Traktor and Serato have been the leaders in the world of DVS (Digital Vinyl Systems) with other manufacturers creating devices that are designed to work with either Traktor or Serato products. More recently however, other big brands, such as Pioneer are now venturing deeper into their own versions of digital DJ software.
As the DJ Industry gains momentum it seems as though other DJ companies are starting to pull away from supporting these leaders and breaking into their own product lines. This is great for diversity, but what does it mean for Traktor?
Do DJ’s have too much Choice?
As my regular readers know, I started on belt driven turntables, followed by Technics, CDJ’s, then Traktor. It was a logical progression. The use of Computers in DJ’ing seemed the right step in the process of evolution, but what’s the next step? As technology progresses and also becomes cheaper, other manufacturers and software developers are stepping into the arena.
Traktor, quite rightly, launched the Traktor DJ App, and whilst this is a far cry from the days of turntables, it has been a highly adopted format for many DJ’s. As hardware develops, we are seeing smaller, lighter, more mobile setups. Screens are moving from the laptops to mobile devices and even to the hardware itself.
The product range for DJ equipment is immense. There are too many items to spit out in one breath, unlike back in the day, when you could quite easily, say, “Records, turntables, needles and mixer.”
With so much gear around, how do we know what we should pick? What tools should we learn in order to become a DJ? This depends on what kind of DJ you want to be.
How to choose your Equipment
If you wanna be a bedroom DJ and stick to playing small house parties, then I feel you can choose whatever you like. But as for progressing up the chain, you might want to focus on what is currently industry standard, at least until you get a foothold in the industry. Once you’ve made a name for yourself, then you can use whatever equipment you like, in-fact you can demand that the club have this set up in your Contract Rider (if you’re special).
Pioneer might be a threat to Traktor
Pioneer seems to be moving away from Traktor. Their wise decision to support Traktor in the beginning, allowed them to maintain a following and also cleverly enabled them to use Traktors amazing marketing machine, driving customer awareness. As they progress though, they have developed their own software in Record Box and Remote Box.
Their 2013 release of the XDJ-R1 offers up some serious competition to Traktor and the Kontrol S4, let me explain why.
Currently you won’t find a decent club in the world without a pair of CDJ’s. The current circuit of Pro DJ’s use CDJ’s. They are certainly industry standard. Pioneer has been industry standard since the beginning and they’re not gonna give that position up to anyone. If you don’t know how to use CDJ’s you might be seriously limiting your chances of DJ’ing in a professional club. This is where the XDJ-R1 comes in.
It has CDJ similarities, you can use it with CD’s, you can play from a USB, you can play wirelessly from a phone or tablet. If you have issues beat-matching, you can use a sync function (with recordbox analysed music). You can also control midi software, and whilst Pioneer doesn’t supply a Traktor Mapping, a quick google search will dig one up for you. You are also able to plug through some Turntables or other external input such as CDJ’s. Not only all of this, but it has XLR outs, a second Master Out, a Booth Out, synchronized effects, sampler, 3 hotcues, a built in soundcard. Not to forget the nice touch of multi headphones (1/8″ & 1/4″) and all for US$899/£849/CDN$949.
Whilst the Traktor Kontrol S4 at $100 cheaper does sport more channels and more sync functions, and, I would suggest, a smoother control interface between software and hardware, the XDJ-R1 is giving the Kontrol S4 a run for it’s money.
I would say that for those controller DJ’s that want to keep a foot in the realm of CDJ’s and their skills on par with many of the worlds best, then opting for the Pioneer CDJ might be an excellent choice.
Whilst I haven’t physically handled the XDJ-R1, or tested it with Traktor (I would be happy to review one if someone wants to send me one), I feel that it bridges the gap nicely between traditional DJ’ing and controllerism technology. Native Instruments are gonna have to step up their game in 2014 if they plan on selling their product line of S4’s.
The Pioneer XDJ-R1 was launched in the summer of 2013 and I am sure Pioneer are already working on a successor. As many of us felt let down by the Kontrol S4 mark 2 release, accompanied by the many issues people are facing with compatibility of various computer systems (such as the Mavericks debacle), I can certainly see more comfort being found in the migration away from computers in the DJ world.
It seems that pioneer are yet again ahead of the curve in some ways and by offering the best of both worlds, you have a choice to move straight onto your back up choice of CD’s or USB stick if the Traktor software fails. And with each deck having separate control options, you can set one deck to midi controlling traktor, whilst the other deck can be set to USB, Phono, or CD
If my Traktor Kontrol S4 Mark 1 stops working, my replacement will be the Pioneer XDJ-R1, or, it’s yet to be made, potential successor.
Do you own an XDJ-R1? How do you use it? Or do you feel like me and are considering a move to Pioneer? Let us know in the comments below, I’d love to hear some feedback!
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