Review: Traktor Duo vs Traktor Pro
This is a guest post by Bart Lateur.
With the current 50% price cut by Native Instruments, it’s now possible to buy Traktor Duo for only US$45/£40/€48 and Traktor Pro for only US$99/£82/€95. For readers trying to make their minds up which one is the best, I thought it might be good to let you know my experiences.
I have been trying out the Traktor demo for about 6 months, just at home. Originally I was planning to buy some hardware that came with Traktor LE, and upgrade to either Duo or Pro from there, but thanks to the current discounts, as the plain full version is now cheaper than the upgrade, I decided not to wait any longer.
But did I need Pro? Would Duo be enough for me, or would I miss features that are in Pro but not in Duo? I could not decide. There is very little information on the internet to be found about the difference between the two, and I’m hoping to make up for that, a bit, now.
How I use DJ software
I am not a musician. I’ve tried demos of software synthesisers that made that clear to me! I am not that “creative” in the sense that I don’t enjoy making music from scratch. All I want to do is play music, and when two songs are similar enough to make me want to play them together, I want to make the transition between them as enjoyable as possible. Traktor gives me the tools to do that.
Trying out the 4 decks of the Traktor Pro demo, I found I rarely if ever used more than 2 decks. I also rarely use effects, and when I do, I usually stick to the basic three: delay, reverb and flanger.
Two weeks ago I decided to take the plunge: I bought Traktor Duo. Here’s a summary of my experience:
My take on the differences
Things I knew I was giving up:
- No 4 decks, only 2. In 99% of all cases, that is all I need
- Only 6 effects, but the 3 essential ones for me are there: delay, reverb, flanger. (The other 3 are filter, gater and beatmasher)
- No LFO for the effects. Basically, the effects that need it are not there
Things that are not there but I don’t actually miss:
- No snap and quantize buttons. I thought that implied that the functionality wasn’t there, but it is (I’m not even entirely sure about which is exactly which): You can only set cue points on beatmarks, and when you skip forward or backward, it happens on a beatmark. You just can’t turn that off. (By the way, to set a cue point anywhere, first set a gridmarker, and then change the nature of that cue point.)
- You cannot record the mix as a WAV file (or broadcast it). I haven’t missed that feature, but I can imagine that this is a dealbreaker for some people: Traktor Duo would probably be plenty for internet radio stations, if it wasn’t for this
Things I unexpectedly miss:
- There’s only one mode for the effects: 3 effects chained. No “advanced” (or more primitive?) mode with one effect with 3 control knobs
- Effects routing is fixed: Deck A goes to effects 1, deck B to effects 2. This implies that you can’t turn them off as a bank. In the Pro demo I often used the route buttons (the 2 little red buttons “1” and “2”) to turn on or off the whole effect bank, which is very handy. Now you may have to push 3 buttons to turns them all off; or turn the wet/dry button to dry, which is not exactly the same thing: turning off delay with the push button prevents new echo, but the old echo just dies out. Turning the knob to “dry” kills the old echo instantly
- You cannot set effects 1 to one standard effect setting and effects 2 to another more esoteric one, and use them for either deck. No, you now have to repeat the same setting if you want to use it on the other deck
I do not regret my decision to favour Traktor Duo over Traktor Pro.
If you’re not a controllerist using snippets from existing tracks to rearrange them live into a new song, but instead only want to play music, then Traktor Duo will probably be plenty.
Have you tried both? Do you prefer one over the other? Let us know your thoughts.