Native Instruments today announced the Traktor Kontrol Z1, “the world’s smallest professional mixer and audio interface”, which works with Traktor 2 on PCs and Macs, as well as being the first Midi controller for the company’s Traktor DJ app for iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone, and iPod touch.
Apple-approved (only a matter of time before we see a white special edition in Apple stores?), the two-channel mixer has the same form factor as the Kontrol X1 and Kontrol F1, and runs off external power, meaning it will charge your iDevice when plugged into it. At the same time it offers true stereo club-level dual outputs for full headphones cueing from Traktor DJ.
The tantalising possibility of preparing my music on my iOS device ready to DJ with on my laptop was one of the reasons I decided to switch to Traktor for a while in my professional DJ gigs.
OK, the title’s just a bit misleading. I’ve been using Traktor in my job as a DJ tech writer and editor for nearly ten years, ever since a UK magazine I worked for (IDJ) asked me to review some early controllers that used it.
But back then the software I finally personally settled on for my first forays into digital DJing wasn’t Traktor, but Virtual DJ (parallel waveforms, y’see). Later, I used Serato ITCH for all my personal DJing gigs. But a couple of things have recently persuaded me to switch to Traktor for a while in my own DJing – for the first time.
Vinyl has a certain romance that digital files can’t compete with, says the writer of one of the stories we’re covering this week in our Friday Roundup.
In the second of our new Friday series, we’re sharing some of the articles that we’ve found most inspiring online this week, to save you the bother of trawling around the web looking for them yourself! (You can still catch up on last week’s links here.)
This week, a very personal piece about what vinyl means and why it has a place alongside MP3s, some common-sense advice on why it’s sometimes OK to not be doing anything when you’re DJing, and the first of what looks set to be a useful three-part tutorial on using Traktor DJ on the iPad.
Is it really possible to have any fun DJing on a device as small as an iPhone? We actually think it is, and Traktor DJ for iPhone is another big step towards the doubters realising this…
Just like when Pioneer put a big red sync button on a CDJ, I have to say I loved it when Native Instruments, as one of the “big three” DJ software companies, put a version of its software on the iOS platform. While those of us who “get it” can argue with detractors till we’re blue in the face that it’s actually great fun to DJ on an iPad or iPhone, now we simply have to say: “Well, Native’s designers obviously think iOS is a good platform for DJing, to have come out with Traktor DJ!”
Traktor DJ for iPad rethought the way people might like to DJ on a touchscreen device. Only the rather esoteric DJ Player has had the balls to do this before. This redefining of the workflow put clear blue sky between Traktor DJ and its only volume competitor (also excellent, but in a different way) – djay from Algoriddim. And now with Traktor DJ for iPhone (US$4.99, available from the iTunes store now), Native Instruments has brought this thinking to a device you can hold in two hands as if it were a games controller.
Learn to use the FX, filters, loops, library and more on Traktor DJ by following this series of free training videos from Native Instruments.
Native Instruments has uploaded a whole playlist of Traktor DJ training videos to its YouTube channel, to help new users of the iPad DJ app get to grips with their software.
The videos start at the very basics and work through all the main features, from loops and FX to library and the slicer-like “Freeze” mode. They’re clearly presented, talking slowly through each feature and showing you a demo of each function as well.
In this quirky product video, watch DJ Shiftee as he flies in to Berlin with Traktor DJ on the iPad and a boombox on wheels, and performs a mashup, before moving in to the club… and ending up busking!
The method behind the madness is to show multi-touch FX, freeze mode, a live mashup, using the software almost as a Maschine-style touchscreen pad controller, and potentially the most interesting use case: As a third deck for Traktor in a club.
Heading straight into Pioneer and Allen & Heath territory, the Kontrol Z2 is designed for the DJ booth, with a high-quality sound card, Innofaders, aluminium construction and standard profile sizing to fit flush with other pro gear..
Adding an Allen & Heath K2 to your set-up would give you extra controls. Pic: Traktor Bible
Digital DJ Tips reader Perry writes: “I use Traktor Pro 2 to DJ with, alongside my Kontrol S2 controller and laptop, and while DJing I find it hard to easily vary the effects I can use. If I’m honest, the S2 just doesn’t give me enough options for controlling effects within Traktor.
“So I am writing to you today to asking if there are any external controller units that integrate with Traktor and allow for you to have more control over what you are doing?”