7 Tips & Tricks For Using Traktor Like A Pro

Traktor Pro 2 Tips Tricks

Enough going on for ya? Now it's time to tame some of those features...

With its mammoth configuration section, cockpit-style advanced display modes, and myriad buttons, dials and faders, Traktor Pro 2 has a control for just about everything a DJ could possibly want or need to do.

Here are seven power tips for making the most of the program. From keeping Traktor running smoothly to getting the most from some of its advanced features to using functions in unusual or original ways, there's bound to be something here you've not thought of yet...

1. Correcting auto-beatgridded songs when they're off by a beat or two

The quickest fix for this is to find the first beat of the song by either using a jogwheel or clicking with a mouse. When you have this selected, click cue point 2 (found in advanced deck view then cue points) and go to the arrow beside "cue". Click this and click "load", then click the "map" button to the right of this and click on your white grid marker. It means you will only be using one cue point, and also when you load the song it will now be right at the start of the first beat/the melody.

2. Using the loop recorder to free up your decks

It took me a while to figure out a use for the loop recorder, but basically this is the way I use it nowadays. I have it set up with two decks and two FX decks (due to screen size and mixing style). So say I have two songs playing a nice tune together that has gelled well. If it's getting near the end of the songs and I don't want to stop one to load a new song, I'll set the loop recorder to an eight-bar loop and hit "record". (Once done you may get phasing so be quick to pause both decks and just let the loop recorder play.) This frees up both decks to mix in the next song.

Then just fade out the volume of the loop recorder and start again. (I do this all with my mouse since I don't have it in my mapping yet, maybe one day on the iPad I will though...) Remember to practise this lots before you try it live as it is quite easy to mess up, but if you know how it works it can be fun and a lifesaver too.

3. Finding the snap and quantise functions

Traktor Pro 2 Snap & Quantise

Ah, so they're the S & Q underneath the MAIN volume know. Thanks!

Many people for some reason struggle to locate these. These two buttons are located under the main volume knob labelled "S" and Q". I tend to leave S on most the time bar when setting cue points. If you want to set a cue point not on a beatgrid (usually in dubstep for me) you have to turn off snap.

Quantise is rather handy for cue point juggling, as it basically keeps your song in tempo and ensures you land perfectly on the beat (I think of it as an advanced sync mode).

4. Letting Traktor sort your gains out for you

A lot of people don't trust software to judge gain for them, but the auto gain mode in Traktor has to be one of the best I've ever used. To engage it, go to Settings > Mixer > Level and then click "Set auto gain when loading tracks".

The next song you load is set by the last track's peak volume (but be careful not to turn up a track if it's just in a build-up as when it drops it may distort). Traktor will usually set the gain levels just before the limiter to get the most out of reach track.

5. Using the keyboard for FX select

Traktor Pro 2 configuration

Are you ready to start mapping your keyboard in the Traktor Pro 2 configuration settings?

This is something I use that few people seem to do. Basically I don't really need to use my laptop keyboard for anything else when using Traktor, so I have a few keys set to be FX auto load. I currently have the keys S for beatmasher (sampler), D for delay, F for filter 92 and G for gater on FX deck 2. This means while playing I can quickly load FX without having to use a jogwheel or my mouse.

To do this for the gater (for example), go to Settings > Controller manager > Generic keyboard.

Click Add in - FX single - FX select - Type of control = button - Interaction mode = direct, Assignment = deck 2 (you can use any), Set to value = gater. Click learn and hit G.

Just do the same for any key with any FX you want; it's just that I use those above the most.

6. Adjusting latency for smoother running

I've heard a lot of people saying Traktor can be glitchy at times and usually the first thing to pop into my head when this happens is to check if the latency is set way too low.

To adjust this, go to Settings > Audio setup and locate the latency slider. Slowly move the yellow slider to the right; even one notch may fix your problem (but keep note of original settings).

7. Using the advanced delay to create a loop roll effect

You may already use this or think it's old but I love it too much not to mention it! You basically load an advanced delay into either of the FX decks and set it up so Wet/dry is at 0, Filter is at 0, Feedback is around 50 and Rate is either 1/4 or 4/4 (I prefer 1/4), then leave "frz" ticked. When you want to use it, just press "on".

It will loop the current part of the track until you hit the "on" key again to toggle it off, but meanwhile the track has carried on playing in the background.

• Steven Power (Mr Stifffy) is an electro and dubstep DJ, and a "Traktor fixer" for some of Ireland's best club DJs. Why not visit his SoundCloud page?

Do you have any power tips for Traktor you'd like to share with us? Have you used any of these successfully in your sets? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments

  1. DJ Max D. says:

    Great stuff, I hope you are planning some more advanced stuff on this subject..

  2. Re: no. 6 – what if your latency slider won’t budge? I’m using the S4 if that’s any difference.

    • barereklame says:

      I use the internal soundcard of my DN-X1700, and I need to change the latency for the ASIO driver through the software for the mixer. That changes the delay in Traktor.

      I’ve never used the S4, but I’d be puzzled if the same kind of procedure wouldn’t apply. (I’m guessing you’re not using some other kind of soundcard for your output, of course.)

    • DJ Phaidon says:

      I also use the S4, and you can mess with the latency. If I remember right, I think mine’s set at 256 @ 96000 and it works very smooth.

      • Will Marshall says:

        Why 96000? That’ll increase your CPU load, but your source audio will be at 44.1khz, so you’ll actually be upconverting all the audio.

      • barereklame says:

        @Will Marshall, “Why 96000?”

        I can’t speak for Phaidon, but for myself, I occasionally use some files that are 24/96. More importantly for miost users, all realtime effects will be rendered at whatever bitdepth/samplerate you’re using. 24/96 will sound better with some, but not all effects. If the effect generates new audio (i.e. a flanger or phaser), it’ll be affected.

      • Will Marshall says:

        @barereklame

        For FX I would use 88 for a clean *2 convert. Converting from 44.1 to 96 isn’t straightforward, and as I recall actually involves quality loss depending on the implementation.

        Where are you getting 24/96 files from? Your own production? I’m usually working with 24/44.1 files, and I’ve found that surprisingly few producers are working above 44.1.

        (A little cynical of me, but I’m not at all convinced that the difference between 96khz and 44.1khz flange or reverb are audibly differentiable, even in a studio. I certainly can’t do it, having just tried!)

        ((That said, if you’ve got the CPU for overkill, overkill is good :) ))

      • DJ Phaidon says:

        yep, barereklame hit it on the head. Vinyl rips in lossless. I prefer that quality, but rarely can I find most of my music in 24/96, so I just keep it at the higher quality. I have also noticed that the latency decreases substantially at higher sampling rates, at the cost of higher CPU usage. This is usually not a problem though running only traktor on a 2 year old, fastest at the time macbook pro.

      • As a producer and dj, I can tell you from my own experience (and friends) that the quality change in putting it up to 96 is hardly worth the CPU load. Even in a studio environment you’ll bearly hear a difference, let alone in the club or event. Especially as your keeping it at 256, quality at 44.1 will be great! If you have the CPU to spare, why not mess about with 96, I’d just be sceptical about using demanding effects on top without it stuttering, all just my opinion tho, what ever works for you :)

    • You adjust the latency for all the other NI sound cards in the soundcard control panel, I assume the S4 is no different.

      Go into your start menu and to native instruments, there should be a driver control panel in there.

      You shouldnt need to change anything but the latency and buffer size to acheive the perfect balance for your machine.

  3. barereklame says:

    #7:
    “[…]Wet/dry is at 0, Filter is at 0, Feedback is around 50 and Rate is either 1/4 or 4/4 (I prefer 1/4), then leave “frz” ticked. When you want to use it, just press “on”.”

    Doing it this way will too often create a small delay between engaging the effect and the freeze triggering. If you had the rate at 4/4, that is the amount of delay you would get, as engaging the effect would then need to sample the next 4 beats before being able to reproduce them in a delay.

    If you on the other hand keep the effect engaged (as if you had an external effect unit on send/return), and keep the wet/dry at 0, you can press “FRZ” for an instant freeze. Keeping the delay engaged also ensures you can use it whenever you need it for other stuff, as the audio for whatever rate you’ve specified will already be sampled.

    • mr stifffy says:

      for the effects question ive never had a delay but yes, you can do either :) on effect and press frz or frz on and turn on the effect… should have really added you can then stop the deck and leave it playing and load a new song in.

    • dj distraction says:

      Barereklame, can we have a dedicated article about effects? I’m sure Phil will agree too.
      I’ve been waiting for a DDJT article for this.
      I’m interested in using proper effects to enhance build ups and drops.

      • Until ddjt writes a dedicated effects article you should check out Djtt – I mean Ean is like the effects guru and they have plenty of articles on using effects to enhance drops an build ups.

      • Mr stifffy says:

        I would love to also help contribute to this, what would you guys be looking for? Effects uses and situations?

    • Its also a good idea to save your advanced effects presets, ready to go next time round.

      When you find that ideal set of values that you love, theres a small save symbol next to the advanced FX deck on light. Click this and the next time you load, or reset the values you’ll get exactly where you need to be :)

    • I’ve always wondered why there was a delay when i did it this way. Thanks, that really helped!

  4. Some good tips I feel it could have been written a little better. I’m not the best writer in the world but I felt as if it needed to have things cleaned up and clarified. Such as when describing the Advanced Effect in Tip 7 you go on to say You basically… well that’s a little vague especially when setting up effects either you do it like “this” or it does’t generally work. Same thing with the parameters where you said around 50. I’m really picky when it comes to stating mapping settings. If your not crystal clear people will always try it and some will mess it up and it will either not work or worse break something. Again though some great tips there.

    • Mr stifffy says:

      Sorry about my writing im a dj and not a writter :p but yes will keep that in mind for future. By the around 50 I pretty much meant experiment and see what sounds best but I should of clarified it more :)

  5. I do not see what you try to achieve in point 1.
    You do not change your beatgrid with that, you just change the starting point … on top of that the “map” state is not saved into the song. If you load it later on the both cue markers are still there (the beat grid marker and the load marker). If you want to change your beatgrid, you delete your grid marker, you set a cue on the 1s beat of a bar, hit cue-hotstart X and change the style to grid. If you want that your song always starts from somewhere else you set another cue marker and change the property to load.
    When the auto beatgrid is off, I always use hotcue 8 as gridmarker, that way hotcue 1-4 which are mapped directly in my MIDI controller can be used for more interesting things.

    I would use the beatslicer for the roll effect you describe. In advanced mode of course … parameters to play with are way more interesting.

    • Mr stifffy says:

      Sorry I didnt clarify I meant if grid was offline like starting on beat 2 etc that was what I usually did, just a quick way that you know its going to load in the same place next time or at least it does on mine :) you can use these your own way but its just ideas I had floating around my head to either help beginners or give others a different view :)

  6. hi,
    Iv got TSP2 iv been trying to use four decks cdjs and 1200s but having no luck what so eva and it not from lack of trying. im running audio8 sound card and trying to run four deck but cant get a handle of c and d using cdjs some one please help me????

  7. One thing that makes a huge difference if you are on a Windows 7 machine, is turning off WiFi. There is an issue (that I hope is sorted soon) where the scanning for WiFi networks causes Traktor to glitch a bit.

    Annoying if you need WiFi, but I get around it by connecting my iPhone via cable, and letting the phone be the WiFi connection.

  8. Good article! This is a great introduction to the some of the key areas in Traktor that users need to understand. As far as FX, latency, and beatgridding are concerned – these are subjects that can be written about and discussed in a LOT of detail and probably aren’t appropriate for a quick tips section anyway.

  9. shaun jenkins says:

    Hi Guys and dolls,
    I purchased in Jan 2011 The Numark mixdeck which came with Traktor LE, i ran it for some time then i was sent a update from NI for Traktor LE Pro 2, i run this on a HP G56 win 7 with 500gb 64bit, anyway took it out on the road used it for a couple of times then noticed a problem, when mapping to the mixdeck, i noticed i could not use the time feature on mixdeck, the platters acted strange also, you only had to gettly touch the platter and the track would go straight to the end of the track, the scratch feature played up as well, also the pitch control did a dicky fit on each deck, The pitch slider on the software was all the way to the bottom so tracks playing fast, i could not move it, i have reverted back to Traktor LE and all the features are back and working fine, i have made sure all updates are upto date and the firmware is up to date as well.A ny suggestions please cheers? it took me a long while to convert to digital djing started on Vinyl then cds, i am losing faith with dj software at the mo but i dont want to carry tones of cds.Many thanks Dj Jenko Thirsk Sound and Light.

  10. Eky metal says:

    Great hope there is more on the way !!!
    d[-.-]b

    • mr stifffy says:

      erm Chris sorry about the late reply, a few things I will suggest not making it sound like im talking down to you but sometimes people miss the simplist things :)….
      first thing id do is make sure the big knob in the second picture above called “main” is turned up a little.. some people make this mistake a lot…
      the second is if you are using an internal soundcard the go to you audio settings and check levels on the likes of “line” and “aux” are turned up a bit incase the signal is being routed through these.

      check what the outputs are in the main audio settings as it might be getting routed through channels not used so play about with these and see.

      message your laptop specs and what soundcard you use…

  11. I’m currently working on a 3 page fully responsive TouchOSC iPad layout mimicking two CDJ 1000s and a mixer. Due to differences in the way they work, there is plenty of spare room for effects and recording controls, and I doubled the number of hotcues. Hope to release it soon!

  12. Mate could you upload a video about transitions between tracks?? anybody could help out on different transitions in traktor

  13. Hi guys I really need help to understand n put it on practice( first language Spanish ) my English it’s not that bad but videos along with with the writing will help me better… Pls someone tell me if there is videos the I can see and fallow? I have rheumatoid artritis and i need a job like this deejaying that help me cover bills, I’m a husband n father of 3 pls take me seriously…thank you.

  14. So sometimes Traktor will stop receiving MIDI data from my Beihringer CMD 4a controller board, but the music keeps playing live. When this happens live it’s a nightmare!! I usually have to come on the mic and bring the music down with my mouse and chit chat a second while I unplug/replug my board into the mac. Any idea what would cause this random fluke?? and how to fix it live without stopping the music (breaking the USB connection)?

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