Effects allow DJs to add their own signature sound to mixes and give artists the ability to mix in a style that’s creative and unique. One of TRAKTOR’s best features is the wide range of futuristic effects that are available within the program. These effects offer DJs the power to add a distinct sonic stamp to their music and mixes. Read on to find out how to best use the range of mix effects available with TRAKTOR PRO 3.
New mixer FX
There are two different type of effects in TRAKTOR PRO 3; Deck FX (Single FX and Group FX) and Mixer FX.
The Mixer FX are one-knob effects on the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 that are designed to produce big results. These effects include Reverb, Dual Delay, Noise, Time Gater and a Filter, as well as others. These interesting effects are easily accessible and offer new sound possibilities when layered with TRAKTOR‘s Deck FX.
TRAKTOR offers over forty high quality effects that can be used as Single or Group FX. Single mode effects give precise control over the effect parameters while Group mode allows effects to be stacked and chains to be created. In the Preferences, click on Effects and in FX Unit Routing select either 2 FX Units or 4 FX Units. In FX Panel Mode, select either Single or Group for each FX. For FX 1 and 2, select Single.
It’s a good idea to get familiar with how each of the effects sounds. Here are a couple of tips on how to use a few of TRAKTOR’s Deck FX individually.
TRAKTOR’s Delay is a powerful effect and has controls for Filter, Feedback and Rate. Below the Filter is ‘RST’ (Reset) which resets the Delay to a default, or to how it was saved with TRAKTOR’s FX snapshots. Underneath Feedback is the FRZ (Freeze) button, which stops the effect from sampling new audio as the track plays and sets the feedback to its highest setting when enabled. Under the Rate parameter is the SPR (Stereo Spread) button, which creates a stereo spread delay effect.
Here are a few practical examples for using Delay:
Set FX Unit 1 to Single Mode, and select the Delay. Turn on the FX 1 button on the track you’d like apply the effect to and turn on the On button underneath the Dry/Wet (D/W). The D/W can be set to around 10 o’clock, or about 30%. Turn the Filter all the way to the left, Feedback between 50 and 60 and the Rate to any value. Turn on the FRZ (Freeze) button and move the Filter from left to right (from about 0 to 50). With the Filter all the way to the left, an endless feedback loop is created. This FRZ technique can also be used with Delay T3, Ramp Delay and Tape Delay.
The Stereo Spread on the Delay produces different results and can be put to good creative use. To learn how Delay sounds without Stereo Spread, set the Filter to 50, Feedback to 50, leave the SPR button off and try changing the Rate.
Next, leave the Filter and Feedback at 50, turn the SPR button on and change the rate. This result should sound drastically different.
Delay T3 is a great sounding effect in TRAKTOR, it has a distinctive sound that can be used to add flavour and style to tracks. This effect sounds particularly good when used at the end of a phrase for four or eight bars. Delay T3 produces a slightly distorted, stretched type of effect and is something popularized by, and can be heard in many of Richie Hawtin’s sets, (as well as other TRAKTOR artists).
To use Delay T3, load the effect into a Single FX unit (eg. FX Unit 2) and turn on the corresponding FX on the track. Set the Dry/Wet to approximately to 10 or 11 o’clock, between 30% and 40% and the Feedback between 50% and 60%. Turn the Free Run (FR.R) button underneath Rate, starting at about 0.32/0.33 and turn the Rate knob till it reaches about 0.40. When the FR.R button is pressed, delay times are not quantized and changing this value while the Delay is active creates interesting pitch and rhythm variations.
The key to working with Delay T3 is by making subtle, small movements and cutting the effect in and out on the beat by pressing the On or corresponding FX unit button. This is most easily accomplished by using a controller that’s mapped to Traktor (eg. the Kontrol X1 or another MIDI controller). Try applying Delay T3 to the last four or eight bars of a phrase in your track, and repeating this pattern one to three times in a performance.
Other settings to try are: Filter: 0.40, and Feedback can be anywhere from 50 to 65 or 70. Experiment with the Filter on the Delay T3 to achieve a different type of sound. For example, try starting with the Filter around 38 – 39, and turning up the Filter as the Rate is turned down.
Saving a snapshot
An effect’s settings can be saved by creating a Snapshot. Whenever you load the FX, the settings that are saved will load with the effect. To save a snapshot, click the number button below the effect and click ‘Save Snapshot’. When changes are made to the effect parameters, click the RST button to reset the controls to the snapshot setting.
To create wild and out of this world effects, stack TRAKTOR’s FX by creating Group Effects. In TRAKTOR’s Preferences, click on ‘Effects’ and in FX Panel Mode, select Group FX for FX 1 and FX 2 (and FX 3 and 4 if you’d like to use these). Here’s a few ideas about how to build your own custom FX chains in Traktor.
Gater / Filter:92 / Iceverb
This is a cool sounding combo that adds percussive elements and interest to tracks. Start by loading the Gater, Filter:92 and Iceverb into an FX unit and turn on each effect. Set the D/W all the way down, Gater and Filter:92 to around 60% and the Iceverb all the way down. Slowly turn up the D/W and you’ll start to hear this chain really kick in. Leave the D/W in one position, and try turning up the Iceverb slowly to add ambience and a ‘wind-type’ effect to the sound. You can bring the Iceverb up/down to taste, and play with the Filter to further manipulate the effect.
Beatmasher / Transpose Stretch / Reverb
This is a trippy sounding combo as the transpose stretch makes the audio go up or down in pitch. Set the Beatmasher to about 60 – 70%, (1/16) the Transpose Stretch to 50%, and the Reverb to about 30 – 40%. Turn on all of the effects in the chain, turn up the D/W and very subtly turn up the transpose stretch. This combo is all about making small movements with the transpose stretch. If it’s turned up too quickly, the results may sound too drastic. In my example, I turned up the transpose stretch slowly, then turned it down slowly. To fade the effect out, try turning the D/W down as you turn down the transpose.
Another idea for a chain is to stack a Delay, Phaser Flux and Reverb together. Turn all three devices in the chain on and start by gradually turning up the D/W knob. At the same time, experiment with gradually turning up the Phaser Flux and the Delay. This type of effect can sound good over long passages in music and create a windy-type vibe. This chain has a big, atmospheric type sound and can take over the general vibe of the track when applied.
Reverb / Delay T3 / Digital LoFi
This is a unique chain that includes the Delay T3; an effect that has much to offer. Start out with the D/W on the chain all the way down, the Reverb set to 25-30%, the Delay T3 to about 75% and the Digital Lo-Fi almost all the way down (-0.99%). Slowly bring up the D/W on the chain and try turning the Delay T3 all the way up, then gradually down. Add in a touch more Reverb and increase the Digital LoFi. The Digital LoFi can easily add a lot of distortion to the mix and should be used in small quantities. A variation to this chain is to use the Filter at the end of the chain, instead of the Digital LoFi. The Filter can be used to clean and tighten up the overall sound. Try bringing the Delay T3 up or down as the Filter is brought down.
One Knob Effects
These are a range of effects in TRAKTOR that are controlled by a single knob that are marked with an (M) next to them in the list of effects. Among these, my personal favourites are: Zzzurp, Stretch (slow) and Dark Matter. To use them, simply turn up the D/W and experiment with turning the single knob control for the effect. Each effect has its own sweet spot and with practise can be used to enhance a set. Try them all out to discover which one suits your style.
Learning to use TRAKTOR effects is a worthwhile pursuit, as these effects give DJs the ability to put their own mark on music. When used tastefully and skillfully, TRAKTOR’s effects can turn a good mix into an amazing one. Start out by learning the effects one by one to understand all of the ways each one can be used. As you grow as an artist, build chains of effects in TRAKTOR and use them in sets to create your own original style.
The samples in this feature were originally taken from the following Sounds.com packs:
- Late Night Techno Sessions by: Itay Dailes
- Dark Melodic Techno
- TECHNO Server
- Tech House Weapons 5 By Alan de Laniere
- Dark Techno