Traxxpad is great in concept, and *so close* in execution that it's all the more frustrating to watch it fall short at every turn. It's a lovely program and all, with some decent content, but the problem remains: it's not a game per se, and won't offer the lasting fun of a good game, but it cuts too many corners to serve any actual purpose for the musicians/DJs it targets.
Most of the reviews online target gamers, and focus on whether or not fiddling with this application will be enjoyable. Maybe I've been working with music software too long to provide a meaningful opinion there. If I want to have fun, I'll play a game. I wanted to know whether Traxxpad would allow me to use the PSP to do any meaningful work where/when a desktop or even laptop would be too cumbersome. The verdict at this point is no. Here are the reasons, and it's a little sad to see them enumerated like this, as some could have been very easily addressed. (I wonder whether Eidos ever put this in the hands of actual musicians to get their feedback.)
- Quantization is primitive, and NOT OPTIONAL. Quantization is always on, always set to 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, or 1/32. Have fun programming triplets...
- No reverb. Obviously, a full suite of FX wouldn't be a realistic expectation for a program of this scope. But beats comprised of quantized runs of short samples (and the "sustained" variety have no fades) would benefit HUGELY from even the cheapest reverb algorithm. VST's of these, and likely source code as well, are available for FREE all over the web. Ommission of reverb was a senseless mistake and someone's ears should have alerted them to that.
- Major workflow problems that should have become apparent in testing. For instance, no Undo button and therefore, jumping through hoops to, well, undo anything you don't like. Samples are replaced, not on the sample page, but on the kit page, which is unintuitive and requires many more screens and button presses than necessary. Every change to a kit takes you through a sequence of confirmation screens and then dumps you back out to the main view, so if you need to build a custom kit, you can expect it to take more or less forever. Issues like these can be dealt with if you're endlessly patient and have no alternatives... but they're not really acceptable.
- No MIDI. Exporting your work for further refinement in other PC/Mac applications is a great angle. Do some work on the train, get home and see where Garage Band or Sonar or whatever takes you. Traxxpad touches on this by letting you export MP3, but really, who wants MP3s of comprimised 11K or 22KHz samples? If they'd used MIDI (and perhaps they even do, under the hood) and allowed the user to import/ export as such, there may have been further uses for this product.
- Tiny displays. Minor annoyance, but I can't imagine why they used so much of the screen for superfluous junk instead of making the actual work areas (timeline of beats etc) much larger.
High hopes for Traxxpad II, maybe? But as it stands, this is mainly just a curiosity.