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.
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.