by Native Instruments

The beginner’s guide to DJing with TRAKTOR

getting started with TRAKTOR

Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or an experienced DJ looking to take your skills to the next level, TRAKTOR is the perfect tool to achieve a dynamic and immersive music experience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to get started with TRAKTOR hardware and software, from setting up your DJ controller to mastering the fundamental software features to mix your DJ sets.

We’ll be taking a look at the world of TRAKTOR using the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 as our guide. Whether you own the TRAKTOR S4 or other TRAKTOR hardware or software, this masterclass will help you learn how to use some of the essential features of the TRAKTOR hardware setup and TRAKTOR PRO software. We’re starting with Part 1 of our masterclass below. Stay tuned for more episodes in the coming weeks!

All TRAKTOR hardware runs on TRAKTOR PRO software. To get an in-depth understanding of the software as you’re setting up your rig, check out our TRAKTOR PRO manual for step-by-step instructions.

In parts 1 and 2 of this video series masterclass, professional DJ and long-time TRAKTOR user Michael Henderson also known as ENDO will be walking you through major features in TRAKTOR KONTROL S4.

TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 Highlights (Beginner)

Chapter 1: Installation and connections for TRAKTOR KONTROL S4

In this chapter, you will learn about the initial steps required to set up your TRAKTOR S4. It covers the installation process of the necessary drivers and software, as well as the physical connections between the controller and your computer. You will gain an understanding of the different cables and ports involved in the setup and ensure that your TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 is properly connected and ready for use.

Looking for even more DJ equipment? Check out our guide on what you need to get started DJing.

Chapter 2: Setting up the TRAKTOR software

Once you have successfully installed and connected your TRAKTOR S4, this chapter guides you through the process of setting up the TRAKTOR software. You will learn how to launch the software, configure audio and MIDI settings, and create a new DJing project. Additionally, you will explore the various options and preferences available within the TRAKTOR software, allowing you to customize your setup according to your needs and preferences.

Chapter 3: Exploring the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 Browser

The TRAKTOR S4 Browser is a powerful tool that enables you to browse and manage your music library, playlists, and tracks efficiently. In this chapter, you will delve into the features and functionalities of the browser, including searching, sorting, and filtering options. You will also discover how to load tracks onto the decks and create playlists for seamless DJing sessions. By the end of this chapter, you will have a solid grasp of navigating and utilizing the TRAKTOR S4 Browser effectively.

Chapter 4: Configuring the TRAKTOR Mixer

The TRAKTOR S4 features a built-in mixer that allows you to control and manipulate the audio signals from your tracks. In this chapter, you will learn how to configure the TRAKTOR mixer to suit your mixing style and preferences. You will explore the various controls and functions available on the mixer, such as levels, EQ, filters, and effects, and understand how to use them to shape and enhance your mixes. After watching this chapter, you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to utilize the TRAKTOR mixer creatively and effectively during your DJ performances.

TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 Highlights (Intermediate)

ENDO dives into creative DJing techniques, focusing on effects, EQ, and other tips and tricks to make DJing easier and more intuitive.

Chapter 1: Transitioning and beat-matching

This chapter focuses on essential techniques for seamless transitions and beat-matching in the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4. You will learn how to create smooth volume transitions between tracks, ensuring a seamless flow in your mix. Additionally, the video covers beat-matching with headphones, allowing you to synchronize the beats of two tracks before introducing them to the audience. Furthermore, beat-matching by ear is explored, providing you with the skills to match beats manually without relying on visual aids.

Chapter 2: Syncing tracks

Discover the powerful syncing capabilities of the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4. Learn how to use the Master Clock feature, which acts as the master tempo for all tracks in your mix, ensuring they stay perfectly synchronized. Discover the Phase Meter, a tool that enables you to visualize the alignment of beats between multiple tracks. Furthermore, learn about Beatgrids, a tool that helps align beats accurately, making beat-syncing a breeze.

Chapter 3: EQ

Dive into the world of equalization (EQ) and its significance in DJing. Learn general EQ rules including how to manipulate frequency ranges to enhance your mix. Explore using EQ for smooth transitions, achieving seamless blends between tracks. Discover the TRAKTOR software’s frequency view, allowing you to visualize the frequency content of your tracks. Additionally, learn how to leverage EQ effectively to shape the overall sound and tonal balance of your mix.

Chapter 4: Filter

Discover the utility of filters in creating smooth transitions and adding creative effects to your mix. The chapter explores different filter types available in the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4, such as low-pass, high-pass, and band-pass filters. You will learn how to use filters to seamlessly blend tracks and add dynamic and expressive elements to your mixes, elevating the overall performance.

Chapter 5: Effects

This chapter focuses on the wide range of effects available in the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4. Learn about the FX units and Group FX mode that enable you to apply effects to individual tracks or groups of tracks. Discover practical applications of FX, including using them for transitions, enhancing energy, and adding unique textures, are demonstrated. Learn about FX pre and post modes, Single FX mode, Snapshots for saving your favorite effect settings, and the turntable FX, which emulates vinyl-style effects. Additionally, various types of FX and Mixer FX are explored, empowering you to unleash your creativity and take your mixes to new heights.

TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 Highlights (Advanced)

ENDO dives into advanced DJing techniques, focusing on beat jumps, hot cues, and flux mode that really allow you to finesse your sets and create the sound you’re looking for.

Chapter 1: Beat jump

This section of the video focuses on the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4’s beat jump feature. It covers topics such as configuring beat jump, which allows users to jump forward or backward in the track by a set number of beats. It also demonstrates how beat jump can be used to correct timing mistakes during a performance. Additionally, it introduces deck duplicating, a feature that enables users to duplicate a deck and apply different effects or modifications to the duplicated deck.

Chapter 2: Macro FX

This chapter explores the Macro FX functionality of the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4. It explains how Macro FX allows users to combine multiple effects into a single macro, providing more creative possibilities. The video demonstrates the application of Macro FX and showcases how it can enhance the overall sound and performance by manipulating different effects simultaneously.

Chapter 3: Hot Cues

This part of the video delves into the Hot Cues feature of the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4. It demonstrates how to mark hot cues at specific points in a track, enabling quick and seamless navigation during a DJ set. The video showcases hot cues in action and illustrates the use of snap mode, which helps in accurately setting and triggering hot cues. Additionally, it covers the creation of a personalized hot cue system and the utilization of load markers and fade in/out markers.

Chapter 4: Loops

This section focuses on loops and their functionality within the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4. It highlights the loop encoder, a dedicated control for setting and adjusting loops of various lengths. It also discusses safety loops, which allow DJs to define loop lengths dynamically to ensure smooth transitions between sections of a track.

Chapter 5: Flux and Reverse Mode

The final section of the video explores the Flux and Reverse Mode features of the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4. It showcases Flux mode in action, which lets DJs introduce spontaneous remixes and creative variations while maintaining the track’s original position. The video also demonstrates how Flux mode interacts with hot cues, allowing users to experiment with dynamic remixing. Additionally, it covers Reverse mode, which enables DJs to play tracks backward, adding another layer of creativity to their performances.

TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 Highlights (Expert)

ENDO shows expert tips while using TRAKTOR to truly level up your DJ skills, including how to use remix decks and turntables, recording your sets, using stems, and more.

Chapter 1: Remix Decks

This section of the video focuses on the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4’s remix decks. Discover how to load and manipulate samples, create loops, and unleash your creativity with powerful Remix Decks features.

Chapter 2: S4 turntables

Dive into the realm of vinyl emulation with S4 Turntables in TRAKTOR S4. Learn how to connect and configure your turntables, calibrate the control vinyl, and master the art of DJing with a traditional, tactile feel.

Chapter 3: Recording your sets

Capture your electrifying DJ sets with ease using the recording functionality in TRAKTOR S4. This chapter will guide you through the process of setting up and configuring the recording settings, allowing you to preserve and share your mixes with the world.

Chapter 4: Stems

Unleash the full potential of your tracks with Stems in TRAKTOR S4. Explore how to import and use Stem files, access individual elements of a song, and enhance your mixing and remixing capabilities with this innovative audio format.

Chapter 5: Deck Mode

Explore the versatile Deck Mode in TRAKTOR S4, which offers extensive control over each individual deck. Learn how to navigate through different modes, adjust effects, sync tracks, and execute seamless transitions to take your DJ sets to the next level.

Chapter 6: Using S4 and a microphone

Enhance your performances by incorporating a microphone setup with TRAKTOR S4. Discover how to connect and configure your microphone, adjust levels and EQ settings, and ensure clear and crisp audio for seamless integration of your voice into your DJ sets.

Start using TRAKTOR for DJing

We hope you found our first part of our TRAKTOR S4 masterclass helpful in understanding the ins and outs of this powerful DJ ecosystem. With the knowledge gained, you are now equipped to take your DJing skills to the next level.

Stay tuned for more episodes, where we will delve even deeper into advanced features and techniques.

Looking for even more TRAKTOR tutorials? Watch additional TRAKTOR tutorials, and explore additional DJ guides on the Native Instruments blog. Happy mixing!

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