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iPod-powered DJ console runs Linux

Oct 26, 2007 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 25 views

Numark is shipping the iDJ2, a Linux-based DJ mixing console built around the Apple iPod. The iDJ2 allows users to play two songs simultaneously from a single iPod, and offers music control with real-time scratching, pitch control, seamless loop, and full cueing.

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According to Numark, which bills itself as the world's leading manufacturer of products for the DJ market, DJs can hook up additional iPods, thumb drives, external USB hard drives, and other storage devices via rear-panel USB ports. Line inputs are available for a variety of audio sources, and the system uses pro-grade, balanced XLR or stereo RCA output.

Several views of the Numark iDJ2
(Click each image to enlarge)

DJs interact with the system via a graphical application displayed on a built-in color screen. Visual track-profiling enables DJs to easily manage music libraries, says Numark, and the Crate feature lets DJs queue music in a playlist and reorder songs on the fly. iDJ2 supports multiple file formats including MP3, WAV, and AAC (non-DRM). DJs can also record their performances to an iPod or connected drive.

iDJ2's Crate feature

Numark declined to disclose details of the iDJ2's embedded processor, memory, and other basic specs, but did offer the following feature list:

  • Large backlit, full-color display
  • Key-lock support for maintaining key while tempo shifting
  • Universal Dock for iPod with adjustable mount
  • Two large jog wheels with search, looping, pitch control, and scratching
  • Visual track profiles to skip through phrases
  • USB ports for iPods, thumb drives and hard drives
  • Play music from two iPods simultaneously, including two songs from same iPod
  • Scratching and mixing for MP3, WAV, and AAC (unprotected) files
  • Playback of iTunes music store (protected AAC) files
  • Pitch control with range up to +25% and down to 100%
  • USB keyboard support
  • Three-band EQ with gain control on both channels
  • Dedicated microphone input with tone and level control
  • Phono/line inputs on both channels for adding additional devices

Built on an in-house Linux 2.6.10 implementation, the iDJ2 makes use of a number of well-known open source packages, including RedBoot, BusyBox, uDev, and glibc. For development purposes Numark runs the application on an x86 Linux box with a QT front end, and it has also been tested to run under Cygwin on Windows, the company said.

D2 Director

In March, Numark introduced another Linux-based device called the D2 Director (shown below). The company describes the rack-mountable console as “a live performance digital media player with extreme portability.” It uses USB for storage.

Several views the D2 Director
(Click each image to enlarge)

Why Linux?

Rob Voisey, director of engineering for the Numark iDJ2 development team in Cambridge, U.K., told LinuxDevices that the company “chose Linux for its powerful real-time threading model, comprehensive driver support, access to source code, and wide availability of expertise.” He also commented that his team “includes many of the pioneers of embedded Linux for audio applications.”

Linux OS source code is available for download from Numark's website, here, although the main application is closed source.


Numark's iDJ2 is available now for a suggested list price of about $800 and and street prices around $600. The earlier-introduced D2 Director appears to have street prices around $500.

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