Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NEW: Traktor 2 - the sequel



Finally the official news is in - Traktor Pro 2 has been officially announced (rather than leaked) and there's quite a lot to look at. That said, the Kontrol S4 version alluded to some of what we're seeing in the all new V2, but there's quite a bit more than what you see on the surface, and indeed what can be gleaned from a blurry teaser video.

First, the official words:

traktor pro 2 scratch pro duo audio 10 audio 6

Native Instruments Announces the next TRAKTOR Generation

Revised DJ software and digital vinyl systems offer enhanced creative versatility and usability, include new range of DJ audio interfaces

Berlin, February 10th, 2011 – Native Instruments today announced the new TRAKTOR generation, which establishes the next level of power and ease-of-use with its TRAKTOR PRO 2 software and TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 digital vinyl system. Based on versatile new software features and a revised audio interface line, the new product generation expands the lead of Native Instruments’ TRAKTOR range and gives DJs even more creative possibilities.

The new TRAKTOR generation is based on a revised high-visibility GUI for intuitive operation under all conditions, and now offers up to four powerful Sample Decks as well as the unique Loop Recorder. While each Sample Deck can add up to four simultaneous samples or loops to the mix, the Loop Recorder allows DJs to capture audio from various sources on the fly and drop it back into the mix at any time, opening up creative techniques far beyond conventional DJing.

A further major innovation of the new TRAKTOR generation is the new “TruWave” technology. By displaying tracks and samples in all four decks with high-resolution multi-colored waveforms, it gives deep insight into the spectral properties of the music, visualizing both individual rhythmic elements as well as general sonic characteristics. With four selectable color schemes, an extra-wide zoom range and subpixel-accuracy waveform rendering, TruWave allows DJs to read their tracks visually for even more intuitive mixing.

The leading synchronization features in TRAKTOR have been further expanded with a new “SoftSync” function that provides a unique combination of convenient automatic beat-matching and hands-on control. By keeping the tempo of multiple tracks in sync without manipulating the phase, SoftSync accommodates the widest possible range of mixing techniques both in TRAKTOR PRO 2 and in TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2. The effect selection of TRAKTOR has also been expanded with four additional types that offer unique ways to create dramatic breakdowns and other typical performance effects, including a tape delay emulation and the new “Bouncer”, increasing the arsenal to an unparalleled assortment of over 30 algorithms.The timecode-controlled TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 combines the new software generation with the new TRAKTOR AUDIO 10 interface, which offers additional I/O, improved signal chain monitoring and a versatile new bypass functionality over the previous AUDIO 8 model. With its true analog “Direct Thru” functionality that can be controlled directly from the TRAKTOR 2 software, TRAKTOR AUDIO 10 allows for easier switchovers between DJ sets and is ideally suited for club installation.

Most features of the new TRAKTOR generation can also be found in the new TRAKTOR DUO 2 versions, which offer a classic two-deck configuration with additional dual sample decks and a compact effect selection at an especially affordable price, with TRAKTOR SCRATCH DUO 2 including the new TRAKTOR AUDIO 6 interface.
For the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 system, the new TRAKTOR PRO 2 will replace the originally included TRAKTOR PRO S4 software. All KONTROL S4 owners will receive a download upgrade free of charge.

Pricing and availability

All products within the new TRAKTOR PRO 2 generation will be available in stores in April 2011. Suggested retail pricing:

TRAKTOR PRO 2 - $229 / 199 €
TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 - $669 / 599 €
TRAKTOR DUO 2 - $119 / 99 €
TRAKTOR SCRATCH DUO 2 - $399 / 349 €

Update and upgrade pricing is available on the NI website.

Additional information on the TRAKTOR 2 generation is available at
www.native-instruments.de/traktor


traktor pro 2 scratch pro duo audio 10 audio 6

So let's break this down a little. I can only comment on what's in the release as I haven't actually seen a version running, so some of this is subject to confirmation. But Ean Golden from DJ Techtools has and put together this 10 minute video that really condenses much of this release into a handy bite sized visual treat:



This is V2 of the existing Traktor range, which means all new software and hardware (as indicated by the blowout sale before Christmas if you hadn't guessed). So you get the full 4 deck flavours of Pro and Scratch Pro, and the 2 deck DUO and Scratch DUO for those who aren't especially swayed by the current 4 deck trend.

Reading the PR gives you the basic selling points:

Waveforms: Finally, waveforms get the colour treatment (4 different schemes) and indicate the highs and lows of the audio. This TruWave technology offers a smoother higher resolution display than before as well a clearer overview of the entire track.

What appears to be missing is stacked waveforms. I've lost count of how many people have begged for this to be added, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. I guess you can cheat a little and configure decks A and C to sit on top of each other though.

User Interface: This has got an overhaul to make it as clean or as busy as you want. The SSL interface has won many friends whereas one of my own issues was the often complex and confusing interface. That looks to have been changed with an as yet unknown level of configurability. If the screenshots are anything to go by however, the interface just got a lot more friendly.

Effects:This is an area where frankly Traktor remains untouchable. And they just added some classics, including Tape delay. And reading through the info, you can also route external audio through Traktor 2 and use the internal effects with other applications.

SoftSync: This isn't new but is certainly new to Traktor. Essentially you preset the BPM and any track you load syncs to that BPM. It's not full autosync, but it does only leave you beatmatching. And of course is only as successful as the BPMing of your audio as well. It's still a time saver, and is especially welcome when you're busy with all the other T2 goodies.

Sample decks: As seen in Traktor S4, any deck can become a 4 bank sample player. There is a difference between Pro and DUO versions in that the Pro versions allow on the fly changing from deck to sample bank, as well as having volume and filter controls. NI also provide a small selection of loops and scratches to get you going,

Loop Recorder: This allows you to record any source, with effects, and even overdub for layered looping. And it's also a 5th deck running a loop if you want (because 4 just isn't enough right?).

I expect there's considerably more detail than that once you get into it, but those are the main features. Obviously, there are new interfaces - the Traktor Audio 2, 6 and 10, but I'll cover those in the next story.

Prices and delivery

Listed in the PR are the retail prices:

Traktor Pro 2 - $229 /€199/£169
Traktor Scratch Pro 2 - $669/€599/£499
Traktor DUO 2 - $119/€99/£85
Traktor Scratch DUO 2 - $399/£349/£299

But what of upgrades? This is always a thorny issue given that other companies give free upgrades. When I say free, you do actually pay a premium when you buy it new, so don't for a second think you're not paying at some point. There is of course an upgrade path for just about everyone, including it seems owners of of LE and manufacturer editions (I take this to mean VMS4 Traktor and Pioneer DDJ-T1 owners).

Here are the basic upgrades:

traktor pro 2 upgrades

I've also got UK info on further upgrades:

S4 > S4 Scratch - £109. Includes Timecode Vinyl & CDs
TSPRO > TSPRO2 - £59.Software update only
TSPRO > TS Pro2 inc TA10 - £339. Limited Time offer - user must own TS Pro
T Pro > T Pro 2 - £59. Software update only
TSDUO > TSDUO2 - £40. Software update only
TSDUO > TSDUO2 inc TA6 - £209. Limited Time offer - user must own TS Duo
T Duo > T Duo 2 - £40. Software update only

The great news is that existing S4 owners get the upgrade for free, and there's also an S4 Scratch upgrade, although I'm not sure what you get for your money.

As ever, there is of course a huge amount of media on the Native site. Get yourself over there for the fullest possible detail. If however you have any questions, NI people are waiting to answer whatever they can before the release on April 1st.