Virtual DJ Pro 7 vs Traktor Pro 2

For countless years the use of vinyl dominated the DJ market. In the late 90s the use of CDs became more widespread as Pioneer launched the very successful CDJ CD player which offered many of the advantages of vinyl without quite so many drawbacks. In recent years the use of digital DJ software has become much more prevalent as more and more of the CD faithful turn their backs on the format and embrace digital software.

There are many options out there, from Serato Scratch Live vinyl emulation software to Ableton Live down to open source alternatives such as Mixxx which I reviewed in a previous article. In this article however I will comparing two front runners of the digital DJ world – Atomix’s Virtual DJ Pro 7 and Native Instrument’s Traktor Pro 2. If you only choose one, which one should it be? Read on to find out.

Features

Both Virtual DJ and Traktor Pro boast an impressive range of features, in fact I think you’d be hard pressed to find a similar software package that offered more. However, for many DJs thinking about moving into digital DJing, the choice between these two options can often be very difficult. Both offer a straightforward way to move from CDs or Vinyl while retaining the same level of functionality. On the surface both options offer a very similar level of features, for example (the now standard) automatic beat matching, automatic looping, the use of effects and automatic BPM detection, with Traktor perhaps just edging ahead when it comes to number of features. When you dig a little deeper there a number of differences between the two.

Traktor Pro deck

The default Traktor Pro deck with a sample deck loaded

Virtual DJ has always been very compatible with a large number of external controllers and mapping a controller to Virtual DJ is a relatively pain free process. This makes Virtual DJ one of the easiest software options to begin using, in many cases controllers can be simply plugged in and away you go. The same cannot be said for Traktor Pro, which supports fewer controllers (it does still support a great deal) and in my own experience has been quite difficult to map to a controller, however Native Instruments do produce their own line of controllers (Kontrol X1, S2 and S4) which when purchased guarantees complete compatibility with Traktor.

Both Traktor and Virtual DJ offer the ability to record your mixes directly to your hard drive, a useful feature for up and coming DJs who might wish to upload their mixes to YouTube, burn to a CD to hand out to friends or more importantly promoters and club owners. A well liked feature in Virtual DJ that is excluded from Traktor Pro is the ability to download and use custom skins. While the ability to do this makes no difference to the functionality of the software, many users like to be able to customize the look of their software. In my opinion though, the unquestionable stability of the Traktor Pro code when performing certainly makes up for any lack of customization.

When directly compared, both software options naturally have pros and cons. Traktor surpasses Virtual DJ on the level of features and stability, yet Virtual DJ is easier to use and start using straight out of the box as well as including the ability to change and customise skins.

Interface

For me, this is where the major differences between the two products lie. Quite simply Traktor Pro looks so much more professional than Virtual DJ, the default interface for Virtual DJ looks positively amateurish compared with Traktor’s clean cut look. That being said I firmly believe that Virtual DJ is easier to work with, especially for new DJs or those new to digital DJing. Beat matching itself is much easier for beginner DJs with the layout of Virtual DJ as the waveforms of both tracks sit above each other (as shown below).

Virtual DJ Pro 7

The default interface of Virtual DJ Pro

Both options keep the traditional layout of decks above the media browser, which is now more or less standard for a number of DJ software solutions and works great, allowing the next song to be found quickly and easily.

Traktor default

Traktor Pro's interface is simple and clean-cut

Personally I prefer Traktor Pro’s interface over Virtual DJ’s default skin, but this is down to individual preference so don’t let the look of either dissuade you from trying them.

Conclusion

While Virtual DJ and Traktor both do pretty much the same thing, in my opinion it is the way in which Traktor does things that allows it to pull ahead of Virtual DJ as being the better option for those wishing to move to computer DJing. A quick look at the interfaces side by side and it’s easy to see that Traktor is positioned to a higher market than Virtual DJ. Even the name ‘Virtual DJ’ leaves something to be desired.

Another gripe with Virtual DJ Pro is that there are so many other versions of the software (such as LE, Home or Pro Basic) out there, each adding a little bit more functionality than the last version. This gives me the sense that they probably could include more features in each version, but don’t because it would interfere with their pricing strategy. Speaking of price, Virtual DJ Pro 7 Full (what a mouthful) is currently retailing online at $299 or €240 whilst Traktor Pro 2 is on sale for €199 (roughly $260).

Given the price difference, the professional look and feel of Traktor over Virtual DJ as well as the increased stability. If I had to make the choice I would almost certainly go with Traktor Pro. That being said if ease of use and compatibility with a larger range of controllers is important to you then I would suggest trying Virtual DJ. But if you plan to DJ professionally then Traktor Pro is the better option of the two.


  • WPHead

    The way I see it, Virtual Pro is for people new to DJing and who are just trying it out for fun, while Traktor is for people who are really serious about DJing. I could not imagine doing a gig with Virtual Pro, just love Traktor too much. Also, since Traktor is quickly becoming the industry standard, you can easily find mappings for controllers that didn’t come with Traktor online.

    • Juan Reyes

      Hello, well i use virtual dj, and i have 15 years doing this(dj), maybe i can be kind a oldschol, but for some reason i like virtual dj, and i still playing cds too.I try traktor, but, in my personal opinion i dont like it, its nothing obout dificult, its more obout, i dont feel it, but the way, im more focus into the music. i can handle any kind a party, my mixes its not really profesional,but my job its, play any kind of music, and i dont say,” idont know that song”, or “I dont know tha kind of music”, cause, thats my job, make ANY KIND OF PEOPLE DANCE. and some of the djs. in this times, think, djs its who has better apliances or new technology, i battle some guys with their technology, and handle this easy, just, cause im focus in music. and im not afraid to play anything, a good car or bad car, with bad driver, its not gone work. SALUTES.

    • DJ Ron

      Traktor is a bit simplistic, perhaps you cannot cope with all the options offered by VDJ, it is almost infinitely customizable, and can easily use vst plugins.

  • Quine

    Good review; I think the subject deserves a little more elaboration in a few areas though:

    - Virtual DJ has a free edition, which is worth mentioning for beginners, as it’s a great cheap introduction to digital djing.

    - Traktor’s 1:1 hardware:software synchronization on a number of controllers (not just NI’s own) is fantastic and is MUCH easier for beginners than trying to configure a midi-map in VDJ. But really, you can find dozens of controllers for either platform that sync up with little more than 15 minutes of effort.

    - VDJ’s default skin looks like crap, but some of the custom skins I’ve seen trounce traktor, in my opinion, because they allow you to hide almost any element of the ui that you find superfluous

    - Traktor’s stability vs VDJ’s should be under its own subheading, as anything less than 99.9999999% stability makes software worthless for any type of live use, and that’s the *whole point* of these pieces of softare.

    - I don’t recall if VDJ has multicolor waveforms, but that’s a big missing feature if it doesn’t. Similarly, the inability to have the waveforms stacked or parallel in traktor can be quite annoying.

    I think the folks at serato would be pretty annoyed at your statement that traktor and VDJ are the top contenders. I don’t really have an opinion on that, but ITCH is definitely at least roughly comparable in features to traktor and vdj. Might be nice to mention Serato though.

    • DJ Ron

      Hm… 2 deck Itch control in a 4 deck (or more) world?
      Forget it!

  • Andy

    You may as well compare Pixelmator to Photoshop – both fine apps, but there’s only one that the pro will use. Virtual DJ is a product for bedroom mixers to play with, Traktor’s a serious professional product for professional DJs.

    • DJ Ron

      I think you might mean posers verses proper dj’s.
      Virtualdj is sophisticated and stable.

  • DJ Ron

    Your assessment of the advantages of Traktor is wildly wrong!
    I use this program a lot.
    Mostly idiots who should not be let anywhere near a computer, particularly a Microsoft windows computer with its inherently unstable operating systems give VDJ a bad name.
    Virtualdj 7 is rock solid stable!
    Microsoft Windows is rubbish, It only becomes usable after shutting down most of its bullshit services.
    The only redeeming factor in Traktor are its excellent effects.
    However the use of third party midi controllers (Korg ect.) for effects and sampling in VDJ totally humbles the backward Traktor software.

    DO YOU GET IT?

    • DJ Ron

      I forgot a useful feature of Traktor, its compressor / limiter.
      Perhaps slightly better than VDJ but irrelevant if you use EQ’s for mixing or have hardware.

  • http://soundindustry.co.uk/ lavnya

    Fantastic Information !! I appreciate your blog.

  • juan bernal

    este programa esta estupemdo

  • Reticuli

    VDJ can look however you want it to look. Traktor cannot. VDJ has no limit to how much you can expand it. Traktor cannot be expanded or rearranged. Traktor sounds warm, bassy, and smoothed over. VDJ sounds flat and open. Traktor is marketed to a higher-end segment? Based on what? Traktor costs one-third the price. Sounds like they’re having difficulty selling it and every single upgrade.

    Traktor’s mapping system is also a pain in the butt. VDJ might use scripting rather than GUI, but you can do a lot more with it and faster. It’s only been in the last year that NI finally fixed the pitch bend jog issue in their Pro software.

    I have had more BSOD in Traktor Pro than any other DVS. It does not behave particularly well with pro audio interfaces. It also routinely stops recognizing controllers and mappings. And the stacked layout of both the decks and faders is retarded. I was too nice to Traktor in my Amazon review.

    My preferred DVS would be Torq 2 with better sound, but it looks like Avid might make the mistake of dropping that product. Avid is one update from winning the DVS race. Too bad. Perfect layout. Perfect mapping GUI. Very intuitive and direct. It’s close to flawless now except for the compressed, dark, sound processing.

    The other option for potentially unseating VDJ is a four deck version of Deckadance, if that ever happens. Image-Line are a bit obtuse, though, and have difficulty comprehending why anyone would want to mix in a third deck. WTF, dude. They literally asked me that on their forum. Not a user. The company guy. Best sound on the market though and very stable.

    Serato is disqualified from my system. Scratch is a bitch to map for and Rane is out to lunch when it comes to offering default mappings. Even Mixvibes and Image-Line do better in that regard. Itch is tied to hardware. Forget that. I will never dump that much money into Serato.

  • ade

    thx

  • Russ

    vdj is a clunky toy that can do video mixing and vst effects. the vsts are why its unstable.

    why do you care what the software looks like? real djs are looking at their hardware not waveforms and their interface.

    traktor pro just cant be beat. timecode, effects/chained, loops, remix decks, samples, recording deck, maps to any midi controller signal.

    I know djs who use both and they do them well, but vdj drives the mixing too much for my tastes. I need total control of every aspect of the mix or I dont use it. just my 2 cents.

  • Pingback: Virtual DJ Pro 7 vs Traktor Pro 2 | GospelDjs – Site Informativo Para Djs Evangelicos

  • http://www.gmail.com poxx

    i personally think virtual dj is a piece of shit!

  • http://sim ricardo

    100%

  • Brett

    I have used both for live performances. I think they are both really great products but the hardware they run on is critical. I think if one was to sit and battle PC vs Mac, we could be here all day. My opinion would be that if you are limited on your hardware, VDJ performs better on Windows and Traktor is awesome on a Mac. I have used VDJ with a numark stealth consol on a windows machine, never had any problems. Played 8 hour gigs and loved everymoment of it. I have now moved to the Traktor S4 but still run it on my windows machine. To be honest, i am on egg shells when i play coz it seems to have the odd glitch. I tried it on a friends apple, it was perfect. But i do have to admit that traktor with their controller has a very smooth feel compared to VDJ. Bottom line is, if you are on budget and only have a PC, go VDJ. However if you do have the money available, Traktor with Mac would be my advice.

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