Creative ways to use hotcues?

Kayya Member Posts: 171 Advisor
edited September 28 in Traktor Software & Hardware

Hi guys, lately I've been spending a lot of time on hotcue settings. I also used “mixed in key” software to automate this. I see that Traktor Pro and other brands do not attach any importance to automatic hotcues.

The issue I want to consult with you is this;

-How much do you use hotcues in your performance? Do you insistently promote hotcue points of all your songs?

-Or do you adjust the hotcues live during the performance?

I'm curious about your usage patterns. Maybe I'm tiring myself unnecessarily for hotcues. Because sometimes I even start to see the need to color the hotcues.


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  • c0nsul
    c0nsul Member Posts: 249 Pro
    edited September 20

    I use MixedInKey aswell, but I don't like its feature of automatically setting hotcues.

    I use hotcues a lot. And I set them on my own. I always set #1 as "Load" hotcue on every track. I also use some for break downs, vocal parts, loops, FadeOut-Marker,.. depends on each song. I don't always use all 8 hotcues, so I can use some on the fly during the performance.

  • Kayya
    Kayya Member Posts: 171 Advisor

    You do these things by hand and little little to feel the music and master it better. I respect that.

    I think I'm looking for self-direction for an ideal style of use.

  • lord-carlos
    lord-carlos Member Posts: 1,555 Expert

    I mostly use it to mark mix in points or drops.

    But it's not very important because most of the time you can see it on the waveform. I just set them when I play the track for the first time.

  • Itchygash
    Itchygash Member Posts: 12 Member

    What I do is use the hotcue's to get to a point that when shortening the loop and used say a delay effect helps create a good break in the music, then have shorter loops as cue points a switch back and forth with effects to create more variety....also using a collection of film samples as hot cues and creating a sentence over the music that's coherent to the mix I.e if it was a Halloween mix

  • nachopenades
    nachopenades Member Posts: 147 Pro
    edited September 28

    Hot cues are a very important item, always sign in the studio to prepare for the session. Cue 1 always for the "Grid", el 2 for the "load", and the remaining ones are usually marked on lines or large bases that indicate to me the remaining "rounds" for any important point, voices, melody, etc.. end of the track I like to also assign a "Cue loop". The use I make of hot cues is quite simple and intuitive, but I find it essential for my sets.

  • zephry
    zephry Member Posts: 439 Pro

    My most common use is to dub in an effected (reverb or sometimes heavy effects in a group) cue point. I do this mostly on vocal Bass House or Tech House tracks.

    2. I will use a tight 1/8 loop with a gate and delay or the reverb mixer effect and use the channel fader.

    3. I will do a quick repeat with an effect or an eq change by just tapping a cue button but then I immediately delete it. Sometimes I turn on Flux mode for this as well.

    Most of my cue point usage is done randomly with effects and I delete after use. Kind of like most people might use remix sets and samples. Many times I won't mix in the track I am using cues on.

    But this is for parties and YouTube videos. Lol I am sure I would change my style if I had gigs and prepared DJsets.

  • Startiel
    Startiel Member Posts: 37 Member

    Unlike many of you, I don't use Mixed In Key because DJing isn't my job (yet) so I might consider buying it later in the future. But I find the default Traktor key finder pretty accurate actually!

    I usually prepare my tracks with a "LOAD" hot cue in the beginning (I adjust the grid if needed) and use the others to mark various parts of the song like the first breakdown, the second, the drops, the outro and so on...

    While, when I come up with a creative performance idea (like a live mashup) I use hotcues to save loops and samples that are in the song.

  • AdelV
    AdelV Member Posts: 175 Advisor

    When i was radio dj at my Univeristy i was using hot cues a lot to mix trax before i put them on air. Sometimes spend many hours after classes to do find right one. But helps me a lot when i was on air. It's like composing music and notes - when you are djing hot cues can make your work easier.

  • Stevan
    Stevan Member Posts: 1,304 Expert

    Cue 1 = Grid Marker

    Cue 2 = Load Marker

    Cue 3 = First drop

    Cue 4 = Handy cue

    Cue 5 = Handy cue

    Cue 6 = Handy cue

    Cue 7 = Handy cue

    Cue 8 = Fail/Safe Loop (Seek position out triggers the signal that sets the Loop Active On getting it ready for my saved loop without worrying about activating the Loop Active feature manually each time).

  • Marcelo Pacholak
    Marcelo Pacholak Member Posts: 7 Newcomer

    I personally prefer to make hotcues during the performance, but I find the Pioneer Rekordbox functionality very interesting.

    But... I can't be without my Traktor.

  • Fritz
    Fritz Member Posts: 27 Member

    Put a hotcue on different notes and use them to play a little melody in flux mode.

  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 3,772 Expert
    edited September 28

    Well…one good creative approach is to use them to play like if it was an instrument (or better, pads of a Maschine with loaded sounds).

    Video a little bit mainstream…but nonetheless a very cool approach.

    As they say in the catchy titles of videos, “Wait the end” (from 2:30)

    Edit: noticed now I posted the wrong video…now is correct. And that Fritz posted almost the same suggestion 👍🏼

  • cgm6066
    cgm6066 Member Posts: 14 Member

    I'm not using hot cues to great effect, yet. However, thanks to all for sharing these tips! I still have my "Bambi legs" when it comes to DJing.

  • Percivale
    Percivale Member Posts: 176 Advisor

    I'm here to collect my third badge. Hotcues wise, I have some experience on my non-NI controller in the past and I wonder if AI can come in to ease the preparatory work. I guess a notion of phrase mixing will help most if we have set different cue points for different songs.

  • sjenkin
    sjenkin Member Posts: 13 Member

    I have a simple and probably a little boring method of setting hot cues.

    Grid on the place I want to start playing the track from

    Mix in cue where I want that track to be the one in front of the mix

    Standard cues at the places I would consider drops in the track

    Loop cue in the outro where it creates a seamless loop

    I'll often create loop cues at an appropriate spot before a drop if I want to get creative with effects and creating a bit of a moment.

    Went I load a track a quick skim through these cues is enough to jog my memory on track.

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