Helix DJ Precision Turntable (iPad, PC, MAC)
Helix DJ Precision Turntable (iPad, PC, MAC)
An exacting turntable for DJs, producers & record fans, with unprecedented features & graphics.
An exacting turntable for DJs, producers & record fans, with unprecedented features & graphics. Read more
About this project
Welcome to Helix, a software turntable with a better design from the ground up. Follow @HelixApp for updates and interesting tidbits.
DJs: Check out the beat-mix demo below. It demonstrates the super-accurate pitch control unique to this turntable.
If are not into DJing, but you still love music: The graphics of this app are designed to convey the realism of playing a real record; and you can customize the colors.
If you play your own instrument: This app lets you easily and precisely adjust the pitch of songs so you can play in tune with your music.
The idea behind this project is that a software turntable should be first and foremost a simple musical instrument.
Mockup visualization of Helix on the iPad:
The aim of Helix for the iPad is to provide a clear and simple, high quality turntable that lets you focus on the music coming out.
Unlike other apps that were only designed for one screen resolution, this one is actually a graphics engine, somewhat like a video game, that adapts to any display size, making it perfect for retina displays.
First ever on-the-record waveform display:
A radial waveform is displayed right on the groove. This makes it intuitive to see the progress of a song.
Customize your own color schemes:
You can darken the display for playing indoors, lighten the display for DJing in the sun, or just choose the colors you like.
Super-Accurate High Dynamic Range Pitch Adjust (Patent Pending):
The video below tells the story: instead of having to switch between different pitch ranges like 8% and 16%, the whole range from 0 to 200% is always available, but you can still change the pitch by just a hair. In this video, a repetitive beat starts playing off-screen, and a song is then mixed over it using only the pitch control:
Turntable emulation focusing on DJ performance:
The iPad is not the same as a physical record player. But Helix will be performance-tailored to squeeze the best out of the iPad and to promote fail-safe playback with well designed controls and predictable response.
As one example, Helix introduces tape-style transport controls, with scrub and pause functions that don't let you loose track position.
More good ideas:
Time-coded signal output built right in*
Time-coded vinyl is what lets DJs play music files seamlessly along with actual records. But, the whole system including turntables is not always needed. It is possible to generate the time coded signals right inside the software, which will simplify switching between real turntables and Helix on an iPad. (*Note, some time code formats may be under copyright restrictions, so this feature will have to follow those rules. Updates to come soon on this.)
Tag support for wav-files (artist/title/etc)
In fact, wav files support tags much like mp3s, but unfortunately many music players do not offer any support. Helix will.
Coming to the Desktop Release:
The originating idea for a precision turntable was the common problem of having badly pressed records that need complex oscillating pitch correction. Because such functions are not DJ performance oriented, look for these capabilities in the PC & MAC releases. The playback geometry algorithm in this program is based on real-world measurement units. That means you can specify the offset position of the record from the spindle by a fraction of a millimeter, and it will sound just like a record played in real life that same way.
Turntables are elegant mechanical and electronic marvels. In true form for a digital recreation of the turntable, in the desktop versions you can adjust the tonearm geometry and even see the resulting tracking errors.
Also in the desktop versions, an expanded producer & audio engineer tool set will let you save audio files and more.
...and last but not least...
There is a goofy feature that came along during a long winter month in development that shows the flexibility of this software. You can see it in action in the intro video. Hope you like it! : )
Project Outline - still to do:
1. Fulfilling the Kickstarter Rewards as scheduled, including the graphic designs and artwork outside of the software itself.
2. Porting to iPad framework from the prototype software. This involves translating various functions to the native interfaces of devices and operating systems.
3. Introduction of additional features currently in testing, and addressing of beta-group suggestions and feedback.
4. Careful testing to ensure Helix will perform well under all possible circumstances.
5. Audio quality optimization, graphics streamlining and performance tailoring for iPad. *Some graphics may be adjusted to ensure the musical performance is not affected by graphics demands.
6. Finalizing desktop versions, finishing expanded feature sets and compiling to PC and MAC operating systems.
Costs: The remaining work represents a major time commitment over the following year. Equipment costs include the purchase of machines required to develop and test the software (current development machine is a bare-bones PC). Further expenses include Apple developer subscription and other service and filing expenses related to registering and establishing the software release.
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My dream is to create advanced instruments that people will love. I love musical instruments. With your help I would like to make something truly original and great that comes equally from my heart and my mind.
Years in the making, this is a software turntable that's different from the rest. This is an original, innovative and passionate effort with major attention to detail. It is nearly finished, but porting it to the iPad and desktop will be a huge job, and I need all of your possible support.
I have used real turntables for a long time, and I designed this software to have a very good feel for beat-mixing. Musicality is my goal. More features are just around the corner, so please stay tuned for updates.
I really appreciate your support of this project, and I hope with a successful drive this software will soon inspire your musical excitement and creativity.
Thank You For Your Support. Stay creative!
- Peter Adany
The tonearm geometry looks incorrect to me, particularly the cartridge offset angle. It should be between 20 and 24 degrees, depending on the length of the tonearm - from the length on the one you have created, it looks like it should be larger, maybe 25
It is true that the pictured layout differs from an optimal tracking geometry. Those layouts were geared for the iPad so the overall space taken by the tonearm would be somewhat minimized, without concern for tracking error. In the non-tablet versions, you can adjust the tracking angle from zero to about 45 degrees as well as the tone arm length and the mounting distance. The program gives numbers and shows you with colored circles exactly where any null-points are, meaning the locations where the tracking error is zero. The benefit is that you can see the overall design and the tracking error while you change up the geometry -- even while playing a song, for that matter.
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