Traktor (Pro 2)
‘DVS at it’s finest’
I’ve been using Traktor for around 3 years now and the decision to use it was not one I took lightly. I had learnt my trade on vinyl and got enough ‘stick’ when I moved over to CD’s, so moving over to Traktor was bound to bring the comments. And sure enough it did. But I had my reasons to switch and I have not looked back since. For me I had just started my first residency and I needed to have over 5 hours worth of fresh music each week. This can and was done on CD’s but I when I met and played alongside DJ’s who were using either Traktor or Serato I could see the potential. It was so much easier for them to find a tune and have it cued and ready to play than it ever was for me, even after spending hours learning all the track lists on my CD’s. So this for me was the final push in my decision, the ability to have over 10’000+ tunes at my fingertips and find them within seconds. Most of the DJ’s I played alongside were using Traktor over Serato so for me the decision was easy. I am yet to properly use Serato so it would be unfair for me to compare and even review it, so for now I will stick with Traktor.
Firstly, as there are so many different ways to use and set up Traktor I will explain how I use mine, if you talk to any other DJ who uses the software I’m sure they will have a slightly different experience of the software. This is one of the best things about a DVS system like Traktor, weather you have 10 years experience or 1 week you can almost jump straight in and use it. I control my decks via timecode through my CDJ’s and use the software solely as a ‘record crate.’ On screen I have a simple setup with two decks focused on the waveforms and my library underneath. One of the great things is the customisation of this view, you can have two or four decks displayed, an on-screen mixer complete with eq controls and even customise the look of your waveform! Due to the way I have Traktor setup there will be features I don’t use so cant give a true review on them and besides, there are far too many to go through!
The layout of the screen can look a little daunting at first but once you break it down its really quite simple. Across the bottom of the window is your list of tunes. These can be broken down into different playlists which are all located down the left hand side of the screen. You are even able to link it directly with iTunes so you don’t even have to import all your tunes before you perform (although I would recommend it.) Above this is the main part of the software, your decks. Again these can be setup in many different ways to whichever way suits you best. In its most simple form you can have the main emphasis on the waveform with basic information surrounding it such as track name, time remaining, bpm and loop length. The most complex view gives you the most information, everything the DJ would need to know. Above each deck is the powerful in built effect units. Far too many effects to go through on here, needless to say they are great fun to play around with.
Concentrating on the beating heart of the software, your two (or four) decks its easy to see why Traktor is so popular with many of todays biggest and best DJ’s. The waveform itself can be customised by zooming in/out and allows the colour to be changed to best suit your needs. Cue points and loops can all be set pre mix and show themselves clearly on the waveform. When playing a track your main waveform will move along allowing you to clearly see the DNA of the track and whats coming up. Below this is the main overview of the entire track which you can use to establish upcoming drops/breaks and any setup you have done for that tune. When mixing in another tune an orange bar will appear above the main waveform, this is used to show weather your tune is out of time with the master deck. It will skip back and forth if your tune is at a different tempo or hang left or right of the centre line if your tempo is right but you just need to nudge it back into time. This allows the less experienced DJ’s to visualise the tunes as opposed to listening and beat matching in their headphones. The sync and master buttons are just to the left of this bar if that needs to be turned on at any point.
Traktor contains so many more features than what I have been through here and I will do further reviews on the software in the future. This article would be far too long for me to go through all of them. However my last couple are by far my favourite. The first is a button which is becoming more common in its appearance and use. Quantize. This button allows all features to become ‘locked’ to the beatgrid of your master tune. This allows all loops and cue points to stay in time even if you are slightly off (and being honest who wouldn’t want a tighter mix not let down by a slight mistake.) This feature goes hand in hand perfectly with another one of my favourites. Flux Mode. Flux Mode allows the tune to continue on in the background even when your using other features. Loops, spin backs, reversing of the track will all jump back to where the tune should have been as if you hadn’t of done them. Cue points also work to by pressing and holding and as soon as you lift your finger off the track again jumps back. This is great for really chopping your tunes up and making your mix a little different from the norm. Lastly is Keylock. This handy feature is great for DJ’s who play a mixture of genres in their set or want to play tunes with high bpm differences. Keylock means if you speed up or slow down the tunes it won’t have a effect on the pitch, this makes the biggest difference with vocals. It now allows you to play two tunes, with vocals, that have a large bpm difference. No longer will you have those dreaded ‘Micky Mouse vocals’.
Apologies to any Traktor users who can see massive gaps I have left out in terms of features but there are far too many too go through! But if anyone one is new to Traktor and wants to know anymore information please feel free to leave a comment and I will be in touch.
Any questions or comments please feel free to leave. Thank you.