Whether it’s trying to match your car’s windshield wipers speed to the BPM of a track or simply finger drumming a beat, a DJ and producer’s inner urge to play is always on. It’s something that lives within you and you’re constantly looking for ways to express yourself.
But since you can’t take your decks or studio with you, you have to find smaller gadgets to carry around. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of our favorite techy toys that should do the trick. Check them all out below.
DJ2GO2 Pocket DJ Controller from Numark DJ
Numark’s DJ2GO2 is a portable, pocket-sized DJ controller that’s equipped with a built-in sound card and Serato DJ Intro (and can also be upgraded to the full version of Serato). This two channel controller has a crossfader and pitch faders, channel gain knobs, a headphone output for cueing, and even a pad section to trigger hot cues and samples. For only $79, it’s a perfect controller to use for fun, to practice, or to record a mix on the plane.
Midi Fighter 3D from DJ TechTools
Equipped with 16 arcade-style buttons, DJ TechTools’ Midi Fighter 3D is one of the most popular finger drumming/performance controllers in the game. It can be used with any software that supports MIDI such as Ableton, Logic Pro, and Pro Tools, and even Serato and Traktor. Use it to finger drum your patterns or play full songs, and color code each LED ring to create cool light shows when you play.
The Midi Fighter’s design truly gives you 3D control with four bank buttons and six hidden buttons on the side. It’s compact and extremely durable, perfect for taking on the road. Get it for $219.99 on DJ TechTools’ website.
hapiNES L synth from Twisted-Electrons
Recreate your favorite NES soundtracks with the hapiNES L synth from Twisted-Electrons. This is a multitrack chiptune synthesizer inspired by the RP2A07 sound chip inside Nintendo’s NES console. Use its four voices (preset drums, triangle bass and two square waves) to create songs in real time via a 303-style sequencer and 16-pattern memory.
The hapiNES L can also be integrated with your favorite DAW with a dedicated VST/AU plugin and can be used as a MIDI controller with its MIDI in and analog sync in and out ports.
Buy it for roughly $283 on Twisted-Electrons’ website.
Beatmaker Kit from ROLI
ROLI’s Beatmaker Kit is a portable music studio aimed at those who want to get started in beat making and finger drumming. It works with DAWs like Ableton and Garageband and has its own iOS app called Noise, which makes it perfect for on-the-go production.
The Beatmaker Kit includes a touch-responsive and customizable lightpad surface that enables users to play notes, launch clips, mix, and even add effects. It also comes with a six-month subscription to the online educational platform, Melodics. Coming in at $299, this intuitive and portable device is one of our top picks.
PT01 Scratch Portable Turntable from Numark
You can’t write an article on portable DJ gear and not include the popular PT01 Scratch portable turntable. Pair this with the TableBeats app, and you can hold a scratch session pretty much anywhere you go. Use the headphone output to jam privately or connect your audio source through the 1/8” stereo input to scratch to a beat playing from the built-in speaker. The PT01 Scratch can run on batteries for remote sessions, or it can plug into a wall outlet. It also comes with a protective case with a handle for easy transport.
If you’re not a fan of the factory hardware of the PT01, you can modify it in different ways. Throw a custom skin or faceplate on it to give it a new look or get real fancy with a replacement tonearm or fader. Our BPM Supply store carries Jesse Dean Designs’ JDDX2RSA contactless fader and the JDDX2RS replacement fader. Mod away!
Get the PT01 Scratch for $129.99.
Record Runner from Stokyo
The Record Runner is a self-contained record player that is small enough to fit in the palm of most hands. All you have to do is turn it on, place it on any 33 1/3 rpm vinyl record, and let it go. A replaceable Audio-Technica stylus reads the record and a built-in speaker with adjustable volume plays the music. The Record Runner, which is hand built and assembled in Japan, sells for $79.95. Get yours on Stokyo’s website.
RokBlok Wireless Record Player from Pink Donut
Like the Stokyo, the RokBlok is a portable, wireless vinyl record player. Simply place it on top of a record, turn it on, and it’ll spin around to play back your favorite tracks through its own speaker. The RokBlok, which measures 2″ x 4″ long and weighs 3.2 oz, can also be connected to any bluetooth speaker to give it that extra kick when you need it. For those wondering, its rechargeable battery life lasts up to 4 hours. Buy yours for $99.
Mobile DJ Apps: djay from Algoriddim and Traktor DJ 2 from Native Instruments
When all you have is your phone or an ipad and you need to get in a session, just open up a DJ app. Our two favorites are Algoriddim’s djay app and Native Instrument’s Traktor DJ 2. Each is a free download that contains all the features you need to throw down a mix anywhere at anytime. Djay is available on iOS 11.2 or later while Traktor DJ 2 is available for iPad or desktop.
TableBeats App from Daniel Hulth
Another app we like is Daniel Hulth’s free TableBeats app. TableBeats gives you continuous looped beats in a wide range of BPMs and genres, perfect for portablists that need something to scratch to. Its library is packed with thousands of beats that can be adjusted by ±50% and shuffled at two, five and 10-minute intervals. Download the app for free in the App Store.
iMPC Pro 2 App from AKAI Professional
Developed by Retronyms and AKAI Professional, the iMPC Pro 2 brings the iconic MPC workflow to iOS devices. It’s a great tool for song creation on the go with its built-in sampling functionality, warping, vocal tracks, four-channel audio track recording, and audio units integration. The app also features a 64-track mixer with EQ and four FX as well as a pre-loaded sound library. It’s an intuitive app that enables users to create whenever inspiration hits. iMPC Pro 2 is available for iPhone and iPad for $8.99.
Are you planning to check out any of these techy toys? Let us know if we missed any apps or toys that you love. Leave a comment below.