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Become the next DJ star with the Pacemaker DJ app for the BlackBerry PlayBook

Ditch the DJ gear of yesterday and welcome in the new age of music creation with Pacemaker for the BlackBerry PlayBook

By Zach Gilbert on 23 Oct 2012 01:58 pm EDT
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If you've ever been to a party — or any event for that matter; there's a high chance you've seen a DJ sporting about a thousand pounds of gear. While it may not literally be a thousand pounds, I'm sure the DJ feels this way. This prompts the question: What if there was another way to get the same great functionality without all of the baggage? Perhaps out of a device the size of the BlackBerry PlayBook? What if the DJ's of tomorrow only needed a 7 inch tablet, speakers, and an amplifier? Well I’ll be damned. The possibilities of lighter travel, faster speeds and quicker accessibility are overwhelming! The best part is that this isn’t only of the imagination, it’s possible! – And only with the Pacemaker application for the BlackBerry PlayBook. This application has been around for a few months now, so it is not entirely new to the market. It has taken me some time to get accustomed to the layout of the app, and actually become more comfortable with my DJ skills. Continue reading past the break to see if the Pacemaker app will bring the true DJ out in you.

Developer: Pacemaker Version (at time of review): 1.2.2.1
File Size: 154 MB OS Requirements: Tablet 2.0.0 or higher
Cost: $9.99 Website: http://pacemaker.net

Features:

  • Auto Beatmatch - Instantly sync tempo and phase of two tracks by clicking the Sync button.
  • Scratch - Put the needle on the record and scratch like the Grandmaster.
  • Time stretch - Alter and set the tempo of a track ± 100% without affecting pitch/key.
  • Pitch speed - Alter track tempo ± 100% and pitch/key ± one octave in parallel.
  • Pitch bend - Nudge a track into phase.
  • Loop - Create synchronized loops on the fly; set and adjust in-point and/or end-point, split from in-point or end-point, double from in-point or end-point, exit loop and re-loop.
  • Loop travel - Turn on Loop travel and hear the funky sound of a small loop traveling along the sound wave.
  • Reverse - Flip playback direction.
  • Cue play - Play track from cue point and revert to cue point when releasing cue button.
  • Set cue point - Search and define starting point of a track with precise control.
  • DJ pause - A stuttering micro loop lets you listen, search and set cue point.
  • FX - Add and adjust single parameter audio effect Hi-cut/Lo-cut ± 1.0.
  • Beat FX - Add and adjust two-parameter audio effects Echo and Roll to dry/wet + 0–100%, Beat at 1/8-8, Reverb to dry/wet and size to + 0–100%.
  • Kill-all - Instantly mute or re-engage activated audio effects.
  • Track EQ - Temporarily adjust equalization of loaded tracks.
  • Crossfader - Dynamically adjust the output blend between the two channels.
  • Split output - Split output and listen to one track in the headphones while another track is playing in the speakers. All you need is the Griffin DJ Cable.
  • Headphone Crossfader - Dynamically adjust what channel blend to listen to.
  • Halt - Pause everything and continue when ready.
  • Master headphone volume - Adjust volume for headphone output.
  • Gain - Temporarily adjust gain level of loaded track.

In-app Settings

Currently, the average DJ will carry along a bulky laptop, complete with music collection and DJ software. However, the DJ of tomorrow will need to be compact, sleek and especially ultra-mobile. The innovative BlackBerry Playbook helps the DJ of tomorrow effectively use the Pacemaker to mimic the desktop software and eventually cut ties with their clunky laptop. This all begins with the advanced in app settings: With a simple swipe down from the top bezel of the Pacemaker application, you have access to all settings associated with this app. Allowing customization to the beat skip length, configure on/off settings of the Autocue, time stretch and help text, the Pacemaker does it all. In addition, selecting ‘halt’ will suspend the application and stop the music. But Pacemaker doesn’t stop there; the application also lets you split the audio so you can hear the new track before it hits the speakers.

User Interface


When I first opened the application I almost cried, no joke. Estimating about 95% of people using this application aren't professional DJs, there will be some confusion at the start. Just like the majority of Pacemaker users, I’m no DJ either. If you do happen to be a Disc Jockey, chances are you will feel right at home with the features, setup and overall speed of producing sweet jams. But for those 95%, do not fret; because it only takes a bit of playing around to get comfortable with the Pacemaker layout.

On the home screen there is access to almost everything you need to mix. The top of the screen is where 'load track' options are available; which is where you go to cue up a new track. Below is where the data of the selected track can be viewed. Pacemaker will actually analyze music to ensure that the application knows the ins and outs of your music better than you do. Continuing down the screen are two identical layouts on the left and the right; these are your digital turntables. Turntables are the core of the application and will allow you to mix intense music, and keep the party amplified!

Like I said, at first you may be confused by the apps layout, but give it some time. Soon enough you'll be flying through the application changing the echo percentage and beat matching like no tomorrow.
 

Video Demo

As made clear earlier, I am not a professional DJ, but I have been practicing. Take a look at this video where I demonstrate the power of the BlackBerry PlayBook when using the Pacemaker DJ app.

Pacemaker by Pacemaker

The Good

An application so good, even professional DJs use it at their fingertips. Pacemaker for the BlackBerry PlayBook combines portability and power of the PlayBook with the seemingly industry leading mobile DJ software to create a powerhouse destined to bring the house down.

The Bad

While the application is definitely a win in my books, some may find the UI a bit daunting at the start and discontinue use. The developer poorly explained exactly how the split audio feature works.

The Bottom Line

If you download Pacemaker and feel that it's too confusing; persevere! The developers have successfully brought many features of a desktop DJ application to a tablet app. Even professional DJs combine the BlackBerry PlayBook and the Pacemaker app to keep up with their music demands.

Reader comments

Become the next DJ star with the Pacemaker DJ app for the BlackBerry PlayBook

18 Comments

You're right, you're not a professional DJ. It's got me intregued though. I know a couple of DJ's. I'm half tempted to get it and see what those guys think of it.

LOL, I tired. But it doesn't take a pro to realize that this is a fully featured peace of software. Let me know what they say if you end up getting them to try it.

Hi Ruslan, could you tell me how you recorded & uploaded your mix ? I am using playbook & pacemaker but can't record or upload.

hey Zach, great review!

I was a DJ in the late 70's & early 80's and oh god how I would have loved to use this back then.

I'm intrigued and just might pick this up to have some fun at parties. I have a couple of younger friends who work as part-time DJ's. I'm eager to show it to them and see what they think.

Thanks for making the effort to post a series of 3 informative videos.

I bought it when it was $19.99...Great software..btw, I heard the last update has hdmi out...that is just incredible...haven't had time to try it...most likely this weekend!!!

I absolutely love this app! I've been DJing for about 15 years. I started on original Technic 1200 turntables using vinyl, then moved into using my laptop with Serato Scratch Live to mix MP3s with my turntables. For someone like me, who has experience with the old school and new school, jumping into Pacemaker was VERY easy. This app is unbelievably smooth!

My only concern is that I have experienced a couple of instances where there was a quick pause or lag while in the middle of mixing. This is no big deal if you are using it for recreation, but I'm not quite ready to trust it for a real party. If they continue to send down some updates that will clean up any pauses or lagging, I would say this app might be ready for prime time!

If you don't have experience with "real" DJing, this app makes it pretty easy to do. It will def take some practice, but you don't have to have serious skill to sound good with Pacemaker. Def worth the price!

All this app needs are EQ kill switches, and the option to use faders instead of the crossfader.

Been using it instead of DDJ-ERGO Pioneer decks and laptop, for a few small parties. Also use it to practice sets. It got reduced by 50%....two days after I upgraded. But.......I'm luvin it!!

Omg now its just being rubbed in my face. But I'm glad it has some features like cue'ing, dj pause, reverse and et cetra.

P.s. Does anyone else think it would be cool if via bluetooth you could hook up with a bb10 phone and then use that as an add on screen to have other controls available? Just a thought

I've been preaching the greatness of this app since it came out! I'm not a DJ, and at first it does seem overwhelming but if you take the tutorial(the online one covers a little more of the basics), and apply these to the other features while playing around with it, you get the, yeah, Ima say it,"flow" of it, it's fun as all hell!! Personally, I now rarely use the native music app!

Interesting. You use this well featured DJ app (one of the most complete PlayBook apps, btw) as an over the top fancy music player!

This could start a trend. "I don't play music, I DJ it with my PlayBook, b....!"

Word! It helps that when I'm not home, most of my commutes can take an average of an hour. And yes, when I'm walking thru lower Manhattan to the Staten Island Ferry to visit friends down there, I'm walking down the block mixing! I'm on the ferry mixing. When going to visit my mom in Far Rock, im on the subway mixing! It add a layer of fun to listening to music for me! And a great way to practice!
When I'm bored at home and want to listen to music...yup, mixing!

Just bought it out of curiosity. Really a great app. kept me up las night trying to mix two tracks. For a beginner it is really a grat way to start mixing your own tunes. Perhaps a save as feature to save your pices of "art"?