As the year draws to a close, Native Instruments is asking for feedback from it’s customers. I think it’s been a pretty successful year for them in regards to product launches. Native Instruments DJ product line has certainly made an impression this year and I can only imagine what innovations may come in 2013. They have certainly set the bar high and I hope they have it in them to continue bringing amazing products to the table. Native Instruments seems to me to be taking a leaf out of Apple’s books in regards to their product integrations and eco-system. You are able to own almost every product line without too much overlap. Getting this right is very tricky, but it seems as if NI have nailed it with their product lines released in 2012.
First the Kontrol F1
In March 2012, Native Instruments released the Kontrol F1 in conjunction with Traktor Pro 2.5 software which saw the emergence of the Remix Decks. It has been a game changer in regards to DJ styles and has moved traktor more towards being a package that bridges the gap between traditional DJ’ing, music production and live performance. It is however more advanced and a little more involved than just mixing some records together and for this reason I think it will take some time before the Remix Decks properly take off and gain in popularity. Despite this though, beginners to the Traktor Pro software can still use it in it’s simplest forms and create excellent DJ mixes.
Then came Maschine Mk 2
October saw the release of another version of the Groove production hardware and software combo: Maschine. Maschine gained some colourful buttons in the Mk 2 version, something that seems to integrate perfectly with the Kontrol F1 design. When using the two platforms together it creates a perfect marriage of music production and DJ’ing. Using Maschine for your productions enables the user to then seamlessly move those productions into Traktor for live performances.
The Hatrick is Complete with the Kontrol Z2 Mixer
The next anticipated device was the Kontrol Z2 – this is a DJ mixer that houses an audio interface and integrates with the Remix Deck. It seems to be the choice of Scratch DJ’s wanting to integrate loops and clips into their DJ sets. This mixer has been made popular by DJ Shiftee who can be seen rocking out in the video clip below. The Z2 has some very similar competition from Pioneer with the DJM-T1, which seems to have a design layout that could be mistaken for the Z2. As it is so early with these launches it is hard to see how well received these mixers are going to be.
Catering to Beginners
It isn’t hard to fall in love with these Traktor products, especially when seeing people like Shiftee here getting all technical with the gear. I can’t help but feel though, that Native Instruments gear has now become quite involved and a little tricky to get things set up. On first impressions I think the humble beginner may get somewhat overwhelmed with all the options and become confused with where to start?
My advice to the DJ wishing to get involved with Traktor, whether you’re transferring from the traditional DJ setup, or as a first time DJ with no experience; would be to download a demo of the program, have a play with it and see what it does before buying a bunch of hardware. I have a lot of useful tutorials online to help you along your way.
Now it’s your turn….
What products did you like most like this year and if any which ones did you buy? How are you getting along with these products and what has been the biggest issue for you?
If you also want to give feedback to NI – you can do so here (its a very quick questionnaire)