I saw that Native Instruments is now selling Traktor 3 the DJ sofware for $119 ($99 over at Guitar Center) so I wanted to check it out.
I have this strange relationship with Traktor. Every time before I tried the demo version, it crashed at some point, so it was not auspicious. If there’s something a DJ software has as a requirement, it is rock solid performance, not fun rebooting computers during a big.
Anyway, this time it worked just fine. This was just a 15 minute check. My litmus test was to open up various 80ies and earlier dance tracks and see if it was easy to mix and match those.
Traktor 3 finds suitable locations for the beats along the way, so it’s seldom a need to do pre-warping. Or, the automatic warping works really well. That’s a plus. However, the starting point for the beats were always very much something that I didn’t like or want. It means that there’s always a need for cue:ing, and I’m so used to pre-warped tracks in Ableton Live that I know where they start from, so I don’t even need to cue that much today. So that is a nuisance.
The warping algorithms in Traktor sounded really good, even with moderate pitch changes. With extreme pitch changes with same tempo there were indeed artifacts, I think even more than in Ableton Live’s complex mode. But I must say that the default warp quality values were somewhat more pleasing in Traktor.
As for the user interface, well it took a while to find out how to change the global tempo. The UI is still cluttered, even if it has been cleaned up since the early days. There are too many semi-modal boxes to jump back and forth with.
The integration with iTunes was a good point, Ableton should introduce that in their next version, too.
All together, I’m still happy with Ableton Live. They should just introduce a better quality complex mode warp algorithm.