Traktor is one of the larger names in the DJ software scene, and DJ.Studio is a more recent player in the scene - but which is best? This article compares these two pieces of DJ software in detail and explains the kind of situation where one is better than the other.
In essence, while both of these apps are for DJs, they have completely different workflows, strengths, and weaknesses. In reality, there is room for both apps in your DJ workflow: Traktor for live shows, and DJ.Studio for crafting your mixes at home.
Regardless, this review is going to compare these two pieces of software and explain how you can revolutionize your DJ workflow by adding DJ.Studio to your toolkit!
TL;DR - DJ.Studio vs Traktor#
Traktor and DJ.Studio are two pieces of DJ software with different designs.
DJ.Studio is more productive and precise, while Traktor is better for live DJing.
For the most versatility, DJs should consider using both types of software in their workflow.
DJ.Studio has a bunch of unique and powerful features that accelerate a DJ's productivity and creativity.
What is Traktor?#
Traktor is Native Instrument's professional DJ software. This app is used by DJs worldwide, from the bedroom to the biggest DJ booth.
While it can work on a computer alone, Traktor is best used with DJ controllers, as they help the DJ to perform their mixes in real-time. Unlike DJ.Studio, it's very hard to mix properly on Traktor using only a keyboard and mouse.
Traktor is a traditional piece of 'live DJing' software, used for creating mixes live. This is different from the studio method used by DJ.Studio (you'll learn more about that later).
Traktor is full of features that make it great for live DJ performances and has all the tools you need to mix. It's decent for beginners but is also a popular choice for professional DJs.
What is DJ.Studio?#
DJ.Studio is a new style of DJ software which is a unique offering on the scene. This software works completely differently from the traditional paradigm of live DJing software, and offers a new workflow, allowing DJs to break out of the decades-old restrictions of live mixing, and open new doors of creative possibility and productivity.
At its heart, DJ.Studio is still DJ software - the final product it creates is a killer DJ mix. However, the way it goes about creating these mixes is unlike anything else on the DJ scene.
DJ.Studio is made for creative DJ mixing on your laptop without having to record the mix live on your DJ controllers - this is called studio DJ mixing.
This gives DJs, music lovers, and playlist creators a new and more efficient way to create mixes. You no longer need to record mixes in 1:1 time or rehearse to make sure no mistakes are made.
In essence, DJ.Studio is a DAW for DJs. It works similarly to audio editing software and music production tools - as in it works on a timeline. Although this is software designed for DJs - not music production or audio editing.
This means it is packed full of uniquely powerful tools for DJs, including:
Full integration with Traktor - You can connect DJ.Studio to Traktor, letting you share libraries between software. Find the perfect order of tracks in DJ.Studio, then send your new playlist over to Traktor to mix live! Or use DJ.Studio to create the full mix without needing to record manually.
Automixing - This algorithm automatically harmonically mixes and beat matches your tracks. It also automates seamless transitions. From electronic music to disco and pop - DJ.Studio, this DJ tool is the ultimate mixing companion.
Transition Editor - This lets you create the perfect crossfade or blend between tracks. Start with a basic preset, and then customize your transition automation in as much detail as you desire.
Timeline Editing - Rather than recording your mix in real-time, and needing a DJ controller to record a mix, you can create the perfect, expressive, and engaging mix with a keyboard and mouse alone.
Streaming Service Integration - Make mixes from YouTube and Spotify - meaning you don't need to pay for a single dollar on downloads to create a fully shareable mix.
Video Creator - DJ.Studio even has a built-in music visualizer which lets you create audio-reactive visuals to add to your mix and upload to YouTube to increase audience engagement. This works in Local File mode, rather than our streaming services mixing projects.
Flexible Export - You can export your local file mixes to a wide range of locations, including WAV, MP3, YouTube videos, or even as an Ableton Live multitrack project for extra editing and mastering.
This is just a brief overview of what is possible with DJ.Sudio. I recommend you check out the following video and have a look through the website to explore the features in more depth.
DJ.Studio vs Traktor: The Main Difference#
Before getting into the specifics, it's worth understanding the core differences between these two DJ apps.
If you want to know which is the best DJ software out of the two - it's a tricky question to answer.
Both work in different ways, and have unique offerings of value. Both have certain situations where they are the best and others where there might be a better choice.
One key thing to understand is that DJ.Studio is best at home or in the studio and Traktor is better for the club.
This means that they are innately designed to be used in different situations. For example, DJ.Studio is much quicker and more precise at making mixes. It's more efficient because you don't need to manually record your mix or rehearse for it. However, if you want to play live in a club or party, it doesn't have the features you need.
Alternatively, Traktor is great for live mixing. Although I wouldn't personally say it was the best live software - I prefer rekordbox for mixing as it's more common in clubs and is somewhat of an industry standard. I also find it to be more reliable. That said, Traktor still has some merits over other traditional live DJing software options.
Either way, I use both live and studio software in my DJ workflow, as I find a hybrid setup gives you the best of both worlds.
DJ.Studio vs Traktor: Detailed Comparison #
With that overview out the way, let's go into a more detailed analysis and review of how these two apps compare.
The best way to understand the differences between these two DJ apps is to look at their workflow. This reveals their exact contrasts, and where their strengths and weaknesses come in.
The main difference is in the core of the design: where Traktor is designed for live mixing, DJ.Studio is best used at a desk, for example creating promotional mixes, radio shows, and mixtapes.
Starting by looking at Traktor, we can see it isn't a whole lot different from most DJ software like rekordbox, Serato, Virtual DJ, and others. (Although it's nothing like DJ.Studio!)
Workflow for Traktor goes as follows:
First, you need to fill your music library. Traktor works with local files and some other platforms. You can mix on traktor, just using a keyboard and mouse. However, it's not designed for this and you are best using some kind of DJ controller.
Then you pick the first song you want to mix and play it through the main speakers out loud after this
With the first song playing is time to pick the second song you want to mix and begin the transition. First, you need to beat-match the songs together. Traktor has a pretty decent sync function, so you can instantly match beats without doing it manually. When the tracks are playing at the same speed it's time to prepare the point for track two
Start the transition, you can do this however you like using the tools at hand. Traktor has all the traditional tools like faders, EQs, and filters, as well as a bunch of additional effects for adding a bit of creative flair.
Rinse and repeat! Until you finish mixing.
When it comes to recording Traktor does have a built-in recording function, but it's not available in all versions of the software. You simply hit record when you want to start your mix, and the mix will be recorded in real-time to a file. This internal recording feature is handy as it means you don't need to use any additional hardware or software. Although you will need to fix any mistakes in an editor!
If you know anything about DJ software, you will know that this type of workflow is pretty standard. Traktor basically has the same core feature set as most other DJ software like rekordbox, Virtual DJ, etc. The differences between these mainstream apps are fairly nuanced, and the best choice usually comes down to personal tastes. See our article Comparing DJ Software for more on this topic.
DJ Studio Workflow
In comparison, DJ.Studio offers a radically different workflow, which is the perfect companion and enhancer for live DJs (and it's ideal for standalone mix production).
Keep reading to find out more - and discover how DJ.Studio can revolutionize your DJ career!
Open DJ.Studio (either in your browser or through the app) and create a new project. You can either make:
A YouTube Project that lets you connect with Spotify or YouTube to make mixes from online sources
Or a Local File Project which lets you make mixes from downloaded files and other connected software.
Next, you import tracks - This is slightly different between YouTube and Local File mode in the way that you do it, but it's still the same principle.
If you're using local file mode, you can connect DJ studio to your other DJ software and directly import music from your library from there. For example, you can import your Traktor or rekordbox library directly into DJ.Studio. This also shows extra analysis like phrasing and your rekordbox cue points in the DJ.Studio timeline interface.
When you've assembled your playlist, you can use the automix function to automatically work out the best order for your tracks to go in.
Using AI and key detection analysis, DJ.Studio automatically harmonically mixes and beat matches your DJ sets. It assesses every potential sequence for your playlist tracks and determines the best one for your chosen parameters.
When the automixing is finished, will be taken over to the timeline editor. Here you can adjust the order of your tracks. You can also change the start and end position, delete sections, create loops, and add a bunch of other effects.
This works in a very similar way to audio, editing, timelines, and music production software. It comes with a full grid to make sure that everything is on time.
Now, you can use the transition editor to refine the way that DJ.Studio transitions from track to track. Initially, tracks will be given automatic transitions, but you can instantly choose through a bunch of different presets to change the transition – some of these include filter sweeps, slow crossfades, fast cuts, and EQ mixes.
If you want to get into more detail, you can use the manual transition editor to open up the automation timeline. This lets you create transitions in as precise detail as you want. You can automate any of the parameters simultaneously letting you create transitions that would not be possible mixing on a traditional setup using two hands.
This gives DJs a huge amount of creative freedom that no other live DJ software like Traktor or rekordbox compares to.
The last thing you need to do is to listen through your mix and check that you're happy, and then you can start to record and export it.
When it comes to recording and exporting your mixes, there are a couple of differences between Local File and YouTube Projects.
YouTube mixes can't be downloaded as they use streamed audio – which it's illegal to rip from YouTube. However, we created a unique online playing system, which makes sure YouTube mixes are available to be shared online and enjoyed by any of your friends and family.
If you're working on a YouTube mix, simply click the share button to open the sharing interface. Here you can enter a bunch of information about the mix like the name, genre, artist, and description. You are then given a URL link which you just share with whoever you want to listen to the mix. This can even be listened to on mobile phones, here is an example of one of these mixes.
If you're working on local file mode, then you have more options when it comes to recording and exporting.
The first choices are either as a standard wave or MP3 file.
You can use DJ.Studio's, video creator to make music visualizing videos to upload YouTube. DJ.Studio also automatically creates all the timestamp information you need to create chapters in the YouTube timeline.
You can export your set your mix as an M3U8 playlist. These can be imported into most other DJ software, including Traktor, rekordbox, Virtual DJ and others. This is a great way to prepare a set, then move over to your live software to mix in the club.
The final option is exporting as an Ableton Live set. This means that you can take your mix to Ableton (it even includes all the automation, data, transitions and effects). Here you might want to do some final tweaks or master your mix for radio and distribution.
The recording process in DJ.Studio is a lot quicker than manually recording a DJ set using live software. You can also just leave your computer to think while DJ.Studio does the recording. Also, you don't need to worry about having to fix any mistakes you make or rehearse your mix to perform live, so it shaves off a huge amount of time in your mix production workflow.
As you can see DJ.Studio's workflow is completely different from Traktor's.
In terms of the mix that is created – the results can be similar - it's just far quicker to make mixes in DJ.Studio as you also don't need to worry about mistakes and helps with a bunch of other things. (Although I would argue that it's much quicker and easier to make a higher-quality mix in DJ.Studio, because you can refine it on a timeline and don't need to rehearse or perform complex transitions manually).
The tools and workflow in DJ.Studio are great for beginners who might need help with beat matching and harmonic mixing.
BUT! It's also great for pros because it requires less brain power and also has a bunch of other professional features which makes it ideal for DJs at the top of the game.
Another key area of comparison is hardware integration and compatibility.
This is one area where currently Traktor beats DJ.Studio – and a lot of other DJ software. Traktor works with most controllers and isn't limited to only Native Instruments hardware. In terms of live DJ software, this is a very attractive feature as it means you're not limited in what DJ controller you can use. Serato DJ Pro is an example of professional software for digital DJing which has a more limited set of hardware integration.
In comparison, DJ.Studio currently doesn't have any hardware integration. Although this is planned in the future. However, this isn't a huge issue as the whole design of the software is aiming to move away from this traditional format – and it's instead designed to be controlled with a keyboard and mouse, rather than a DJ controller – as this is not a live DJing solution.
These days, it's pretty unlikely that a DJ just uses one piece of DJ software or platform for every task, so it's important to consider which software these two programs have integrations with. You should also consider how well these apps are connected, and what kind of features the integration offers.
Traktor has relatively limited integrations with other software. You can use it with Ableton Link, letting you sync up your Ableton live session with the BPM of your Traktor mix – which makes it a great tool if you want to jam out at a drum machine some synth whatever you're mixing. With some workarounds, you can connect to your music libraries from other DJ software like rekordbox – however, it isn't straightforward.
One area connection both these apps have is Beatport. You can use Traktor to mix music from this streaming service. Coming to DJ.Studio soon is the ability to practice and experiment with different tracks from Beatport and Beatsource in a mix, and then, when you're happy with them, you can automatically add all the tracks to your shopping cart.
DJ.Studio has a lot more software connections than the Traktor, both in terms of input and output. You can connect your DJ.Studio music collection to any other DJ software – so you can instantly import tracks that you have in your library from rekordbox, Traktor, Virtual DJ, Serato, iTunes, and a bunch of other popular apps.
DJ.Studio also has connections to Spotify, YouTube, and 1001Tracklists. All of these platforms are great for discovery and streamlining your workflow. For example, you can create playlists in Spotify and then import them over to DJ.Studio to quickly brainstorm DJ set ideas.
Another cool integration offered by DJ.Studio is Mixed In Key. This expands the harmonic analysis by using and giving you additional information displayed in the DJ.Studio timeline, including the energy levels and cue points for different sections inside tracks.
Overall, you can see how these types of software are not mutually exclusive - in fact, they complement each other very well.
DJ.Studio is the ultimate tool for creating mixes at high speed and with a detailed amount of precision and expression. If you want to make mixes quicker and easier, then DJ.Studio is the way to go.
If you need a tool to mix live -like a club or a party, then Traktor might be the best bet for you. That said, Traktor is just one of many live DJ software options, and it might not be for everyone. You might be interested in looking at the other options like rekordbox, Serato, and Virtual DJ.
These two apps also go hand in hand - and work well together. For example, you can use DJ.Studio to analyse your Traktor library, and prepare DJ sets by using the AI to find the best order - making a harmonically mixed playlist. You can also use it to experiment with effects and transitions. Then you can export this playlist to Traktor and start mixing it live!
I think the best solution is to learn both types of software and pair them up in your workflow. They go well together, and having both types will enhance the workflow of one another.
Oh, and make sure that you test out the free 14-day trial of DJ.Studio to get a taste of what it can do for your workflow! You can thank me later...
FAQs About Traktor / DJ. Studio
- Do DJs still use Traktor?
- What DJ software is like Traktor?
- Which is the best software for DJ?
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