Saturday, 18 October 2008

Traktor Pro




Finally! Cover artwork support in the new update (or in this case of Native Instruments it's called Crate Flick, whatever) ... my last complaint about digital DJing – browsing for music – is now sorted out. Minisite with videos of the new interface here.

Although my favourite new addition ... Mulholland Drive :)

12 comments:

DJ MELEE said...

I am currently in a state where I am about to move to laptop using traktor from CDJ's. I even started a little post on my blog djmelee.com/blog asking for any input and have received some decent feedback. Dan, do you believe traktor is the best way to go if you're going to laptop? Are you using it now? Anyone have any input for a DJ that is hesitant about making the move from CDJ to laptop? pros, cons, slap in the head?

DJ MELEE said...

I am also told from one of the product specialists that the upgrade to the traktor pro includes the following treats:

"There are 2 effects units, and you can assign each deck to either one or both. The effects unit can either be 'advanced' or 'chained' where advanced is advance settings and tweaks for one effect and chained is 3 effects slots in one, so you can for example run a stutter effect into a reverb into a phaser. In the chained effects unit each effect is simplified into one button or knob. The other thing is each channel has a filter that's seperate from the effects unit and emulates the djm 800 filter. It also has the allen and heath filter if you prefer it. So basically if you wanna get crazy you can have 7 effects on each deck!

Traktor can also send and RECEIVE midi now so you can slave it to whatever sends midi."

elite force said...

"So basically if you wanna get crazy you can have 7 effects on each deck!"

And you'd want to do that because ....

Seriously I've yet to see or hear anyone doing a laptop set that's been truly fresh, dynamic, involving or exciting. I'm not saying it can't be done and I'm sure there are people out there making it work, but I like to see some physicality and some energy from my DJs and more often than not the laptop comes across as a barrier to that.

DJ MELEE said...

Which is one of the main reasons holding me back from this whole thing. I feel that my ADD in the DJ booth might be compromised by staring at a laptop screen rather than having that physicality and energy that you mention.

hmmm.

disuye said...

Referring to physicality being lost with laptops, and to some extent that's true. But laptops are so common right now, most people on the dance floor don't care anymore. Bands complained about DJs being boring to watch 20 years ago ... only a matter of time before the next bit of technology appears and Laptop DJs start ripping on that :)

Software choices. Tried most of them. Vinyl emulation, fun, good for the old boys, I find it utterly pointless and a complete distraction away from the benefits of the software.

Depends how much preparation you wanna do. Ableton requires lots. Traktor requires none. Both results are the same. Live does allow integration of virtual instruments. If you want jam freestyle, then go that route. Sync'ing Traktor to anything but itself has been problematic in my experience.

After nearly four years use I switched away from Ableton Live 4 to Traktor Scratch (2 decks & vinyl control) then shortly after upgraded to Traktor Studio (4 decks) using a Xone:1D for control about a year ago. Best combo. No need to touch the laptop at all, fire 4 decks/channels into a decent mixer and you've got a pretty flexible set-up. Incidentally, Traktor is now the backbone for a new live project I'm doing. Traktor forces you to take a few risks whereas Ableton is so locked down it's BORING AS HELL to use.

Laptop DJ effects are absolute cheese. A subtle delay or reverb wash here & there, but that's about all is necessary. Ignore them, they will make you sound derivative! DJM600 flanger anyone?

I am a sucker for looping and re-arrangement, swapping elements between tracks etc... Impossible on vinyl (without using a sampler ... which is a computer in a different box!) and difficult at best on a pair of CDJs. Forget four decks manual beat-matching.

sHack - I know you do a lot of re-editing, I really thought you'd be jumping on Traktor, which allows you to do all that, in the booth, with absolute ease.

elite force said...

"sHack - I know you do a lot of re-editing, I really thought you'd be jumping on Traktor, which allows you to do all that, in the booth, with absolute ease."


Why on earth would I want to do re-edits on the fly in the booth though? Surely you'd do a much better job doing them beforehand where you can consider & program properly, and leave the DJ sets to focus on working the original material into a fresh shapes & blends? When I hear laptoppers ' getting creative' with elements of tracks 'on the fly', it is invariably much worse than the original track.

disuye said...

Yeah - for sure - you can do a more a thoughtful job in the studio beforehand. But I never sit down on a Monday thinking "oh this tune could do with sorting out" ... I'd rather have a poke at one of my own than attempt to fix someone elses.

What happens to tunes in the future (in terms of re-editing or even if they get played again at all!) very much depends on how the previous crowd reacted.

If they didn't dig that 8 minute long oboe solo (the reason I bought the track ... hmmm), then it gets shortened next time around. Or a drum loop and fat kick get added.

You must have heard a right batch of fricking awful laptop DJs to keep writing this off :)

No disrespect intended at all fella - we've been chatting for years on this and I know you love doing what you do and how you do it :)

Endo said...

CD's are really going to be a thing of the past soon.

Elite Force - I know you must get TONS of tunes every week. Do you really sit down and burn all of them to CD? Think about what you could be doing in that time.

Also, think about the time it takes to unload the track, put it in the right cd case, flip through your CD book and find the next track, remember the track ID, put the track in the CD player, cue up the track, and then play it.

I have my traktor set up so I can search by any field (key, BPM, Genre, Artist etc) in one button. I have a button that loads the track into the deck AND loads it to a special cue point called a load marker so it is automatically cued where I want it, and synced to the same BPM as the track playing. One button.

As far as remixing goes, dance music is mostly in 32 bars, so I have a hotkey to go forward or back 32 bars so I can skip through parts quickly, and without any pause in audio.

As far as having 7 effects on each deck, the reason why its cool to have that is I have 7 buttons (hotkeys) each button turning on a seperate effect. In Traktor Pro you can save snapshots of your effects so when you turn them on they are all at the values you want them (ex. Delay on 1/4 note, Gater at 16th note, Reverb on midway, Filter LFO on 1/4 note, Mohalland Drive on medium distortion, Turntable effect on Auto Rewind and Filter set to Low Cut). There's 7 effects, 7 buttons, that I can quickly change between and combine.

Also I want to point out that Native Instruments is famous for their sound design products and effects, so these aren't cheesy DJ effects. These effects are designed by the best of the best and sound AMAZING in clubs.

I personally have not seen one good Ableton DJ ever. They are usually trapped in their computer screens. Traktor makes the computer transparent. Its all about programming it to your workflow before the gig, and when you get there, you're ready to rock.

Speaking of which... I'm not sure if they've announced this yet, but with the new Traktor you can actually save all your settings in one file... so I could send you guys my Screen Layouts, Hotkeys, MIDI settings, Audio Preferences, Effects Defaults, and Preference Settings in one small file. This wasn't possible before.

So this saves a ton of time programming everything. If any of you want I can send you my settings for Traktor Pro to get you going. These are the same settings that Dubfire, Victor Calderone, Grandmaster Flash, Nic Fanciulli, James Zabiela and a bunch of other Traktor DJ's will probably be using.

If anyone needs any help getting going, let me know!

makemassair | DVNT said...

I've had Traktor Scratch a few months now having been vinyl for years and then experimenting with Ableton for a while, and Ableton is a lot of work. Which is fine if your more a producer in your mindset. I'm not.

Traktor is fun to play with, which is an important factor to consider. You should enjoy what you're doing.

Anyways. Looking forward to checking this out. Any idea of when it's coming?

Endo said...

November 1st

disuye said...

Ableton is better suited for pre-meditated performance. It can be a bit too much painting by numbers when it comes to DJing.

Traktor is really all about putting your tunes on a laptop and going for it. You can prep if you want (as you mention Endo, Cue Points and stuff like that) but the program works perfectly fine if decide not to do anything ahead of the gig. I like that.

The trick with laptops is restraint. 7 effects per deck, 4 decks at once ... are all options, not mandatory requirements. There are 70 plug-ins with Logic Pro and I would never even dream of using them all in the same song, let alone on the same channel.

> Seriously I've yet to see or hear anyone doing
> a laptop set that's been truly fresh, dynamic,
> involving or exciting.

Aside from Danton Eeprom's mixed live/ DJ set ... I haven't seen anything fresh, dynamic, involving or exciting on traditional DJ gear for ages either! Laurent Garnier in 2001 followed by Danton this year were the last two notable deck & gear sets I saw that stuck with me.

BBS said...

I've been using a Denon DN-HS5500 along with Traktor as my main rig for gigs and web radio. I can honestly say it has not changed the way I bounce about in the booth!! Yes, some DJ's hide behind a laptop set up like they're checking email or something, but I still mix with my ears not eyes. I feel it's no different to glancing down at a platter cueing up your trusty old vinyl!!