How To Sync Ableton Live & Traktor | Video Tutorial by DJ Endo

Dubspot Instructor and product specialist for Native Instruments Mike Henderson aka DJ Endo answers a question on the minds of many Traktor enthusiasts and Ableton Live users, one of the most frequently asked questions he receives as a Native Instruments DJ expert; How can I sync Ableton Live to Traktor? In this new tutorial video, Endo shows you how to use both programs on one computer, using a single audio interface. As long as your beatgrids in Traktor are set correctly and your tracks are properly warped in Ableton, you can mix tracks in Traktor and play loops and instruments in Ableton Live and everything will be perfectly beatmatched! Check out the video, read the article, and let us know if you have questions by leaving a comment below!

One of the most common questions I get as Traktor specialist is, “How can I sync Ableton Live to Traktor?” A common misconception is that in order to do this, you must have two computers, and two audio interfaces. This is not true. You can actually use both programs simultaneously on one computer, using one audio interface. As long as your Beatgrids in Traktor are set correctly, and your tracks are warped correctly in Ableton, you can mix tracks in Traktor, while playing your loops or other instruments in Ableton Live and everything will be perfectly beatmatched.

Some artists that are currently using Traktor and Ableton together live are Dubfire, Pete Tong, Carl Craig, Chris Liebing, Davide Squillace, Richie Hawtin and Luciano. I set up Dubfire, Pete Tong and Chris Liebing to do this, and all of them use Ableton in different ways with Traktor. Dubfire and Chris Liebing use Ableton as a host for Maschine, where each “Group” or drum bank in Maschine is routed to its own audio channel in Ableton. Pete Tong uses Ableton to play loops over whatever he is playing in Traktor.

Not too long ago, the only way to sync Ableton and Traktor (that I knew of) was to use a MIDI cable. I would actually plug the MIDI on my Audio 8 DJ into itself by plugging the MIDI output into the MIDI Input on the Audio 8 DJ. This would in a way trick the computer into thinking it was reading a different MIDI clock source when it was really just reading its own! This method however wasn’t very stable. In a recent Traktor update, Native Instruments introduced Traktor’s Virtual MIDI Output Port, which means you can send MIDI internally inside your computer from Traktor to any other program that receives MIDI and visa versa.

Setting up Traktor and Ableton to sync together takes a little time (hopefully no more than 15 minutes), but once you have the two programs sync’d to one another, you shouldn’t have to mess with the settings much after that since they will be saved for the next time you play.

To Sync Traktor and Ableton you will go through the following steps.

In Traktor open your preferences (the Gear Icon in the upper right hand side of the screen)

Go to the MIDI Clock section of the Preferences and turn on the option for “Send MIDI Clock.” I always keep the MIDI Clock sending offset at zero ms.

Make sure your soundcard is set to “Audio 8 DJ” or whatever soundcard you are using for both programs. Also make sure your “Output Routing” is set correctly.

Next thing your going to want to do is go to the Layout Manager tab and make sure your Global section is showing, so you can see the Master Clock and Effects at the top.

Now we’re going to make a new MIDI device in the controller editor so that Traktor can send MIDI clock to Ableton. We can do this by performing the following actions:

1) Go to Preferences / Controller Manager

2) Under the “Device” dropdown menu click on “Add” and then select “Generic MIDI”. This will add a new MIDI device, which in this case is simply a port to send MIDI clock.

3) Rename this device by clicking on “Edit” under the Device dropdown menu, and name this device “CLOCK”

4) Next to the device called “CLOCK” you are going to set the “Out-Port” to “Traktor Virtual MIDI” by clicking on the drop down menu under “Out-Port” and selecting “Traktor Virtual MIDI.” Also set the In-Port to “None” to prevent any MIDI loops.

5) Now you are going to make sure no other device is sending MIDI clock through this port. You will do this by selecting each device in the “Device” menu and setting the Out Port to whatever the controllers port is (example – Allen & Heath Xone 2D). You want to make sure that *no* Out Port is set to “All Ports”
6) For the clock device, make sure the device target is set to Focus.

The next thing we’re going to do is set Ableton Live to receive MIDI clock from Traktor. We can do this by doing the following:

1) Open Ableton Live and go to the Preferences window

2) Click on the “MIDI / SYNC” Tab

3) Where it says “Input – Traktor Virtual Output” in the MIDI Ports section, make sure the Sync button is highlighted.

4) When you turn the Sync button on in the Ableton preferences, you’ll notice there is now a little window next to Ableton’s Master Clock that’s called EXT. Click on this button. Now Ableton is able to receive external MIDI clock from other applications.

5) Next set up your Audio setup in Ableton by selecting your soundcard (audio output device), and choosing the appropriate outputs for the Master channel in Ableton.

Now that we’ve created a virtual device to send MIDI clock in Traktor, and set up Ableton to receive this clock signal from Traktor, now we’re going to start sending MIDI Clock from Traktor into Ableton. Here’s how to do it.

1) At the top of the Traktor screen click on the Metronome Icon next to the effects panel. This will show the Master Clock panel of Traktor.

2) Click on the Play | Pause button in the Master Clock Panel. This will send MIDI clock out of Traktor. I like to have the Master Clock Mode be in “Auto” Mode (which means whatever deck has been playing the longest is the Master Deck), but if you are just using controllers you might want to use “Internal” Master Clock Mode.

3) Press the Sync button in Traktor’s MIDI Clock panel. This will tell Ableton where the ‘one’ is in the track (the first beat in a measure) and will start playback in Ableton. You should see a flashing light next to the EXT button in Ableton, indicating that its receiving MIDI clock and that Ableton playing.

Now that we have MIDI clock sending from Traktor to Ableton, now we have to make sure the two programs are in SYNC with each other by adjusting Ableton’s MIDI Clock Sync Delay, and using the metronome from both programs to Match both programs. Here is how we do this:

1) In Traktor’s Master Clock panel, turn on the Tick button. Also turn on the Cue button for Deck A. This will make it so you can hear a metronome (click) sound representing Traktor’s master clock.

2) With the Play button enabled in Traktor’s Master Clock panel, Click on the SYNC button in Traktor’s Master Clock to make sure its sending MIDI clock.

3) In Ableton, turn on the Metronome by clicking on the metronome button in the Master Clock section. Now you should have an Audible Metronome playing in both programs.

4) The next thing you are going to do is adjust the MIDI Clock Sync Delay in Ableton, so that the metronomes in both programs are playing perfectly in Sync. To do this, go to the Ableton Preferences – MIDI / SYNC. Where says “Input – Traktor Virtual Output” in the MIDI Ports section, click on the little arrow to the left of “INPUT” to open up the advanced MIDI clock preferences.

5) We are now going to beatmatch the two metronomes by adjusting the MIDI Clock Sync Delay bar. We can just click on this Bar and drag it up and down until both Metronomes are playing perfectly in sync. I had to adjust my MIDI Clock Sync Delay to about 14ms, but that value is different on other computers.

Once Traktor and Ableton are in Sync, we can then play tracks in Traktor, and have loops and instruments running at the same time in Ableton! Its even possible to share an audio output on the same Audio interface for both programs if you wanted to say, run 4 decks in Traktor out of the Audio 8 DJ, and share output 4 with both Traktor & Ableton.

Happy Mixing!

DJ Endo

Mike Henderson aka DJ Endo is a DJ and product specialist for Native Instruments and lives in Brooklyn. Listen to his mixes on SoundCloud, follow him on Twitter, & find him on Facebook.

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  • Ableton Support » How To Sync Ableton Live & Traktor | Video Tutorial by DJ Endo …
  • 11/4/2010

[...] Link: How To Sync Ableton Live & Traktor | Video Tutorial by DJ Endo … [...]

  • alex
  • 11/4/2010

what versions of the programs that work?

  • Stavros
  • 11/4/2010

When I create a new generic midi the Output port “Traktor Virtual MIDI” does not exist.
I tried all others but nothing works, any suggestions?

  • Zalaz
  • 11/4/2010

same here, when I try to change the outport of the traktor it doesn’t show me that option “Traktor Virtual Midi” =S

  • Iz
  • 11/4/2010

Has anyone gotten this to work on a PC? No virtual midi output available…

  • lamin
  • 11/4/2010

Endo is busy traveling the globe and setting dancefloors on fire!
He sent over this message to answer your questions –

“After reading everyone’s comments I’m realizing Traktors Virtual MIDI might not work if your on a PC. In that case you can use a MIDI cable that’s plugged from the MIDI out port on your Audio 8 DJ to the MIDI In port on the audio 8 DJ. So essentially you are tricking your computer into thinking its reading MIDI from another source.
You need an interface with MIDI In / Out to achieve this. Otherwise, there may be some way to route MIDI on a PC that I don’t know about.”

  • Nicholas
  • 11/4/2010

Sorry, I’ve a great question, I hope you may help me, please: when I play with traktor, and I insert this sound into ableton, adding effects and midi sounds and/or samples, how may I record exactly all the sounds I hear from my soundcard, please?

Thanks and best regards, Nicholas

  • Nicholas
  • 11/4/2010
  • Liubo Ursiny
  • 11/4/2010

Can you elaborate more on this:

“Its even possible to share an audio output on the same Audio interface for both programs if you wanted to say, run 4 decks in Traktor out of the Audio 8 DJ, and share output 4 with both Traktor & Ableton.”

How is it possible to use one Audio 8 DJ, and have 4 Traktor channels + Ableton?
Thanks in advance!

  • Ricardo
  • 11/4/2010

Great Tutorial Endo…now how would this work with the S4?

  • dalle (denmark)
  • 11/4/2010

thnx man…..
im been looking for that info

thnx thnx thnx :)

  • Matt Shadetek
  • 11/4/2010

You’re welcome! Happy you found it helpful.

  • Matt Shadetek
  • 11/4/2010

yes, it should work. The preferences side of the new S4 compatible version of Traktor should have these options as well. We haven’t tried it yet over here but we’ll let you know when we do.

  • Matt Shadetek
  • 11/4/2010

Hey Liubo,

A lot of people have actually been asking us how to do this, I’m going to ask Endo to cover this in an upcoming tutorial.
Thanks for commenting!

  • Endo
  • 11/4/2010

@Alex – This will work with the latest versions of Traktor and Traktor S4 as well as Ableton Live 7 & 8 or any version of Ableton that will receive MIDI clock.

@Stavros , @Zalaz, @lz – You might not see the Traktor Virtual MIDI because your using a PC. This only works on a Mac. If you have a PC you should download a program called “MIDI Yoke” which will do the exact same thing

@Nicholas – you would want to plug the output of your mixer into the Input of the Audio 8 or whatever soundcard you are using and record externally using Traktor’s recorder

@Liubo Urisny – You can either combine Traktor and Ableton on the same outputs, or you can use Traktor on 2 (or more) outputs on your soundcard, and use Ableton on the other outputs of your soundcard. It all depends on how many outputs your soundcard has. I like to use Traktor on Outputs 1&2 (Deck A), 3&4 (Deck B), 5&6 (Deck C) and Ableton or Maschine on 7&8 , and combine the ableton or Maschine output with Deck D in Traktor

@Ricardo This works exactly the same way with the S4 software

  • Nicholas
  • 11/4/2010

@Endo: I have a macbook, a Hercules RMX (controlling Traktor) and an Evolution UC-33e (controlling Ableton Live): I use 2 audio ports of my RMX to listen monitor in Traktor, then I’ve connected Traktor and Ableton via Soundflower and I have connected other 2 RMX’s ports to Ableton’s output.

I haven’t any Audio 8; I only have a Mixvibes U-Mix44 (USB external soundcard with 4 inputs and 4 outputs, but I wouldn’t use it…It’s a surplus…

I wish to know if it’s possible recording all the sound of ableton output (input from Traktor PLUS midi and audio samples from Ableton Live) using directly Ableton; now I’m recording the result of my mixes with an external program for macosx, Audio Hijack Pro.

Thanks in advance and best regards, Nicholas

  • Larry
  • 11/4/2010

Endo, great tutorial! I Followed the instructions and achieved syncing both programs but, after a while a mixing, Ableton tends to drift away but cant be beatmatched through the clocks “bend” instead i have to go back to ableton prefertences and beatmatch again with the midi clock sync delay, any help on this?

  • NC: Tutorial: Sincronizar Traktor con Ableton en una misma PC
  • 11/4/2010

[...] Traktor con Ableton en una misma PC Encontre esto hoy , disfruten los que saben ingles =) How To Sync Ableton Live & Traktor | Video Tutorial by DJ Endo | Dubspot Blog [...]

  • lilleman
  • 11/4/2010

Thanks alot, this tutorial was great!
I do have an additional question now that Traktor & Live are synced together, how (if possible) do I get Traktors output to Live so that I can use Live effects on the music from Traktor?
I am using an Allen & Heath Xone 4D

  • Franck de Villeneuve
  • 11/4/2010

you can route audio from traktor to live too !!
and you can think of more than 2 softwares to synchro, depending of your laptop !
I’ve made a setup with a LEMUR, TRAKTOR, ABLETON LIVE & ARKAOS !
it’s named TACTILE AUDIOVISUAL DJ-SET
here is the link ! you’ll find a technical explanation in an article
http://www.facebook.com/pages/TACTILE-audiovisual-DJ-Set/467402015544

  • Will You Be DJing with Jogwheels In 5 Years? Ritchie Hawtin Won’t… | Digital DJ Tips
  • 11/4/2010

[...] the Serato Scratch DVS system but coming soon for ITCH controllers), and technical know-how such as how to sync Ableton and Traktor on the same machine becoming more widespread, the boundaries between traditional DJ software and more modern [...]

  • Hands on: Allen & Heath Xone DB4 mixer / audio interface with DJ Endo | Dubspot Blog
  • 11/4/2010

[...] more info on how to Sync Ableton Live and Traktor on the same computer, check out my tutorial here. // Share| [...]

  • Traktor & Ableton Live Tutorial! How to Route Audio | Dubspot’s DJ Endo | Dubspot Blog
  • 11/4/2010

[...] By routing Audio from Traktor into Ableton you can not only use Ableton effects over what your playing in Traktor, but you can also record each deck of Traktor into its own Audio channel in Ableton.  Your Ableton Session will be in perfect Sync with Traktor, so any tempo changes that you do in Traktor will be recorded into Ableton Live! If you’re using time based effects in Ableton, they will sync to whatever your playing in Traktor, and if you’re recording audio from Traktor into Ableton, all of your Audio will line up perfectly on Ableton’s grid, saving you hours of having to warp marker your DJ mix after the fact. Please note – before following this tutorial you should first follow my previous tutorial on How To Sync Ableton Live & Traktor. [...]

  • James
  • 11/4/2010

Absolutely awesome Endo! Best tech teacher I’ve had. Very happily grooving with my new Traktor-Live8 software team. Thank you for a very valuable site!

  • Alfonso
  • 11/4/2010

Hi Endo!
First of thankyou for your cool tutorial. Ive managed to sync Traktor 2 with Ableton live, following your guidsteps. Everything works great in sync when Traktors clock is set to Master. The problem is when I set it to Auto and play a track in one of the decks. I have to continually press Sync in Traktor for both programs to stay in sync as Ableton drifts of and the mix sounds off. Any ideas on how I can solve this problem would be greatly appreciated! Im using Macbook pro, Traktor version 2.01 and Ableton version 8.1.4. Hope on hearing from you. thanks once again.

  • mark
  • 11/4/2010

great tutorial endo.

one small problem., it doesn’t work for pc even with looping the midi out to midi in in an attempt to fool the pc. does anyone have a simple solution to this problem at all?
am close to giving up with traktor and getting serato instead.

  • mar
  • 11/4/2010

Though this is a great tutorial, it seems most of the tut’s are about Traktor Pro, leaving Traktor Scratch Duo 2 behind…

not all of us have the pro version you know…

  • MoMo
  • 11/4/2010

I posted in the other blogs concerning the DB4 and Traktor/Maschine but am mostly concerned with finding answers on how to sync two laptops individually running Abelton/Maschine on one and Traktor Pro on the other. I can understand why Dubfire is using two addtional soundcards with the DB4 and have attempted to set-up a similar rig with that mixer, two laptops, two soundcards (one as Abelton/Maschine out – one as a through analogue/midi clock send on the same laptop as DBR) but it’s like rocket science getting them to sync. Personally, I’d only set-up two to get the dedicated CPU/RAM and screen realestate but the use of a standard midi cable between the two soundcards is where I get into trouble. I find that you can get closer to sync’d play with running these programs internally and not have such an expansive set-up but with two laptops you get dedicated systems and visual comfort for the two major programs). This is a problem but somehow Dubire has it working. He might not even be using a cable and is reversing the sync so that it’s coming from Abelton and not the Traktor computer.???

  • Jayzilla
  • 11/4/2010

I was wondering if anyone has found a solution to getting this to work on a PC?
I have Win 7 ableton 8 traktor pro S4 and midi yoke set up. It all comes up in ableton fine but I still dont see any of the midi options in traktor? I read something about an update, i’m sure if that might fix it but I don’t think so. I port programs into ableton all the time without problem. I use my pro tools m box 2 but it can only be used by one master program at a time so the internal rewire is tricky. Any help would be much appreciated.. I would hate to support the just buy apple stuff… Open source baby! Hit me up!

  • Rob
  • 11/4/2010

i have routed audio from 2 channels in live to decks c&d in traktor on my S4