Bedroom DJ 101 (Traktor and it’s multiple configurations)

Chris Macom —  June 14, 2011 — 2 Comments

Hello everyone, and thank you once again for checking out The Detroit Techno House.  Today I am going to explain to you the multiple types of setups that you can have with Native Instrument’s Traktor Pro.  Many DJs in the Club have been using Traktor Scratch for a while now.  For everyone that has been living under a rock for the past few years, Traktor Scratch uses your standard turntable setup to manipulate tracks on your computer.  One thing some people don’t realize though is that you can use the software in multiple ways without turntables, cd players, or fancy gear.  For bedroom or house party DJs, there is nothing better than Traktor Pro because of this versatility.

Setup #1computer only

So all you have is a computer and you want to DJ.  Although this is not the most fun or tactile way to go about things, it can be done well.  Besides your computer you are going to need an 1/8 inch to RCA cable to hook up to your home stereo or speaker system and the Traktor Pro software.  Plug the 1/8 inch end of the cable into your headphone jack on your computer and the RCA end into your stereo.  Easy as pie.  There are some keyboard commands that will control the software for you, but I highly suggest going into the midi settings and mapping your own keyboard commands to make things better fit your mixing style.  Although you can use your mouse to click on all the different controls in the software, it is much easier to use your keyboard.  One thing to note is that Traktor needs to be setup in internal mixing mode and internal audio routing mode to do this.  When in internal mode the software will use more of your computer’s CPU which can cause skips and stutters in the sound if your computer is an older model.  This is even more an issue with Traktor Pro 2, so be careful and test it out first.

Setup #2 – computer + soundcard

For this setup you will need the Traktor software and an external soundcard with at least two outputs.  The best soundcard to get in my opinion would have to be Native Instrument’s Audio 2 DJ.  It hooks up via USB and has two outputs with cables to hook up to your mixer or stereo system.  You can plug your headphones into one output for monitoring and use the other output to hook into your stereo.  If you have a mixer than you can use the two outputs on the soundcard to route the audio through two mixer channels.  So basically you can have your two Traktor decks on their own mixer channel so you can use the mixer’s EQs and faders.  Make sure to put Traktor into external mixing mode for this setup though.  You can get an Audio 2 DJ for around $100.  It has pristine sound and is very reliable for club use.  Internal laptop soundcards can leave much to be desired in terms of output/volume and the Audio 2 is the easiest and cheapest way to fix this issue.

 

 

 

 

Setup #3 – computer + soundcard + midi controller

This setup takes setup #2 and simply adds a midi controller.  There are lots of different types of midi controllers out there to suit your particular taste.  If you are on a budget then take a look around your house and maybe find something useful.  Many aspiring producers have a midi keyboard like an Oxygen 8 laying around that is perfect for this application.  You will need to take a little time mapping out all of the controls, but it is really quite easy.  Another controller I like is DJ Techtool’s Midifighter.  It has 16 arcade buttons that can control many advanced functions in Traktor.  DJ Techtools also has mappings that they created so you don’t have to do the work yourself, and they are awesome.  It may sound funny to you but I have used other controllers and my favorite is still my old Oxygen 8 setup.  It does everything I want and is kinda punk.  There are also controllers with a built in soundcard for an all-in-one option.  Check out the Denon MC-6000 or the Traktor S4.  The Denon can also be used as a regular mixer and is built like a tank unlike other plastic controllers.  It is also possible to combine multiple controllers and get silly with it if you wish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

For the aspiring DJ or hobbyist there are many options out there to get you rockin.  Of course Traktor is just one route to go but is the best in my mind.  When your ready to go big, get yourself some turntables and combine them with midi control to use effects, looping, and cue points.  The best part about all of this is that if a piece of gear malfunctions then you have multiple backup options.  If your needle breaks then switch to midi.  If your midi breaks, you can still use your computer by itself.  If your computer breaks, then your fucked!  Use vinyl and stop wasting your time with this Orwellian technology.  On the real though, this is dope.  Use it and abuse it.

 


Chris Macom

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Chris Macom is a DJ, producer, and writer in the Detroit Metro area. Growing up in the 90's, Chris grew fond of electronic music and started collecting vinyl and DJing. Now, as a founder of both Detroit Techno House and Lost Science, Chris hopes to share with the world his experiences through music and writing.
June 2011
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