Reliability in the DJ world is huge if not everything. When you are on stage in front of hundreds or thousands of people, you do not want to worry about shoddy hardware. With Native Instruments’ current range of gear, hardware taking a dive is a real problem.
Lately in my local DJ circle I have been hearing countless USB port issues revolving around everything that Native Instruments’ produces. This includes but is not limited to the Kontrol S4, Audio10 interface, and X1 controllers. Many I know have complained about the USB port giving out and having to deal with NI’s horrible customer service. After they pass blame onto you for allegedly “mishandling” the unit, they offer to fix the problem with a waiting of weeks and sometimes over a month until you get a fix or replacement. That’s if it is still under warranty. When gigs are lined up this is unsatisfactory.
Rival company, Serato, is known around the DJ community as being reliable, especially in the hardware department thanks to Rane, and Native Instruments should be expected to take this seriously as well. I personally own the first version of Serato’s audio interface and it is as rock solid as the day I bought it. I see DJ’s treat their Serato box like crap and it still works. I honestly want a new Serato Scratch interface but am holding out till my current one breaks. I might be waiting a long time.
Now let’s get something clear. I am not a Serato fanboy or any type of fanboy to be honest. I like Traktor and love it for it’s looping, effects, and multiple configurations. One thing that Traktor has done to me though is crash. Serato has never crashed on me, even with an aging underpowered PC laptop. This is definitely something great that Serato has going for it.
Even on the new Traktor Z2 mixer, issues were popping up the first day it was out. People left and right were complaining about units being “dead on arrival”. Others have claimed the units failed after only weeks. Not cool especially for a $800 mixer. I’ve bought mixers for a hundred dollars, ten years ago, that still work today.
For hardcore Traktor users that are into DIY, I suggest that you consider learning how to solder so you can fix the USB issue yourself. This will void your warranty, so that is one thing to consider before getting all “Frankenstein” on your gear. If you have never done anything like this then I suggest practicing on some other things first to build up your confidence. If your a pro then you might want to just replace the USB port now so it doesn’t give out while your mixing.
Of course the obvious fix would be for Native Instruments to get their shit together. Maybe in their next line of products they will get things right. I hope they do because it would be a shame for great technology to be pigeon held by a simple USB issue.
So what are your experiences with Native Instruments? Have you run into these problems? How about Serato? Leave your two cents in the comments below.