tablet is becoming a serious platform for DJs – here are the best DJ controllers for iPad
Once, it was merely a means of surfing the net, watching videos, listening to music and playing angry birds. Now, the all-conquering iPad is a bona-fide music powerhouse, with synths, amp modelling, DAWs and every other musical tool available in app form.
Recently, iOS DJ apps have arguably come of age, with the launch of Native Instruments Traktor DJ. This awesome app provides truly professional features (including some that are unique), wrapped up with an intuitive touchscreen interface.
There are some drawbacks to using the iPad alone, however. Firstly, the screen size is fairly small, making it tricky to make intricate changes. In addition, unless you have a stand, you’ll have to hold the tablet in one hand, whilst tweaking with the other.
Finally, the iPad only has a single stereo output, meaning that you cannot set up a separate ‘cue’ channel to select, and cue-up your next track.
Thankfully, there is now quite a selection of iOS compatible hardware available to rectify this.
Here’s a guide to the best DJ controllers for iPad
This was the first iPad compatible hardware device that Native created following the release of Traktor DJ. For most iPad users, this diminutive device is pretty perfect. It has similar dimensions to the X1 and F1, but is armed with an array of controls that mirror Traktor DJ’s mixer.
It has a built in audio interface (with two stereo audio channels- ideal for cueing) and 3-band EQ controls. All physical knobs and faders are of high quality, and it can even be used with Traktor Pro on a Mac or PC.
Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk II
The S2 is one of the most popular DJ controllers around, and with the MKII, Native has fine-tuned it to the advances made in Traktor Pro. It is still an excellent two-channel DJ controller and audio interface.
Now, however, there is a dedicated sample deck area akin to a small section of the F1 controller, and Flux mode buttons. In addition, balanced outputs are now included, along with weightier aluminium platters. And, of course, it’s now compatible with iPad (integrating beautifully with Traktor DJ).
It comes complete with a full copy of Traktor Pro, too, making it a very comprehensive package. Read a full review here.
Like its smaller sibling, the S2, the S4 is one of the most popular DJ controllers available. It adds an extra two channels, with full mixer controls for each of its four playback decks (the fifth- the remix deck – now has a separate volume control, too).
The remix deck now has a set of dedicated controls, and the same, RGB backlit designs of the S2 and F1. The S4 also has turntable inputs (ideal for integrating into a bigger rig), and an extended browse feature.
Like the S2, it also includes a full version of Traktor Pro, and provides the most professional means of integrating with the excellent Traktor DJ app available.
If you thought that the iPad was just for ‘playing around’, think again. Controllers like those above truly provide serious functionality to Apple’s tablet.
You can find a full range of DJ controllers in our online store here.
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.