A few weeks ago, we reported on Turntable.fm, a way for would-be digital DJs to listen to and share music with a "crowd." However, without a lot of the tools of the trade, where can a digital DJ go for a more comprehensive experience?
A coder named Scott Schiller has built a pair of HTML5 decks that lets you DJ in your browser using music from Soundcloud. It's called "Wheels of Steel."
The web app, which you can play with in your browser at wheelsofsteel.net, puts a pair of Technics SL-1200s in front of you, along with a simple mixer. You can load songs onto either turntable, and then mix between the two. With a bit of practice, it's even possible to beat-match, as you can see in the video above. Flash-based turntables have been around for some time, as Schiller notes on his blog, but with very limited functionality.
"Animations were simplistic, and there was no real scratching aside from prerecorded loops and samples that could be triggered. Without pitch-bending, mixing tracks was not really possible," he says.
Schiller's turntable has scratching, pitch-bending, simulations of power-down and electronic brakes, tone-arm drift, a sample for the "end of record" sound and even careful calculations for the physics of the interaction between the record and the turntable itself. You can read all the gory details, if you're that way inclined, at Schiller's blog.
You lose the social aspect but you are able to do some actual DJ tricks, beat matching and switching from platter to platter to enhance and juggle the beat. An interesting choice that's only limited by Soundcloud's selection.