Most of us here probably spend a lot of time listening to music in an active way, perhaps through headphones while relaxing on the couch, or analytically in preparation for an album write-up. But music is often integral to our other daily activities as well.
Working out, for example, can be significantly improved through music by playing certain songs that amp you up or give you the energy to push for that extra mile. Today I want to look at PaceDJ, an iOS application that uses the songs you’ve already loaded onto your iPod or iPhone to create the perfect mix of songs for your work out.
When you first launch PaceDJ, a series of informational screens will explain how the app works while it scans your music library in the background. Some larger libraries may not be finished by the time you’re through, however.
Once the songs in your library have been determined and the tempo data has been loaded, you’ll be prompted to choose an activity. Walking, running, and cycling have been included, but the “Other” category has been added for convenience as well. All of the settings you’ve chosen up until now can be changed in the Preferences menu, which can be accessed by tapping the gear button in the top right corner (more on that later).
By default, PaceDJ will shuffle songs into your playlist at your desired BPM, within a 10 BPM range. It will also play songs at double your desired tempo. The Preferences menu has the option to play songs at half of the set tempo, as well as the tools necessary to narrow down your music selections (from a specific playlist on your device, for example).
When you begin your activity, select the speed of your gate in beats-per-minute on the attractively minimal interface and PaceDJ will begin queuing songs that meet your criteria.
Of course, not all songs have available tempo data, and there is a certain margin of error, so PaceDJ includes a way for you to manually fix a songs tempo in order to more effectively use it in your workout using a tap mechanic.
Tracks can be paused, restarted, or skipped all together. If a particular track on your iPod doesn’t make for a good workout song, PaceDJ allows you to “thumb up” or “thumb down” a track (similar to services like Pandora or Last.fm) so that the app can more intelligently build your workout playlists in the future according to your tastes.
Lastly, PaceDJ makes use of iOS social features, using Twitter integration to let you tweet about the app while you work out.
I found PaceDJ to be a little bit strenuous on my iPhone’s battery life, but aside from that, mostly a pleasure to use. It’s lightweight design and elegant interface makes it an app that I look forward to launching before I set out on my daily bike ride.
PaceDJ is available on the iTunes App Store (and now Google Play for Android devices) for $1.99.