How To Use Traktor DJ 2
Choosing the right DJ software can seem like a minefield due to the saturation of the market. We’ve analysed Traktor’s free offering - Traktor DJ 2 - to see how it holds up against the rest.
Traktor DJ 2 is a stripped-down version of Traktor Pro 3, with two playback decks and a handful of effects. It’s not as powerful as Traktor Pro 3, but it is fun to use. And because it’s free, Traktor DJ 2 can be a perfect stepping stone to more advanced DJing.
Made by Native Instruments, Traktor DJ 2 is designed to be used with Native Instruments hardware. The easiest way to get started is to connect one of their controllers (like the Kontrol S2 or Kontrol S4 MK3) to your iPad or iPhone. But it’s also possible to use the software with any MIDI controller. You can even learn how to DJ on a laptop with Traktor using just your laptop’s keyboard and mouse.
No matter how you choose to control it, Traktor DJ 2 offers simple tools that make beatmatching tracks easy. There are also some cool effects you can add to your mixes — and the option of streaming music from SoundCloud Go+ (if you have a subscription).
This article explains how Traktor DJ works — and how to get started mixing with it.
HOW TO ORGANISE SONGS IN TRAKTOR DJ 2
Before you can start learning how to DJ with Traktor, you'll need some music to play. You'll want to make sure that all of your music is properly tagged with artist and title information as well as genre and BPM (beats per minute). If your music is not tagged properly, Traktor won't be able to recognise it.
To get music on Traktor, click the “Add Track” button in the top left corner of the screen.
As well as adding individual tracks, you can add folders of music to your collection, so if you have a dedicated music library folder, you could add this and all of the songs contained within it will be added to Traktor DJ 2's collection.
HOW TO PLAY SPOTIFY ON TRAKTOR DJ 2
The only streaming platform currently supported by Traktor DJ 2 is SoundCloud Go+. If you want to import a playlist in Traktor from Spotify, you’ll need to convert the tracks to unrestricted digital music files first.
HOW TO CONNECT TRAKTOR WITH A DJ CONTROLLER
Traktor DJ 2 can be used with a mouse and keyboard, but the best way to use it is with a controller. Native Instruments offers several controllers that work seamlessly with Traktor DJ 2, including the S2 MK3, S4 MK3 and S8. You can also use Traktor DJ 2 with any other MIDI-compatible controller.
You can connect your DJ controller to your PC or Mac using the included USB cable. Then, just follow the 4 steps below:
Step 1 - Open Traktor DJ 2 and click on the 'Set up' button in the top right corner.
Step 2 - Click on the 'Connections' tab, then click on 'Add a Controller'.
Step 3 - Select your controller from the list, then click 'Add'.
Step 4 - Click on the "Discovery" tab, then select 'Auto Detect'.
Step 5 - Click on the 'Start' button to begin broadcasting to your controller.
HOW TO BEATMATCH IN TRAKTOR
Most DJ software will include a basic beatmatching tool, which will help you to line up the beats of songs to create a seamless mix.
In Traktor DJ 2, however, you can’t just tap the Sync button and let go. Here’s why: When you press the Sync button, Traktor DJ 2 automatically aligns the track to the beatgrid (a template it creates based on the tempo of a song). However, it doesn’t make sure that your tracks are in time with each other. It only makes sure that within each individual song, everything is on time. This means it’s possible to have two songs playing at once in Traktor DJ 2 and have one be slightly ahead of the other even though they’re both playing in time.
Once you've got your tracks aligned using the sync button, you want to actually make sure that they are playing at the same BPM. You can do this by zooming out and comparing the waveforms from both decks by moving them closer together or farther apart (depending on how far off they are). Once you've got your songs aligned perfectly together, then you should be able to mix them without any trouble.
HOW TO MIX ON TRAKTOR
Traktor has a built-in feature that lets it sync your tracks for you. However, as outlined above, this doesn’t always work perfectly.
Begin by selecting and loading the two tracks into Traktor DJ 2 that you want to mix together. Then, cue up both songs and play them simultaneously.
Next, make sure that both tracks are synced together, which means that they are playing at the same tempo. You will know if your tracks are synchronised because the tempo bars next to each song's title will be aligned with one another.
If they don't come in perfectly synced, listen to the kick drum (the low drum sound) to figure out which track needs adjusting. In Traktor's interface, this will be represented by a yellow waveform. As long as your tracks are within about half a beat of each other on the waveform, they'll sound good when mixed together.
If they are not aligned, you can manually adjust the BPM of each track until they are. If one track is slightly slower than the other, bring its tempo up by hitting "nudge +" or "nudge -" until it matches.
To make an errorless transition from one song to another, drop out the first track while bringing in the second track with a crossfade on your DJ controller or iOS device's mixer section. As you fade out the first song and fade in the second one, it is important to make sure that each song is playing at the same tempo so that there is no jarring noise as the songs switch over.
Traktor DJ 2 is a great piece of DJ software for beginners. Its main selling point is its compatibility with just about any MIDI device out there. It’s generally thought to have the best effects compared to competitors as well. However, the only way to decide if it’s the right DJ software for you is to download it and have a go.