Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Traktor Scratch Pro

A few posts back I mentioned that I used my Vestax Spin with a program called Traktor Scratch Pro. Today I will be reviewing the Traktor software and giving thoughts from my own experiences of using it.

At first the software seems rather confusing and complicated especially if you are a beginner, as I was, when you first use it. The program is laid out with a file search section towards the bottom of the screen. This section allows you to look up songs either from your Itunes library or from other folders within your computer. Towards the middle of the screen is an internal mixer with many knobs and buttons. Coming from a beginner software that has very few options, if anything more than just a crossfader and equalizer, one may cringe at the thought of having to learn absolutely everything about another program all over. Fortunately as you begin to use the program, it is apparent that the design of the screen was meant to simulate the same layout as an external mixer with decks on either side. To the sides of the internal mixing section are the track waves where cues and loops can be set on a song, as well as the pitch/ speed of the track. Towards the top of the screen the FX section is found where you can set a row of three effects with their respective dry/wet knobs directly under. This can be changed into Advanced FX mode, which allows you to change the Dry/ Wetness, Filter, Feedback, and Rate of a single effect. Although as a beginner the advanced effects mode may not have much of a use, it can definitely help you out in getting the desired sound out of a certain effect. I must mention that the software allows for four deck mixing both internally and externally, which gives a lot of flexibility with the amount of things you can do with it.

The program is an easy alternative for beginner Djs looking to get started without having to shell out thousands for a mixer and vinyl decks, or cdjs. The program is easily capable of mixing with just a laptop or desktop computer. It also boasts an impressive Music Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) mapping ability. What this means is it allows someone to map any MIDI capable device to give certain buttons or knobs specific functions to be used in Traktor. I personally use the MIDI capabilities with my Vestax Spin, but there are also some CDJs like the Pioneer CDJ-900 or CDJ -2000 who have MIDI capabilities as well as some external mixers. While it may seem as though the software is catered to the MIDI crowd, it is actually intended to directly compete with Serato Scratch Live software, which was one of the first programs that allowed vinyl turntables or CDJs to be used in conjunction with music stored on a laptop or desktop computer. Traktor Scratch Pro comes with a pair of cables that connect to turntables and back into a USB soundcard which then simulates the turning and scratching of the turntables or CDJs on the pc and thus effects the music being played off the computer as if you were actually playing the music off of the turntables. I personally do not use this function nor have I ever tried it, but from what I’ve heard from friends that do use it. It is very good and intuitive.
The Software also comes with an Audio 8 DJ soundcard ($449) one of the best out on the market, and which pretty much comprises the bulk of the cost of the software package that comes in Traktor Scratch Pro. While I do not use the Audio 8 DJ for gigs as I do not need to use such a large soundcard for my setup, I have only heard amazing things about it.

In the Box:
AUDIO 8 DJ audio interface,
2 control vinyl records/2 control CDs,
2 Multicore cables,

System Requirements:
MAC OS: Intel® Core™ Duo 1.66 GHz, 1 GB RAM, Mac OS® X 10.5/10.6

Windows OS: Pentium / Athlon 1.4 GHz (SSE1), 1 GB RAM, Windows® XP (SP3, 32 bit)/ Vista® (SP1, 32/64 bit)/ 7 (32/64 bit)

All in all the software is quite good. While the internal mixer and features cannot truly compete against the sound and power of an external mixer, it is easily the best bang for the buck for Djs trying to start out. Traktor Scratch Pro can be used on Tunrtables, CDJS, and MIDI controllers, but if you aren’t looking to mix with Vinyl or CDJs I would opt for the cheaper Trakto Pro, which would save you a little over $300 at $229 US compared to Traktor Scratch Pro at $669 US.

Bottom line, I use Traktor Scratch Pro and I’ve never looked back. Do I think I could have done with just Traktor Pro for my setup? Definitely yes, but it leaves my options open for the future if I’d like to use CDJs or Turntables in the future.

for more info about the product visit http://www.native-instruments.com/#/en/

Regards, BMO

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