Traktor 2.5 and the Remix Decks
Since Native Instruments released the new Traktor 2.5, the reviews have been mixed. Honestly, so have my feelings about it. The main claim on the new version is the highly touted remix decks that allow you to trigger loops live along with your set to make remixing on the fly easier. Sound familiar? It should. In essence, this is a rehashing of an old idea, the Traktor Ableton combo. Traktor is late to the party.
Serato has the ‘Bridge’, which allows for the instance of an Ableton session in the same screen as your Serato. Seamless integration. This is especially cool if you want everything on one screen. This also allows you to add and map midi controllers as you please.
There is also the option of just DJing out of Ableton. If you are mainly a loop based performer anyway, why the hell not right? Ableton lets you load loops, songs, trigger effects, whatever. It has its drawbacks right now though, mainly the lack of mp3 playback. But, there are several advantages to DJing directly from Ableton. If you’re interested in DJing with Ableton, check out my post here: http://lamebotmusic.tumblr.com/post/23180962928/simplifying-djing-in-ableton-free-lamebot-template
The Native Instruments F1: What and Why
I guess in the ‘Apple’ spirit, Native instruments decided to make a new controller that was thoroughly integrated with their new software developments, which for all intents and purposes, were not exactly groundbreaking. The F1 is the new NI controller that looks like the love child of a Novation LaunchPad and the Native Instruments X1 control, or perhaps a slimmed out APC 40.
Fittingly, it functions about the same way you would expect it to. The F1 gives you complete control of the remix deck, trigger, mute, load and unload sets even scroll through loops. Sounds like something you can do with another controller right? Like say the APC 40? Wrong.
Again, I think in the ‘Apple’ spirit, NI decided not to open up the midi options that are controlled by the F1. After catching some heat rather quickly, an update was released with a few more mappable midi options. Native Instruments maintains deniability through its vague answers. Seems like they are trying not to say they wanted to release a software option that can only be controlled through their own device. Yet, it looks as though a fully mappable midi exploit is not going to be happening anytime soon.
Control Traktor Remix Decks Without an F1
Since the update, more of the midi functions have become available. There is currently a lot you can control in the new remix decks without having to go out and buy a whole new controller. I have it mapped to a few controllers, but by far the best one out right now has to be the Midi Fighter 3D. You can read more about here: http://www.djtechtools.com/2012/07/11/advanced-remix-deck-control-for-midi-fighter-3d-open-beta/ there is a video too ;) They’re on another level over there.
So how can I help you? Right now, I have my remix decks mapped to my iPad and I control them through a custom TouchOSC interface. The GUI here allows me to play loops, retrigger, and mute them as well as control individual levels for each column and the overall gain of the deck. The top row with the yellow symbols (my crappy play and pause signs) will start playing a loop after you load a set or load in loops manually. It works sort of like a toggle button right now so you have to press it twice to mute the loop etc. The 16 buttons under are pretty interesting. These buttons retrigger. When you press one, it will automatically retrigger the corresponding loop and keep it all in time (assuming you have the deck synced).
Not sure what sounds you’re triggering? Change your deck flavor until you see something like this. In this mode, you can clearly see 16 loadable loop sots. Traktor also lets you scroll down through 4 pages of this stuff if you’re using an F1 (or you can press the small bar on the far left, it has a tab highlighted in white to indicate your location as you can see in my pic). So theoretically you can load 64 loops of sound into a deck at one time. As of the date I published this post, there is no way to scroll through the four sections with another controller aside from the F1. If you find a way, please share it in the comments.
The iPad/TouchOSC combo is not an absolute solution, and it may be something you don’t like since every interface is custom. Either way, here is a link to download my TouchOSC template, the OSC mapping and Traktor midi mapping for it all to run smooth. http://www.mediafire.com/?0nuqc9i539pxs90
I also have it mapped to a Novation LaunchPad as a back up. With my Traktor controller mapping, you should be able to figure out how to map the remix decks to any other midi controller though so I am not including my LaunchPad mapping. NOTE: When mapping the decks, be sure to keep in mind the decks are numbered. For example, if you’re decks are set up like mine, the remix decks are on the bottom as decks C and D. In the Traktor midi map, this translates as Deck 3 and 4. So to launch a clip in deck C as shown in the image above, you would map Deck 3, remix slot 1 and so forth. It’s a bit cumbersome but not too hard to navigate around.
Any updates or requests please comment or send me a message at LAMEBOTMusic@gmail.com I normally use all four decks in track mode so I haven’t spent too much time with the remix decks. However, I don’t mind answering questions, sharing knowledge, or anything like that. The TouchOSC template is for iPad only but you should be able to engineer one for iPhone based on my design fairly easily. Well all right folks that should do it. Again if you have any questions, comments or concerns, send me a message. Happy remixing!