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Traktor Duo offers a simple route into DJ'ing that apparently doesn't involve any expensive hardware. Sure, it would make sense to find out if you can match a beat before going out and buying a pair of Technics decks, and DJ'ing on a PC is becoming more credible with each passing month, therefore software that allows you to put together a hybrid system of vinyl, CD and MIDI hardware, in short, could actually help you build the ultimate DJ suite!


So, what does Traktor Duo bring to the party that Traktor Pro and DJ Studio didn't? For one, it's pitched cheaper than Native Instrument's previous packages. Less than £100 will see you with a reasonably powerful two-deck setup, with a number of audio effects. It's also compatible with audio hardware from Native Instruments, such as the Audio 8 DJ soundcard and the newer, four-channel Audio 4 DJ. This means you can connect up your CDJ or vinyl turntables and use time coded vinyl to control Traktor.


The interface on Duo to the older Traktor DJ Studio is apparently better. Clearer look, buttons easier to find, overall the layout is considerably more 'logical' than the DJ Studio. Duo isn't as fully featured as DJ Studio or Pro, of course, but for the basics of mixing, it's got pretty much everything you could need.


In use

Mixing with a mouse / laptop track pad isn't the most straightforward method. Traktor does its best to help though, with auto-pitch to match beats across two records and a handy indicator that tells you how far 'off' the beat you are. The built-in cross fader apparently does the job, but it lacks the smooth motion of a real hardware fader.


Duo also includes a reasonable file browser that takes up the bottom third of the screen. Using this navigator, we were easily able to find our music and drag it on to the appropriate deck. After about half an hour with Duo we were soon mixing it up like a pro. The built-in effects are also quite handy, and can breathe some life into a session if it's gone off the boil.


Apparently, Traktor Duo has a lack of recording and Internet-streaming functionality which seems daft for those who want to record and playback their mix or test among friends?!


Traktor Duo will set you back around £100, while the Traktor Duo Scratch kit costs about £350 and comes with the Audio 4 DJ and the time coded vinyl necessary to get you going. If you want a slightly more feature-rich version, Traktor Pro costs around £100 more and offers more decks, more effects and all sorts of EQ options. Pro also has mappable hotkeys, which is useful if you want to customise the way you control the software with your keyboard. Demo versions of the entire DJ software range is available on the Native Instruments Web site and is compatible with both PCs and Macs.

Native instruments Traktor Duo

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