While DJ apps have been around for a while, they are often unintuitive and just can’t compare to the features available on laptops. Native Instruments managed to get the best of both worlds, utilizing the collection system of their Traktor Pro software and combining it with the touchscreen interface of an iPad. The result is their Traktor DJ app, available on iOS.
DJs can now upload songs from their Traktor Pro library onto the iPad and have access to all the cue points and metadata they prepared. Traktor users will feel right at home on the app, retaining a similar GUI and workflow. The waveforms look crisp and are frequency coded, and you have the ability to zoom in and out with just a pinch. Pro’s beat grids are transferred over to the app, allowing tracks to be synced to a master clock at the top of the screen, though the iPad app loses the master deck option that is available on Pro. If you added new songs to your collection, you can also create beat grids and markers right on the app itself.
EQing and effects are effortless with the touchscreen; just hit a button to open the interface over the waveform. The effects are manipulated by an XY pad, which feels a lot more intuitive than turning a physical knob. The only complaint would be the sound of the reverb module, but high-quality algorithms also require a lot of computing power that isn’t available on an iPad. Traktor DJ also includes a new freeze mode, which automatically creates eight cue points for you to chop up. Similar to the slip mode on CDJs, freeze mode can return the playhead to its normal spot after freeze mode is disengaged. Originally exclusive to the iPad, NI recently brought this feature over to their full Pro software due to its popularity.
It is impressive how much of the Traktor experience is packed into just a little iPad. While the touchscreens have given DJs a whole new way to interact with music, there are some things like EQing and filtering which feel better with a physical interaction. NI addresses these concerns with the Kontrol Z1, a compact, two-channel controller with all the standard mixer functions like filters, EQ and crossfader. What is particularly great about the Z1 is that it’s equipped with an audio interface, allowing DJs to cue tracks and play sound through a high-quality stereo RCA, which sounds much better than a headphone jack and can be used for YouTube and iTunes as well.
Whether you rock clubs or a bedroom, Traktor DJ is a must-have for DJs on the go who want to drop some serious beats at a moment’s notice. Learn more at Native-Instruments.com.
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