For years now, Native Instruments have lead the way in creating both hardware and software for DJs, Live Producers and Studio Producers. Today we are taking a closer look at their latest additions to the much loved Traktor Family - including NI's S4 Mk3 and S2 Mk3 controllers and Traktor Pro 3 software.
Ok, so lets start with the software, as it really is what the hardware revolves around!
Traktor holds a place in the hearts and minds of imaginative DJs across the world. Native Instruments forward thinking and mechanical DJ software has sprouted new performance ideas, leading to whole new ways to mix, remix, mashup, loop and effect your pre-recorded music. The updated Traktor Pro 3, launching today takes this to a whole new level.
Traktor software is the best part of 2 decades old, launching all the way back in 2000. Traktor was known as Traktor DJ and Traktor Studio and after several versions of this, NI moved over to Traktor Pro, bringing with it a plethora of GUI and effect upgrades and more importantly - their own range of all-in-one controllers.
Teaching DJs on Traktor is very intuitive for younger - computer generation DJs as the features and layout are all very clearly laid out and you can easily change your view of Traktor Pro 3 to ensure that you have the right information in front of your eyes at all time. In a traditional DJ booth, a DJ would use their song selection skills to manually mix from one track to the next. Beat mixing is an awesome skill and one that all DJs should learn, but what Traktor has done is taken this time consuming part of the mixing process and automated it! So, instead of getting your tracks perfectly in time, you can work on creating the best story for your music. This does NOT mean you lose control, it actually means that you do the job of setting up your track once, and have it ready to perform, night after night.
Before you mix with Traktor, you import and setup beat grids for your tracks, so they are all able to sync perfectly in time. Once this 'homework' is done, you are set free to take advantage of the plethora of features that Traktor Pro 3 has, such as the ability to mix 4 audio sources, add effects, loop and sample - all at the one time!
We have been lucky enough to have been testing the new Traktor Pro 3 Software for the past few weeks and we are really excited about the upgrades as it makes it even easier for beginners, but the seasoned Traktor Pro users will still be able to find all their favourite features and the several more upgrades added to this latest edition.
So, what's new in Traktor Pro 3 Software?
Traktor Pro 3 has a great new look, it feels softer on the eyes and while there is more going on, the layout is cleaner and allows you to set it up perfectly for your performance mode. This is great, as some people want to see the track and DVS mode, others want to see the library or effect and MIDI controls. Traktor Pro 3 lets you create your setup so you have everything you need at a glance.
Two become one! Traktor Pro 3 is the one version, whether you use the Scratch or the (standard) controller version. This means you can choose at any time to add some control vinyl to your setup and utilise ANY audio interface to connect your analogue world (turntable) into the digital home of Traktor Pro 3. In earlier versions, you needed an NI audio interface, and this was a cost that many did not want to invest in. Now that you can take advantage of your existing audio interface, I can see many more people trying this creative way to mix with Traktor.
Mixer Effects have been added in this latest version which adds a favourite DJ 1 knob effects unit, perfect for use while in the mix. 8 effects are included in this new mixer effect section so there is something for every type of crossover.
New Elastique 3 has been included plus a load of upgrades to the audio engine to ensure that people performing in clubs have a high quality output. There are so many smaller updates that it would take me hours to go through them all!
So, how about the new hardware?
The S2 and S4 are purpose built controllers with 2 and 4 channels, designed to work in harmony with Traktor Pro software. The latest Mk3 models are the 3rd upgrade to this series and over the years have gone from a great mobile DJ choice to a solid solution for any touring or club DJ. This upgrade is by far the biggest change to the hardware features, including the incredible new Haptic Drive Jog Wheels, clear displays, club-like mixer effects and a huge upgrade to the audio inputs and the output processing.
Lets start with the Haptic Drive. The new Jog Wheels are motorised and have feedback so you can actually feel the beats as you cue, scratch or setup your grid. This tactile response is something that DJs can utilise so their eyes can focus on their performance instead of the gear.
The displays are a feature that worked great on previous models of NI controllers such as the S5. Bright and clear, these high-resolution displays will give you track, key, tempo, looping, hotcue, and waveform info at a glance.
The Mixer FX gives you the 1 knob control over your mixes as we discussed in the software part of this article. These pots are large and smooth, so make it easy to transition with 8 great mixer effects.
The audio outputs will supply your venue with upto 24-bit / 96-kHz via the built in audio interface, so you can play high quality audio wherever you play. Each channel of the S4 or S2 has external inputs so you can plug in your decks (turntable or CDJ) for Scratch mode or plug in synths, mics or anything your twisted mind can come up with! As quoted from the NI site - "When connected to TRAKTOR PRO 3, the software adds headroom to the signal, before TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 gives it an analog boost – meaning better sound at club levels."... This is a fantastic upgrade!
Find out more about the brand new Native Instruments S4 and S2 controllers that are purpose built and designed to work with Traktor Pro 3 software, click the links below.