Home Forums DJing Software degrading Traktor sound quality when using pitch

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    Jeroen Dartee

    Hello Digital DJ’s,

    Can you please help me to improve my sound quality while using pitch in Traktor.
    I use “Keylock On” all the time with either MP3 (320), FLAC or WAV files, and notice music/sound quality deformation everytime I change the speed of a track. What I hear is that the sound, especially voices and bass, become ‘thinner’ and thus become more in the background somewhat.
    However, when the track is not speed up (+0), it sounds much better and normal.
    What can I do to improve this, so my sound quality doesn’t go bad every time I use the Pitch-sliders?

    My gear:
    1. PC with specifications:
    – Asrock Z68 Extreme 7 Gen3 Motherboard
    – Intel Core i5-3550 CPU (3,3 GHz), CPU load is never above 60%, usually more like 25% while playing Traktor, and in the Bios settings: I turned off all the C-states, Thermal Throttling, Speed Stepping and Turbo Boost.
    – 16 GB Memory
    – Several SSD’s (OS Windows 7 – a ‘fresh’ clean install, and the other ones for my music files)
    – passive nVidia Videocard 2GB DDR3 (needs only 300 Watt Power Supply)
    – 350 Watt Be Quiet 80Plus Power Supply
    – No Internet access (offline)
    2. Reloop Terminal Mix 4 – fully updated with the latest firmware of Reloop – with the built-in soundcard at 48000 Hz, because at 44100 Hz the deformation in sound quality is even worse).
    Latency currently is 144 and 3 ms overall (3 ms Processing and 0 ms output)
    3. Ableton Push 1 (as an extra Midi Controller with the Trash Mapping – http://www.flosaic.com/trash/ )

    As a test I changed my Reloop soundcard with a Focusrite Saffire (legacy) external Firewire Soundcard at 48000 Hz (and also at 96000 Hz) to compare with using my built-in Terminal Mix soundcard, but the same sound deformation occurred.

    Do I need to optimize my software better or is it a hardware problem?
    I followed Native instruments tutorial, except for the Latency Monitor program:

    Can you please help me to improve a stable sound quality?
    I would really appreciate it.

    Frederick Masters

    If Keylock is on, you’re changing Tempo using Time Stretching.

    I have a completely different setup from you. Laptop/Software/Controller/Soundcard, all different, and I can hear the same thing on my rig. When critically listening with good headphones, anything more than a 5% change doesn’t sound as good. I’m not sure if it would be as noticeable DJing live, but like you, I don’t like it.

    So, I try stay within that 5% change limit. Songs that I know I will have to change more than that, I’ve created custom edits in my song editing software, changing the Tempo in the entire song. You can do this in Audacity (free) but there are better sounding software programs for this.

    Serato Audio Research began with a software program for DAW’s that does this. The same (or similar) algorithm is in the optional Pitch’N Time plugin that can be used in Serato DJ in a live situation. I have no personal experience with it. I’ve “heard” it’s good, and it uses a lot of CPU.

    Jeroen Dartee

    Thank you for your response. It is good to know I’m not the only one experiencing this and that my problem with Traktor 2.11 has a name: Time Stretching. It is true that when I change the tempo more, the sound becomes worse.
    I experience this even within the 2% range, but maybe my ears have become sensitive to this after I noticed it.
    I believe the degradation is noticeable DJing live, since I experienced this during the end of my last performance, but nonetheless how do other DJ’s deal with this? I don’t think they change the Tempo of each entire song by using other software like Audacity so they can use it in Traktor, but I’m sure you don’t believe this either. It is a good workaround though for emergencies and small pieces. I own Ableton Live 9 Suite, which also has the ability to change the master tempo after warping so probably no need to use Audacity, but thanks for the tip.
    Interesting to know that Serato has the Pitch’N Time plugin, but I think Traktor should also be able to reach the same quality of sound while changing tempo, because many professional DJ’s use Traktor. I wonder how they acheive this. Your response concerning Serato´s Pitch’N Time and it using a lot of the CPU, makes me wonder whether my CPU, which should be good enough, is actually working at full speed all the time. I’ll have to find out how to check this and improve this if needed, but I’m not completely sure whether that will fix the problem. Maybe it does.
    I’m interested to know whether this problem occurs with Apple laptops? Can anyone tell me?
    -> Thanks again for your help. I’ll keep you and everyone interested posted.


    Pitch’N Time is good. As is the built-in time stretching in the new Denon Prime SC5000 players.

    I agree with Hanginon that up to about 5% it shouldn’t be noticeable to a degree that the floor notices. After that it can become an issue and probably WILL become an issue at higher %.

    Expensive DAW’s have better time stretching options. You could, theoretically time-stretch in a good DAW (we are talking ProTools level, not Audacity!) and then bounce it to a new track, i.e. save it at the new speed. Lot of work though and it will still only give you ONE new speed.

    Jeroen Dartee

    @DJ Vintage:
    Thank you for giving feedback about Pitch’N Time. It sounds good in Serato I understand, but I don’t own Serato (yet) and changing software isn’t my first choice at the moment, even though my Reloop Terminal Mix 4 is originally designed for Serato.
    So what to do about Traktor? There should be a way to use the Time Stretching procedure in Traktor without a problem.
    For now I will stay within the 5% range. Thanks for confirming!

    Phill Renyard

    If your CPU is powerful enough maybe the time stretching option is on ECO rather than HiQ in the preferences- that might potentially make a difference to the sound if you haven’t checked that, just a thought in case you haven’t checked it yet

    Jeroen Dartee

    In Traktor in “Preferences” the option Keylock HiQ is chosen (standard ‘out of the box’), I didn’t change that.
    Is that okay and what you mean?

    I tried some other things in the BIOS and installed Windows all new (from the installation disc), and will let you guys know in the coming days what I found out.


    Thanks for the update and good luck!

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