The new Traktor Scratch package comprises a new version of the Traktor software, along with a brand new hardware interface called the Audio 8 DJ, which is also available for purchase on its own.
Traktor Scratch is a virtual DJing system where digital audio files can be controlled using professional DJ equipment, special timecode CDs and vinyl.
Since announcing their split with equipment manufacturer Stanton it was inevitable that the Berlin music software company NI – responsible for the FinalScratch software - would be developing their own hardware and software interface to compete on the current market.
Initially there doesn't seem to be a great deal of difference between the new Traktor Scratch package and the existing FinalScratch 2 system; that is until you do a bit of digging.
The Traktor Scratch system is based on NI's fourth generation audio drivers and they have a new, more accurate high-resolution timecode, with separate timecode versions for vinyl and CD for minimum "needle-drop" and seek times.
They've made the frankly painful operation of connecting up the gear in a hurry at a gig a lot less confusing with a pair of innovative 'Instant Connect' multi-core cables. And there's a little hook to lock in the USB cable to avoid an embarrassing disconnection during a set.
The software is a major improvement on Traktor FS2, with features normally only available by upgrading to Traktor 3. These include on-the-fly loops, analogue-modeled filters for both decks as well as two beat-synced performance effect sections that can process both the internal decks as well as external input signals.
The software shares the same features as Traktor FS - no doubt with some refinements – such as key-lock, pitch-shifting, full MIDI parameter control, comprehensive track database with powerful search and history functions.
There's advanced playlist management with automatic iTunes import, plus direct integration with the Beatport music download site.
The Traktor Scratch system can also be combined with NI's acclaimed TRAKTOR 3 software, which opens up even more advanced creative functionality and adds another pair of virtual decks. Check out the full online specs here, or at the end of this report.
Price: $669 / € 599 / c. £399
AUDIO 8 DJ
The Audio 8 DJ is the hardware interface that comes with the Traktor Scratch package. It's a low latency bus powered USB 2.0 soundcard for Mac and PC with eight audio inputs and eight audio outputs.
The unit allows you to connect four stereo players to the unit (two with switchable phono preamps), and output four stereo channels to a DJ mixer from any software application.
The Audio 8 DJ will perfectly complement Traktor 3's four decks, along with other virtual vinyl applications that don't supply audio interfaces such as MixVibes, DeckaDance, Ableton Live, Virtual DJ, OtsDJ, PCDJ and more.
When used with DJ software that features internal mixing (such as Traktor 3), the Audio 8 DJ can mix external sources without the need for a hardware mixer.
MCs can join the mix by connecting directly to the mic input, and the audio 8 DJ enables the DJ to sample and instantly scratch up vocals and other inputs.
The Audio 8 DJ is well-suited to studio use and more advanced live setups too. Along with these diverse connections and high quality 24bit/96kHz sound, there's also a Midi in and out port to connect other music and performance Midi equipment, such as controllers, synths, samplers, or even a Midi mixer such as the Allen & Heath Xone:3D and Xone:92.
Keeping you informed along the way, the interface has a level meter for input signals and status LEDs for other vital system parameters.
To gain a taste for Traktor, demos are available online from NI, but thankfully, the Audio 8 DJ comes with Traktor 3 LE, a compact version of Native Instruments' Traktor software. It offers two virtual decks with time-stretching, an integrated mixer, performance effects, looping and cueing functions – plenty to be getting on with!
Users of FinalScratch will be happy to hear that NI will be offering trade-in deals on old version of their hardware, even version 1 and 1.5. The prices are yet to be announced.
Check out the full online specs here, or at the end of this report.
Audio 8 DJ
Price: $449 / €399 / c. £260
Owners of AUDIO 8 DJ can buy TRAKTOR 3 at a discounted upgrade price of $119 / €99 / £65.
• Professional 96kHz, 24-bit audio interface.
• Ultra high quality Cirrus Logic™ AD/DA converters.
• Aluminium cased, super-robust, mobile design (slim size) specifically for DJs.
• Four hi-gain stereo outputs (RCA).
• Four stereo inputs (RCA), two optional phono preamps with high impedance input mode.
• One alternative microphone input with input gain control and input level meter (XLR).
• Headphone output with visual level control.
• Low latency ASIO™ / CORE Audio™ / DirectSound™ driver.
• USB 2.0 bus powered.
• MIDI I/O.
• Over 20 individual channel Status LEDs for instant status monitoring and signal chain error detection.
• Compatible with any digital to analogue DJ set up, such as Traktor 3.
• Includes full version of Traktor 3 LE with integrated Beatport music store access.
Mac OSX 10.4.8, G4 1.4 GHz or Intel® Core™ Duo family, 512 MB RAM.
Windows XP, Pentium / Athlon 1.4 GHz, 512 MB RAM.
USB 2.0 interface.
Universal Binary - ready for Intel Macs!
Technical SpecificationsMiscellaneous Specifications MIDI Interface: 1 Input, 1 Output.
Computer Connection: USB 2.0, Bus-Powered.
Dimensions: 45mm x 174mm x 103mm (141mm overall) (HxWxD).
General Interface Specifications Channels: 16.
Sampling Rate: 44.1, 48, 96 KHz.
Bit Resolution: 16, 24.
Converter: Cirrus Logic.
Input Specifications Cross Talk (Line/Mic/Phono): 87 dBu.
THD + N: 0.007 %.
SNR: 100 dB.
Frequency Response: 10 - 40kHz.
Cross Talk: 87 dBu.
Impedance: 100 Ohms Unbalanced.
Maximum Output Level 9,6 dBu, 4.26 V rms, 100 mW @ 100 Ohms.
SNR: 101 dB.
THD + N: 0.007% (Line) 0.012% (phono).
Frequency Response: 10 - 40 kHz.
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