traktor, serato, ableton making djs wet pants

Most of the digital DJ world is aware by now of a recent announcement from Traktor as well as a joint announcement from Serato and Ableton regarding upcoming products.  Traktor announced the upgrade of their products to “Pro” versions, due out November 1st.  Their site describing the new products is here; while this is welcome news, I have to admit to being a tad underwhelmed with the new features, and to being a little suspicious that this is just an excuse to make users pay more for an upgrade than we might otherwise be willing to shell out.  I’m particularly bothered by what’s missing in the new Traktor — you’d think by now, for example, that makers of digital DJ software would have taken Serato’s cue regarding waveform display and provide different views of bass, treble, and midrange both by color and by breakdown as has been available in Serato for a long time. The “New User Interface” they’re advertising offers some genuine improvements over the old, but it really is just an upgrade.  Nevertheless, for those who want to use DJ software without turntable control, Traktor DJ Studio is still the best product out there, and Traktor Pro is sure to be welcomed by many users.

Much more exciting — yet far more vague — is the recent joint announcement from Serato and Ableton about an upcoming collaboration.  It’s entirely unclear whether they will release a product together or simply make their two “Live” products (Serato Scratch Live and Ableton Live) more compatible.  (And yes, people are already making the “2 Live Crew” jokes).  Either way, this is a welcome announcement for those of us interested in using both tools in performance situations; they cover very different ground and each product is by far the best in its class.  Serato CEO Steve West announced, “After years of talking together, we’re thrilled to be working with Ableton. It’s exciting to think about what we can offer to DJs and producers: the ability to go beyond just spinning records and add a personal stamp to the music they play.”

Hopefully we will see the result of this creative partnership in action soon, perhaps by the time of NAMM in January.  But Peter Kirn warns us not to get too excited given the vaporware announcement of Ableton’s partnership with Cycling ‘74 (makers of Max/MSP).  Who knows; clearly at this point Serato and Ableton want us wetting our pants about this but they’re not yet ready to tell us exactly what to expect.

On another note entirely, I did finally get “dascratch” from guitar center last week, and I was playing with it a bit while I was in Nashville this weekend.  I’m going to do some practicing with it this week and will post a review soon.

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