Should Native Instruments Build their own DJ Computer?

Both Digital DJ Tips and DJ Tech Tools have have aired information about an urgent, critical emergency upgrade to Traktor software.

Native Instruments update warning is entitled ‘Critical Upgrade’.

Critical Update Email from NO

Whilst it is great that Native Instruments caught this issue and immediately warned everyone, this is not good press for Native Instruments!

There appears to have been so many issues recently, mainly caused by Mavericks or iTunes integrations, it kinda causes people to lose faith in a product, especially when your livelihood depends on it.

Maybe it’s time Native Instruments built a computer!?

One way to guarantee success in the technology industry is to completely ‘own’ the entire experience.

Similarly to how Apple did it, by owning all the software, such as Final Cut and Logic and iWork etc. they own the entire process, from manufacture to the street, including software, hardware, lessons, every part of the experience. This is why they can guarantee the quality.

With Windows, different companies own different parts of the hardware and the software comes from all over the place. This is what often causes issues in compatibility.

Google now own their own computers, it works with Google Chrome and their suite of apps. So why can’t Native Instruments own the whole experience with Traktor?

The Native Instruments, Traktor Computer

traktor laptopThey are certainly on their way to this with the recent launch of the Maschine Studio. They have taken their Maschine product, and introduced screens. Whilst this still requires the connection to a computer, it is somewhat removing the focus.

The only thing harming the reputation of Traktor right now is compatibility! So, to remove the problem, would mean to remove the need to be compatible.

The answer, is to build their own computer:

  • Imagine that it comes with Traktor Pro built in, so no need to install anything.
  • I would imagine it to run a Traktor operating system.
  • Updates could be automatically sent.
  • It would include all relevant USB connectors (perhaps upgradeable to the newest USB connectors).
  • It would have the best sound card for the job.
  • It would be designed to match all NI gear.
  • Could have built in short cut keys, perhaps colour coded.
  • It would have a massive hard drive for music.
  • It could also manage Maschine software to enable easy communication between Traktor and Maschine.

Keeping your personal computer separate from your DJ computer could also limit issues with malware and keep your drive trim of excess nonsense.

I feel that creating a Traktor Specific Laptop from Native Instruments would be a wise move. They wouldnt need to stop production of their Windows / Apple systems, but for those who want rock solid reliable DJ setup, opting for a Traktor specific computer would ease the mind and reduce the concerns of compatibility.

Is this something that you can see Native Instruments creating? Would you use something like this? Is this the way of the future, or do you think computers will be gone from DJ’ing in the future? I would love to know your thoughts below in the comments.


51 thoughts on “Should Native Instruments Build their own DJ Computer?

    1. If possible – of course.
      I like Maschine better than Ableton because I’m twiddling knobs and listening more than drawing…..
      So I definately understand your point……

      I just don’t think we should, as the Dutch saying goes’ ‘throw out the child with the bathwater’. For all the crap that it does – it also makes you able to do a lot of cool stuff. So let’s find a way to get the one without the other….

  1. Traktor should only be used in the studio and never in front of an audience. I’m a user, but would never even think of taking my laptop to play in front of an audience. Watching a guy dj with a laptop is about as exciting as watching a dog take a crap. Sick of baseball hat logos and apple logos being the only thing you can see when watching a dj. Its lame, rude and makes djs look bad. Denon and Pioneer have shown the world that computers are not necessary for mixing. Truth be told, players today ARE small computers.

    1. Okay…. I’ll take the bait…..
      What’s the difference with someone with headphones on staring at the record / CD-J while he’s pushing it forward and nudging it back?
      Pray do tell?

      1. You know what I think? When you stare at a computer, the screen sucks you into a different reality, more of a visual and thought driven process. When you don’t have a screen, you are more connected to the music and the feeling! This is what creates the better bond between audience and DJ.

        Being ‘in the feeling’ opposed to being in head space makes for a better journey and experience. When DJ’s LOOK at the computer, there soul seems to disappear. Looking at the platter, is a second or two and really feels different from both a crowd perspective and a DJ’s.

  2. I think Maschine Studio is a step in the right direction, but NO, a stand-alone computer is a non-starter. I’d estimate the complexity of that project to be on the same scale as making a dedicated gaming console (ask Valve what that’s like…). Note that there have been companies who tried to hardware-ize Komplete by packaging it in a dedicated PC-based system. Where are they now?
    Most of the problems that are occurring now are from trying to treat the iPad and iPhone as serious musical instruments which they emphatically are not – and I say this as someone who owns (or has owned and sold) pretty much every major synth, DAW, and gadget for iPad-based music making (the MPC Fly seemed like such a good idea …). Give it up.

    1. Yeah, during my set lats night, the only thing I felt that was missing from the almost perfect setup is the ability to plug a USB stick containing all my music into the S4 and to be able to select it without a computer screen!

  3. I would prefer a controller with the software in it. Lose the laptop all together. Maybe implement wifi to load decks from my hand held device or just usb sticks. Stop being dependent on iTunes to manage music. Make better collection integration between Traktor Pro, Traktor DJ, and whatever they will call a stand alone Traktor unit 🙂

  4. this another attemp by NI or any other major dj software co attempting to get our opinions for free, cheap shot; traktor laptop and you still need a controller, better a yet a controller with built in traktor one piece equipment. there that’s what i want.

    1. No it’s not! It’s me writing an article that I wanted to write! I sat down at my keyboard one morning and this article came out of my fingertips!

  5. Seems like some of the commenters don’t know how computers work. If there is a Traktor OS then what you see on the screen is Traktor after turning the computer on. A Windows computer is only Windows because that’s the OS (what you see on the screen after turning the computer on). Same with Mac OS.

    A Traktor computer is difficult. On the one hand the computer itself would be easy to manufacture because they would all have the same processor, same ram, maybe an optional hard drive size, same number of usb ports, same screen size and resolution, same graphics card, all running the same OS (since Traktor would no longer be a app). It would be very stable and updating hardware drivers would be quite simple. A major downside to this would be the warranty. If a person in Brazil had a hard drive or graphics card failure, that person would have to ship back to Germany for service. From a business stand point, this would be poor. NI would have to eat the cost of shipping and repairs/replacement (for probably the first year). From a dj standpoint, how long would it take to get the computer back? The person would have to buy two at the start to be safe.

    On the other hand, If NI developed JUST an OS, and let the end user download and install it on their current computer (basically becoming a dual boot or formatting their current HD and becoming a single boot, or whatever) it eliminates the cost for manufacturing dedicated computers, warranties and shipping/handling, but runs into programming problems. Now NI has to create drivers for all makes and models of current and discontinued motherboards, graphics cards, hard drives, ram, ports as well as drivers for current and discontinued makes and models of dj hardware. Of course NI already does this but within the confines of preexisting operating systems (Mac OS and Windows) which can run into compatibility issues resulting in kernel panics or worse. So if NI was to create just their own OS, it would potentially be more stable and more responsive because they would not have to “make it fit” within someone else’s programming. That being said, there would probably be no iTunes integration. Other software (like Mixed in Key and the like) would have to be built into the Traktor OS itself which grows proprietary partnerships and leaves the other 3rd party developers potentially locked out.

    So, it sounds like a good idea and there would be some definite pluses. Not sure if it will arise though.


  6. Honestly this is a truly terrible idea.
    -Every bullet point you list
    -Makes you look like a
    -Stupid twat
    -who knows nothing about computers

    1. The most laughable part is the Traktor operating system.

      Do you have any idea the work required to create an operating system? Of course Google can do this they have an army of Linux programmers, There is no way NI would have the resources to move their software to Linux and start maintaining their own distribution to place on their own hardware.

      Let NI stick to what they do best, making great DJ software and decent hardware.

  7. you’re funny.

    on the one hand you say “This is why they [apple] can guarantee the quality.” on the other hand you claim that there are issues especially with mavericks or itunes. see the conflict? ^^

    besides that – it’s hard to develop for apple because they change stuff without further notice, dont fulfill standards (remember one usb port not having enough power for a soundcard?) and other things.

    but anyways.

    the issue shouldnt have gone into an official release. however, in 10 years of traktor, there was only one other time that sth major made it into a release. unfortunate. welcome to the real life. mistakes happen, some worse some not. even the best. NI reacted very fast and btw, only a split part of the users will have seen it since it was totally dependant on two certain workflows.

    p.s.: i have used 4 windows computers during the last 4 years with zilch problems and the last 2 computers werent even optimized or anything. just worked out of the box. i absolutely dont see the need for a traktor computer.

    1. I hear what your saying about the conflict – however if Apple owned Traktor, there wouldnt be problems, they’d make sure it works. Having said that, since the big Steve passed, things seem to be deteriorating with Apple. I personally thing Steve was Apple.

      1. Steve Jobs was not Apple, Programmers are Apple. Steve and his cronies stole ideas, lied, cheated and tossed anyone who got in their way under the buss. Apple, Adobe, Intuit, Google and Pixar are all being sued by 100k+ tech industry workers for artificially driving down tech salaries by not hiring each other employees. Federal trial starts in May in SD and Apple is going to get their ass handed to them. Steve Jobs was the criminal mastermind behind it all.

  8. that would be the ultimate proprietary move by NI, im already pissed that the only controller with absolute integration with traktor is their s2 and s4 and the severely outdated and still over-priced ddj-t1, and the over priced (but properly equipped) vci-400.
    it makes me thoroughly disgusted with laptops and controllers, I am packing my things and crossing over to the darkside of spinning…..the all in one units like the xdj aero….but not that one. My ironsights are on the SCS.4DJ
    Say what you want about stanton, but that thing is solid, it has critically acclaimed cdj sized jogwheels and its rekordbox-esque pre-organization software is sound.

    I love the digital age of dj’ing, but this software bullshit, is a HUGE waste of time and impedes on creativity and actual dj’ing.
    i wanna get back to the art that is dj’ing, the software fiddling is getting ridiculous. Im not from the vinyl old school, but i definitely see why vinyl’s making a comeback.

  9. are you serious ? A Macbook pro is the perfect machine for Dj’s , and nobody wants to change this – I’m a Pro dj , working 9 months , every single night without a problem . Well , to be honest , i had the issue with the Playlists –

    I don’t know what the people do with Traktor to have problems , if you have a Macbook pro for play music (without shit inside) nothing will happens .

    People should know better their systems .

  10. If they just combined an S4 and a laptop, such as a screen above each jog wheel, then I would be sold. Othewise for the price they will charge, may as well just get a mac.

    1. This is the answer!

      NI needs a product to compete with CDJ’s not a product to compete with Apple!

      Love the concept mock-up, this with a standalone mixer so you could add two turntables would be perfection.

      1. This isn’t my mock-up, I grabbed it from the DJTT website. I agree, if they compete directly with CDJ’s they could create the ultimate controller. It would probably be cheaper too.

      2. I’d like to see a “track compare” section (as per almost all other DJ software) be it in the middle or super-imposed on the playing tracks. Also, if you’re making a controller this big, you might as well integrate the Remix Decks / Sampler.

      3. only problem is looking up a new track and decks 3 & 4…. find a solution for that and I’m in!

  11. OK I’m assuming that given I’m still at 2.6.5 that 1) it’s the reason I haven’t heard of this headache thru e-mail or otherwise – notwithstanding this forum and 2) my metadata is as yet not f**ked up (I hate updating and only do so if it actually *fixes* something) Tip to all: back up to a secondary HD, and have that backed up further on some form of physical media i.e. DVD(s) or Blu-ray optical drive. Double redundancy means double fall-back…..

    1. likewise, I only seem to update if something is broken. Be this right or wrong, it worked for me. Having said that however, I have been updating to 2.6.6 for traktor with no problems, I’m just not using Mavericks!

  12. I had (just yesterday) suggested that Pioneer include a project computer (like an Arduino, RaspberryPi or BeagleBone) inside their top-of-the-line controllers (like the XDJ-AERO) so you could literally just use the controller with all the neat bells and whistles of the controller without the use of a laptop or touchpad. I support on-board computing in controllers.

    1. I’m with you on this. All in one unit that has multiple ports for different hard drives / usb sticks, even a built in hard drive maybe?

      1. I think the purpose here is to be a fully-capable, bare-bones, always available, computer inside the controller so the DJ always has access to all of the features of the controller when an external laptop isn’t plugged in (aka when the computer is in stand-alone mixer mode).

  13. hell no, more over price bullsh#t like apple. if your so involved with digital DJing have a rig designated for just production / DJing and only run those apps on supported operating systems . I dont think enabling another company to sell overpriced hardware is the answer .

  14. native instruments have problems with controler hardware quality, knobs for example what computer we talking about?, another plastic crap?

    1. If NI owned the system though, it would be stable, but I hear ya, I’m still running 2.6.5. Just didn’t want to update – as it turns out, that was the right move!

  15. Depends on the the price.. if it sunder $500 they nes, but over it… nope, id use my normal laptop, i dont have that moeny to begin with!

      1. Unless NI somehow could better OSX, then i don’t see this becoming a reality. The dream would be Apple & NI working together on a machine… What pro DJ Use’s a PC to run Traktor!?

      2. Thing is, the OS wouldn’t need to do much other than run your music software and music file system. It’s not like you’re gonna run Final Cut Pro or even pages on it for that matter!

      3. This is why I think it’s a good idea to put the computer inside the controller… Arduino/RaspberryPi/BeagleBone style. The computer does NOTHING other than handle exactly what it’s tasked to do… play music and respond to the controls.

      4. I do with much success. I am using a Windows 8 Laptop with a 4th Gen. Intel i5 and 6 gigs of ram. I have gotten rid of all of the bloatware that it came with and keep it minimalist so that I don’t have any issues. This is my second PC laptop that I am running Traktor on. My first was running a 3rd Ben. i3 with 8 gigs of ram however I noticed this spec was not quite up to the task of running smoothly.

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