As an EDM DJ in the digital age, Traktor has always been my go-to software for its ease of use and abundance of features, most notably rock-solid effects. With the release of Traktor 2.6, Native Instruments ushers in a new era of audio creativity on the dancefloor. Brand new features like Flux Mode and Macro Effects, as well as updates to existing EQ and effects infrastructure make for an update which, while not as radical as the recent addition of the remix decks, is a subtle but superb addition to an already killer piece of software.
One aspect of Traktor that received a much-needed facelift was the EQ section of the internal mixer. It used to be that EQ kills in Traktor didn’t actually silence the desired frequency, it just turned things down a bit. The addition of a new Z ISO EQ model to complement the new Kontrol Z2 mixer-controller actually behaves like an EQ section ought to. One other cool new feature of the EQ section is the ability to perform QuickSnap. With QuickSnap, you can predetermine an EQ value to be launched with the push of a button, allowing for instaneous EQ switches that can make your buildup-release sequences so much sweeter.
A new addition to the Traktor workflow is Flux Mode, which is entirely analogous to the slip mode found on many CDJs. Essentially, Flux Mode allows you to perform loops, scratches, and hotcue jumps while Traktor continuously keeps tabs on where you would have been in the song had you not performed such time-altering actions. Once you’re done fooling around, you can quickly and easily return to your proper place in the song, rather than leaving your audience wondering why the chorus has been going on for 64 bars.
Perhaps my very favorite improvement to the software is the addition of eleven new macro effects: single-knob, easily manipulable bundles of effects designed to create specific moods within your tracks, from psychedelic breakdowns to lush, intense, or glitchy buildups. Effects like “DarkMatter” are great for fade-outs and mix-ins, “Zzzurp” and “Wormhole” make some incredible breakdowns, and I’ve never had more fun with Traktor than when I played with the incredible “Strrretch”, “EventHorizon”, and “Bass-o-Matic” macro-effects. In fact, “Bass-o-
Matic” is probably my single favorite part of the 2.6 update, and will without a doubt become my new secret weapon (shhh…. Don’t tell!). This effect creates rhythmic beat slices and repeats similar to those found in the already famous “Slicer”, “Beatmasher”, and “Bouncer”. The “Bass-o-Matic”, however, manages to capture the essences of these older effects in one knob whose very purpose seemingly changes with every degree you turn the knob. I spent well over fifteen minutes tweaking just the “Bass-o-Matic” and “Strrretch” knobs and squealing with glee at the results – I truly felt like a kid on Christmas morning.
Another small but effective update is the ability to assign effects as pre-fader or post-fader. This is only really relevant to those who mix internally and enjoy the luxury of being able to decide whether an echo, decay, or reverb fades out with the music or remains to haunt the next track. Still, improvements like this are never a bad thing.
In my opinion, Native Instruments simply nailed it with this update, and I’m surprised this release wasn’t publicized nearly as much as the release of Traktor 2.5; I can foresee the macro effects changing the way I do things far more than the addition of remix decks has so far. The next time I go on stage, pull off a “Zzzurp”/”Strrretch” buildup followed by a “Bass-o-Matic” punch, and watch people lose their minds, I’ll know this update was truly a success.