Using Traktor & Controllers in a Live DJ Booth - Please post your best tips

Anomyst Member Posts: 1 Newcomer

Hi legends,

I've scanned quite a few pages in our forums and searched online for best info/best practice for getting the best results when performing live using controllers and havent found alot of good intel, so I'd love to know what you all do in the booth, for the following:

  • To get the best sound quality on the club / festival rig
  • preferences and settings you use, currently im using Traktor Pro 3 Plus
  • What youve got in your kit when you set up, next to traditional / pioneer DJ booths.
  • What is best practice?

From my recent gigs, i've wanted to start bringing my traktor / NI gear out to perform with, i cant stand rekordbox, however, I am still finding the best quality sound, and best performance on the PA will come from using the in house mixer/cdj's as a traditional DJ / via rekordbox USB. Most commonly, the booth will have:

DJM900 Nexus 2 Mixer

2 or 4x CDJ 900 NX2 units, linked via hub or directly

Sometimes even the CDJ3000's 2 or 4x

Recently ive brought my Traktor S4 Mk2 controller out and set up next to the pioneer console ready a little while before my set, and most commonly the sound tech would advise me to just run either an RCA line to a channel on the DJM mixer, straight out of the S4, so here are my thoughts.

With all limiters off on my Traktor software, and soundcard set to ASIO / 48, with a 128 buffer - i would assume this would yeald the best possible sound quality (and performance) as a signal to the mixer, which would be 'zero'ed' and vol I/O managed so there's no clipping or issues on either device.

Sounds like poo on a fully flown Martin Audio line array. (next to the quality of the output from the dj either side - using the pioneer rig / CDJ / USB Traditionally)

The rig was beautifully tuned, so I was annoyed the Traktor output was so cringe, set up like this. Assuming the S4 has some internal audio management that I couldnt access, and then doubling that audio management with that of the DJM900 NX2 on that Line channel, caused phasing and just an aweful sound..

Is the right method, to connect the controller directly to the DJM900 via USB?

Will this attain the quality I am looking for? What do you do in the booth.

After hearing the sound so poorly during another one of my sets last weekend, where i tried the same setup in a club environment, I decided to ditch the traktor, and jump over to using the Pioneer rig, as a traditional dj, which provided instant fullness, and a hugely better sound.

I have D2's an MPC Live, an X1, a Z1 and an S4mk2

Id love to explore using these more in my sets and performances, but not with the quality of sound ive experienced recently, it wouldnt be worth it, and would seriously down play my sets.

I know they can be better and know the traktor community can assist, what do you do to get the best performance, and results in these live environments?

<3 Ben


  • pARty_bOy
    pARty_bOy Member Posts: 61 Advisor

    Midi Fighter 3D + Kontrol D2 + Kontrol Z2 + Vestax PDX

  • c0nsul
    c0nsul Member Posts: 292 Pro

    Use the CDJs as sound interface in the club. 😉

  • Trigitaliz
    Trigitaliz Member Posts: 1 Member

    Use the Nexus mixer as a sound card / and controllers or and cdj as a controller "not " sound card " cuz its ofte fuckes upp when doing change owers... :)

  • Oxy
    Oxy Member Posts: 87 Helper

    Suggest to invest in a external mixer.

  • Onecell
    Onecell Member Posts: 1 Newcomer

    Personally I've found using Traktor itself to mix (internally) doesn't sound NEARLY as good (through a decent PA) as mixing externally! :)

    I've used Audio 10 (or MOTU M4 - for 2 decks), with the venue's mixer - when I HAVE to use it...

    Or preferably my Allen & Heath Xone96, which has it's own 12 channel D-A - and performs the ACTUAL mix in analogue - adding wonderful depth & warmth to the digital music.

    But of course we all have a preference! I just don't like Pioneer! lol

  • LordByron
    LordByron Member Posts: 4 Newcomer

    What hardware do you use the Traktor S4 or CDJs? I'm just looking what's best to start as a DJ. The original post that started this question seems to suggest just to go Pioneer if these issues are going to be common. I don't get what you mean when your saying ''Personally I've found using Traktor itself to mix (internally) doesn't sound NEARLY as good (through a decent PA) as mixing externally! :)'' can you explain it as if you explaining to a complete beginner?

  • LordByron
    LordByron Member Posts: 4 Newcomer
    edited May 2023

    Did you find the solution or is there no point in going the Traktor route, if so what pioneer gear should I get for a beginner which I can eventually just hook up to the mixer in the club, without laying out £1000s on CDJs? Is a DDJ-400 a waste of time, will it sound rubbish? I was going to go Traktor because I like NI but if these issues are going to be common then there is little point; does the S4 not have a mixer built in, can you not just bypass the clubs mixer straight out of the S4 or bring your own NI mixer would work, no?

  • olafmol
    olafmol Member Posts: 133 Pro

    Phasing??? Are you sure you weren't playing 2 sound sources at the same time, ie through USB audio, and through line outs?

    Maybe you can try to use the CDJ's as the DA convertors for Traktor by connecting them with USB to your Traktor laptop.

  • TomMacTom_Sonic
    TomMacTom_Sonic Member Posts: 1 Newcomer

    Sound wise I've never had audio quality issues when connecting my MacBook directly to a DJM series mixer (but not through a USB hub).

    For info, I play on 4 decks. 3 track decks plus a remix set.

    I don't have CDJs at home, I have 2x Kontrol X1 mk2 (due to cost), but in a club I would connect my MacBook via a USB hub to 3 CDJs (or 1 CDJ if they were linked via ethernet cables). I would then bring my Kontrol F1 with me as I can't get the sampling functionality from a CDJ (afaik).

    MacBook USB C port 1 --> direct to DJM mixer.

    MacBook USB C port 2 --> to USB hub...

    USB hub --> CDJ 1

    USB hub --> CDJ 2

    USB hub --> CDJ 3

    USB hub --> Kontrol F1

    The only issues I have run into, and they are bad issues, are when there is an older DJM mixer. DJM750mk1 for example, without updated firmware where the DJM's internal soundcard cannot handle 4 channels (only 1 afaik). This is a major issue and has led me to not being able to play. I'm tempted to buy an NI Audio 8 DJ as a backup from eBay just to handle that nightmare - I don't think NI sell them anymore :(

  • Zyklon.T
    Zyklon.T Member Posts: 4 Member

    This is totally niche, but the Maschine JAM is one of the greatest Traktor controllers I've ever used. It's sad that NI didn't have any vision at all for this thing. I made an extensive mapping for mine with 4 decks, FX, Loops, etc. Basically everything you ever need is mapped with full colour LED feedback. The JAM and Launchcontrol XL paired with the XONE96 + Drambo is my current setup. And it's INSANELY versatile. I can play full improv hybrid sets for hours on end.

    I use this setup in the club as well. Been a great experience so far.

  • wayfinder
    wayfinder Member Posts: 328 Guru

    i use a very minimalist setup (Xone K1 + Laptop + Traktor Audio 2), and run an RCA into the house mixer (or for smaller setups, i've done RCA to XLR directly into the speakers.) that has always provided the correct sound so far, no difference in quality to CDJs or whatever.

  • Sûlherokhh
    Sûlherokhh Member, Traktor Mapping Mod Posts: 1,532 mod

    Using a Traktor Audio 2 Mk2 to feed into the house mixer has always produced a nice and full sound for me. I even use it when i connect an S5, skipping the internal audio interface since my laptop has some trouble processing 48kHz.

    I guess it really depends on the audio interface being used.

  • solsta
    solsta Member Posts: 91 Helper

    I started with an audio 2 DJ and that went into a DJM Mixer. That interface was magic. It never failed me and sounded nice and strong. Never heard any sound difference, even did B2B sets where my friend would use a CDJ on one channel and I would use my setup on the other channel, the sets sounded normal, there was no audible difference in the mixing and we were playing tracks on top of each other as well as swapping channels. If you weren't in the booth you'd have never known we were using different gear.

    Sound wise, in this case you would likely(depending on how good the sound system is) encounter an issue if the songs were low bitrate in terms of being able to hear the difference. If you play ****** quality music on a good sound system, you will HEAR it, it isn't pleasant. They sound weak. But that's a rare as heck problem to have, playing under 320kpbs files.

    Tips would be GET GOOD CABLESSSSSS and carry spares. ****** cables are just a pain. You don't want the stress of trying to find a replacement usb cable while at the club.

    Headphone adapters to 1/4 inch are a winner. I always seem to need them so im mentioning that for posterity.

    I use an S8 now and I love it. I just plug it into a channel on the house mixer, I'm not that bothered about where it gets plugged in as long as there is clean signal I trust the gear to pump out good music.

    Better gear does yield better amplification and so you dont have to run your gear at high gain to get the same power out of your music on the same system/mixer but I cant say more than that for quality.

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