Native Instruments Traktor Scratch Pro 2 Review - DJBooth

Native Instruments Traktor Scratch Pro 2 Review

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Overview

TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 lets you spin digital files on four track decks using super-tight vinyl and CD control. The next generation of the award-winning digital vinyl system is easier to use than ever. Set it up in seconds thanks to the included TRAKTOR AUDIO 10.

Buy the Native Instruments Traktor Scratch Pro 2 at the lowest price on Reverb.com

Review Video & Demo

Unboxing Video

Setup & First Impressions

By DJ Blaze and DJ D-Mac

This is the DJbooth.net official review of the new Traktor Scratch Pro 2 Complete Digital Vinyl system. The complete system comes bundled with the new Traktor Pro 2 software and the Native Instruments’ premier DJ soundcard, the Audio 10. This review will cover both the Hardware and Software portions of the complete system. We will make some references to previous versions of the software and hardware for comparison purposes. The Traktor Pro 2 software and hardware will continue to keep all of the features of the Traktor Pro 1 software and hardware while also adding the new features highlighted in this review.

Please see our reviews of the Traktor Scratch Pro 1 and Traktor Scratch Duo 1 for additional information regarding the basic features of the earlier Traktor systems.

Features

Traktor Scratch Pro Hardware (Audio 10)

TRAKTOR AUDIO 10 DJ is the successor of AUDIO 8 DJ, and now comes with enhanced connectivity, better sound quality, four decks of inputs/outputs and a MIDI connection for other devices. The four decks can all be toggled to support any combination of vinyl Phono turntables or CD Line playback devices.

The audio 10 claims to have a new processor for better performance and lower latency, but I was unable to discern the difference between the audio 4 and audio 10 in terms of processing power. I was very happy to see that the Native Instruments interfaces no longer need those proprietary multicore cables as you can now connect simple RCA connectors directly into the Audio 10 interface making the setup a lot easier.

The Audio 10 can also run in direct-through mode when not connected to a computer, this way DJ’s can still play music through it even when there is no software present. The Audio 10 now has very clear LED readouts that allow users to know what each input and output is doing right at a glance. The audio control panel for the Audio 10 is located within the software, making it easy to configure the inputs/outputs of the soundcard.

The Sound quality of the Audio 10 is great. It boasts a high-quality 24-bit and 96kHz Cirrus Logic AD/DA converters for studio grade quality. I would say that the Sound Quality of the Audio 10 is slightly better than last generations’ Audio 4 and Audio 8 interfaces. It was very hard for me to hear the difference between the two as I had to switch back and forth between the Audio 10 and Audio 4 in order to actually hear a very tiny difference. If you are using an Audio 8 or Audio 4 and you are looking to upgrade merely for sound quality, then you may find that the price of the Audio 10 isnt worth the slight improvement in sound. The Audio 8 and Audio 4 interfaces already sound great and the Audio 6 and Audio 10 will only prove to have very minor upgrades to the sound quality.

Traktor Scratch Pro Software (New Features)

With Traktor Scratch 2, Native Instruments made some significant changes to the

Traktor Scrach 1

software, including various tweaks to the interface and some useful new effects and features. In order to help you determine if the new features are worthy of an upgrade, we have broken down each major change in detail below.

User Interface & Truwave

The new version of Traktor has a much more modern and organized look. Whereas the buttons on the old interface sometimes blended in with eachother, the new interface lays out all buttons and triggers in a way that not only looks more modern, but also makes it easier to spot the feature you are looking for. In summary, it looks less busy, and more organized.

The most immediately noticeable change made to the Traktor Interface is the addition of colored waveforms – or TruWave as Traktor calls it. The color coding allows you to quickly identify the snares and high-hats in the beat. This makes mixing easier and also gives DJs a visible cue to what the wavs represent. Serato has had this functionality for a while now, and we are glad to see that Traktor caught up. Furthermore, Traktor 2 allows you to zoom in on the waveform, which means that you can more precisely set your cue points.

Fans of Traktor will know that it offers a lot of options, not all of which are relevant all of the time. Because of this I was glad to see that Traktor Pro 2 comes with 3 different layout options - each one catered to a different type of DJ. The most basic layout strips the interface down to the bare essentials and in some ways emulates the simplified look of Serato. It eliminates the FX, mixer, sample deck, and some of the advanced buttons in favor of increasing the size of the waveform and browsing windows. This is ideal for the hip hop DJ looking to just mix records. On the other hand you can choose the more advanced layout which includes everything, as well as an option in between.

The one negative here is that Traktor 2 neglected to add a layout that places the waveforms of the 2 decks side-by-side (aka parallel waveforms). Serato fans love this feature since you can easily see if one of the decks is phased ahead of the other. Unfortunately at this time there is no option to do this, so it remains a Serato exclusive for now.

Sample Decks

The most exciting new feature in Traktor 2 is its ability to load sounds and loops into 4 sample banks per sample deck. These sample decks can then be controlled via mouse/keyboard or even a Midi controller such as the Traktor X1 or even a all-in-one unit like the Traktor S4. The sample decks are pretty easy to use but allow skilled DJs to construct some incredible live remixes on the fly. You can either load up audio samples (Traktor 2 comes with a few to get you started) or you can create your own using loops within tracks that you set. The sample decks are by far the most exciting and revolutionary advancement included in Traktor Scratch 2 because it allows DJs to move beyond mixing and cutting into live remixing.

Loop Recorder

This feature is closely related to the sample Decks, as it allows you to take a loop, apply effects and save it as its own sound file snippet. You can then take this file and load it up in one of the sample decks. Overall, we found this process pretty simple and intuitive.

New Effects

Traktor Scratch Pro already came with a number of effects and Traktor Pro 2 ads four more to the DJ's arsenal. These include Tape Delay, Ramp Delay, Bouncer, and auto Bouncer. Bouncer is my favorite new addition simply for the fact that its so extreme. I dont see me dropping it in a set as a hip hop DJ, but a Dub-Step DJ could probably find some interesting uses for it especially when chained together when other effects.

Conclusion / Recommended For

The Traktor Scratch Pro 2 software and Hardware both have much needed upgrades that ties in with today’s popular 4-deck mixing style and allow users to switch between setups on the fly. For the Audio 10, the sound quality has been slightly improved and the additional MIDI input/output along with the MAIN input/output RCA connections open up the door to many more mixing possibilities. The Main inputs/output can be used for the new loop recorder and playback, or simply as a Master Output.

You can now run a total of 4 analog turntables directly through the Audio 10. Each of the four deck inputs can now be controlled through the software to switch between vinyl or line level inputs depending on if you are using a CD deck or a vinyl turntable. The Audio 10 can also route outputs to four different decks making it the ideal soundcard for DJ’s who want to use a controller like the Denon DN-MC6000 or Numark NS6 along with two other external decks allowing for 4-full decks of control. The Audio 10 is built with a mostly metal construction and will last for years to come.

The Audio 10 is very versatile and can also be used with any other DJ software on the market today. The only MINOR gripe that I can find with the TSP2 system is the lack of an additional USB connection so that two computers can connect to the system. This feature would make it easy to switch between DJ setups for club installations or for DJ’s who want to battle it out using two separate libraries of music.

With the Traktor Scratch Pro 2 software, Native Instruments has incorporated features that fans have been asking for as well as brand new capabilities that will help take DJing to the next level. Whereas the Colored waveforms brings the software up to par with the standard set by Serato, the Sample Decks and loop recorder are game-changers that open up a new world of possibilities for skilled and creative DJs.

While the DJ Booth staff was really hoping that it would include parallel waveforms, the Native Instruments Traktor Scratch Pro 2 system is one of the BEST (if not the best) Digital DJ Solutions out on the market today and the hands down choice for DJs interested in going beyond simple mixing and cutting.

Pros

  • Four Decks of Control
  • Solid Build Quality
  • Lots of inputs and outputs (MIDI, Master, Headphones, etc…)
  • New Live Loop Recorder & Sample Decks within Software allows for live remixing
  • Full Color Track Waveform
  • Good Price when compared to competition
  • Simplified RCA Cable connection (no more dongle cables needed)

Cons

  • Lack of additional USB port for true 2-computer connectivity
  • Unable to display waveforms side-by-side

Related

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Native Instruments Announces Traktor 2 and Audio 2, 6, and 10 Interfaces

Native Instruments has been extremely busy over the past year developing an all new Traktor program and interfaces for DJ's all across the lands. Introducing the all new Traktor Duo 2 and Traktor Pro 2 software suites. To go along with these new software revisions and updates are the all new Traktor 6 and Traktor 10 USB interfaces that will allow the user to do things with loops and samples that was only a dream with the previous software and hardware offerings from NI. Details, pricing, Videos, and Press Release Inside.