MOPHO DJ reinvents digital DJing with your smartphone

first_imgThe art of DJing, also called turntablism, really exploded in the 80s, and has continued to grow over the decades. Scratching, mixing, beat matching, and other techniques have been used in millions of songs. Over the past few years, DJs have started experimenting with using digital turntables instead of the more traditional analog tables, but until now, the digital method always called for CDs or MP3s for the music. A new app is in the works that will change the way DJs can scratch digitally by eliminating the additional cost of digital turntables and records.Nicholas J. Bryan, a student at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University, created the MOPHO DJ system. We’re not sure what Bryan was thinking with the name, but the system uses analog turntables as a material interface to control how the digital audio can be played back. Bryan, who researches music, computing, and design, created MOPHO DJ in a way so that it doesn’t need specific hardware or a special record used in digital DJing called time-coded vinyl.AdChoices广告MOPHO DJ uses an iPhone or iPod touch, though Bryan said it could work with any device with an accelerometer and gyroscope. The phone sits on top of a rubber pad which sits on top of a record. Bryan used a record-sized piece of plexiglass but said you can just use any old record. The app on the phone senses the turntable’s movement and wirelessly transmits those movements to a piece of software running on your laptop. This all happens in real time, and the software plays back the audio file as you’re scratching.You’re still using the hardware of the turntables as you normally would. You can still change the speed of your song, and turn the song on and off with the turntable’s buttons, which is actually pretty neat. The song that’s playing on your computer is being controlled by your analog turntable. Bryan says allowing DJs to use their old equipment with little modification is one of the major advantages of MOPHO DJ.The system also uses the iPhone’s screen to show a real-time audio waveform. This can be handy for finding certain points in the record to scratch at. For example, looking for a big wave sign can tell you there’s a kick drum there, which is an ideal place to scratch.Another advantage to the system is that it provides digital audio and storage, which makes DJing a party much easier since there’s no need to lug a hundred heavy records around with you. You can literally use any song in the thousands you have in your iTunes library.The program also features “untethered performance,” meaning you can “air scratch.” Just like playing air guitar, you can just move your hand with iPhone attached in the motion of scratching a record and the result should be somewhat similar. We’re not sure how accurate it will be, but it’s a neat party trick.Vinyl heads will most likely scoff at MOPHO DJ, as many people think there’s no way to DJ without good ol’ vinyl records. We’re curious to know how this affects the sound of the song being scratched. Regular vinyl generally has a warmer sound than time-coded vinyl. However, we’re assuming if the audio files are high quality, the sound shouldn’t be affected too much.Bryan is presenting his system at the New Interfaces for Musical Expression conference in Norway at the end of the month. He plans on releasing the iPhone app and DJ software in the future.Read more at Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, via OhGizmo!last_img read more