NI building a dj controller for Traktor?

There have been rumors floating around for a little while that the German software powerhouse “Native Instruments”, producers of many popular pieces of software including Traktor have been preparing to build their first dj controller. It would be a logical move as the company has suffered from hardware/software miss-matches in the past that have confused and frustrated djs. Making their own dedicated midi controller would hopefully result in a device that fits the demanding needs of their users.

On January 23rd NI sent out an email that confirms they are moving full steam ahead with a new version of Traktor and it appears it may possibly be paired to a matching controller. The “Dj Survey” that went out to a “random selection” of users was introduced with the following lines:

A new generation of TRAKTOR is about to be developed and we need your feedback to design it as tailored as possible to your needs.

We therefore invite you to take part in an online survey, where you can tell us about your opinion and your suggestions regarding your DJ product from Native Instruments. ”

The closed survey, which can be read about here, asks questions that are very controller focused leading one to logically suspect that they might be moving ahead with an NI dj controller. At NAMM, Dj tech tools asked NI if they had been working on a controller and was informed that “yes, they had been working on one” but in the end it got sidelined. One cant help but wonder if after everyone else released controllers at NAMM, the project might have gotten a bump up to the front of the line.

(Editors note: the controller pictured is completely fictional combination of a midi-box creation and the NI logo. In case that was not already painfully obvious thanks to our sub-par photoshop skills)

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  • dj testcell

    Hey that is a grate idea . Im sick of using other branch controller with traktor pro. Its about to use Ur own make for traktor users but i want to know wen will be released at least close day or month

  • charlie

    Any news about NI Traktor controler?

  • AMPiDexter

    I feel your frustration. Without a controller that doesn't just work but well designed for 'club' use the power of this software is reduced to nothing more than a studio tool or a bedroom toy.

    Unfortunately until I see such a controller that fully utilizes Traktor DJ's virtual power I can not consider it as a serious DJ setup.

    So every 6 months I check to see if NI has matured and every time I find myself dissapointed yet again.

    I can only suspect their view is driven by the fact that selling software is pretty close to creating wealth from thin air (respectfully understand that marketing and development costs money) but compared to hardware is significantly more profitable than developing hardware for PC's – just ask Bill Gates.

    Maybe one day they will realize that Traktor DJ Studio is only half of the solution and finish the job – however by then I suspect I will have run out of the breath I have been holding for so many years.

    Maybe we just need to wait for Touchscreen technology and Windows to evolve so that touchscreens can capture multiple simultaneous touch events – then maybe the traktor interface will become the controller.

    Ive been told Microsoft is working on it however from my experience with NI I think i wont make the mistake of holding my breath.

    I don't like being negative so on the bright side NI Traktor is really effective at fast tracking a mixset you can then take to more conventional dj setup for performing live (providing you limit the features of Traktor to those of the conventional setup.

    This is particularly true when you want to go beyond beat mixing, measurement alignment and get into harmonic mixing (not just with trance/techno) and with mixing lyrics of songs to create duets in the mix. This is what really got me interested in Traktor – its a rapid mixing tool which really brings out excellent results. So good in fact I was able to create 2 hour mixes in hours, all of which permitted me a residency on FM radio and quickly climbing the ladder to doing 20 hour mixes for news year day over 2 years until i got bored with it all.

  • Chris Wright

    I'd like to see 16 level velocity sensitive pads with toggle buttons for full level, 4 level velocity settings, and maybe a bank toggle button so we could set extra cue points, samples, and so on.

    MPC pads>arcade buttons

    They're bigger, velocity sensitive, feel more natural, and aren't clicky sounding.

    The only real question now is can we influence and persuade Vestax into creating it. Once the forums are up we should start a thread on it run a poll or two in order to figure out what people want. Photoshop a rough draft concept of roughly how it should look. Then present it all to Vestax forum included so they really understand it wasn't a half hearted idea and something with a bit of thought and research put into it.

  • Ean Golden

    would you guys prefer velocity sensitive MPC pads or arcade buttons? Those are all very good suggestions Chris.

  • Chris Wright

    If the Ean Golden VCI-100 is a hit Ean should submit DJTechTools ideas to Vestax on what to change next.

    Vestax should make a VCI-Controllerist Edition line up with a model name scheme similar to CPU's/GPU's perhaps for different VCI-Controllerist models, but hopefully not so confusing.

    They could offer options like jog wheel size, MPD/MPC style pads (arcade buttons are cool and retro sad right…but pads are more functional), midi in and out, a foot switch and/or expression pedal, on board sound, face plate colors, and lastly motorized platters. I think that covers most of what people would want. They could start with one or two models and add more yearly or bi yearly.

    They could start with version one as a modified Ean Golden VCI-100 with a foot switch midi in and out and MPC style pads. Version two could be the same thing with motorized platters which due to the jog wheel size might not need as strong of a motor as vci-300 jogs or NS7 jogs and thus be cheaper for us the consume win/win. A third version could add on board sound.

    Who needs a Native Instruments brand name Traktor DJ controller when we've got Vestax and DJTechTools? The fact that Ean managed to get a custom VCI-100 built says a lot he's got more pull than maybe even he realizes if things go well hopefully he could get some of these ideas out to the people need to hear them. The Numark NS7 seemed like one of the best products out of NAMM2008, but the rumored price and size were big drawbacks. Vestax could capitalized on that by selling a more functional product at a cheaper price. Home Studio producers want better DJ midi controllers as well as traditional DJ's which I'm not to certain companies have fully picked up upon yet. Anyways here's to wishful thinking.

  • djjasons

    Agreed Andy, that is just the controller I am looking for as well. I have made the migration to digital with Traktor Scratch and honestly think it is great. Controlling the decks is a breeze, so all I need now is a controller for the rest of traktor, within a footprint that will fit above or below my current 19" mixer.

  • Andy

    I personally would like to see a stand-alone controller (preferablly with rack mountable options) with just the knobs for effects and kills per channel without any jog-wheel and fader-mixing features added in. Just a little something for us DJs that already have plenty of old school hardware (Urei 1620 & 3- 1200’s) and want to get into spinning mp3’s with applications such as Traktor 3 and anything else alike for that matter.

  • Editor

    <blockquote cite="#comment-613"> Ean, if digital DJs had their own country, you'd be the ambassador. With complimentary valet parking.


    Thanks MGyver, thats very kind of you to say. After spending my entire life djing (16-28) I really enjoy teaching and helping others take up the torch.

    I cant play very much anymore so its even more fun to see other people do interesting things with the concepts I helped create.

  • MGyver

    Yeah, it's nice to have someone working both on and behind the scenes, who knows the gear and software both old and new, the companies, and the people who drive the industry. Ean, if digital DJs had their own country, you'd be the ambassador. With complimentary valet parking.

    I hope NI is reading these threads too. Maybe they can bridge all of the gaps that the current hardware seems to have. 🙂

  • Norrin Rad


    I dunno what the deal is over at Skratchworx – but I for one appreciate the fact that you definitely try to get to the truth from these vendors. The perpetual cycle of BS that comes about from rumors doesn't help anyone and it's great that you spend so much time providing us with REAL and USEFUL information!



  • jaurelio

    no more controllers bigger than a 15,4 laptop…no more controllers bigger than a hand luggage…no more 'closed' controllers…no more proprietary mode controllers…… no more integrated audio/controllers….no more controllers without motorized platters…..

  • Editor

    Thanks Fatlimey! We are very excited about the way things have been developing over the past year. I have been trying to get people to take this art seriously for 5 years so its gratifying to see our readers unite behind a common vision.


    <blockquote cite="#comment-579">sorry to disappoint you guys, but that's absolutely only a rumor and lacks of any substance!

    Although we are very grateful for and respect native girls work at NI, the record needs to be set straight regarding this matter. We take our work seriously and would never report on rumors that contain no substance.

    NI was contacted numerous times and personal messages left for the quoted individual to ask for comment and or confirmation about the following facts:

    A) a survey asking questions about controllers was sent to users. Several of whom also agreed the questions were very controller based.

    B) An NI employee stated, at a industry conference, in front of several people that controllers have been in development.

    After 3 days with no reply, we moved forward with our own interpretations of the above facts. Dj Tech Tools encourages NI to work more closely with us next time we seek to share exiting news with our readers for their benefit.

  • Fatlimey

    Oops. Not anonymous, that was me.

  • Anonymous

    Now this is an interesting article:

    Some harsh criticism for "me too" wheel-based DJ controllers, plus it notes that because there is no long a "standard" interface for mixing (two turntables with pitch and a crossfader) then portability of interface devices becomes a BIG DEAL, plus clubs are going to have to provide more capable direct-injection to the PA.

    This blog is one of the few places where pure digital DJing is really being taken seriously as an art form. DJTechTools is in position to set the pace…

  • Norrin Rad

    My interpretation, however, was they are more worried about the UI. Traktor has a very nice UI since its beginnings, but it?s getting uglier past each release.

    It?s clunky and punishes users with higher display resolutions ? try using it on a 17 inch HiRes Macbook Pro. It?s a pain in the arse.

    p.s. I totally agree with you Dudu!

  • Norrin Rad

    NS7 is far too large to be practicable.

    Too large? How big are two decks and a DJM 800 mixer?

    I want control over my computer in a form factor that I can use to relate my "skills" on the decks to a controller. That being said – one wire from a setup that looks and performs in a similar fashion to my laptop. I love the VCI and have played with it a couple of times. My beef with it is that it's too small. People who see anyone I know DJ with it doesn't even believe it's made for DJs since it is so small. To each his/her own I guess. But for me – the NS7 looks sweet. Combines a form factor I'm used to (including moving platters) and midi control. I'm happy! 😀

    Only thing that could go wrong is the price!

  • Dudu P

    I received the survey, too.

    My interpretation, however, was they are more worried about the UI. Traktor has a very nice UI since its beginnings, but it's getting uglier past each release.

    It's clunky and punishes users with higher display resolutions — try using it on a 17 inch HiRes Macbook Pro. It's a pain in the arse.

    Also I don't get its colors. C'mon, brown? The only modern thing I can remember in that old skool colour is the lame MS Zune, which is ugly as hell. And the shoes of that nice old man that sells candies 'round the corner. 🙂

    Ableton and Torq are very, very weird and ugly on the first moments of use. But once you get used too, it's so good to be able to see all the controls and its settings clearly event from a few feet away from your tiny laptop display. And if you use a 17 inch laptop, I'm sure you can read it from very, very far. Which happens a lot in most DJ booths you'll find on the road.

    I was glad to participate on that survey, but I did hit real hard about the things they've been doing lately. I'm one of those FS2 users which were left on the dust — and I don't buy the pointing fingers argument they sent to us, to hell with that, the point is I've spent 600 bucks on a wonderful system which became a joke.

    I also received a copy of Traktor 3 LE upon buying the VCI-100, and to hell with NI again. That software is false advertisement, it won't allow the best DJ in the world mixing anything without reducing pitch range on VCI or any controller. The LE 3.3 at least got a little better after they ceased showing advertisement on the DJ Studio version every goddamn time you opened or quited the program. That wasn't a product, but an advertisement that forced any user to buy the full version or get a cracked version of it.

    Last, as goes my criticism about the manufactures of midi controllers which aren't driving any effort to make a full solution, same goes for the software manufacturer which will sell cripped versions of its software and won't offer any — I really mean, ANY — support on the controllers off the market. NI won't provide any TKS file for any controller or even a freaking tutorial on how to map it. But they love selling labels saying "Traktor Ready", repeating the nasty certification model that Microsoft does and (almost) never works.

    Whoa! Throwed a lot here. But I think they deserve it. 🙂

  • Wasted German Youth

    NS7 is far too large to be practicable.

  • Norrin Rad

    IMO the perfect controller would be a cross between the performance mod VCI and the NS7.

    Motorized platters, durable but large construction and general midi support (not just ITCH) would be great!

  • Hiro Gohno

    why build another controller for traktor if the perfect one is already here (the black vci – 100) 🙂

  • Norrin Rad

    Did you know you can do that with Deck-A-Dance now? We will be looking at that software in the nest few weeks, as its out for MAC now.

    Hey Ean – Ya I knew about that. I was on the beta that you so helpfully pointed out of DJ Tech Tools.

    I have to say that I wasn't really a fan of the GUI and would much prefer serato or traktor for a plugin. I'm anxious to see your thoughts though – maybe with some of your insight I can get a better grip on the software.

  • groovemixer

    just when u think u got a controller in mind and are ready to buy BANG!!! this happens!! ive heard rumours also, native girl u telling us not to hold our breath??

  • native_girl

    sorry to disappoint you guys, but that's absolutely only a rumour and lacks of any substance!

  • l

    posted that info on the NI forum.

    waiting for official replies 😉

    thanks for that info anyway. since that fantastic audio8-soundcard

    it can only get better with NIs own controller…

  • tobamai

    deckadance is really overlooked. I think running as a vst plugin is its strongest point because you can route the output to all kinds of tempo synced effects and create your own signal chain. It also has strong support for third party midi controllers and timecoded vinyl.

    Okay, back to NI.

  • weaponry

    dude I've been waiting for a tr controller since v2. Please ni come out with soon ean PLs keep us posted

  • Editor

    <blockquote cite="#comment-571">It would be sweet to run Traktor as a plug-in for my ableton sets though! THAT would make life so much easier! 😀

    Did you know you can do that with Deck-A-Dance now? We will be looking at that software in the nest few weeks, as its out for MAC now.

  • Norrin Rad

    That would be SICK!!! I like Traktor a LOT more than Serato just for the effects BUT the numark ns7 totally tipped that scale for me! This is interesting… It would be sweet to run Traktor as a plug-in for my ableton sets though! THAT would make life so much easier! 😀