Native Instruments' latest software release, Traktor DJ for the iPad, has set tongues wagging across the world and has the potential to revolutionise digital DJing. In recent times, there have been more and more high quality apps released for creating music on the iPad, such as Cubasis, but the choice of DJing software was limited to the odd few programs. The release of Traktor DJ has changed all of this by bringing a truly professional mixing system to the iPad that can be used on-the-go for set preparation as well as for out-and-out DJ performances. Now DJs have the option of ditching their laptops in favour of an iPad for their gigs, meaning that when it comes to serious music production and DJing, the iPad’s time has finally come.
Traktor DJ is not merely an app to compliment Traktor Pro. It is a full-blown stand-alone digital DJing system for the iPad, but it can also bi-directionally sync content such as tracks, beat grids, cue points and loops with Traktor Pro — there is even a free Dropbox account on offer to make synchronising even easier. Native Instruments have designed Traktor Pro to be used by everyone from touring professionals to those who are brand-new to beat-juggling, and they have managed to strike a good balance between usability for instant fun and more advanced professional features.
The track waveform is at the centre of user interaction, with two decks available, each with a dedicated three-band EQ, filter section and eight Traktor effects. A brand new Freeze Mode has been introduced with Traktor DJ which allows DJs to slice waveforms into parts for creating live remixes, as well as putting another tool at DJs' disposal to use for effects and performance tricks. Beat grids can be created and adjusted in real time without needing to stop the music, using Traktor DJ’s groove analysis functions. The program also has full iTunes integration, making finding tracks even easier, as well as a unique recommendation system that uses advanced tempo, key and timbre analysis to suggest tracks from the iTunes library with the same tempo and harmonic structure.
With such a great reputation for designing DJ software, controllers and soft-synths that not only sound awesome but are a joy to use, it should come as no surprise that the team at Native Instruments have done a bang-on job in redesigning the key functions of Traktor Pro 2 for use with the iPad’s touch screen. DJs can manipulate waveforms using touch gestures such as being able to set a loop by grabbing a track with two fingers, as well as being able to scratch, mark cue points, scrub, browse and navigate. Native Instruments have also reprogrammed their tempo detection and sync engines from Traktor Pro 2 to work with the iPad, and the benefits of a decade of refinements and upgrades to these engines have been bestowed upon Traktor DJ.
For live performance, Traktor DJ will need to be running on an iPad with an audio interface connected to enable multichannel output for headphone monitoring, and to provide a main out to the venue’s soundsystem. This can be achieved by using the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit to connect to an audio interface such as the Traktor Audio 6 or Traktor Audio 10. For the ultimate sound, DJs will still need to carry an audio interface around, but there is the option to come straight out of the headphone out.
Traktor DJ represents a great leap forward in the world of digital DJing, making it even more convenient for DJs who can cut down on weight by leaving their laptops at home. Native Instruments have created a truly professional DJing system for the iPad that is going to take clubland by storm, as well as opening up the world of beat mixing to a whole new audience, possibly shaping the future of the next generation of superstar DJs.
Traktor DJ is available now from the App Store for $19.
|Ease of use||9.0|
|Value for money||8.5|
Native Instruments have redesigned and reprogrammed the best elements of their Traktor Pro 2 software for the touch screen interface of the iPad and in the process have created one of the most exciting new products available to professional DJs and newcomers alike.