Traktor hits the tablet — Traktor DJ

This morning you wake up to a brand new age, a time where iOS DJing just got legitimised by one of the two key players in the industry. Not with a remote app, or a library app, but with a full-on balls out small screen translation of the big screen software. Yes dear reader, Native Instruments have created Traktor DJ, and it is everything you hoped it would be. We got a very exciting sneak peek just before NAMM and can now share what we know in full. Well almost. 😉

Firstly, the official words from the NI mothership:

Native Instruments Releases TRAKTOR DJ App Exclusively for iPad

Berlin, February 21, 2013 – Native Instruments today released TRAKTOR DJ – a unique, hands-on DJ app built from the ground up for iPad aimed at DJs of all levels from novices to touring professionals. Created by the same team behind the top-selling TRAKTOR brand, TRAKTOR DJ strikes a balance between instant, fun usability and advanced, professional features. TRAKTOR DJ allows users to intuitively access their music in a whole new way while also complementing the TRAKTOR family through bi-directional content synchronization with TRAKTOR PRO software.

TRAKTOR DJ puts the waveform in the center of user interaction, featuring two decks, each with dedicated 3-band EQ and filter sections, as well as 8 proven TRAKTOR effects. Utilizing familiar iOS Multi-Touch gestures like pinch and swipe, TRAKTOR DJ brings a professional quality mixing experience to iPad – equally suited to full performance or on-the-go set preparation. Users can intuitively manipulate waveforms by touch, “grabbing” their music with two fingers to instantly set a loop, perform scratches, mark cue points for live re-editing, and scrub, browse or navigate through tracks – the key functions of the TRAKTOR PRO 2 software, re-designed for touchscreen interaction.

TRAKTOR DJ introduces the completely new Freeze Mode, which lets users slice up a waveform into playable parts for on-the-fly remixing and entirely new musical performances. The app also allows users to create beat grids in real time, intuitively mapping out a song’s groove without having to stop the music. DJs are encouraged to discover the full extent of TRAKTOR DJ’s capabilities at their own speed via the Notification Center, which tracks the user’s progress through the app’s features and unobtrusively offers tips, tricks, and techniques from within the app.

With over a decade of technological refinement through the evolution of TRAKTOR, TRAKTOR DJ’s automatic tempo detection and sync engine are now accompanied by precise downbeat analysis. This makes beat mixing completely straightforward and frees users to creatively interact with their music via the touch interface. Full iTunes music library integration of TRAKTOR DJ means DJs can easily search their library for the next track. Unique to TRAKTOR DJ, the app introduces a recommendation engine that uses advanced tempo, key, and timbre detection algorithms. TRAKTOR DJ recommends compatible tracks from your iTunes library with the same tempo and harmonic structure in real time, facilitating smooth and ear-pleasing mixes for users of all levels. Both the advanced downbeat and key detection features will also be available to TRAKTOR PRO customers with a dedicated 2.6.1 software update.

Complementing the existing range of TRAKTOR products, TRAKTOR DJ bi-directionally syncs track settings and properties with TRAKTOR PRO 2. This gives DJs an ideal workflow for planning a set while on the move. Users can also transfer all their stored work in TRAKTOR PRO directly to TRAKTOR DJ – all beat grids, cue points, loops and BPM counts seamlessly transfer between iPad and TRAKTOR PRO 2 and back via a free Dropbox account.

Additionally, because of the powerful Core Audio engine built into iOS, TRAKTOR DJ also offers ultra-low latency playback, manipulation and recording while also supporting professional class compliant hardware audio interfaces, such as the TRAKTOR AUDIO 6 and 10, something currently not possible on any other mobile platform. DJs can connect these and other devices to their iPad using the iPad Camera Connection Kit™ for optimum audio quality and pre-listen and cue functionality, or to a splitter cable with dedicated cue and master controls. All of this allows TRAKTOR DJ users to easily record their mixes live on their iPad, or pump their music out to the house in the highest quality possible.

A video of visionary DJ Richie Hawtin’s first day with TRAKTOR DJ, in which he prepares a set and performs live with the app at BPM festival in Mexico, is available on YouTube at:

The TRAKTOR DJ App is available for $ 19.99 / 17.99 € / 1700 ¥ from the App Store on iPad or at TRAKTOR DJ officially supports iPad with Retina display, iPad mini and iPad 2, running iOS 6 and above.

Additional information on TRAKTOR DJ is available at:

“Want to come to London to see something cool?” quoth Native Instruments some time before NAMM. This quite obviously a stupid question, that yielded a near immediate booking of train tickets to the Big Smoke. Asking ourselves what could possibly be so important that it required wheeling assorted members of the press (hi Mick off of DJ Mag) in front of it. The last time this happened was for Traktor Pro 1, so this must be special.

Z4? Well NI didn’t do it for the Z2 so that was discounted quickly. New S4? Possibly but not that worthy of a day out. I had my money (and still do) on a tabletop media player. All wrong. It was only on the way down that the penny dropped. The key was the guy doing the demo, and his heritage that garnered the attention of NI in the first place.

Anyone remember Attigo? This was the rather cool touch screen decks that displayed a whole waveform and was essentially the way forward for touch screen vinyl emulation. Sadly, it was a victim of the rampage of the digital age, in this case the iPad. But Attigo’s creator Scott Hobbs was duly snapped up by NI and set his brain to the task of creating cool stuff for NI. Traktor DJ is the culmination of his own experiences with Attigo as well as the collective hive mind of the NI lab rats.

Now this is nothing new. Apps like DJ Player and Touch DJ already ditch the visual turntable metaphor and instead concentrate on the waveform. But Traktor DJ does it in a way that makes still feel like Traktor. The link between the platforms is vital and cemented with the dropbox syncing that will allow Traktor DJ to not only be a full DJ app, but also be an on-the-go preparation machine — which is what most people speculated was happening when they saw Ritchie Hawtin sitting on the dock of the bay.

So what NI has delivered is all the skinny version of the full fat Traktor. It does not however feel like a compromise. My experience (that will appear soon) is that NI has spent A LOT of time and money making Traktor DJ into an app worthy of all DJs. Not only that, but they’ve added some important new features along the way too, features that improve the full fat package too.

In a nutshell, Traktor DJ is has 2 channels, FX, EQ, FX etc etc – all seriously optimised for touch screen operation. But it’s the smarter stuff that draws you in, such as the bang-on track analysis and track recommendations. It’s these things that help to make Traktor DJ totally engaging and ridiculously easy to use.

We’ve got a first review coming right up so I’m not going to chew over the detail here. All I can say here is that this does not aim to replace the full sized Traktor, but to complement it. And for those looking to use a smaller version in certain situations, Traktor DJ  has everything you need. I can say this because I used it, so do try to contain the doubtless negativity based on the fact that it’s not on a turntable. Traktor DJ really works, but this is just version 1. It’s not perfect, but certainly has a solid future planned.

I feel it’s important to not look at what it doesn’t do, but to focus on what it does do. Again, this is V1 and has to start somewhere, so just because it’s missing every single nuance and key feature of Traktor (no remix decks does not equal epic fail) right now, it does not mean it is nonetheless capable.

What Traktor DJ does do is hone in on what a touch screen is about and really think about the way an iPad should be used. I absolutely love algoriddim‘s djay because of its skeuomorphism and highly simplified approach to DJing. But that doesn’t always work for those who have never used turntables. Indeed a tiny wheel on a small screen isn’t necessarily the best way to control audio. What I take away from Traktor DJ is that it’s a genuine and highly focussed touch app rather than an approximation of a full application.

Mark this date in your calendar, because tablet DJing just got all the validation it ever needed. The question is how will our friends in Auckland respond?

  • Timecode support would be awesome.

    • In the long run I agree. I’d like for iPads to replace laptops, but let’s start at the beginning — nail the basics and build.

      • Tablets (not just iPads). You can already run the full version of Traktor Pro on some of the higher end Windows 8 tablets quite successfully.

    • At least NI’s soundcards already work with it 🙂

      • That is nice!

        Does it explain how they work somehwere? Can I use my TA6 and route each Traktor DJ deck to a separate channel on a hardware mixer? If so now we’re talking even if I have to use sync and won’t be able to do it like I always have.

        Also, will an X1 be able to be used for transport controls?

  • Very very nice 🙂 if only they add DVS sometime it will be the best 🙂

  • Do you think it’s really worth going out to buy an iPad2 or iPad3 to run this app? We have iPad1 and a ridiculously fast Android ICS tablet and neither are supported. I can’t see myself spending 100’s just to prep tracks, I’d rather buy a smaller laptop than the one I use for less money and run the real version of TP2.

    I’d like to think NI will eventually release Android apps, but seeing as they haven’t fixed serious faults in the main software two years after being made aware, I doubt it.

    • amen to that. i’ve tried as much as anyone to love the iPad for djing, but in the end, a keyboard is truly your friend. what a state to be in for these app devs, because they all rushed to make “ipad everything” and now people are realizing that small computers are the future, not silly tablets. Give me a controller that I can plug a, oh lets’ say cubebox pro or other small fanless desktop into. put a touch screen on it, and let me use the computer “as a computer” all this gratuitous ipad”ing” is just silly, made even sillier by the fact that you can do the same stuff with an ipod; which is even more mobile and cheaper.

    • The_KLH

      Don’t count on Android-based OS support for a while. Android doesn’t support low latency audio on devices right now. (

  • Cool, but annoying that it won’t run on my 1st gen iPad (like many other recent apps). Grrr!

    • You have to remember that audio processing is very intensive, especially when throwing effects into the chain. I’m not surprised that it isn’t supported on the first iPad.

      • Gábor

        I know another app happily running all of it’s audio processing with two decks, time stretching and 3 + 3 effects simultaneously enabled on the first iPad.

  • Very impressed.
    I’d like the next update to support external mixing (1 deck on each channel rather than master / cue), so I can run it in to two channels of a hardware mixer for back-up duties please!

    • Does it say somewhere in the article that you can’t already do this if you have one of NI’s external soundcards?

      • Ryan Gardner

        This is already possible and will be part of my setup in a few weeks time

  • This is really, really cool. I’m curious to see how those track suggestion / key detection (FINALLY) features work in 2.6.1.

  • Maybe I missed it but does it say anything about timecode support? If I buy an adapter and plug in my Traktor Audio 6 can I control the audio with a timecode disc (or even advanced HID on the CDJ2000’s)?

    • You can use the the soundcard but timecode isn’t supported.

      • Hopefully that is next. I held out on switching from CDs to a notebook/Traktor in 2011 because I thought tablet deejaying would be closer to reality. Two years later it still isn’t quite here (although you can do it, with this or with Traktor Pro on a Windows tablet, already). But getting real close!

  • Pleasantly surprised to see both Dj and prep in one app, your previous comments of NI head hunting Scott Hobbs from way back when has finally reared the goods! Looking forward to when Traktor dj can handle external hardware or even DVS….

    “The question is how will our friends in Auckland respond?”

    Slowly but surely, as mentioned this is pretty huge, I can smell the touchscreen hate in the air but if laptops are gonna ever be kicked out of the dj booth they’ll probably get replaced by there more convenient sibling the tablet computer. For me this is just another important stepping stone for when a dj can rock up to the booth with a smart phone, slap it in to the decks and there good to go with iTraktor/iSSL

  • Toastmonster

    When will the hardware come. that’s the question

  • Alex

    Can someone please test, if the Audio6DJ / Audio10DJ will work now on other apps too, with the new firmware and the CameraConnectionKit? That would be great!

    • Alex
    • I have a Audio 8 and it works like charm with the camera connection kit! It would be great if you could use timecodes, since the Audio 8 is recognized by iOS

      • BING! Now that’s good news as that’s exactly what I have. I guess I should try out the Audio 4 as well. Strategic sales based omission there from NI.

        • Gábor

          Can you please try it with DJ Player and timecode vinyl?

          (there is a bug in the current version, so only Serato will work, but the next beta i send today will be correct)

        • Mark, I think that all Audio series are compatible. Still, I’m curios to see what happens with a Kontrol S4, if it detects the internal audio card (too brave?) XD

        • Gábor

          By the way i was reading 1.5 year ago that NI has switched to XMOS in many products, including the Audio series.

          I was always wondering why they wrote non-class compliant firmware for them (the default XMOS firmware is compliant), but i’m happy now to see the turnaround.

        • Hey Mark, I apologize but I think that you should wait before buying traktor dj if you own the Audio 8. I have both Audio 8 and Audio 10, and by mistake I wrote that it’s working with the audio 8. But I just realized that the plugged one is the Audio 10. And one more info: Audio 10 need external power to work. Without external power it doesn’t! 🙁

  • Gábor

    Shameless self-advertisement, but:

    Native Instruments has just created a very nice DVS sound card for DJ Player, with the firmware update of the Audio 6/10.

    So if you want timecode control + Audio 6 + iPad, then use DJ Player.

  • DJ preparation on the go is most welcomed! Too bad I don’t have an Ipad…

  • Indeed…how will Auckland respond. Very curious to see what’s in store.

  • Carlos Guerra

    I wonder how long will it take Numark to release or prepare their iDJ or Mixdeck for Traktor DJ

    • Gábor

      Numark doesn’t need to do anything. Native Instruments should develop this functionality.

  • Raphael Martinez

    Would like to be able to pitch bend (unless I’m just missing how this is done) Runs great on an iPad mini btw

    • I think it’s great on an iPad Mini. The 2 handed operation makes it a much better hand held option.

  • The_KLH

    This is a very v1 product. I’m surprised that NI is charging for it. Am I the only one who thinks that this is a solution that’s looking for a problem? The iPad platform is too closed to allow it to be a laptop replacement. There’s not enough storage, not enough USB ports, and not enough outputs. I suppose that each of these could be addressed if there were support for a USB hub… but the iPad doesn’t support that yet.

    • Gábor

      The iPad works well with any USB hub. It doesn’t support external disks, but for many DJs even 32 GB is enough.

      • The_KLH

        iPad could work well as long as it’s possible to connect a controller and a multi-output sound interface. Obviously I’m referring to this setup as a backup for the “traditional” setup, but a setup is a setup.

        • Gábor

          It works already with DJ Player… Check a few examples here:

          On the end of the page you can find a growing list of many controllers working successfully, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    • I don’t see it as a solution, but as an option that suits an increasing number of DJs. And let’s not forget the new 128Gb iPad.

      • The_KLH

        Touche. 128GB is enough space. DJ approved.

      • if one could hook a Z2 up to the app, storage wouldn’t be an issue cause I could just plug up an external drive for storage

  • Silly question maybe but does the app support AirPlay?

  • Bulge

    Jeebus. Slick… UI is not a skeumorphic mess that doesn’t make sense to me (ala. DJAY). I am a Serato fanboy, but they have to put the peddle to the metal to catch up here. Even if just a complimentary app for Serato DJ … but they are still frantically patching in legacy support for ITCH controllers. :/

  • Tuur

    Thats all very nice, but the only really important question is: what is the name of that track in the video? 😉

    • Tuur

      Ah. Hobo – Incise. Nice.

  • Greg4422

    Nice video.. but no way in hell I’d buy anything made by Apple

    • Any particular reason why?

      • Too much money. Why does a 64GB ipad cost £160 more than a 16GB one? £160 for 48GB of extra storage? Utter rubbish. Price the machine sensibly and add a microSD slot, like almost every other tablet on the market, and I might consider it.

        • Have a look at the price for 48GB of RAM on Google….

          • We’re not talking about RAM though, we’re talking about storage, ie flash memory, which is significantly cheaper! My PC has a 64GB SSD which cost around £60, a USB 3 (ie pretty fast) 64GB USB stick costs around £25, or a Class 10 SD card costs around £35 for a reasonable quality one. No doubt Apple use good quality flash memory in their products, but there’s no way on earth they can justify that price. Unfortunately it’s the reason why you’ll never see an Apple product with a memory slot, as the company would have to find new and interesting ways to extort money out of their customers. Anyway, I feel I’m going off-topic here, kudos to Traktor for getting it to work on an ipad though, I’m sure there’s many more exciting times ahead for us DJ hardware geeks! 🙂

      • Greg4422

        Apple is a patent troll, has proprietary hardware and software, and is a relatively locked ecosystem that doesn’t play well with other systems. Others have mentioned the “inflated” prices.

  • James Wilson

    Wasn’t I one of the ppl who assumed this joint like last month? PS
    I think I mentioned some sort of connectivity.

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  • Ryan Supak

    Can you “unsync” the songs? It looks like there is a single control for tempo and it changes both songs. Is there a way to override this and just control one pitch or the other? rs

    • Ryan Gardner

      I checked on the NI forum and yes its possible to not adjust the tempo and not sync it

  • hacmac

    does anyone know how to export recordings? couldnt find it till now…thanks!

  • cutselecta

    why dont ipads have mini sd card slots or even sd card slots? and why no usb connectors? or did they hide it from they eye? seriously hate apple and their safari os is freaking annoying as hell..alternative crap i stick with normal laptops and normal pcs

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  • Kurt Redington

    so this is a dumb question…can you still hook up a set to the ipad (mixer, turn table, midi etc) or how does that work?

    • Gábor

      Yes, you can.