Traktor Kontrol Z1 + Traktor Pro 3 + 2021 MacBook Pro = disaster
I've just had a terrible evening that included both Traktor Pro 3 and the Z1 utterly failing *during a live DJ session* with about 80 people dancing.
For reference, I'm using a 2021 MacBook Pro with an M1 chip and MacOS Ventura with all updates applied. The MacBook Pro was plugged directly into power (and didn't exhibit any power issues), and was connected to the Traktor Kontrol Z1 by a 1-meter USB-C to USB-B cable. WiFi was turned off, no apps were running in the background, and Traktor Pro was running in fullscreen mode. I also had some unpowered headphones plugged into the headphone port of the Z1.
I've used this setup for four DJ sessions of 90 minutes each in the last two months. The first three sessions, before tonight, went fine. The only notable changes to my gear between the third set and tonight's set were:
1) I updated Native Access to the latest version from a version that was about two months old.
2) I used the updated Native Access to update Traktor Pro 3 to version 3.7 (latest version).
3) I plugged a microphone into a USB-C port and tried using it together with the Traktor Kontrol Z1 as an Aggregated Device. When I tested this configuration at home, the mic worked fine and mixed perfectly into the audio. Later, at the venue, Traktor Pro wouldn't mix in the mic with this same configuration. I noticed that the input routing had spontaneously reset from Microphone to None. To avoid issues, I switched the device from Aggregated Device to Traktor Kontrol Z1 before starting my set, but I left the mic plugged into the MacBook Pro. (I doubt that the mic was a factor, but I mention it here for completeness.)
The Z1 worked fine for about an hour. At that point, the following events happened in the span of about five minutes:
1) I rotated my MacBook Pro slightly on the tabletop, and Traktor Pro paused for about 0.5 seconds before resuming audio. I figured that physically moving the laptop might have caused a momentary loss of USB-C connectivity. I didn't move the MacBook after that.
2) Traktor Pro exhibited about four additional pauses like this during normal UI operations. Trying to drag a track to inactive Dec B, while Deck A was playing, caused Traktor Pro to pause (twice in a row, actually). Just clicking on a track accidentally toggled Traktor Pro into "Rename" mode, and it paused again until I hit Escape. Finally, clicking on the Cue/Preview icon for a track to listen to it in headphones caused Traktor Pro to pause. I had no idea what was causing all of this, and I decided not to touch Traktor Pro except between the end of one track in order to load the next track onto the other deck and start it.
3) A few minutes later, while Traktor Pro was playing a track and without any user input to either Traktor Pro or the Traktor Kontrol Z1, Traktor Pro spontaneously crashed. Full stop on audio, obviously.
4) Upon restarting Traktor Pro, I wasn't able to reconnect it to the Traktor Kontrol Z1. Rather, the Traktor Kontrol Z1 kept flickering - its lights would come on and Traktor Pro would try to map it for output, but a second later, the Z1 lights would go out and its entry would disappear in output routing. It kept trying to come back online and kept going offline.
I unplugged and replugged the USB-C cable, but the behavior persisted.
I salvaged the last 30 minutes of my set using a basic Sabrent USB audio adapter and VLC, both of which performed flawlessly. I'm a little bitter that this backup gear, which cost $9 total, outperformed my Native Instruments setup featuring a $140 Traktor Kontrol Z1 and a $100 Traktor Pro 3 license.
I don't know if there's any way to recover from this. With intermittent issues, coordinated failures of Traktor Pro 3 and the Traktor Kontrol Z1, and an uninformative crash log (relevant events attached), I can't even begin to diagnose the chain of events that went south. I suspect that both issues reflect fatal and latent incompatibilities with Apple M1 hardware, which, bizarrely, is still an "active development" feature of Traktor over two years after the first release of M1 hardware in November 2020.
I can't imagine how I will ever trust this setup with a live gig again.
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