Closed ecosystems have a lot going for them. But in the DJ industry, it’s something that hasn’t aways worked out so well. Native Instruments adopted this model, but their vision of the future wasn’t to everyone’s liking. And not learning lessons from recent history, Pioneer DJ marched off down the same path with rekordbox, and released new CDJs and DJMs without a smidgeon of compatibility for other leading software packages.
But it would appear that lessons may well have been learned, and Pioneer DJ has officially announced compatibility for the DJM-900NXS2 and CDJ-2000NXS2 units. Here’s the official word:
Pioneer DJ NXS2 set-up now compatible with TRAKTOR – CDJ-2000NXS2 and DJM-900NXS2 now support TRAKTOR PRO 2 and TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 including USB-HID control
Native Instruments’ TRAKTOR PRO 2 and TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 DJ software is now compatible with the DVS feature of our flagship DJM-900NXS2 mixer, and the USB – HID control feature of our CDJ-2000NXS2 multi player. This comes under the Pioneer DJ Certification Program, an initiative to evaluate products from other companies and certify them as compatible with our DJ gear so you know you can use them together with confidence.
Simply connect the DJM-900NXS2 to your PC/Mac and you can instantly use TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2’s hands-on timecode control feature to control digital audio files on your computer using turntables (with the TRAKTOR SCRATCH control vinyl) or via the jog wheels on multi players (using timecode CDs). And set change overs are made easy, with two built in sound cards.
You can use the CDJ-2000NXS2 to intuitively control TRAKTOR PRO 2 including scratching and tempo adjustment without needing a timecode disc. The deck also displays track titles, artwork and other information from the software so you can quickly select your next track without looking at your computer.
Registered users can download the latest version of TRAKTOR (version 2.11.0) for free to use the DVS feature with the DJM-900NXS2, or to use USB-HID control with the CDJ2000NXS2. You’ll also need to update your firmware for the CDJ-2000NXS2 to Ver.1.50, and for the DJM-900NXS2 to Ver.1.20 if you haven’t already.
KEY FEATURES OF USING THE DJM-900NXS2 WITH TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2
Intuitive DVS and scratch control
Plug your PC/Mac into the DJM-900NXS2 and use the TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 control media (control vinyl or CDs) to intuitively control and scratch with digital audio files stored on your computer. If you’re using a CDJ-2000NXS2, you don’t need a timecode disc.
Seamless DJ changeovers
Taking over from the DJ before you and handing over to someone else at the end of your set is seamless thanks to the DJM-900NXS2’s dual built-in sound cards. Two top-loaded USB ports and input selector switches let you and another DJ connect your computers to the mixer at the same time, so there’s no complicated connection process.
Use the DJM-900NXS2 as an audio output device for TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2
Thanks to the DJM-900NXS2’s built-in sound cards, you can output audio signals from TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 without needing an external audio interface. The USB sound cards enable 96 kHz/24-bit high-quality sample processing and you can input/output each audio signal and maintain sound quality just by connecting the mixer to your PC/Mac. Use the settings on your computer to configure the audio routing from the mixer to your preferred mode, such as DJ performance, track recording or track creation.
KEY FEATURES OF USING THE CDJ-2000NXS2 WITH TRAKTOR PRO 2
Simply plug your PC/Mac into the CDJ-2000NXS2 and control TRAKTOR PRO 2 without the need for a control disc. Intuitively scratch and use performance features including loops, tempo adjustment, and play/cue, which are all linked to the software.
Track information on CDJ-2000NXS2’s screen
You’ll see text information, artwork images and wave form from your tracks in TRAKTOR PRO 2 displayed on the CDJ-2000NXS2’s high-resolution screen, so you can quickly find and select tracks by using the rotary selector on the deck.
Use the CDJ-2000NXS2 as an audio output device for TRAKTOR PRO 2
Thanks to the CDJ-2000NXS2’s built-in sound card, you can use it to output audio signals from TRAKTOR PRO 2 without the need for an external audio interface.
The Subtle Difference
The key word here is certification. Previously, hardware would fall under the respective programs of NI (Traktor Certified) and Serato (Serato DJ Enabled). This would involved the software companies umming and aaahing and generally making hardware companies squirm while charging a pretty penny for the pleasure of supporting their assorted mixers. The hardware companies would be extremely grateful to be able to boast that their offerings would work out of the box with your software of choice.
But Pioneer DJ has turned the tables (geddit?) now controls this program, and I’m suspect that they’re not paying a penny to NI or Serato (compatibility has been announced too) either for the pleasure. It’s mutually beneficial for everyone concerned. But I imagine that it’s an uneasy truce, especially between Serato and Pioneer DJ.
In more recent times, NI has tolerated the unofficial hack that made 3rd part mixers work with Traktor Scratch Pro, if only because it means more people will use it and stick with it, and it doesn’t cost them a penny in support either.
But times have definitely changed, and the software companies find themselves in a weaker position than before. Pioneer DJ has rekordbox, and doesn’t technically need Traktor or Serato DJ to succeed. While mercenary, Pioneer DJ could essentially cut off every other software product from their ecosystem, and make the end user to get used rekordbox.
But here’s the problem
There’s a huge world of DJs out there totally locked into their software of choice. Moving many thousands of tracks and crates to rekordbox is doable via Rekord Buddy, but it’s not ideal when someone is so invested in Traktor or Serato DJ. There’s also the fact that rekordbox is still new, and not without its teething troubles. So to force DJs to jump ship, and for that ship to not quite be proven seaworthy in the minds of DJs isn’t a great plan.
This has been reflected in the sales of new Pioneer DJ units. Industry sources tell me that venues aren’t upgrading to new NXS2 units because of this lack of compatibility. And if that’s happening in clubs, then you can be sure that it’s happening further down the chain too. End users don’t want to shift to rekordbox, and clubs don’t want to invest in spangly new gear just to have it sit idle. It’s an impasse.
So this shift in policy from Pioneer works for everyone. It’s certainly better to open the gates up again so that users can upgrade if they want, and at the same time its rekordbox in their hands for them dabble with and try out. Give it a year or so of honing and people will have considerably more confidence in rekordbox, which does lead to a potential situation where an established market share could see the gates closed again.
So if you’re a Traktor user, you can now upgrade your DJM and CDJ NXS setup to the latest Pioneer DJ shiny offerings. Let’s hope that the spirit of cooperation continues and spreads so that the DJ scene can return to a more open time.