Configuring MIDI controllers with an integrated sound card in Traktor PRO and Traktor LE Native Instruments might sound easy for a DJ, whereas it is a very hot topic as there are many variables that might influence the successful outcome of the configuration. In order to configure our PC or Mac for DJ purposes, the first step is the installation of any drivers of our MIDI controller with integrated sound card. If the CD is not supplied you should visit the producers website to check whether there are some drivers to install. If there are, you need to install them. Be aware that you should NEVER EVER connect the USB device before you have finished installing your driver. If our controller does have drivers to install, the installation process itself will tell you when it is best to effect the connection (and to power up). First install the driver, and connect the device ONLY when instructed to do so.
For the purposes of this article we are going to use two MIDI controllers with integrated sound cards which do not require drivers, as they are "audio/MIDI compliant" peripherals, that connect directly with Mac OS Core Audio native drivers, orwith WASAPI in the latest Windows operating systems. For Windows users, especially those who use the more obsolete versions of XP or Vista, I recommend ASIO 4 ALL drivers. With ASIO 4 ALL you can convert standard multimedia drivers of compliant Windows compatible sound cards (XP, Vista, 7) into ASIO drivers, improving their performance significantly and operating at a lower latency. So Windows users simply need to download and install the ASIO 4 ALL drivers, for now…
ASIO 4 ALL driver downloads: http://www.asio4all.com
Let's move onto software: the most popular software for DJ's in Europe is Traktor by Native Instruments. The configuration of the LE (limited and supplied free with many controllers) and Traktor PRO versions is very similar. First of all you need to install TRAKTOR LE or TRAKTOR PRO software and register it with the "Service Center", i.e. the application that Native Instruments uses to protect/register/activate their own software. The Service Center installs automatically with Traktor, or otherwise its installation will be required when you install the main software; if needed you can download it by clicking here. After installation is complete, you should open the Service Center, create your own personal account in your name and with your email address, and then insert your own Traktor code (product code, serial number) where appropriate, which is usually indicated on the CD, or on the CD cover, on a card or in the manual, or in the e-mail you received if you bought the software on line. Keep the code number in a safe place. Once you have activated the software check for any updates by updating from the Service Center. Proceed with the download and installation. Now you can open Traktor PRO or Trakor LE software and configure the MIDI and Audio settings to interface the hardware with the software. Be aware that many MIDI controllers may not turn on and/or appear operative once connected to the computer. This is normal as most MIDI/USB controllers become active only on their configuration with the software they are to be used with.
First step, MIDI configuration:
- In Traktor click on "HELP", then on "Start Set up Wizard"
- Click on "NEXT" when the Wizard set up comes up
- Select "YES" for "Are you using a USB/FireWire Controller?"
- Click on NEXT
- In the drop-down menu "Choose your manufacturer" select the brand, in this case "NUMARK"
- In the drop-down menu "Choose your model" select the model you are using.
- If you are using Traktor LE make sure you select, for example, "MIXTRACK LE".
- If you are using Traktor PRO you will have to select "MIXTRACK".
- (Only for Traktor PRO) Answer "NO" to the question "Are you using an external mixer?" in the drop-down menu
- (Only for Traktor PRO) In the window "Deck Layout Selection" select the configuration deck which is most useful to you
- Click on "Next", then on "Finish".
Windows users need to use ASIO 4 ALL drivers:
- ASIO 4 ALL have their own control panel (icon near the clock: )
- Activate your controller sound card (power icon )
IMPORTANT: In some Windows operating systems, especially the older ones, the sound card driver integrated in Mix Track PRO (sometimes indicated as the USB speaker) may be "occupied" by the system's audio settings. If there is a problem, eg. if it cannot be activated in ASIO 4 ALL or if you cannot activate the Traktor outputs, you should use the built-in audio card (or other) as operating system's audio peripheral on the Control panel/Audio settings.
Traktor PRO or Traktor LE Driver Audio (and pre listening) settings
- Click on Audio Set-Up from File
- In the Audio Device drop-down menu select the soundcard driver.
(in this case Numark MixTrack PRO, or ASIO 4 ALL if this is the PC/Windows driver you use)
- Make sure that Output Routing is set on Internal Mixer
- Set Numark MixTrack PRO Out 1 and 2 to Master and Numark MixTrack PRO Out 3 and 4 as pre listening (monitoring).
With DJ sound cards, especially with 4 outputs, outputs 1 and 2 are for the Master, and 3 and 4 for pre listening (directly routed to the headphone output).
WHEN THE CONTROLLER DOES NOT APPEAR IN THE TRAKTOR LIST
If your MIDI Controller model is not in the list of automatically configurable controllers in the Traktor PRO Set Up Wizard, look for the configuration file on the web site of the hardware producer. In fact, Traktor allows you to create, modify, save and import the so-called "Map". These come in the form of a".TSI" file, eg.: N4 Traktor Pro.tsi.
In this case, this is the procedure:
- Find and download the .tsi file from the producer's website
- Click on 'File' (Traktor) and select "Controller Manager"
- Click on "Import" and select your controller's .tsi file in the browser
- Click "OK"
MICROPHONE, PRE LISTENING AND CONCLUSIONS
Now we are ready to use our MIDI Controller with the integrated soundcard and we can use the pre listening function through our headphones. The sound connections are very easy to set up: the controller's audio output "1" (L/R or Master) should be connected to the speaker system, while the headphones should be connected to the jack plug usually located on the front panel. Important: output "2" in a DJ MIDI Controller sound card receives its signal from pre listening, so DO NOT connect it to the audio system unless you use external audio mixers and the relative Traktor configuration "External Mixer" where each deck has its own output (deck A Out 1, deck B Out 2).
Pre listening with headphones works like a DJ console.
- Pressing one of the "CUE" (the small ones) or "PFL" buttons you can decide which channel will be routed directly to your headphones
- The "CUE Gain" knob allows you to regulate the volume
- Turning the "CUE Mix" knob to the left you will hear only the signal from the channel selected using the CUE button. Turning it to the right you will hear the cue signal mixed with the Master signal (the same signal that comes from the output connected to the speaker system).
To use the microphone simply connect it and the signal will reach the main output and will go directly to the Master, by-passing the software.
Native instruments web site:http://www.native-instruments.com
Numark Web site: http://www.numark.com
Numark products are distributed in Italy by http://www.ekomusicgroup.com
Please note that the two controllers used as examples in this article, Numark Mixtrack Pro and Numark N4 may also be used with the free SERATO DJ INTRO software which does NOT require settings.
For further information on Serato DJ INTRO: http://serato.com/dj-intro
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