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Is Allen & Heath about to buy Traktor?

Is it crunch time for one of Native Instruments' most famous products?

Allen & Heath are rumoured to be in the running to buy the DJ software Traktor from Native Instruments. DJ Tech Tools originally reported the news last week, citing “multiple sources with knowledge of the deal” confirmed that A&H reps were in discussions with NI to buy the DJ brand and software. 

NI has clearly taken their focus off the once-ubiquitous DJ software, with minimal significant updates over the past few years, as well as fairly basic upgrades to their hardware range. With significant changes at the company announced last year with 20% of their staff being laid off and the recent announcement of both the CEO Daniel Haver and President Mate Gallic stepping down, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise for NI to offload Traktor. 

For Allen & Heath and their parent company AudioTechnica, with no background in software, it could be a gamble. The fact remains, the heavy hitter Traktor users – Richie Hawtin, Chirs Leibing, Dubfire et al – are also heavy Xone users, with Hawin moving to his own MODEL1, designed by the same person behind the Xone:92. The compatibility between the two has always been tight, and given the techno DJs who lean towards Traktor also tend to be those who lean towards A&H, it might make sense for them to expand more into digital markets.

As DJ Tech Tools points out, Pioneer DJ’s recent V10 mixer borrows heavily from Xone architecture around sends and returns so it’s clearly still a feature request, especially as more esoteric FX boxes and pedals were being brought into the booth, pre-COVID. Offering those DJs further flexibility in routing, FX, sequencing and sampling with a software partner to the analogue mixer could be a tasty combination. Maybe the 3.5mm Audio Out port on the Xone:96 that was promised to 'make sense' at a later date will send CV from software?

As we say, it’s all rumours for now but the future of Traktor could be very interesting. It’s been fairly dormant for many years as DJ hardware from Denon DJ and Pioneer DJ caught up with what made it so appealing, and it failed to innovate to stay ahead of the curve. Maybe A&H will be the ones to reignite the Traktor flame.