Controller Clinic #27: Best Jogwheel-Free Traktor Set-Up?

Zomo MC-1000 review

The Zomo MC-1000 is designed to be tightly integrated with a standard-sized club mixer, for controlling Traktor in ‘external’ mode.

Digital DJ Tips reader Brian writes: “I am trying to put a home build together using Traktor. I was looking at the Pioneer DDJ-T1 but I am bit wary of its size and my use of the jogwheels would be limited. Really I like everything about the mixer on the T1 and its integration with Traktor, but I don’t think I’d need the jogs. I was also looking at the Pioneer DJM mixer series but am not totally clear on which can be Midi assignable. I’m also thinking of integrating such a mixer with Zomo MC-1000 to get the similar features of the T1 (minus the jogs).”

“Four channels is and a standard DJ mixer set up is the most important thing for me. My budget is about US$1000. I am not crazy at the build quality of Native Instruments’ own gear. I am an old school drum & bass DJ from back in the day so the Pioneer feel is a old friend of mine. Can you advise?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

The Pioneer DJM mixers are high quality metal items, but the DDJ-T1 is no better or worse build quality than Native’s gear, and the Native Instruments Kontrol Z2 is metal-built too (although only two “true” channels); just to let you know. Anyway, you can use any DJM mixer with the MC-1000. You don’t need the mixer to be Midi assignable as you use Traktor in “external” mode in this set-up, ie as a standard, analogue mixer. So the mixer therefore doesn’t control Traktor’s software mixer at all.

The Zomo MC-1000 has a four-channel sound card built in, so your mixer doesn’t need one of those either, so no need to go even for the Traktor-compatible DJM-850. If you could forfeit per-channel filters, the entry-level DJM-750 would be enough (or indeed a four-channel analogue mixer from any brand). In such a set-up, Traktor is then effectively a music library, with the MC-1000 acting as your transport controls for the four channels. You ought to be able to do this close to your budget.

Do you use a similar set-up? Are you a Zomo MC-1000 user? Do you use a Traktor set-up without jogwheels? or decks? Please share your experiences in the comments.

Comments

  1. I personally use two Allen & Heath Xone:K2’s to control Traktor (mixer is a DJM700). They’re more expensive, but I enjoy al the options they provide when it comes to mapping and routing sound; a lot of other DJs enjoy the F1/X1’S instead.

  2. Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

    I have a Denon X-1600 that is a great “regular” analogue 4-channel mixer, but about every button can be midi-assigned to control something in your software.

    Greetinx,
    C.

  3. Mauri Moore says:

    I hate the “Jogwheel-Free” concept .

    I can’t live without Jogwheels , i need jogs for all !

  4. genjutsushi says:

    Ive just gone down the ‘jogwheelless’ route and chosen an NI X1 and Z1 combination. Perfect lightweight solution and a good pairing with my Macbook Air. I have not missed a jogwheel once – as it has been stated many times, using Sync frees you to focus on other aspects of your performance.

  5. This jog wheel is a kinda virtual record, controllers such as this are only trying to emulate what digital djing has moved away from, the way I see it if you’re using jog wheels you’re kidding yourself on, now the credentials bit ; 20 odd years playing vinyl, 6 months on novation twitch.

    • DJ_ForcedHand says:

      +1 to this whole statement (I love my Twitch too).

    • Yes and no. I didn’t think I used my jog wheels much either so I purchased a Z1 to go with a X1 and F1 as kind of a modular setup. I still found myself reaching for the jog wheels a few times while practicing. Some times you need to start a track in a moment you really didn’t plan for with cue points and while “move” works with an encoder I still find it awkward. But to each their own.

  6. I have a mixed opinion on this while i my self find the concept of ”jogwheelless” DJing intriguing and very appealing since i do a lot of trance and EDM in general where jogs aren’t used much for anything i still wouldn’t give up my mixtracks jogs for 100 more mappable buttons and knobs.There is a serten pleasure to be taken from being able to start your set off with a little scratch.On the other hand though there’s ways to emulate that with buttons but all of them fail in comparison.I guess in the end it depends on the person weather they go ”jogwheelless” or not.

  7. I did forget to add that probably the biggest reasons that i wouldn’t give up my jogs is the nudge function,with buttons it can get way too fiddly,with a jog,somehow i nudge it just right every time first try.

    • DJ_ForcedHand says:

      There is another interface which works really well for tracks, the touchstrip. A lot of people say they could never get used to something like that, but they got used to their computer mouse or trackpad. The touchstrip is not only better, it takes up less space and almost every touchstrip I’ve seen has some sort of lighting interaction. Give a touchstrip a chance, you might not want to go back.

      • I gave touchstrips a chance,demoed a novations twich for nearly two months,then i turned around and bought mixtrack permanently.It’s personal preference some people can use touchstrips but for me they never worked out.My first experience with DJing was on my friends CD players,that might have something to do with why i prefer keeping my jogs.

  8. I don’t use jogweels too. I also own a xone k2 as a traktor controller and mix externaly in my xone db2 (or in an another mixer when there’s already one… in this case I use a ESI gigapass to route the audio in the mixer’s 4 channels). But I mapped a lot of bpm and phase controls on my k2…

  9. hia there !
    i recently bought a djm 850 cause my s4 deck broke down for the 3rd time in a year…..i managed to get my hands on a showmodel fro 1150 euro……i use traktor x1.but can`t wait to get my hands onthe new x1 mk2………but i do miss the jogwheels sometimes.i hope the mk2 will fill the gap…….i specially bought the djm for it`s new usb connection.. …and built in scard….no audio 10 or other interface is needed…..kinda brill actually !

  10. I use two x1’s and a ddm4000 with some midi mapped to the sample and mic sections.

  11. I’d love to play around on a 4MidiLoop. They are just sick beyond words :D

  12. Electrix Tweaker is the best non-jogwheels controller on the Market imho.

  13. Using a 4MidiLoop for about a year now, and after a short steep learning curve in the beginning it’s the only route to go for me now! ALL Traktor controls are direct accessible from the controller, not only the basic ones but also the ones you don’t use on a daily basis. I never have to touch the mouse or keyboard. Just perfect!

  14. I have tried so hard to lose the jogwheels.. I want to mix on my X1 with an external mixer, but I find I still want to nudge and fix a mix by ear and using buttons to try get a mix fitting better doesn’t work well for me.
    Maybe the touchstrip on the new X1 will be the answer for me.
    I find I have far more fun mixing on my S4 and fixing mixes with the jogs if I need to.
    I know I could zoom in and make sure I have grids and cues set properly for every track, but in reality I just let Traktor do it’s best at setting a grid and if it’s off I’ll mix by ear.
    I also really struggle to mix into tracks that another DJ is playing from CD using my X1 and trying to set tempo and nudge tracks with buttons.. can’t just hit sync and make that work! too much muscle memory using platters and pitch control to mix I guess, but I’m really hoping that the touchstrips on the X1 are the answer for me to go jogless

  15. SmiTTTen says:

    Had the S4 but have just moved onto Z2/Z1+ 2 x F1s with a custom mapping for when i’m not using them as remix decks. This is a new set up so it will be interesting to see how well it work.

    https://sphotos-b-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/1003735_10200873947105029_30045477_n.jpg

    I will say this, “needing” jog wheels in a controller-based set up is like being a vegetarian and still needing meat substitutes like Quorn.

  16. Adam K. says:

    I primarily use my jobs to set accurate loops when I use my Denon MC6000. On my mini set-up with the Xone K2, I’ve midi-mapped one of the rotary encoders to the jog-wheel function (‘jog-turn’ in traktor) and it works well enough to replace the jog wheel for my needs. I don’t believe you could do the with the Pioneer DJM 850 because of the lack of rotary encoders but with the Denon 1600 I think that there is an extra bank of encoders that can be mapped.

  17. DJ Ben Blayton says:

    Tim I agree. I noticed that with some music I use the jog wheels more then others. House I rarely use the jog wheels. Old school hip hop and rb I tend to use the wheels more. Well I am looking forward to working with jogless technology.

  18. I hade the DJM-T1 pioneer mixer… Really good mixer only setup, like it more than the Z2

  19. JonnyFlash says:

    I like the looks and design of the Faderfox line.

  20. lokoboy says:

    I am using my twitch and x1 loving this setup I have the touchpad as jog wheel and have remailed twitch turn use my pads as effect con role samples on deck c/d on filter play pause volume all I need.x1 as hotcu and more effect.the only thing of this setup I always need both the one fils the other. I usually travel with two laptop bags one 4 controller other 4 laptop

  21. I would love to not really on jog wheels but find it hard like others have said hip hop tend need it more than house.

    For the record i have done several events DJing with just a Traktor Z2. These were kinda more house music type event and my i kinda went in with a pre set playlist which where all beat grid well.

  22. Might Brian want a DJM T1 (the hybrid Traktor mixer not the controller)?
    Ok it’s only 2 channel (technically 4 as it does 2 sample decks control) but its the Pioneer look/feel/quality he would like, proper dedicated midi control over Traktor, built in soundcard (scratch approved) and with some simple extra button mapping you can add essential ‘jogless’ control over pitch bend, beat jump, tempo +/- and a dedicated filter knob, which is exactly what I’ve done with my own T1 (and happy to share the mapping TSI).
    I bought it for DVS use but it may replace my S4 now (plus an F1 for occasional remix deck fun). I’m learning to not rely on jogs (but still enjoy hip hop DVS sessions)

  23. i disagree with everyone. there is room in all genres of dance music for scratching. the problem is that people dont even bother with learning how to, and thus never learn all of the versatile scratch techniques and patterns, and thus never learn how to incorporate them into music, and in a tasteful that complements the song (with traktors remix decks there is plenty room for scratching)
    The moment someone things scratching, they think fast combos and volleys of overlayed sound like getting your ass kicked in mortal kombat, people dont even consider the fine wine of slow scratching. Scratching is best compared to learning a string instrument like a viola or cello or string bass. Your record hand doing the orbiting is just like the “bow” stroking a violin, and your mixer hand is just like your left hand holding the instrument and fingering the strings, only you are crabbing 2click-flaring cutting and even performing vibrato! Yes you can vibrato on a turntable! you very conservatively shuffle the pitch fader back and forth until you hear the type of vibrato you are looking for, it goes great with house music and electric guitar synths. This is why turntablism is using the turntables as an instrument, because it IS and all dj’s need to respect that especially hot-headed controllerists that have created a hostile divide between the two arts; Dj history classes should educate people so that this hostility can turn into mutual respect.

  24. Jermaine Haughton says:

    I purchased a kontrol s4, x1, f1, I am thinking of moving to the z1 , and sell my s4 what do you recommend if I am serious about djing technics and z1 or keep what I have.

    • Stop worrying about the gear and start worrying about the DJing. Seriously, get a few gigs playing with what you’ve got. If you’re not sure about an upgrade, then don’t make it – what you have is way powerful enough.

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