DJing w/ Friends – (Pt 2) How to Sync 2 Traktor Systems w/ DJ Endo: Syncing With A MIDI Cable

Solo DJ sets are great, but playing with another DJ can take performance to a whole new level. In this tutorial Dubspot’s DJ Endo shows you how to sync two instances of Traktor Pro using a MIDI cable for a double DJ setup.

A 2×4 DJ setup (two DJs, four decks) can be a lot of fun! You can mix tracks in and out more quickly, you can layer sounds or loops over the other DJ’s tracks, or even get a bunch of simultaneous layers going for a frenzy of sound. But to keep everything from falling into cacophony, you’ll need to keep everything synced together so there are no trainwrecks when you begin to mix.

For digital DJs using Traktor Pro, there are a variety of ways to sync your two computers together. In the first part of this tutorial series, Dubspot’s DJ Endo explained how to sync the Master Clocks in two copies of Traktor manually by adjusting their Master Clock settings. Now in part two Endo explains how to set up sync between two computers running Traktor by using a MIDI cable. While this may not be quite as stable as sending MIDI clock over a network connection (which we will discuss in the next post in this series), it still does the trick quite well and is also the easiest method to set up, so let’s look at how this works…

Sync Two Instances of Traktor With A MIDI Cable

To set this up, you first need to make sure that both computers have some kind of interface or controller that gives you MIDI in and out ports. Most audio interfaces and DJ MIDI controllers will provide this, or you might use a dedicated MIDI interface, any of these will work. Then just connect a standard MIDI cable from the MIDI out port of the computer that will be the tempo master to the MIDI in port on the tempo slave computer. This is the only physical connection you need to make, but then you need to follow these next steps to send MIDI from one copy of Traktor to another:

1) To start sending MIDI from one Traktor system to another, you need to enable Traktor to send MIDI clock: go to Preferences > MIDI Clock and turn on (check) the option Send MIDI Clock.

2) Now to actually send the MIDI clock signal out of Traktor, we need to create a new MIDI device in Traktor. We can do this by going to Preferences > Controller Manager. To make a new device click the Add button under the device drop-down window, then choose Generic MIDI as shown in the image.

3) Now rename this device by clicking Edit > Edit Comment. For simplicity’s sake let’s rename the device “MIDI Clock.”

4) Next you need to choose what port to send the MIDI out through. Choose the device you created and named “MIDI Clock” as the Out-Port. Set the In-Port to None so you’re not receiving MIDI from anything else.

5) The next thing you need to do is go to each mapping in the Device drop-down menu and make sure none of your mappings are set to All Ports. Assign each mapping to that specific device it is supposed to work with. For example, if you’re using a mapping for your Maschine controller, set the In-Port to “Maschine” and the Out-Port to “Maschine.” The reason you need to do this is so that Traktor is not sending MIDI clock out of more than one device. This could cause the BPM value to be incorrectly doubled on the slave computer.

6) Now let’s go to the other computer, the tempo slave, and set Traktor up to receive the MIDI clock. On the slave computer, go to the Traktor Preferences > Controller Manager tab; now you need to make a new MIDI device to RECEIVE MIDI. You can do this by clicking on Add under the Device drop-down menu and choosing Generic MIDI.

7) Now name this new device by clicking Edit > Edit Comment. Once again for this example let’s name the device “MIDI Clock.”

8) Now set the In-Port and Out-Port for the new device. Since this is the slave computer, you’re going to be RECEIVING MIDI clock, so set your In-Port to the MIDI input of the interface or controller you’re using. As you see, in my case this is the Audio 8 DJ.

9) Now that you’ve established a MIDI connection from the tempo master computer to the tempo slave computer, you can start sending the MIDI clock signal from one to the other. To start sending MIDI clock, you need to click an option on Traktor’s Master Clock at the top left-hand corner of your screen. If you don’t see the Master Clock, you need to turn on the Global Section in Traktor by going to Preferences > Global Settings and check Show Global Section.

10) Now, to start sending clock out of the tempo master computer, go to the Master Clock section of Traktor and turn on the Play button under where it says Send (see image). Also make sure Auto is turned OFF since you’re going to be using the Master Clock to set the tempo and not a deck.

11) Now on the tempo slave computer, go to the Master Clock section and turn on the EXT button at left under Options. This tells Traktor to sync to an external (incoming) MIDI clock signal.

12) When you’re ready to sync up, push the Sync button in the Master Clock section of the MASTER computer. You should now see the BPM indicator in the Master Clock of the tempo slave computer start moving and sync up with the tempo master.

13) This will get your two computers to sync to the same tempo, but to get both computers PERFECTLY in sync there is one more part to this process. There is usually a little latency or time lag in this process of sending MIDI clock, so you need to turn the metronome on in both copies of Traktor and beatmatch the metronomes using the MIDI Clock Sending Offset bar in Traktor.

To do this, go to Traktor’s Master Clock section and turn on the “Tick” for both computers.

14) Then make sure that Traktor’s mixer section is showing on both computers: go to Preferences > Mixer and turn on the Filter, Key, Gain, Cue, Balance checkbox.

15) Now turn on the headphone button on Traktor’s mixer for one of the decks on each computer; this will send the metronome sound out of that channel.

For example, if I turn on the headphone button for Deck A, the metronome will play through whatever output I have set for Deck A. Do this on both computers so you can hear both metronomes together. Most likely the metronomes will be playing out of time with each other and you will hear a ‘flamming’ sound.

16) Now on the tempo master computer, go to the Traktor Preferences and click on the MIDI Clock tab. In the MIDI Clock tab, there is a slider that adjusts the Sending Offset.

You need to slide this back and forth until you can hear that both metronomes are ticking in sync. If it sounds like the two computers are completely out of sync, you might need to go back to step 12 of this tutorial and hit sync on the tempo master computer’s Master Clock to get everything back together. Then adjust the Sending Offset further until you find the right number that will keep the metronomes in sync without flamming.

Now that both of your computers are in sync, you’re ready to go. Just start playing tracks and everything should sync up automatically (as long as you’ve beatgridded your tracks correctly of course!).

If it sounds like the two computers are drifting out of sync during a performance, you can always go back to step 12 and click the sync button in the Master Clock on the tempo master computer. Also if a particular track you play sounds a bit out of sync, you might need to use the pitch bend buttons on Traktor’s decks to adjust the phase of that track so it matches your DJ partner.

Click here for part 1 of how to sync 2 Traktor systems w/ DJ Endo: Manual sync

Click here for part 3 of how to sync 2 Traktor systems w/ DJ Endo: Networking 2 macs

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. For more tutorials visit our blog homepage or our YouTube channel. For more info about me, check out Happy mixing. Peace! - Mike Henderson a.k.a. DJ Endo

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Digital DJing w/ Traktor Pro

The definition of DJing has changed dramatically in the last decade. Laptops, controllers, and software have emerged alongside more traditional turntables and CDJ’s, smashing the barrier to entry. In today’s digital age, anyone can become a DJ. To reflect this renaissance, Dubspot has created the Digital DJing with Traktor program. In both our physical and online schools, students will learn how to DJ entirely with Traktor’s cutting-edge technology. An emphasis will be placed on the concepts of DJing rather than simply learning how to use the software.

Shiftee and Endo offer a preview of our Digital DJing with Traktor Pro 2 Program.

What’s Included

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