https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQE8gTkriG8

Having play’s NI’s game of prattling on at length about their new hardware based on little more than supplied bullet points and some over the shoulder pics from WMC, we managed to nail just about every aspect of their new Traktor Kontrol D2 controller. But they still feel the need to clarify it for everyone else, so today they have released all the official info.

The press release resplendent with prices and whatnot:

Native Instruments announces TRAKTOR KONTROL D2 advanced DJ performance deck

Portable new TRAKTOR performance deck uses innovative touch-and-see technology to enhance creative possibilities for professional DJs on the road

Berlin, April 7 2015 – Native Instruments today officially announced TRAKTOR KONTROL D2 – the next-generation pro deck controller for TRAKTOR PRO 2. Designed for creative DJ performance that takes the DJ’s focus away from the laptop, TRAKTOR KONTROL D2 offers groundbreaking touch-and-see workflow in a compact format optimized for easy set-up with club equipment. TRAKTOR KONTROL D2 will join TRAKTOR KONTROL S8 as one of the first DJ hardware controllers to support Stems* – an upcoming, open audio format that allows multi-channel mixing with individual musical parts. Robust, lightweight, and compact, the D2 is the ideal performance deck for the touring DJ.

TRAKTOR KONTROL D2 creates a multisensory DJ experience thanks to its touch-and-see technology. Tracks appear on a full-color display as vector waveforms while several key views and pop-up panels are revealed when a corresponding control is touched. The Browse Knob for example, triggers the Browse View for track selection directly from the controller. Performance Panels appear over track waveforms to view and modify BPM, key, filter, or effect values when activated by touch-sensitve knobs. And an LED-guided touch strip provides motion-sensitive pitch bending, track seeking, vinyl scratch emulation, and keeps track of phase in dark environments.

TRAKTOR KONTROL D2 naturally delivers enhanced TRAKTOR deck functions that empower pro DJs to develop their own trademark sound. Samples and loops are easily accessible for mixing with the four dedicated Deck faders when using a Remix Deck. Eight color-coded pads can trigger sounds, juggle cue points while in Hotcue Mode, or rearrange a playing track on the fly in Freeze Mode. Similar to Remix Deck usage, the D2’s touch- sensitive performance knobs and faders will instantly correspond to a loaded Stem file’s different ‘stem’ parts.

Designed to minimize bulk and setup time, TRAKTOR KONTROL D2 is highly transportable for DJs on the go. The lightweight, yet robust build features four foldable rubber-padded feet that extend to raise the unit to industry- standard height, or incline it for contoured comfort. Though one D2 alone can navigate through two TRAKTOR decks, two USB ports found on the rear panel allow a second D2 to be daisy-chained to one computer USB port for a two-unit setup. Connections are further simplified with an included power supply splitter cable that allows two units to be powered using one power supply unit.

Fueling the technology behind TRAKTOR KONTROL D2 is the included TRAKTOR PRO 2 software. An innovation in and of itself, TRAKTOR PRO is the award winning DJ software used by countless professionals. Four software decks, over 30 studio-grade effects, and powerful advanced features for creative looping and cueing have provided DJs all over the world with inspiring and customizable DJ possibilities.

TRAKTOR KONTROL D2 will be available online and at retailers worldwide on May 4, 2015.

The D2 will be fully compatible with Stems on public release of the format in summer 2015.

Pricing and availability

TRAKTOR KONTROL D2 will be available for $499 / 499 € at the NI Online Shop and at local retailers on May 4, 2015. Preorder is also available.

UPDATE: And for we UK bods, it’s £369. So one third of an S8 doesn’t equate to one third of the price, but having a brick and USB cables in the pack as well as a full copy of Traktor does make up the difference.

There’s also a new Stems release that I’ve included for completeness:

Stems – introducing a new, open multi-track audio format

New audio file format provides DJs, producers, and live performers the ability to mix with a track’s different musical elements individually

Berlin, April 7, 2015 – Stems – a new, multi-channel audio format was recently unveiled at WMC (Winter Music Conference) in Miami. A Stem file allows DJs and live performers to interact with different musical elements of a track independently by accessing four different ‘stem’ parts such as the bass, drums, melody, or vocals. This type of mixing introduces new performance possibilities and enriches the listening experience for music lovers. As a premium file format, Stems can also create new revenue streams for music labels and online retailers to grow their business. Developed by Native Instruments, Stems is an open file format designed to benefit the entire music industry.

Stems was recently introduced at a WMC discussion panel moderated by KCRW Los Angeles Music Director Jason Bentley. Online music retailers Juno and Traxsource joined five-time DMC World Champion DJ Craze and DJ- producer virtuoso Luciano in an engaging discussion – sharing their early impressions about the forthcoming technology. The format was highly regarded as inspiring, easy-to-use technology for DJs and live performers to interact differently with a track’s musical elements. Stem parts can be modified independently to create spontaneous instrumentals while effects can be applied to specific parts of the track. Transitions between tracks can be mixed part-by-part rather than using global volume and EQ control for the entire track.

As an open format, anyone will be able to create, perform with, and distribute Stems in any way possible. Producers, DJs, and labels will be able to author their own Stem files using a free standalone application called the Stem Creator Tool. Developers will have full access to format specifications and code examples for them to integrate Stem support into future music performance and production tools.

Stem files use the mp4 container format to store the four individual stems of a track plus the original master version of the track within a single file. This single file can be managed as easily as an mp3 file, which can even be played as a normal stereo audio track with any mp4-compatible audio player such as iTunes. To play with Stems’ individual parts, Stem-supported software and hardware will be required. Native Instruments’ TRAKTOR software will be the first to offer Stem support this summer – opening the gates for further integration.

As an open format, anyone will be able to create, perform with, and distribute Stems in any way possible. Producers, DJs, and labels will be able to author their own Stem files using a free standalone application called the Stem Creator Tool. Developers will have full access to format specifications and code examples for them to integrate Stem support into future music performance and production tools.

NI Traktor Kontrol D2 DJ controller (4)

KONTROL D2 — ANYTHING NEW?

Looking at the PR, there doesn’t appear to be anything of note that we missed first time round. We pretty much nailed everything except the price, which has been clarified here.

What this does tell me is how NI’s new Stems format probably drove the design of the S8 and the D2, and was almost certainly the inspiration for the #futureofdjing hashtag. I could get annoyed if this was another attempt for a manufacturer to serve up their own proprietary vision, but the fact that Stems is open makes me think that NI is opening up more than ever before.

With Pioneer DJ players rumoured to be getting the Traktor treatment, it would appear that NI wants to be friends with people again. We’ll just have to see how that pans out for others in the industry. Given that VirtualDJ seems to be making itself plug and play with everything (previously Traktor’s calling card), perhaps NI is going to try to capture the hearts and wallets of DJs all over again. We’re still in the dark about what is coming with Traktor Pro 3 (we think it’ll drop the version number and just be Traktor Pro), so we can only hope that the momentum being regained by Traktor hardware and Stems releases is leading up to something pretty special.

I note that the D2 is being released on May 4th, the unofficial Star Wars Day. Does this mean that we can expect an R2 unit too?

GALLERY

OVER TO YOU

Given that the Kontrol D2 is almost half the price of an S8, would you be inclined to get a pair to wrap around your mixer or would you just go the whole hog and get an S8 anyway? Or would you consider just getting one to have something that focusses your attention on your gear instead of your laptop?


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