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  Native Instruments Traktor DJ Studio 2 10/10 - Date Posted 13/12/2002

I was always a fan of Traktor DJ Studio 1. It mimiced two turntables, an EQ, sampler, and mixer, to allow you to seamlessly mix MP3 together. Traktor DJ 2 improves on DJ 1 by adding several extra features. Just like DJ 1, you have a few helpers to get you mixing, notably the BPM Counter, and a BPM offset reading. The BPM offset reading is quite helpful when you are attempting to synchronise tracks. However, obviously, you still need to listen whilst mixing, to get it 100% right! The BPMs are quite accurate for most types of dance music, and if there are problems, you can tap the BPM, to help Traktor. Unlike most of its competitors, with Traktor, you see an actual waveform view of your track. You can also drag the tracks back and forth, just like vinyl DJs. But unlike vinyl DJs, you can use Traktor to carry thousands of tracks in one briefcase! Like an ordinary DJ, you can monitor the next track to cue, whilst playing the current track. To do this you need a multi-channel sound card like an SB Live, or the GigaPort 8 (available in a bundle with Traktor DJ 2 for 350 Euros). Hopefully I might be able to review the GigaPort 8! The monitoring is improved on the previous version, with far more settings.

You can of course record you mixes, either as WAVs, ready for CD burning, or Traktor files (which records all the movements of buttons). The advantage of the latter file type is it is very small. The interface has also been changed, which include a new track browser. One criticism, is that Native Instruments could have tried to make the interface simpler!

A big improvement on DJ 1, is that you can now change the tempo of a track without changing the pitch. As a result you can change the tempo on live tracks, eg. when cueing, without the audience noticing. Before the audio would almost certainly notice a chance in tempo, because it would be accompanied by a sudden change in pitch. It is possible for Traktor to automix tracks if you accurately specify the cue-points in all your tracks and the BPMs are accurate enough. This is useful, if you are making mix tapes, but probably not much use playing live.. since you're performance would not exactly be live anymore!

You also have EQs and filters, and a loop sampler. Given that Traktor has made mixing easier, you have more time to add these more creative elements to your mxies.

In my opinion Traktor DJ Studio 2 is probably the best DJ software at the moment, and is available as a free upgrade for DJ Studio 1 users, or for 200 Euros, if you do not own DJ 1. You can take a look at BPM Studio 4, if you like this, but I prefer Traktor! Also Traktor did not crash once on my Windows XP machine, very important if you are going to use Traktor for live performances.