AI and machine learning seem like buzzwords at this point, with their mention spattered across press releases and new product launches. The ubiquity may have numbed us, but some cool and weird things are happening at least. Algoriddim leveraged AI for an update to its djay Pro software a couple years back, improving its Automix capability. It seems the company has been developing some more interesting uses since then with today’s launch of Neural Mix, as part of the new djay Pro AI. These new tools leverage Apple’s Core ML framework and the A12 Bionic chip (or higher) to provide on-the-fly audio separation -- similar to what you get with stem files -- but extracted from a single streaming waveform.
The Automix AI feature is still on board, but the Neural Mix tools and related UI refresh are what’s interesting with this update to djay for iOS. Some songs have been on the market for a while as stem files, giving buyers multi-track audio so they could mix using any of four separate song elements. What Neural Mix does, is actually extract elements from a track on-the-fly. You have sliders to adjust the levels of three segments from the audio track: drums, vocals and harmonic elements.
We haven’t had a chance to test the features first-hand, but the demo was pretty impressive. While a track was playing, the Neural Mix tools were able to drop out or isolate elements cleanly with only the slightest gating audible at times. I’m sure the end results will depend on what device/chip you're running and how the songs themselves are structured. Hip Hop is said to work well for acapellas and instrumentals, while electronic music is supposed to be good if you’re planning to isolate drums or harmonics.
The iPad Pro 12.9 with an A12Z Bionic chip or the iPhone 11 series with an A13 would be the ideal choices if you want to make the most of this tool. Any iOS device with an A12 chip is still on the recommended device list though. Of course, you can give it whirl on earlier devices as long as they’re running iOS 12 or later, but it seems like Neural Mix is hungry for processing power.
Djay Pro AI with Neural Mix is available today in the App Store for a $5 monthly subscription (and will be an update for existing subscribers). The regular version of djay for iOS is still a free download, but won’t include any of these new features. As always, there’s a free trial of the Pro version that’s well worth checking out if you’re curious.