If you want to DJ your next party using just your portable Mac, check out Native Instruments’ Traktor DJ Studio 2.03. Designed with professional DJs in mind, the program has now made its way to the Mac; it provides you with an entire DJ environment on one screen so you can mix, speed up or slow down, and apply cool filter effects to your songs — all in real time.
The On-Screen DJ
Working with Traktor is easy — all the equipment is organized in modules, including two playback decks, a mixer, filters and equalizers for sound manipulation, and a file browser for selecting music. (Unfortunately, the browser did not recognize our Archos Jukebox external USB hard drive.) You can organize music files into a playlist, and each playback deck displays a waveform of the current song, showing its beats.
You can use the tools in the Mixer window to create smooth transitions between tracks. Also located in the Mixer window are equalizers, which let you adjust the balance of the track’s frequencies. (To monitor the cued track separately from the one playing, you’ll need Traktor and the USB audio interface GigaPort AG.)
Matching tempos of different songs is something every DJ must do, and this is where Traktor shines. Simply define the song that’s playing as the master, and Traktor will calculate the beats per minute and adjust the cued track to the calculated tempo. Usually, changes in tempo and EQ degrade sound quality. Not so with Traktor — the edited material sounds great.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
Traktor DJ Studio 2.03 is easy and fun to use. The fact that you can leave your DJ hardware at home and just bring your laptop to your next party makes this program well worth considering.