Traktor Digital Decks: What Would They Be Like?

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Decks Digital Deck Kontrol Traktor traktor kontrol x2 X2 Digital
Last updated 20 August, 2014

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Traktor Kontrol X2
OK, so we’ve chopped up a pic of an S4 and stuck its decks beside the Z2 – but if Traktor digital decks are coming, what features would you like to see on them?

We think it’s a fair bet that Native Instruments is thinking hard about releasing a digital deck / media player for Traktor. (“Kontrol X2?”)

Why? Well, why release a mixer (the Kontrol Z2) that you currently need to use other manufacturers’ decks to DJ with? Unless you’re going to release a digital deck of your own, it doesn’t make much sense. So if this is the case, what will a Native digital deck look like? And what functions will it have?

What might they be like?

We think these players will be full-sized (ie not “miniature” like the Denon DN-SC2000s, or indeed like our mock-up above), and at least as well made as Pioneer decks. But the more you think about it, the more the questions start coming:

  • Will the decks have rich, colour displays? The Pioneer CDJ-900nexus and other higher-end Pioneer decks have great interaction with Traktor. Will these go one better than that? I think Native Instruments will probably want to offer some exclusive stuff that the Pioneer models don’t have
  • Will the decks have CD, USB, SD slots? If a manufacturer wanted any chance of getting its units into clubs, it might decide that it’s worth having these things. I’d say USB and SD maybe, but CD? Probably not
  • Will iPad Traktor launch at the same time?. So what do we actually use our laptops for when we DJ? If our control surfaces of choice are good, then we use them as a display, and as storage for our media. And an iPad can do both of those things. So is Traktor coming for iPad? I’d say for sure. Thing is, if it ties in with a new ecosystem based around these “Kontrol X2” digital decks, maybe we’re going to see this launched as well…
  • Will they need Traktor running at all?. Here’s a crazy thought. What if they somehow have “Traktor inside”? What if you’ll be able to prepare your cue points, beatgrid your tunes and so on, and then bring your music on USB, SD, phone or iPad and link up (wirelessly or not) with the units, which will have mini-computers inside “running” Traktor, and gorgeous displays complete with waveforms? What if they won’t need the laptop at all, like Pioneer’s rekordbox solution?
  • Will they have sync buttons? Of course they will…

 

Time will tell…

I think it is good to remember that Pioneer has a fantastic R&D department and is ahead in this game currently. Getting an alternative DJ booth-centred system up and running is something Native Instruments would, I am sure, be capable of, but it’s no easy call. Denon, for instance, has done a great job with its Engine software and SC2900/SC3900 solution – but that’s essentially an alternative take on CDJ/rekordbox.

But with Native coming at it with the platform of laptop/DJ software already established, it would be fasinating to see whether they’d tackle Pioneer head on, offering a robust but software/laptop/iPad based system instead – or some other hybrid nobody’s yet thought of. Of course, we could be wrong – but with Pioneer making massive leaps in the capabilities of its gear, Native is surely planning something…

So will this happen? What do you think new Traktor digital decks might be called? And what features would you want to see on the decks? Please share your thoughts in the comments. We know the Native Instuments team reads the website, so maybe your ideas will end up being included…