Native Instruments have recently made a point of refining their range of DJ hardware controllers and integrating software, all in an effort to make it clear exactly which products are just right for your own particular setup. It’s a welcome move, so we thought we’d take a look at what’s currently available to help you make a decision. From completely novice digital DJs all the way up to professional floor-fillers, there’s something in the Traktor range for you.
Traktor Audio 2
The smallest interface in the range, the Traktor Audio 2 is a 2-channel model that’s incredibly portable – the smallest of its kind in the world, in fact, and will be a specifically helpful product for DJs using a laptop or controller. Low latency operation, pristine AD/DA converters and high-gain stereo outs bring a tight feature set to this formidable package, made all the better for the inclusion of the Traktor 2 Pro DJ software. Those of you who already have an LE system can in fact pay less than it costs to upgrade your software and get the new version plus the interface. A no-brainer then.
Traktor Kontrol X1
The X1 controller is a slim and highly adaptable option for those of you that use DVS or software DJing setups – it allows you to bring firmly under hands-on Kontrol without being distracted by menus, mouse-click work or transport control errors. Even those relatively new to digital DJing will find it a logical layout that performs well under quick cuts and fast changeovers. It comes bundled with Traktor Pro 2 software, so in fact for your first leap across the digital divide it makes a huge amount of sense. Those who were intending to simply buy Pro 2 software may as well plump for the X1 – you’re effectively getting the extra hardware for free!
Traktor Kontrol F1
For the remixer, Traktor Pro’s 2.5 software upgrade is a very tempting proposition indeed, the versatile Remix Deck additions – set any deck as a Remix variant and you’ll have access to as many as 64 assignable loops, drum hits, synth stabs and arpeggios. Of course, controlling that’s going to be a bit of a tricky task while you’re keeping an eye on your live performances, and to that end the Traktor Kontrol F1 provides the perfect solution – 16 premium-quality velocity-sensitive pads split by four Bank buttons for quick access. They’re even colour coded so you can set up immediate layouts that are easy to understand at a glance. LE-owners, Pro users and first-time buyers benefit from this, much like the X1 system, paying either only a small amount more or exactly the same price as Pro 2 software for the included controller.
Traktor Scratch A6
Describing the A6 as an entry-level Digital Vinyl System (DVS) setup is to do it something of an injustice – it would serve a professional digital DJ very well indeed, with incredible sound quality, hyper-sensitive vinyl detection and a 6x6 i/o from the A6 interface. It’s bundled with Traktor Scratch Pro 2 software to bring all of your digital and turntable decks under control firmly and allow you to work with a huge number of file formats too. It’s a huge leap forward for anyone previously thinking of getting the A6, or the Duo setups: you pay the same or less and are rewarded with better hardware.
Traktor Scratch A10
The A10 takes this a step further – a 10/10 interface with quad-turntable functionality alongside the same premium scratching and remixing DVS setup. It’s barely more than the original Audio 10 interface, but with the bonus of Traktor Scratch Pro 2 software, the CD and Vinyl system and all the relevant cables too – the perfect pro setup for less.
Traktor Kontrol S2
For those DJs who want a physical vinyl system integrated directly into their controller, the S2 makes a huge amount of sense – the jog-wheel decks onboard this unit are easy to manoeuvre, and are combined with superb FX manipulation, a pair of stero outputs and a mic inputs. Hot cue buttons make remix and loop options incredibly easy, and the whole thing is fiercely portable to – take the S2 and a laptop to a gig and you’re good to go. Pro 2 software is bundled, so it’s everything you need out of the box.
Traktor Kontrol S4
The S4 takes the S2 setup a step further with the addition of a four deck mixer – hook up your analogue turntables, wield your touch-sensitive platters alongside them and add in FX with easily accessible controls. The soundcard built in to the unit is of an incredibly high quality, and won’t be out of place in pro setups absolutely anywhere. It’s the big dog in Traktor’s controller range, and brings everything you need into one stylish, easily-mastered chassis.
Traktor Pro 2.5 update
For reference, the 2.5 update to Traktor 2 coming on 30th May this year brings a huge amount more to the table – Remix Decks as mentioned above, for example, will open up assignable loops, hits and arpeggiation options during live performance, as well as letting you live-capture audio and re-loop it mid-set. Timecode control allows you vinyl/cd access to the remix decks too – it’s all still familiar DJing, just with extra functionality. Colour-coded mapping gives you a better birds-eye view in the heat of battle, while new BPM detection and audio analysis software means that you know exactly when and where you’re punching in – get your loops as tight as possible and manipulate your samples live. For anyone using Pro already it brings a huge amount of additional functionality – it can even work in conjunction with other tools like MASCHINE, syncing up to them perfectly. It simply makes the packages above all the better, and adds even more value for money.