@Sara > Take a read of this:
The mixer’s built-in soundcard can read Traktor Vinyl or Traktor Timecode CDs, so you can just plug the turntables or CDJs directly into the mixer and you’ll be ready to control each deck in Traktor with timecode. The mixer also has a built-in Direct Thru, so you can switch quickly and seamlessly between using Traktor with timecode and using regular vinyl records or audio CDs with the mixer’s channel selector switch. Also, with the DJM-900’s recording output, you can record your sets directly from the mixer into Traktor’s built-in recorder, giving you high-quality recordings with a consistent volume level. On top of all this, the Mixer can actually send MIDI to Traktor, allowing you to control things like Traktor effects directly from the mixer. It can even send the mixer’s Auto BPM detection value to Traktor’s master clock, allowing you to sync Traktor to the mixer itself. In this article I’ll explain how to set Traktor up with the DJM-900 in detail,give you some troubleshooting tips, and show you how to configure the DJM-900nexus for your personal Traktor setup.
First of all, if you want to be able to control Traktor with timecode CDs or timecode vinyl you will need to upgrade to Traktor Scratch Pro 2. If your Traktor icon doesn’t say Scratch, then you need to get the scratch update by going to this link.
As always, I’d also recommend updating to the latest version of Traktor via the Native Instruments Service Center or by going here. Last but not least, you should download and install the latest drivers and firmware for the DJM-900 by going here. Instructions on updating the firmware of the DJM-900 mixer are below. Keep in mind that if you have the newer generation of CDJs such as the CDJ 2000s or 900s you do not need to use a Scratch version of Traktor since the newer generation of CDJs act as a controller for Traktor in Advanced HID Mode without using timecode. Using these newer CDJs in this mode with Traktor is ideal, especially when using the DJM-900nexus mixer as your soundcard.
With all of that said, here is how to get started using the DJM-900 with Traktor:
First, shut down your computer. Always shut down your computer before using this setup to avoid having audio distortion issues.
If your drivers are up to date, the DJM-900 settings tool should open automatically. If it doesn’t open, you can open the settings tool by going to Applications>Pioneer>DJM 900 Nexus>DJM 900 Nexus Settings Utility (Mac) or Start Menu>All Programs>Pioneer>DJM 900 Nexus (Windows). If you click on the settings tool’s “About” tab, it will tell you what driver you’re currently using.
With the settings tool open, click on the “Outputs” tab. This is where you configure the signals being sent to the computer from the mixer:
For timecode vinyl, plug the turntable’s RCA cable into either channel 1 or channel 4’s phono inputs (these are the only 2 channels that have a phono input) and set the output in the settings tool to PHONO.
For timecode CDs (via RCA / line input), plug the CD player with an RCA cable into the CD or line input on either channels 1,2,3 or 4 of the DJM-900 and set the output to TIMECODE CD/LINE in the settings tool.
For timecode CDs via a digital cable / digital in on the mixer, plug a digital audio cable from the CD player’s digital out into the digital input on the DJM-900, set the digital / line switch on the back of the mixer to “digital” and set the output to TIMECODE DIGITAL in the DJM-900 settings tool. You can also use this method to switch between using Traktor with digital timecode control and playing audio CDs through the digital input of the mixer by using the channel selector switch.
If you’re not using timecode, set the output for the channel to Post Ch Fader.
There are other options for things like recording but more on that later. If you get a message that pops up that looks like this, switch the channel selector to USB:
Now that our mixer settings are configured, let’s set up Traktor’s audio settings. To get to Traktor’s preferences, click on the gear icon in the upper right-hand side of the screen, and then go to the Audio Setup tab. In the Audio Device drop-down menu select “DJM-900nexus” as your soundcard. I like to set my sample rate to 44100 Hz and latency to 512 on this screen:
Next, let’s set up our output routing. This should be configured automatically, but just in case let’s double-check. The output of Deck A should be Out 1&2 of the Nexus mixer. The output of Deck B should be Out 3&4. The output of Deck C should be Out 5&6 and the output of Deck D should be Out 7&8. (You can always change the order of these outputs if you want to use different channels.)
Now let’s set up our input routing. This is where you can configure what inputs on the mixer control each deck in Traktor. If you’re using vinyl, You would set the input for Deck A to inputs 1&2 and the input for Deck B to input 7&8 since those are channels 1&4 (the only channels with phono inputs) on the DJM-900. Since I use four decks (turntables on channels 1&4 and CDJs on channels 2&3), I have my inputs set as follows:
Now that everything is configured in the audio settings, let’s test to make sure the vinyl and or CD control is working. To set a deck to be controlled by timecode vinyl or CDs, you have to click on the little black arrow underneath the deck Letter and choose “Scratch Control”:
Now you want to show the “scope” in the decks so you can see the timecode signal that’s coming into Traktor. You can also see this in the input routing section, but it’s always nice to have quick access to the timecode view if you’re using control vinyl or CDs. To show the scope, go to Preferences>Decks Layout and set the platter / scope options to “scope.”
Now with the Traktor record on the turntable, put the needle down on the record, and then check to see if you have signal in the scope window. If so, Traktor should automatically calibrate and the deck mode should switch to absolute mode and start playing. If the signal is a circle it means you have a good signal coming in. If it’s a horizontal line, make sure your RCA cables are plugged in all the way. You can always click the Calibrate button to recalibrate the decks, and you can manually click on the absolute or relative mode buttons to switch the playback mode.
If you’re using the Traktor CDs, put the CD player on Track 2 and hit the play button. The picture in the scope window should be a perfect circle and the track should begin to play in absolute mode. It’s worth noting that you can actually hook up to four CDJs into the DJM 900 and have full timecode control over all four decks. However my personal favorite method when using CDJs is using the CDJs in HID Mode with the CDJ 2000s or 900s. Click here to find out more about how to set that up.
Once the deck is playing in Traktor, you should hopefully see levels coming through the mixer. If not, turn up the channel’s trim. Then turn up the channel’s volume fader as well as the master or booth volume to hear sound. Also make sure the balance knob is in the center. I also like to set Traktor’s master level to -3 dB and give Traktor’s internal mixer 3 dB of headroom.
Now that we have sound coming through the mixer and everything is configured, you’re ready for plug and play timecode action with Traktor and the DJM-900!