This week Waves Audio, a respected name in the world of software plug-ins, stepped into the iOS domain with their DJ app, Mashup, developed with MusicSoft Arts. I was provided with a copy for review. MusicSoft Arts has a lot of experience with iOS development; including their DJ Mixer app, along with branded versions like Carl Cox Mixer and DJ Spooky Mixer. That is an impressive pedigree, combining MusicSoft’s expertise with Waves Audio’s love of money; they have unleashed a bastard child that is sure to be a stain on both companies.
With a purchase of $40, you can own a two-deck DJ app that most people would sensibly charge $10-20 for. The premium price carries with it some very premium bugs! This half-baked cluster-fuck will anger you almost immediately, as you load up your first track from your library. You’ll discover that the Beat Grid, available on the built-in songs, is not available on any of your own. This would only be a mere inconvenience for the Pro DJ market that this app is targeted towards; any serious DJ would simply seek to nudge the tempo and beatmatch manually.
Alas, such functionality is not available. There is no tempo nudge, so you’re left fumbling with the virtual platters or pitch fader.(Correction: There is tempo nudge under the 2nd menu icon. I had seen that before, but it slipped my mind.) Attempts to sync tracks with the mockingly titled “Sync” button are futile, as it merely matches BPM on any song it lacks a Beat Grid for. Once again, that includes all of your iTunes songs since the Beat Grid is entirely absent for any imported music.
For truly talented DJs this could be viewed as a great challenge! The whole task is less a matter of “beatmatching” and more like beat-herding. Within seconds of successfully matching up your tracks, you can depend upon them wandering again! Even their built-in songs, with the same exact BPM, will drift within a minute! I don’t even understand how that is possible, but I’ve been assured that Waves Audio has brought their impressive coding skills to the audio engine, so perhaps they have achieved some new level of ineptitude.
If you’d like to experience more of Waves’ impressive engineering feats, you are encouraged to pay an additional $5 for MAXX Bass and MAXX Boost functions. From speaking with their developer I get the impression that they intend to add more of these In-App Purchases, as plug-ins in the future. This will undoubtedly add a lot to the limited “FX” section of just an EQ and filter.
Waves and MusicSoft have a very innovative approach to Universal apps. Mashup is Universal, but won’t install to iPad 1s, and on iPhones/iPods it will only act as a headphone output. I didn’t get around to that since the whole experience was marred with enough bugs.
If you try to load a track from iTunes onto one of the decks while it is playing, it will pop-up with a warning that audio is playing, but will stop the audio immediately before you even have a chance to cancel. One bug had the playback starting and stopping every time I touched the screen anywhere. I also had audio artifacts on the iPad 3, but these were resolved with a reboot.
I would have hoped Waves would have brought other innovations to the iOS space, or at least a modern DJ app. They make no attempt to explore new interface designs, or make use of new touch screen modes to play with the music, as the $3 Remixer2 does. It doesn’t even have multiple cue points, which is just about mandatory for any DJing software released in this decade, and probably assumed as a given by potential customers. Waves Audio is banking on their name making them some money, but this cash grab is going to bankrupt their name.Here is an example of syncing two of their songs, that have Beat Grids, with only 1 BPM difference in their original tempo: