Just some random rant about using an iPad for professional DJing

Hi everyone. Wanted to share a very interesting experience that I had about a week ago. I was playing at a gig and another DJ came to take over. he came with his MacBook, and was using that other DJ software!!

I was using an M1 iPad, and DJ pro when he saw this, he asked me what this was . So I eagerly explain to him about DJ pro and the fact that it is VoiceOver compatible for a visually impaired person which I am and how good it is.

His first reaction was “this is for kids“ and only after he saw what the software can really do. Was he totally blown away.

Are all people in your opinion That use that other software, share the same views, when it comes to using an iPad? I have noticed this amongst a few different people that I have met over the years.

I am just having a rant and wanted to know you guys thoughts. In my opinion. djay does everything that other software can do, and in some cases even better. Just the impressions of people who have never seen it before irritates me.


Being a musician and having recorded many sessions moving into a beginner DJ for a hobby, This program is powerful but lacking especially being subscription based. The overall makeup and ease of access works well for someone to jump right on in, but they are misleading on ease of access to your complete library. IMO the video aspect of it being advertised as a dj platform removes more access/modification to the audio effects offered, its a dj program get that down before you start trying to offer video editing options… I feel more focus on access to ones personal library, DRM Issues, would trump any video applications that would apply to a DJ. Like you I’m just ranting about having to rebuild my library and run it through DRM free software so I can access my complete library which at this point will take the first quarter of 2023.

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Especially regarding the subscription reference, I would like to say that this is of course annoying and does not make any of the users happy. However, the discussion at the beginning is basically about the fact that users of this software are often ridiculed, especially when they work with the iPad. And that has nothing to do with the form in which the software has to be paid for.
On the topic itself, I have also made the experience that, depending on the circles in which you move, you are not taken seriously as a DJ if you do not use the expected standard software and hardware, especially not if you work with the iPad. but that is no different here than in many other areas. Elsewhere, too, you keep getting told that you can’t work with the iPad. But of course you can, you just have to be willing to try new things. Just because it’s different doesn’t automatically mean it’s worse. But times are changing. Many young people already don’t even have a computer or laptop in their private lives, and things are changing at work, too. Not everyone likes that, of course. But it won’t stop, so in a few years we won’t have to discuss such issues at all.

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You hit it on the head here. This is the problem. I can do every scratch and mix that they can do using other software but, when they see iPad, they assume substandard.
I wonder if they realize that M1 iPads are more powerful than some of the computers that they are using?

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Performance is not the problem. For many, it is hard to imagine working productively with an iPad at all. They often mention things like the limited storage space, which cannot be expanded at will, or the “peculiarities” of file management with the Files app. In my opinion, this also has to do with the fact that we have all been shaped by classic laptop operating systems for many years (many for decades). On a platform like the iPad, you can basically do everything you can do with a computer or laptop, but the path to the goal is often different. When you make the switch, it’s also more time-consuming and takes longer, especially at the beginning. I think that puts many people off. But we weren’t born knowing how to use Windows, MacOS or Linux. We had to learn all that. And if you want to use a different system, such as iPadOS, you also have to be prepared to learn new things. And many people lack this willingness. This costs time and perhaps money, and in the end you may not have gained anything, but “only” use something else. That’s okay, of course, you can and should use what you know and what you like. But that also leads to a reluctance to try something new or, as in this case, to a negative reaction.
In any case, as a mobile DJ I don’t want to use a laptop anymore, the advantages of a compact and mobile setup are too great. And the iPad is also the most frequently used device for me. I also have a MacBook, but I basically only use it to maintain my music library via the Music App together with iTunes Match. I hope that there will be a way to do that on the iPad as well, then the MacBook can finally go away :wink:


@Chris_R is right here.

The design philosophy of macOS and iOS is totally different.

The idea of iOS is

  • applications can’t share data between them
  • applications can only share data through iCloud, or another cloud platform

This means that if you use application A, and it stores data to it’s private use, no other app can use it.
That’s it and Apple won’t change that,

If application A allows to store to iCloud, then application B can use it,
but if A stores it as DRM protected, application B can’t use it.

Also by default, Apple thinks that you don’t really need extra storage as you can always buy extra storage from iCloud. That is the basic design philosophy why externals hard drives etc are clumsy to be used. They won’t tell us or fix those.

They will just provide “basic functionality”, that your device data can be backed up to external hard drive. And then application vendors try to do best they can to support external hard drives with the “limited” support what they get from Apple and iOS.

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Coupled with a Magic Keyboard and an Apple Pen, you’ve got a better interface to a fast computer than they do on their laptop. Unless you NEED the power of a MacBook/Pro, you’re “cooking with gas” on any iDevice these days…
This past summer, I sat on the patio of my local pub with some friends and connected my phone to their wifi and bluetooth speaker and did a quick set because I was feeling it was a cool thing to do. I challenge the laptop/controller crowd to do that! The owner realized (you could tell he was gobsmacked) what I was doing and came over and offered me a gig…after picking up my (small) tab.


And in addition, you have a much higher mobility when needed because you can simply use the tablet as a tablet as well.

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Best thing to do is have a kick-ass set. Actions speak louder than words.

There used to be a pretty serious holy war based on vinyl records vs. laptops, but that’s been fairly settled (except for the extremely hard-headed). Nowadays we’ve moved on to a new holy war - Laptopistan vs. Tabletistan.

I think tablets work well in a variety of situations - but it’s also good to acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of each platform - especially when considering different venues, crowds and events.

This is where I think laptops are still better than tablets:

Laptop Keyboards - are still better for searching through your library than touch-scrolling or using the library knob. Sure if you’re doing and EDM set and you’ve got less than 100 tracks in your playlist it’s not an issue. But if you’re playing open format and you have to quickly search and jump around through thousands of tracks, through multiple decades as the crowd empties and re-fills the venue - a laptop keyboard with a set of arrow keys is a lifesaver.

Performer/Event music - Laptops win here, having extra USB ports make it easier when you’ve got multiple people at an event giving you music and videos to play during an event. I’ve had hosts, performers, mothers of the bride, best men - give me a file, last minute, and it needs to be played for a once in a lifetime event - except they’ll send it via email, USB stick, Facebook Messenger (fricking CDs still!!!) and all types of crazy media that you wouldn’t believe! And then it’s all in a weird format invented by Russian hacker in the middle of Siberia. Yeah, in those clutch cases, you definitely want a laptop.

Cables/Connectors - for the most part this is where laptops generally win - though tablets are catching up - the number of controllers where you can just plug in a tablet are still far and few in-between. If you’re using a Pro controller and connect a laptop, you generally only need 1x USB cable - the setup and breakdown is generally clean. But when seriously using a tablet - all of a sudden you need a USB Hub (with power adapter) sometimes you need a CCK Apple Dongle (with power adapter). And soon you’re growing a baby kraken of cables on your DJ table. I’ve done it before with djay Pro - but every time I had to setup/breakdown and look at all the extra points of failure, I kept wishing for a laptop with it’s simple connection.

In fairness though, I think things will be getting better for tablets in the near future. The Pioneer DDJ-FLX4 is just the ticket for solving the problem, just received mine today and I’m ecstatic how easy it is to connect both laptop and iPad. I hope we see all future MIDI controllers adopting the same design.


I’ve only ever used an iPad Pro since getting back into DJing. In approx 5 -10 years I honestly think people will look back and laugh at the notion of dragging a laptop along to gigs.


In 5 or 10 years, people will ask, “A laptop? What’s that?”


less, I think. I would say 2-3 years, 5 at the outside.

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And now that you can connect a keyboard and mouse to an iPad you got everything you need.

Those Anker USB hubs are magic.

What’s CCK?! :thinking:

The old Apple USB to iPad dongle was called the Camera Connection Kit (CCK). Renamed now to the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter.

I think the war has another player which is the USB as well!

I’ve used this app for a while for my ceremony or cocktail hour systems. I always used Serato for my main DJ rig. I’ve tried Traktor, Rekordbox, and Virtual DJ but DJay Pro is now my second favorite program/app to use. I spent this weekend using it for 2 hour sets with no issue on my iPad Air 4th gen and a Magic keyboard. Right now I’m trying to figure out why I would need to buy a $1700 Macbook Pro just to only use it for Serato when an iPad will do the job nicely with DJay Pro. Most of my day to day computing is done on a Surface Pro. I used to use my Macbook for all of my computing needs but these days I have a lot of options and I find the Surface Pro to be a good computer. I think by the end of the month I will be comfortable enough with my iPad to take it out to a paid gig. If DJay Pro gets full integration with Phase then I think I will be making the switch from Serato. Once people start seeing what can be done with an iPhone or iPad and DJay Pro, people will start to take notice. Seeing how KSwizz killed his DMC set this year with an iPhone really made me take notice and give the app another try.


I have a Macbook Air M1 and an iPad Pro 11". For djing, the iPad is my main device. My iPhone is the backup. I don’t even take the (small and lightweight) Macbook Air with me for gigs anymore. It’s just so much more convenient with the iPad. I don’t care what people think about my setup. Install RoughRider3 (free) on your iPad and select it at as master out plugin in djay pro. You’ll blow away other djs even more with your sound quality :wink:

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I’d be interested in a discussion thread about using a plug-in/add-on to the master output of djay.
How do you use RoughRider3?