Traktor Pro 3.x.x Key Lock Audio Quality
i want to address an issue that is plaguing me in Traktor Pro 3 (my current version is 3.5.3).
A little background info: The old Eco and HiQ key lock quality settings in Traktor are gone. (see the screenshot below).
There is also a FAQ entry in German and English (the english version is missing the image of the quality settings, the link is broken): https://support.native-instruments.com/hc/de/articles/210273245-Ändert-TRAKTOR-den-Klang-meiner-Tracks-
The problem is that the new key lock algorithm (is it "elastique 3"?) sounds terrible. Really really terrible. It degrades audio quality massively in vocal and melodic parts.
Proof, minimum working example: I have uploaded a recording of "Global Deejays - The Sound Of San Francisco" with a portion of the track looped where it is most noticeable which illustrates the problem well. In the first seconds of the recording you will hear the track at 0% pitch (= key lock at 0% percent = disabled). I then increase the tempo with key lock enabled by a few percent. You'll immediately hear(!) that the sound becomes messed up. Horrible. At the end of the recording, I bring it back to 0% percent which immediately brings relief and reverts the audio back to normal.
This behaviour is present in all tracks and is especially noticable in melodic and vocal parts. Every pop genre song just sounds awful with non-0% tempo.
Background info: In the old Traktor 2.x.x era, there was a little trick. You could set the key lock quality to Eco, which made it possible to speed up (+%) tracks without any quality issues. Only lowering (-%) the tempo of tracks produced the degrading audio quality as you've heard in my recording of the Sound of San Francisco snippet. Lowering the tempo made the kicks/bass/hi hats not being "on point" anymore, which produced awkward results with songs being synced while one or both of the songs had the tempo lowered (-%). If you chose to use HiQ mode, lowered tempo synced songs sounded better, however, at the same time in HiQ mode faster tempo synced songs (+%) produced degrading audio in melodic/vocal heavy parts of the songs.
Here are some further examples that the audio quality is degrading when increasing the tempo (+%) in vocal parts:
There are some forum post discussing the the topic with people noticing this menace, but nobody has provided any recordings, so here it is.
Here is the german FAQ that has not been updated by Native Instruments and still features and mentions ECO and HiQ Key lock modes:
Kaiwan_NI Administrator Posts: 1,860 admin
Hi @fanatax welcome to NI's online community. Thanks for sharing your findings here as well. I saw that you contacted our support team a few months ago about the same issue.
Unfortunately there are no further updates from the team yet if the feature you're looking for will be implemented, but I've tagged your post with a feature request so we don't miss it.0
While I do not agree on flagging fixing the most important thing of a DJ software (spoiler: audio quality) as a "feature request", I appreciate taking note of my post. Please keep me updated about if any development resources will be allocated to Traktor again.0
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