You see it more and more with living room and kitchen Djs, but also with professionals: playing with a DJ controller combined with an Android tablet or iPad. This set up doesn’t just make you more mobile but gives absolute beginners the ideal first step into the world of Djaying, especially since Djaying using Spotify has been proven to work. However, this kind of set up is not as straight forward as people might think. So, we’ve put this blog together to answer the most frequent questions that arise when picking out the right DJ controller to use alongside iOS and Android. Which controllers can handle it? And what do you need to look out for?

Djing with a Tablet: How’s it Done?

Since the image of a DJ using a tablet-controller combo is now pretty familiar, you might be fooled into thinking that every controller must be able to do this. But be warned! This is absolutely not the case. While they have been around for quite a few years now, this kind of set up is still in its infancy and only a handful of controllers are actually able to do it. As such, it’s essential to double check the controller you’re thinking about buying so that you’re absolutely certain that it’s compatible with Android or iOS.

How Do You Know if a DJ Controller is Compatible with an iPad or Tablet?

You can usually just check the specifications of a DJ controller to find out if it’s compatible with a tablet. This info can be found in the user manual – which you can find with a quick Google search – or simply take a look at the product page of the retailer or manufacturer, and you’ll find what you need in the list of specs. On the Bax Music product pages, we always specify whether or not a controller can be used with Andoid or iOS, and you can use the filters on left bank of the page to find the right one. To make it even easier, here’s all the DJ controllers we have that are compatible with iPad (iOS), and all the DJ controllers that are compatible with Android. Still unsure? Feel free to contact us!

Playing Sets with a DJ Controller and Tablet or iPad: How's it Done?

What Kind of DJ Controllers are There for iOS and Android?

There are three distinct kinds of compatible controllers:

The Super-Compact DJ Controller

First of all, there are the super-compact and simple controllers that can be directly hooked up to a tablet and basically, these don’t actually need anything else. This is due to the fact that these controllers only need very little power and can therefore be powered by the connected tablet. Simply download the compatible app, import some tracks and, bam! You can start mixing.

The Extensive DJ Controller

Then there are the controllers that are much more extensive, need an external power supply, and are set up so that the connected tablet and compatible app are like an extension of the set up. Most Android and iOS compatible controllers are like this and, in our humble opinion, are usually the best choice. This combo is stable since the controller comes with its own power supply and the functionality of the controller itself is usually at a professional level.

The ‘Compatible’ DJ Controller

Lastly, there are the ‘compatible’ controllers that you actually need to watch out for! Many manufacturers might insist that their controller is compatible with a tablet, but in practice, things look a little different. Combining controllers like this with a tablet can prove unstable, things don’t always function as they should, and in most cases, extra cables or accessories are needed before you can even make a start. These controllers are simply too good to be true – and no one wants that.

Playing Sets with a DJ Controller and Tablet or iPad: How's it Done?

Why Aren’t All DJ Controllers Compatible with Tablets and iPads?

This answer to this question is actually fairly simple.

USB Power

In the first place, there are a lot of USB-powered controllers available. In theory, you can hook these up directly, but as we’ve already mentioned, this only works with a handful of controllers that only need very little juice and can be powered by a tablet. However, most USB-powered controllers can only run on the power provided by a laptop or PC.

Special Software

There are a lot of ‘dedicated’ controllers available that are developed for specific software and that simply don’t have a matching app yet, like RekordBox DJ from Pioneer. Of course, it’s usually possible to use these controllers with a different program, but they’re not always going to be compatible with Android or iOS operating systems, due to fun little barriers like drivers that need to be installed. So, it’s always worth knowing as much as you possibly can about a controller before you even think about buying it!

Playing Sets with a DJ Controller and Tablet or iPad: How's it Done?

Great, But I Want to Play Using Spotify. That Can Happen, Right?

A big reason why a lot more people want to start Djing with a tablet/controller combo is the dawn of mixing using a streaming platform. Naturally, this gives any DJ access to a potentially unlimited music library, and obliterates any limitations in terms of building a set and keeping bang up to date. That’s all great, but while the emergence of platforms that can be used as a DJ-tool is an undeniable game-changer, unfortunately, it doesn’t always actually work.

How Do I Know It’ll Work?

  • So, you’ve found a controller that fits your budget and you’re certain that it’s compatible with Android or iOS. But there’s one more question that still needs answering: is it going to work with a streaming platform alongside the current DJ-based golden-child, djay from Algoriddim.
  • Unfortunately, Spotify has cancelled any collaborations they had with DJ-apps. Now, djay can only be used with Tidal or Soundcloud Go+.
  • So, how do you know if your chosen DJ-controller is going to work with djay? That’s actually pretty easy, since a complete list of Alogoriddim djay compatible controllers can be found here. Please note that this is simply a list of every controller that’s compatible with djay, so some might only work when hooked up to a laptop or PC, while some will also work with tablets. So, it’s best not to use this list as your starting point.

Playing Sets with a DJ Controller and Tablet or iPad: How's it Done?

What Have We Learned?

In this blog, we’ve talked about the possible problems that may arise when picking out the right controller to combine with a tablet, which controllers are compatible, how to find them and what you need to look out for. We’ve also taken a brief look at using Spotify. So, after reading this blog, you should already have a little, hopefully better informed, plan of attack when it comes to picking out the right controller. And if you don’t – not to worry! Here’s one below …

Step By Step Plan

You should be able to make the best possible choice by following these two simple steps:

  1. How do I plan to use my controller? With a tablet or with a laptop? Depending on your answer, first search for the controller that will work in the way you want it to.
  2. How extensive and how big do I want my controller to be? What program do I want to use? It’s worth answering these questions after you’ve done a bit of reading. Research carefully and read as much as you can until you hit on something that sounds right for you. A little bit of intense research is worth it since it prevents you from ending up out of pocket and with a set up that doesn’t work the way you want it to.

So what did you end up going for? And how did it work out? Let us know in the comments below!

See Also …

» Android Compatible Controllers
» iPad (iOS) Compatible Controllers
» All DJ Controllers

» How To Become a DJ
» DJ Controller Gear Guide
» Headphones Gear Guide
» Where Do Djs Get Their Music From?
» The Ideal DJ Lighting Set Up

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