REVIEW: NI Traktor Scratch A10 Mk2 Audio Interface


Link: Native Instruments — Price: $499/€499/£399

Native Instruments Traktor scratch audio 10 audio interface review (2)

In a case of “why didn’t they do this in the first place’, Native Instruments have quietly released a MK2 of their full-fat Traktor Scratch A10, a stealth update that has slowly been circulating through the supply chain with no fanfare. So, what’s different? First, read the changelog from NI, then let’s go through the changes and how significant they are.

Official changelog

  • Now works without an external power supply (USB bus powered)

  • Overall output (and input) volume has been increased to CDJ standard (+12dBu)

  • Direct Thru Mode is now working without a volume decrease

  • Microphone amplifier has been replaced by updated hardware

  • High Impedance mode is now available (activated via audio control panel)

  • Phono pre-amplification has been adjusted to a flatter response and attenuated highs (12kHz)

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What does this mean?

The big news is the fact the Traktor Scratch A10 can now run on USB bus power. This means you don’t need to plug in the power supply anymore… it’ll run off your computer. You’ll still need external power (still in the box) to run audio through the soundcard in Direct Thru (sic) Mode when it’s not plugged in via USB, but it’s one less thing to worry about when you set up.

A lot of work has gone into getting sound quality/volume closer to the old Audio 8. Quite a few people on various forums noticed a distinct drop in volume, particularly when using the Direct Thru Mode.

The change in phono pre-amplification is also something that most wouldn’t ever notice, but means audio running from turntables is reproduced more accurately. This may help with timecode reading, but would mostly mean vinyl played via Direct Thru Mode would sound more like they should.

If you use NI’s excellent multi-core cables, High Impedance Mode keeps the Audio 10 from sucking too much of the signal away from the turntable, thus maintaining a good audio level when played directly through the mixer channel. You’ll get an overall louder and crisper signal at the mixer’s phono inputs.

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What else is new?

Like the S4 MK2, the Traktor Scratch A10 is simply an update, rather than a new product, hence the lack of fanfare. NI have also taking the opportunity to make a few other tiny design tweaks.

First off, branding has been brought up to date, to reflect the new Traktor logo along with naming conventions. Whilst the old box was called the ‘Traktor Audio 10’, the new one folds into the Scratch brand with ‘Traktor Scratch A10’.

The nice people over at Native Instruments have also  confirmed that the MK2 is friendly with iOS7, meaning you can use it hooked up to your iPad with software like Traktor DJ, should you wish.

There’s also a very slightly different cable hook. Like I said… ‘tiny design tweaks’.

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A to B (and C) comparison

We decided to run a completely unscientific A/B(/C) test to see how much the changes affect audio quality and volume difference. Using my old Audio 8 as a baseline with everything running through Xone:62, I tweaked the gains with each of the three audio interfaces running on a separate channel, to get the output equal on each. Just for reference, I tested with Daft Punk’s Get Lucky.

Volume output

Old MK1 A10: The audio interface is quieter than both the MK2 and Audio 8. Not massively, but you needed to run it a little hotter.

New MK2 A10: Output was the same as the Audio 8.

Direct Thru Mode

Old MK1 A10: Audio passing through the audio interface from the Audio 8 is quieter than the newer one

New MK2 A10: Audio passing through is slightly quieter than the interface audio output by ever so slightly less. There’s less than 30 minutes of angle (ie 11 o’clock vs 11:30 on the dial).

Native Instruments Traktor scratch audio 10 audio interface review (1)

Conclusions

The first question you are all probably thinking is “which do I have?”. If you turn your interface over, the label on the new box will clearly say that it’s a MK2 model. The next question might be “what if I have an old one?”, to which I would say “If you need any of these features, upgrade”. Otherwise, be happy you have a great piece of kit already!

As we’ve shown, there are noticeable improvements in the output and pass-through audio in the new unit, but it’s very minor. The complaints about a significant loss in volume when using Direct Thru Mode have been addressed, but not fully. The hardware still sounds great, is still built like a tank, works with iOS7, but now only needs a USB connection to turn on. Sweet.

Gallery

  • Masta Blasta

    so in the end conclusion is if you own Audio 8 DJ , there`s no really need for upgrade ?

    • Rock Well

      I can’t speak on the new MK2 A10, but when I went from the A8 to old A10 the one big improvement I did notice was much better latency/efficiency per sample rate. So at the same size sample rate buffer, the latency was almost halved. I know we’re talking very small amounts here, but for scratching on DVS every little bit helps.

      • zweistein

        how is this possible??

        this is how to calculate the latency buffersize/samplerate*1000=latency [ms]

        example 32/44100*1000=0,725623583
        did you change the samplerate ???

        • Professorbx

          Latency settings don’t include processing latency. The audio10 has a better audio chipset with less processing latency.

  • Rockson

    still no dual USB for switch over

    • LoopCat

      This!

  • Daniel Lazarus

    Being bus powered is a nice change, the A10 has been out for quite a while when someone told me it needed AC power to work.
    I find some booths are difficult enough to find a single power point for the laptop.

  • tsutek

    Yeah! Bring on DVS support for Traktor iOS then already – my wallet is waiting :)
    Does anyone know if sysex transmission is supported by the MIDI I/O with iOS on this one? That would be icing on the cake! And needless to say, you need the power supply when connected to an iPad (ie. iPad does not provide enough juice to power this one)?

  • Dedhizar

    Does this Possibly Mean That the A6 is also bus powered?

    • Tom Hammer

      The A6 is certainly bus powered.

  • Tom Hammer

    Anyone seen anywhere that you can pick one of these up in the UK yet? I’m itching for one for my NYD party.

    • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

      They’ve been in the supply chain for a while. But you have to buy the full Traktor Scratch A10 package to get it. If in doubt, ask the retailer to check the back of the interface.

      • Tom Hammer

        I picked up an A10 about a month ago and it was an old one. Is there anything different about the box? Some of the retailers get a little funny about opening up.

  • Traktor Tips

    My Audio 8 is still going strong! Let’s hope it stays that way! Thanks for sharing this!

  • Manchini

    Guys, how keep you main gain level in traktor app, external mode. im still fooling around, as at 0db you can see red picking in software, but at the same time on a mixer its ok. when you lower e.g. -3db in app, then its sounds not so juicy, but then you see no picking…

    • Luiz Zen

      Same issue here, I think.

  • https://www.facebook.com/sasha.monroe.549 Sasha Monroe

    Is it mean that my Audio 6 is not so good as Traktor Scratch A6?

    • happydan

      The A6 is unchanged. the one in the Scratch package is the same as the stand-alone one.

  • deejay.s

    I am still faced with a massive problem every weekend. The djs i play with use Serato and i use Traktor. Everytime the jock on Serato takes over from me there is a massive increase in sound level, espically on top end. Tried many tweaks to sort this but no luck. Even if i red line the club mixer it does not match the sound quality coming off serato….

    Hardware used : Audio 6 or Audio 8
    vs
    Serato SL3

    Anybody have the same issue or any solutions for me please?

    • Luiz Zen

      I may have the same issue (audio 8), comparing to DJs using CDs.
      Not sure if the problem is with the tracks though.

      • deejay.s

        Its not the tracks. I tried my tunes on serato, sounds perfect

        • Luiz Zen

          Interesting to know. Has anyone else run this test as well??

  • Sam Sneez

    Thunderbolt to Firewire? I would prefer a dedicated power supply to eliminate voltage fluxuations due to data AND power sharing same port. I would pay more for a better built unit. I’ve avoided DVS with Traktor. Ideally, I would like there to be a dedicated(separate) DVS decoder while being able to choose whichever soundcard you prefer.

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  • Richard Horvath

    Hy all! I’m going to buy a new TSP2 pack with A10. In that case, which model will be with the timecode kit? These are not ‘small’ changes, so I would rather go with this updated one. I’ve seen there is no longer possible to buy just a standalone soundcard, but is It visible on the box if the system (with CDs, Vinyls) is MK2?

  • Reza

    Does anyone know if they will release a traktor scratch audio 6 mk2? Or is the a10 and a6 now identical…

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  • Mads Lerager

    Thank god i just stayed with the Audio 8, still an amazing audio card

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