Looking to expand your DJ rig but don’t want to spend the money on a new mixdeck or piece of software? You may not have to look far for your next fun, affordable upgrade. In fact, you may be reading this post on what could become a powerful tool in your next DJ set.

If you haven’t explored what your smartphone or tablet can do for your DJ workflow, you could be missing out on some really helpful tools. Here are the 3 best DJ apps out there to integrate into your existing DJ rig.

Native Instruments Traktor DJ for iOS 

Since it was released in 2013, Traktor DJ for iOS has become an important tool for many working DJs. This app essentially takes everything you get in the full software version of Traktor and distills it down into a handy touchscreen version that works on iPhone and iPad (sorry Android users!). This app received rave reviews from virtually every music and tech review site out there upon its release, with many reviewers hailing it as the first ever app to have earned a place in the professional DJ booth. This app could easily go down as one of the best DJ apps of all time.

So what can Traktor DJ for iOS do for you? Possibly the best thing about this app is that it syncs easily with the full software version of Traktor DJ via DropBox, and it also support Core Audio which means you can use it with an audio interface like Traktor Kontrol Z1 or Traktor Skratch A10. So if you’re already a Traktor user, you’ll love this app. And while this app could easily handle a full live eDJing set on its own, many DJs have found that Traktor DJ for iOS works best as an off-stage tool for preparing and testing mixes. And at $9.99 for the iPad version and $1.99 for the iPhone version, this is easily the best pro upgrade you can buy for your DJ rig for under 20 bucks.

Korg iKaossilator 

Korg’s Kaossilator phrase synthesizer is an innovative tool that can be found in plenty of pro DJ setups today. A few years ago, you would have needed to spend a few hundred dollars to get your hands on a real Kaossilator, but now thanks to iKaossilator for iPhone and iPad, you get access to the same types of features for only $19.99. Sure, this app won’t give you exactly the same as what you’d get with a real Kaossilator, but it does allow you to start using some of the Kaossilator’s key features for a fraction of what you’d pay for the real thing.

If you’ve never experimented with a Kaossilator before, this app can act as a great intro to the device. It can also be a great way to stimulate your creativity and help you come up with new ideas, as it gives you access to tons of loops, synths, basslines and more than can be manipulated on the fly right on your device’s touchscreen.

Native Instruments iMaschine

Similar to the iKaossilator, the iMaschine for iOS app gives you access to the basics of the real Maschine functionality for only a fraction of what you’d pay for the the full hardware device. More than just a music mixing app, the iMaschine works as a portable sampler, sequencer, and audio recording device. And with the new version of iMaschine, you can now get this app on either iPad or iPhone for only $4.99. So for less than the price of a fancy latte, you get your hands on one of the best DJ apps out there.

If you want to explore sampling and sequencing, this app is a good place to start. It interfaces easily with the desktop version of the Maschine software so you can easily integrate it into your existing setup. This app is a great tool for quickly trying out new musical ideas, and you can even use it to capture and manipulate live samples, which could be a very interesting way to encourage more audience participation in your live set.

Whether you want to play a whole DJ set with your iPhone or you simply want to try out a new electronic music creation tool but don’t want to break the bank, there’s really no limit to what you can do with your mobile device these days. These are 3 of the best DJ apps out there today. They may not always give you the same experience as the real thing they’re imitating, but they may be just what you need to expand your creativity or bring a new element to your DJ sets.

Looking for more ways to expand your creativity? Check out DJ School for video tutorials on using effects, or watch this free video lesson from DJ Kenya on how to live remix a track.

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