Traktor Pro 2.5 Lands Early – Our First Thoughts

So the time has finally arrived: Traktor 2.5 is downloadable. We’ve spent a few days mucking around, and wanted to pass along some of our thoughts and concerns. Obviously Remix decks are there, in all of their remixy glory, but we’ll be saving that for the full review of 2.5 and the F1 to come later. There are a number of improvements, a few changes, and a number of fixes that were not yet implemented; rest assured that we’ll be pushing Traktor Pro 2.5 to breaking point in the name of research over the next few days, but for now we’d like to share our first thoughts and a brand new video from the guys at NI…

Oh, as a quick note, when upgrading please be sure to back up your current collection and TSI files, just to be prepared (see, we care about you guys!).

What We’re Excited About

Jared: As a hardcore, mildly insane, MIDI mapper, the improvements made to the Controller Manager make me super happy.  Outputs can finally be “learned”.  Like, finally.  My heart sang at that moment that I didn’t need to fight with the message selection window.  Also, when you select the Output menu in the Controller Manager, the selected Input will be right at the top.  When you click it an output message is dropped in with the same output MIDI signal.  It’s about damn time.  The FX section has been shrunk to not require Chained or Advanced modes, instead just being one set of messages.  Also, finally.  And they have dug in and seriously reorganized the Controller Manager’s setup.  Things aren’t where they were, but once you learn their organizational method it makes a lot more sense.

The improvements to the beatgridding and analysis can only be good things.  While Traktor, in my experience, already had one of the best analysis engines available, any improvements make it a better tool.  Being able to replace the existing Auto Gain levels is also pretty cool, as I can leave my grids as they are, but take full advantage of a better gain structure.

I noticed a bunch of changes in the preferences revolving around Remix decks that do make me excited about implementing the new workflow into a standard sample deck style, which was my major concern for any user who doesn’t have an F1.

Chris: Perhaps the most pleasant surprise for me, because I don’t recall reading about it and certainly didn’t expect it, is that loading full songs into remix deck slots is finally possible. This will come in very handy for mixing stems, and – considering remix decks are scratchable – may even allow remix decks to pretty much make track decks obsolete for me; rather than loading a track and then loading samples, you can now save your favourite samples with your tracks as a remix deck set. This workflow will allow a hybridisation of party rocking and technical routine that I’ve been trying to achieve with hacks and workarounds for years, so it’s definitely got me a little hot under the collar.

It’s nice to see CPU usage go down with a new update, too – I can go back to running in high sample rate again, after 2.1 forced me to drop back to 44.1KHz.

What We’re Concerned About

Jared: Well, first, as far as I’m see it, the Controller Manager is still the Controller Manager, in all of its glory.  The improvements they’ve made are great, but they don’t go far enough to make me truly happy, more just accepting that I won’t be as miserable.

After digging through the Remix Deck controller manager section, just poking around the Controller Manager, I’m worried that established methods of DJing with Sample Decks are going to be turned upside down for a lot of users.  It’ll be an adjustment that can be made, but without an F1 it might be a little more confusing to set up a good, effective workflow.

Chris: Time will tell how well legacy mappings will fare with 2.5, and I’m a little bit worried that, in the short term at least, there may be a fork of users that stick to what they know rather than update complicated mappings. I could just be scaremongering, of course, and fingers crossed the transition will be pretty smooth for the majority of mappings.

Also, not to drag it up all over again, bitching and moaning isn’t going to get us anywhere, but I want to see fully mappable remix decks as soon as humanly possible. That’s when the fun’ll really begin.

Wrap Up

Jared: Remix Decks, improved Time Code support, better beatgrid and song analysis, better browser management… all great things.  There are still a metric ton of features Traktor needs improvement on, but for an upgrade offering this much there’s a lot to look at and be excited about.  We’re hoping to have a review of the Remix Decks, the F1 and the 2.5 upgrade as a whole together sooner than later for all of us to peruse and discuss.  Until then, what are your thoughts?

Chris: Time will tell how much I love 2.5, and I’m just as eager to see how other developers take to the implementations as I am to get to grips with it myself. What Traktor is potentially doing here is revolutionising the DJ software market, and I don’t say that lightly; a lot of developments have led to it (Ableton Live’s workflow contribution is pretty obvious), but there’s finally a true paradigm shift emerging away from the classic ‘wheels of steel’ mode of DJing, and the onus is on developers everywhere to help facilitate a new era of DJ performance.


  • DJ_ForcedHand

    Honestly, the quote “What Traktor is potentially doing here is revolutionising the DJ software market” isn’t really true… what Native Instruments did here was add full-color LED buttons to a project Serato and Ableton did a few years ago called “the Bridge” which is more capable than Traktor mainly because it’s using the full power of two different programs in one interface. I saw no mention or nod to this effort and really, this effort is knock-off of that effort (still). Can we give credit where credit is due, or must we celebrate only what “the popular kids” are doing?

    • GroovinDJ

      I don’t see anything wrong with that statement.

      After all, this is the first time something like this has been available “all in one”.

      The Bridge was a good concept but flawed because it required two programs to be running at the same time – never a good idea for “mission critical” stuff like live performance. Then there was the problem of it being so restrictive in terms of what hardware and software was needed to make it work. To this day there’s still no version of The Bridge for Itch. Not to mention that it wasn’t possible to scatch clips….

    • Chris Cartledge

      Hey Forcedhand, as GroovinDJ pointed out it’s the all-in-one nature of things that’s the really important point. This move has the potential to change the DJ software landscape by making a system where your decks aren’t just things that play songs all the way through anymore, they’re remix decks, they’re drum pad decks, they’re sequencer decks… the reason I think this particular move is an important one is that other developers are going to want – and perhaps even need – to keep up with this paradigm shift, and hopefully keep pushing the envelope.

      • Jared Helfer

        I think that’s the key. It’s not just that this is a new idea, it’s that the potential of it can be really epic. If I could, in Traktor, load a little drum machine, a little sampler, a track deck and a thru for a microphone/synth, all communicating directly, all able to be recorded and re-edited, etc. etc..

        This might not blow the walls down, BUT it’s the potential that I know Chris and I are interested in, on top of the delivery.

    • Loudist

      Honestly, the quote, “What Traktor is potentially doing here is revolutionising the DJ software market”, is *perfectly* valid… It certainly has the, “potential”, to utterly eclipse what The Bridge has done because The Bridge has done as near to nothing as makes no odds – and I speak not as a Traktor fanboy, but as someone who absolutely worships Ableton. The Bridge’s implementation has been laughably woeful and the fact that it was announced over two years ago, but currently has a user base of three men and a dog, tells its own story…

      The above article is supposed to be a brief overview, not a proper, thorough and detailed review. I’m sure credit will be given (where it’s due) in the full review, when it materialises.

      If approbation had to be given, in every review, to every product that had come before it that was similar in some way or other, car magazines would look like encyclopedias…

    • The Bridge is a big waste of time that still doesn’t work good enough.

  • so thats how it would look like djing in the matrix 🙂

  • From my point of view, I completely agree with the sentence ““What Traktor is potentially doing here is revolutionising the DJ software market”. There’s no comparison with Serato+Ableton+Bridge.

    It’s a revolutionary approach first.

    Serato+Ableton+Bridge: you have two programs runnings, which is very critical, more resources needed (cpu, memory and so on), more latency, and to make it work properly is a headache.

    Traktor 2.5: Everything you need is embedded in one program, NATIVE LANGUAGE, scratch features for remix decks as well and individual fx units. And I have to say that I feel very happy with my S4 and remix decks, not so painful as expected, awaiting for the F1.