Today Native Instruments announce their first iOS app for DJs - Traktor DJ for iPad - they've been taking a while over this - have they got it right? Rewind to NAMM 2013, Friday lunchtime, I am waiting outside the Hilton, when up slides an ominous looking blacked-out SUV. The door opens and I am beckoned inside to be welcomed by the friendly faces of Native Instruments app developer Scott Hobbs and PR person (also friendly). After a quick scribble on the NDA, I'm whisked off around Anaheim, where, in the back of the vehicle I'm shown the new Traktor DJ App. Quite simply, it's an excellent piece of programming. I'm beginning to feel the part as the darkened windows vibrate in sympathy to Scott's essential selection while we cruise.
I'm treated to a seamless display of beat matching, looping, effecting and mixing - all from a touch interface. The work gone into making this intuitive and easy to use, while being a powerful, usable, DJ tool is clearly evident - a lot of thought has been put into this app. Of course, I'm being shown this by the product architect himself, so would expect a slick demo, but I can tell that it's not smoke and mirrors.
At the centre of the Traktor DJ App is the waveform display, with intuitive use of markers, and loop points - tempo analysis is handled by NI's well founded algorithms - (10 years of experience here folks) all BPM, key, cue and marker information can be cloud synchronized to your existing Traktor Meta Data library via the cloud in both directions via a free Dropbox account.
Pinch and zoom are used extensively well on this waveform, FX control and library navigation. Triggering cue points is also very effective with sampler like playback of loops and segments via the on-screen marker pads. All of this is done seamlessly while still playing a tune from one of the two playback decks.
Traktor DJ does require iOS 6 and up, so you won't be able to utilize your iPad Vintage I'm afraid, but it will run fine on the iPad 2 and iPad Mini. Also worth noting that Traktor DJ will allow for cue and mix outputs in mono from a single headphone out - you just need a splitter cable, but will also address multiple audio outputs if you have connected hardware with those capabilities.
A very impressive new App from Native Instruments, who waited and got it right. Though there are still questions - can it be synced to external decks, Midi control etc, but as a standalone app its got plenty.
Available from the App store $ 19.99 / 17.99 € / 1700 ¥.