In January, IK Multimedia announced the upcoming release of their deejay app, DJ Rig. This mixing app allows users to queue up and sync songs for a virtual deejay experience. The popular accessory maker just came out with a mixing board that is specifically designed for spinning digital records like a deejay pro. The iRig MIX will turn any iOS device into a virtual turntable. Now, you can take your entire music collection on the road without having to lug around all those crates of CDs and LPs.
The mixing device is a lightweight box that could easily fit in a backpack, messenger bag, or even a large purse. As is normal with all my experiences with all IK multimedia accessories I have had the opportunity to review hands-on, the mixer is so light that it feels like a toy, but it is definitely a rugged and well-designed piece of equipment.
The setup is unbelievably simple. Just plug the mixer into the included power adapter, and plug it into a power source. Once the mixer has juice, simple connect it to a set of speakers using the included RCA to 1/8-inch jack cable. You can plug the iRig MIX into a set of portable speakers, a PA system or even your home stereo.
Now that you have a way to hear the beats externally, you can connect your iOS device to the mixer using the included 1/8-inch jack cable. There are two of these cables, so you can plug two devices in at the same time. I plugged my iPad into channel one and my iPod touch into the other.
You’ll also want a set of headphones so that you can listen to the new song that you are preparing next. The headphone jack requires a 1/4-inch plug. Your basic set of headphones for mobile devices usually have a 1/8-inch plug, so if you don’t have a compatible set of stereo headphones lying around the house, you are going to need an adaptor. I happened to have an adapter in my bag of tricks and was able to use the set of headphones that comes with the iPad to listen to the mix. Obviously, no deejay in their right mind would ever use something so low-fi, but it works in a pinch.
The iRig MIX can be plugged into any iOS device, as well as a second device, a stereo system, a CD player or even record player, and a microphone or other compatible instrument like a guitar or keyboard. So, if you want to play music from you iPad, but you also have some music on your laptop that you want to include in the playlist, you can plug one of the channels directly into your computer and access music from there.
When using two iOS devices and the company’s DJ Rig app, you can sync the tempo by using the X-Sync feature. Turn this on and the BPMs on the song being played through one device will sync up with the BPMs on the song that is queued up on the second device. I had a lot of trouble getting the X-Sync feature to work properly until I realized that I didn’t have the X-Sync feature turned on in both my device’s apps. Not only will you have to switch the iRig MIX X-Sync on, but you’ll have to find the X-Sync feature in the DJ Rig’s settings on both devices and turn them on in order for it to work properly.
You don’t have to use two devices with the iRig MIX. You can mix and play music from just the iPad. You don’t even have to use the DJ Rig app. In fact, the DJ Rig app is not optimized for the iPad, so you may want to try one of the other popular deejay apps out there, like my personal favorite, DJay.
If you are using an app like DJ Rig or DJay, you can split the output into dual mono. This will allow each song on the virtual turntables to be controllable with the iRig MIX, instead of having to be queued up from the app itself.
Users can also connect a microphone or guitar or other device to the auxiliary jack on the iRig MIX and create a real-time mixer for effects apps like AmpliTube or VocaLive. This is a nifty little addition that basically replaces the need for an instrument adaptor. It is even better than just having an adaptor because you can take advantage of the mixer’s bass, treble and gain knobs to fine-tune your sound.
The best part about the iRig MIX is how easy it is to use. I am not a professional deejay, but I was able to connect the mixer to my iPad and iPod touch, send the audio through my home stereo and connect my iRig Mic for a virtual turntable experience. It was actually easier for me to figure out than just using the DJ Rig app by itself. The fact that the auxiliary jack makes this device a musical instrument adapter gives it even more value because it acts as two useful accessories.
The iRig MIX is a bit on the pricey side at $99.99. When most deejay apps come with the same features such as crossfader, cues, equalization and volume controls, it is hard to say that the mixer is worth the extra money. However, it works superbly and is easier to figure out than the features that come with most deejay apps, so you are spending more for optimal convenience. This would be a great birthday, or graduation, present for people that love to create playlists or fancies themselves a deejay hobbyist.