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July 27, 2007

Traktor Scratch Defense for a subscriber to the 313 Detroit Techno Mailing List

All you need to spin digital tracks via turntables/CD decks
A subscriber to the 313 Detroit Techno Mailing list sent out an open call to any and all Traktor Scratch users out there, cause, he had some questions about Native Instruments latest DJ DVS application before he possibly took the plunge with his cash. Below is my feedback to him which I thought could possibly be useful to the Blogosphere.

313er wrote:

Oh cool. I’ll be running it on PC, but I’ve been looking through the posts on the NI forum and it looks pretty discouraging, although 3.3 looks like it could be alright. Feature-wise it looks great it just still seems to be quite buggy. The reverse problem for instance sounds like a total mess. I just wondered if you’ve hammered it hard and how it holds up, and how it compares to Serato if you’ve used both.

I responded:

Waking up here this morning in nyc…

let’s see *sips coffee*

Traktor 3.3 is the upgrade for Traktor DJ Studio, that’s the version of Traktor that has all the bells and whistles, and, for v3.3., will finally incorporate the Traktor Scratch DVS implementation. Traktor DJ Studio had this setup for the Traktor Final Scratch partnership. Anyways, You would need to purchase BOTH systems, in order to have the Traktor DJ Studio 3.3 which encompasses everything. Sort of whacky, but, that’s the way it is. I’m fortunately, a looooOoooong time user of Traktor DJ Studio since the 2.1 days and have grown with that Product.

I decided to pick up Traktor Scratch for the following reasons. All my friends already invested in Serato Scratch, which is a GREAT product. For me, it took a little getting use to seeing Vertical Scrolling waveforms, as every other audio application in the past has had Audio Waveforms scroll horizontally, so, this was a new way to get adjusted too. As far as Scratch itself, It’s fast, Stable, CPU light, bare bones, and the software upgrades have been FREE so far. I’ve downloaded the app and have it on my laptop in case i show up to go a gig with the Hardware already installed, all i have to do is plug in the USB cable for the breakout box and I’m good to go.

Getting Traktor Scratch was a bit of a no-brainer for me. Crossgrade cost (owning traktor dj studio already) allowed me to pick up the system for about $400 USD. I basically felt like i was just picking up this great new Audio Interface, and got the software/vinyl for free. The Audio 8 interface is Awesome. I’ve even ditched my Echo Indigo DJ card i was using in my Traktor DJ Studio only sets for this audio interface instead. It just sounds awesome and is built like a tank. Comes with a nice travel bag too, so, you wont’ ding it up in your travels. The Multi-Core cables that come with the package are a great idea too. I just order a second set for the mixer portion to gig with, so, at home, i can have a nice permanent installation. The Audio 8 specs are just fantastic is well, the Cirrus chips used do some magic and making things sound real clear. Side by side by the Serato hardware, Audio 8 has got it beat in just about everyway. I don’t see anything that the Serato hardware would even match or beat the Audio 8 in. Granted, the scratch hardware is a few years old now, so, it shouldn’t be as good as something released here in 2007.

Software application wise, sharing my Traktor DJ Studio Library is the same one I use for Traktor Scratch. Therefore, I don’t have organize for two different platforms/systems. It’s all shared. which helps me out a lot, cause I already spend soo much time digitizing vinyl, encoding and tagging music, and backing things up as is. On my current Mac laptop, the specs are at the BOTTOM of the recommend system. A software update a few weeks later after release did help improve performance, but I have only about 80-90% confidence of Audio not glitching with my current laptop. I’ve since ordered an Intel MacPro… and i’m literally just waiting for Apple to send out to me. I have no Worries of performance woes on this machine (just re-read those forums) and I’ll have my 120% confidence performing with Traktor Scratch like I do NOW for… Traktor DJ Studio 3.2. (sans vinyl)

I feel that most of the gripe comes from people with older/lower spec’d machines. I understand the misery. If a company states their product will work on said devices, it should probably work no problem, but the fact is, NI could probably do a little better job at making their app a little more CPU conscious for both Platforms. Overall, I don’t feel that the performance woes most people are experiencing are coming from the PC side, it’s mostly the G4 Powerbook users that are taking the shortend of that stick.

I’ve experienced the “reverse” problem once. and, i just restarted my machine and rebooted the app, and I haven’t seen it come back to haunt me. Best way on my machine to have the best performance I’ve found is… Create a “DJ Only” user account, have the bare minimum of system bits n bops going.. and just have Traktor Scratch up and running. The other cool “feature” is, if say one of the cables slips out of the Audio8, or you have the crappy Ortofon cartridge issue where one of the channels goes out… Traktor Scratch will still playback.. and in Stereo. It’s pretty sick… in terms of some possible “real world” scenarios this one you can feel rest assured on while in the mix at the Club/Bar/Gig.