Jump to content
Clubplanet Nightlife Community
Sign in to follow this  
Guest endymion

Custom Traktor and Ableton controllers

Recommended Posts

Guest endymion

Hey Hydra (and anybody else following this modern DJing thing) check out these controllers that this German company is making for Ableton and Traktor.

I have my MIDI keyboard set up just like I like it for controlling both, but I have to admit those controllers are cool. A friend of mine who might post here is thinking about getting that Traktor controller on the far right.

The bad news is that they only ship to Europe but there are ways around that. The German market seems to be way more interested in modern DJ tools.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest siuol_leahcim

I just got a copy of Traktor a few days ago in the post. Really cool program. Your little demonstration on Thursday was all it took ;D

Those controllers look nice too. Hopefully we'll see more like those come stateside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest endymion

Ha, wow, congrats Michael. You will not be sorry after buying that thing.

Here is what I would recommend personally: a lot of people never discover the power in Traktor because they don't really go exploring. The best way to explore is to force yourself to use it with a mouse for a while. No Final Scratch, no MIDI controller, just the mouse. It's really hard to make decent mixes that way but you end up learning all about what the software can do. The best way to use it is to set up beat grids and cue points before your set, and always analyze your tracks.

I want to show you a few things once you have toyed with it a little. I have a MIDI keyboard layout that is your CDJ cue button cueing on steroids. I really think you'll like it, just let me know when you want a demo. And if you have any questions about Traktor let me know. I'm not the greatest DJ but I'm real good with software and I have Traktor fully figured out.

Real quick pointer: upgrade to 2.53 immediately. Your box had 2.5 in it most likely. 2.53 fixes some serious issue. I couldn't even get a cue channel until I upgraded.

Second pointer: find the "join" button over the "key" indicator. Turn it off. Pitch the track and observe. Those filters on the top don't suck either, Michael you will love them for isolating parts of your tracks for those filter mixes you like to do. Those are all that I use my MIDI knobs for personally. The automatic beat sync feature is really one of the least interesting features once you find some of that other stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Adam Singer

those controllers on that site are but toys...

http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.main&ID=6b2745dbb70e57db28158268044c5d9a <---what the pros are using

check that shit out---junkie XL is doing his live shows in ableton using that, it is siiiiiiiiick...m-audio makes the best midi products, in my opinion

ps, give me a day with you and i will show you why ableton destroys traktor in terms of doing live music...

#1) instead of having to worry about beatmatching, the software will automatically change your loops/tracks to the selected bpm

#2) instead of simply mixing tracks together, you can effectively do live remixes, not just tweak the sounds of the track playing, but add new loops/play synths/basslines over them...this is a huuuuge step beyond traktor, especially if you re-wire reason to ableton, you can use the reason synths with effects from ableton (that filter delay is yummmmmy, plus there are so many vst's now you can use...)

#3) sound quality/eq'ing of ableton is rediculous, especially with that 4 band eq, you can almost completely remove a part of a song, in fact ive been able to get vocal samples by themselves from tracks and use them with other things...it is rediculous what you can do...

etc...etc...etc

traktor is but a toy compared to the sickness of ableton live...

go watch sasha, junkie XL, grayarea, future funk squad, or even BT do some live mixes in ableton and i gaurantee you you will want to use it...they all use it live AND to produce

programs like this are the future, it is effectively live remixing and every performance is 100% unique, i mean even if you are mixing other peoples tracks every artist can put their own flair to it...

i have been telling my laptop dj friends (who can't afford turntables or don't want to invest that much in a hobby right now/buy vinyl) that they don't need turntables...that honestly, if you learn the software enough, you can make mixes just as inspiring as people using vinyl, and in fact in the process you will probably learn a good deal about the creation process of music, and will eventually *make* the vinyl that the dj's spin

i plan to start doing a 'decks and effects' type set, i don't want to give up vinyl/cd, but i want to add in some really cool stuff ive been doing in ableton/reason...i plan to use ableton live to add effects/flair to my sets, and throw in acapellas/samples/effects...bring my midi controller on stage and even play some live synths/percussion over the music im already playing...ive done it at home a few times and its just so much fun, and it adds alot to the set...i like to create underlying/subtle builds live behind the bigger builds of the records, and mixes become really cool when you can add effects/acapellas/extra percussion to really draw you in and keep the flow going well...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest bingo_the_clown

those controllers on that site are but toys...

http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.main&ID=6b2745dbb70e57db28158268044c5d9a <---what the pros are using

Yeah, I have one of those. Very inexpensive, very effective, and fully programmable (a very cool thing, because those faderfox boxes aren't programmable). The x-fader is smooth, the knobs feel good, it's a good little unit. I thought they discontinued them, though; I got mine for $80 on clearance.

By the same token, those faderfox gigs look pretty nice in terms of how intuitive it's laid out. Maybe it's just me, but I really preferred it when I set up Traktor to output straight into my mixer and used those controls. Just more comfortable. I'll probably end up buying one for sheer shits and giggles - I'll let you guys know if it's Worthy.

Far as Ableton live, I hear it's awesome, TJ is drooling over it, and I've only had a chance to play with it briefly. In some aspects it seems to behave a lot like Acid, but I recognize there's a lot of powerful features in there. I'd like to sit in on that demo of Ableton destroying Traktor and see what it's capable of firsthand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest endymion

those controllers on that site are but toys...

Heh, you love calling stuff 'toys' when you don't like it. The main reason those controllers are so cool is because the layout is totally customized to look just like the software, no wasted knobs and everything is just where you expect it.

FYI, that X-session feels like a toy. The controls are all cheap and they feel like a cheap video game controller. In fact if I spent that much money for a controller for my Playstation and it was that flimsy then I would be real upset.

You want a serious non-toy controller for Traktor, I can show you one. Edirol PCR-1 MIDI keyboard. Takes a bit of setup but wow it's worth it. It's 100% USB powered so the keyboard and one USB cable is all you need, just like the X-session. Difference is what it gives you, I hook up 'cue/play' to a key and hit it when I want after the track is synced and I can drop loops on top of playing tracks just like you do in Ableton. I may get an X-session for a backup but I doubt it. The keyboard is as small as my powerbook. I can take the powerbook and the keyboard and go down to the pool and do a mix on battery power no problem and THAT is cool.

I'm still looking for a MIDI box that's USB and fully USB powered that's just a panel of knobs. If I can find one of those then I'll get that and use it for Ableton.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest siuol_leahcim

thanks for the pointers, dude. i'll upgrade asap. one of these days i'll take you up on the demonstration. i'd like to see the rig you've got set up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest endymion

...with that 4 band eq, you can almost completely remove a part of a song, in fact ive been able to get vocal samples by themselves from tracks and use them with other things...it is rediculous what you can do...

That 4-band filter is a toy compared to the filters in Traktor. Take a look at them, you can adjust the sharpness of the filter edge, the resonance, etc. The filters in Traktor are specifically designed to be used to slice down a track like you're talking about and they work WAY better than the 4-band in Ableton. I'm looking around for a VST plug-in filter for Ableton because the 4-band is so inferior after you've gotten used to the filters in Traktor.

I used to do software for a filter manufacturer, Sabine. I'm real into the filters, that's what got me interested in Traktor in the first place. Pretty much all of my mixes are filter mixes where I use my MIDI keyboard knobs to pare a track down with the Traktor filters. I do it live in Traktor no problem, Ableton is overkill because of the track setup if all you want to do is a filter mix.

I still think that swirling between the two is The Way. I'm working out methods for doing that. Anybody who wants to jam some time let me know and we can experiment. Bingo and I are getting together somewhere this weekend I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Adam Singer

first of all, having an all usb controller would be terrible

hell, i dont even use the usb on my midi controller...there is so much lag through the USB port---you need to be using midi if you want realtime controls

second, if you dont like the eq's in ableton, there are COUNTLESS vst's you can download to put in...and really vst's are where its at---i dont know a single professional producer who doesnt have a set of them...and there are ones im sure that have the layout similar to traktor layout...

im sorry, you can't compare traktor to ableton, maybe it has a few features different or all its own but if you ever really get into ableton and start messing with doing stuff live/making live remixes, you will see just how sick it is...sasha will be doing his live sets JUST in ableton in the future (this is not why im praising ableton, ive been using it a long time now), but its just so in depth i find more features everytime i use it...it is a live instrument AND a proudction tool in one, meant to be used live or in your studio...and hey, if sasha is going to do his LIVE dj sets on it, when he has tried using traktor in the past...i think that says it all right there...

how about this---make a live set in traktor and record it, and ill make a live set in ableton...lets say just 30 minute set, and lets see what we both come up with---that could be alot of fun ;D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest endymion

hell, i dont even use the usb on my midi controller...there is so much lag through the USB port---you need to be using midi if you want realtime controls

Bzzt, nope. Works great, try it. Better still it works great from the pool, from a seat on an airliner, whatever. No power bricks anywhere, no adaptors, one simple standard USB cable from my keyboard to my Powerbook. Latency is minimal. I get far more latency from Rewire, that might be your issue if you have latency issues when you use a USB MIDI input. The folks at Edirol got it right, it works great. That keyboard even has a 24bit 96KHz out that I use for my main, the Powerbook's built-in audio does cueing. My whole entire DJ rig with my entire track collection is: one 12" powerbook, one 15" keyboard, one cable, headphones. That's it.

I'm definitely looking for some betterEQ's, I dont' even doubt that I can find some. Just haven't had much time to look around. Those filters in Traktor don't suck though, don't knock on Traktor just because you think Ableton is more powerful. Ableton is more powerful, I'm drooling over it, but I'm not at all interested in all of the setup for each individual track I want to use. The filters in Ableton are designed for tweaking tracks when you have a lot of attention to put into it. The filters in Traktor are designed for filtering this or that component out of a track right phreaking now, live. That 4-band in Ableton just doesn't have the sharp edges or the simple controls that the Traktor filters do.

I do the same sort of sound layering that you do, I don't think you realize. I set a cue point on the overlay track, sync the speed, then when I hit the key, that sound comes out. Perfectly on the beat with the playing track at whatever tempo the mix wants, perfectly on key always just like in Ableton. I use it to drop in the "hhaa, chhh..." from the beginning of "The Way You Move" over another track for instance. Perfectly on the beat, and at any speed I want. I want to drop in an "I like the way you move..." instead and I tap a key on my keyboard a couple of times to shift cue points and hit that play key on the beat again (no latency problems doing this live with a USB keyboard at all) and I'm there. I can improvise with that just like you can improvise with Ableton. Difference is that I can do it with two tracks that I've never heard before I start cueing them. They don't have to be analyzed or anything with Traktor, you just drop the file on a deck and start going for a cue point. I can set cue points on interesting sounds in realtime really really really easy in a track I've never even heard before. Pitch shift to get it in key, set the volume, tap the keyboard, BOOM, layered tracks. Unlock the "join" button and Traktor does the exact same time stretching to maintain the key through tempo changes that Ableton does, except that Traktor is more flexible about doing it on the fly IMHO. I'm not going to call Ableton a toy because I'm extremely impressed with it but Traktor is definitely way way way more powerful than you realize. You have to really get into playing with it to realize what you can do with it, just like Ableton. The two together are where it's at, I still think that.

Comparing our mixes would be pointless because you're a much better DJ than me. Much better, trust me. I'll post a mix for you though, with some demonstrations of stuff layered in using Traktor's cue points hooked up to MIDI keys. I also have a real chill deep house remix coming along in Ableton that doesn't suck at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Adam Singer

maybe there is more to traktor ... i think my friend did not delve into the software as much as you have...cuz it sounds like you get alot more out of it than he does and that he showed me (i will admit its more what you know about the software than how powerful the software is alone, especially if you dont know anything about it)

didnt mean to upset ya, just trying to get everyone into ableton live cuz i get so much out of it, i want everyone to! ;D

i dont always know everything for sure ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest endymion

Oh I'm not upset, I'm thrilled to have somebody to talk music tech with.

A lot of people miss the point of Traktor because most people see Traktor for the first time when it's hooked up to Final Scratch and they think that's all it can do. I was that way too until I spent a weekend playing with it with no controller at all, just the mouse. Then when you go to program your controller you know exactly what you want. I'll post some pictures of filter configurations in Traktor that might set off the light bulb for you. And that looper sure is fun, although I don't use it now that I trigger my shots manually.

What VST filters do you use in Ableton? My setup is going to end up being totally different than yours because I'm all into the deep house and downtempo but I'm real curious what you use. One of the things that I just love about Ableton is how you can take music that isn't 4/4 and wrestle it into a dance beat. To really get good with that I'm going to need a better EQ so that I can slice sections out of a track without flattening the parts that I want to keep (the Ableton EQ is too fuzzy, it flattens vocals) but I'm looking for other toys too. Stuff for massaging slow beats, like that 'gate' filter in Ableton. I'm on a buying spree, any suggestions?

Any of those VST filters can work live right? In realtime, no rendering or anything? I'm worried about CPU load since I'm using Traktor and Ableton at the same time (and hopefully Arkaos or Modul8 too) but so far I have CPU to spare for some toys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Adam Singer

i'll send ya my vst packs sometime, they work with alot of software (not just ableton) :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest teeroy

This thread has been helpful. But I'm still confused as to which way to go. I'm selling my CDJ and turntables and all my records & CDs. I'm mostly into production but I expect a few gigs spinning psytrance here & there. All I need is on the fly ease of use. I'd like my software to beat match for me since I never practice this and i pretty much suck. i don't need elaborate filters and on the fly loops to drop in and stuff like that. Just a way to preview one of my thousands of AAC OR MP3 files to see what I want to play next. So my question...

Should I use Traktor with the Faderfox or Live with the X-Session? Are both of these setups capable of letting me hear my next track in the headphones while my current track is playing through the PA?

Your reply is appreciated!

Troy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest endymion

Hey Teeroy! Congrats on the modernism.

I vote for learning both if you're so serious about getting into modern DJing. You would want to look at Traktor first because it's easier to pick up Traktor and start spinning out music right away. Traktor can read your .mp3 and .aac files without converting them into .wav or .aiff first so it's just more like DJing than producing. You could use all kinds of different things to control it. You don't really even need anything so just go and download the demo now and start playing with it and *POOF*, there you're started right away for free.

I use a MIDI keyboard to control Traktor, not a Faderfox. All that you need is something that sends MIDI events so that you can hook up some buttons that make you happy for cue/play buttons and the like. Just like a CDJ but you can have whatever buttons make you happy on your setup. You could also use the X-Session with Traktor right away and those things are cheap so that would be maybe your first hardware purchase unless you need audio outs.

Then Ableton last. It's the most powerful but the most work to learn and you'll be slower to make it create beautiful music. I think that even Hydra would agree with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest teeroy

But how will I listen to tracks that I might want to play next? My current setup is Logic Pro running through an MBox. I already own NI Komplete and dozens of nice 3rd party Audio Unit plugs. I'm quite adept at production so that part of this thread doesn't really interest me. My interest in DJing is sequencing songs on the fly and maybe some filters & EQ here & there. Nothing fancy. I just can't quite visualize how I will have my mix running out my MBox converters while I'm queing something else in headphones.

Can you shed some light on this part of it for me?

Teeroy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×