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Traktor 2 Bible 2014 Edition Book Review

Last updated 6 March, 2019

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The Lowdown

A comprehensive and practical guide to all aspects of Traktor 2, with lots of hints, tips and workarounds. Not cheap, but pretty essential for power users.

First Impressions / Setting up

Got Traktor? Scratching your head over any or many of its often seemingly unfathomable features? Then the Traktor 2 Bible 2014 Edition is here to hopefully save your day. Written by Rainer G Haselier and Karl Yates, the book goes into every detail imaginable about this often complex piece of DJ software – and at over 500 pages long, we really mean it goes into every detail imaginable, bar one omission we could find.

As pointed out in the book’s preface, a lot has changed in the Traktor world since the first edition of the book as published in 2009. Back then Traktor was a software product, whereas now the software is at the heart of a range of products designed by Native Instruments to integrate ever-more-tightly with it; Native Instruments now has DJ controller of many shapes and sizes that use the software, and has added to it the concept of Remix Decks which have their own hardware.

Here’s a book that explains it all. From basic configuration (mappings, audio set-up, layouts) and simple tasks like loading and mixing tracks, the book moves through timecode setup (Traktor Scratch Pro 2), Midi setup, and advanced Midi mapping (modifiers, hotkeys, LEDs and macros). There are chapters on organising your tracks, how to use sync and beatgridding including syncing via the Midi clock with Ableton Live and Maschine, and how to correctly use cue points, hot cues (including Snap and Quantize), loops and the Loop Recorder.

Of course, brand new to Traktor since 2.5 is the Remix Decks concept, and so there’s a whole section in here to cover that, including creating and editing your own Remix Sets. But also relatively new is harmonic (key) mixing, and that’s included now too, including a discussion of the difference between key lock and key switch.

The book ends with a large section on Traktor’s effects, and advice on the many ways you can record your sets, including recording the microphone on the various different Traktor hardware that has a Mic input.

All the way through the book are neat tricks and workaround. Want to resurrect the punch-in feature from Traktor DJ Studio 3? Check. Like to set the Deck Focus with the crossfader? Here’s how. Assign an FX unit to a deck via mapping? It’s here, along with a score of other “non-official” tricks, and workaround for some of Traktor’s foibles and omissions.

Conclusion

This isn’t a book about how to DJ (although there are interesting asides that are certainly useful to anyone trying to learn the art of DJing, for instance a useful discussion of the importance of phrasing in mixing); it’s more a non-official manual. That means it can give opinions on features and offer alternative ways to do things that you wouldn’t expect to find in the official documentation.

Although some might say that it’s crazy that there’s a need for such a technical manual for a piece of DJ software, to be fair Traktor is a fully featured and ever-expanding program that – despite sometimes seemingly complicated for complicated’s sake – is capable of a hell of a lot in the right hands. This book fills a definite gap in the market for power users wanting not only a manual, but also access to updates and mappings via the tightly integrated website and community.

There is no mention of Traktor DJ for iOS or the sync between the two which is something I’d like to have seen covered, as many DJs use both pieces of software, but maybe as Native Instruments was having so much trouble with this feature at the time the book was (I guess) being edited, Rainer and Karl decided to play safe and leave it out! Apart from that though, it is a truly complete volume. If you’ve got Traktor and you want to know it inside out, there’s nothing better out there.

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