Beatgridding in Traktor
by Mike Henderson (aka DJ Endo)
Traktor Scratch Pro and Traktor Pro have proven to be the industry standard in DJ Software. Traktor can help your DJ workflow tremendously depending on how much work you put into preparing your tracks. Whether you are using Vinyl, CD’s, MIDI controllers, or even a mouse, Traktor has a very handy button called the “Sync” button.
The Sync button matches the BPM (speed) of whichever deck you are playing to the Deck set as the “Master” Deck. It will also match the “Phase” of both records, matching the downbeats of each track so they are hitting at the same time. If used correctly, the sync feature will allow for perfectly beatmatched mixes every time, and will also allow for perfect loops and effects in Traktor.
The proper use of the Sync feature is commonly misunderstood in Traktor. A common complaint with Traktor is “I press the sync button, and everything goes off.” This problem occurs because Traktor needs to know where the downbeats are in your tracks, as well as the speed (BPM) of your tracks. This is where beatgrids come into play. Beatgrids are the backbone of Traktor.
Nov 13, 2013 Beat Grid: A beat-grid is the white lines that are placed overtop of Traktor's analyzed tracks that correspond to the song's drum hits, and tell Traktor the BPM of the track. Once set correctly, beat grids will enable to you to perfectly sync your tracks in time.
A Beatgrid is a series of Gridlines set across your tracks that mark the downbeats of your track, and tell Traktor the BPM of the track.
The analysis creates a grid over the rhythm, based on what tempo is determined, either by TRAKTOR, or manually. This is based on a special cue point called a grid point, which is shown as a white, downward pointing triangle on the waveform. Jan 31, 2012 Very simple way to BeatGrid your tracks easy and fast with extreme accuracy on Traktor Pro 2. Traktor does an OK job of beat-matching but it is not perfect. Take care of it yourself so that when.
They are like Warp markers in Ableton Live, except setting a beatgrid in Traktor is much easier. Once you set a beatgrid for your track, the BPM reading of your track will be accurate to the 1/1000th of a BPM, and if you are mixing it with another track that is beatgridded you can visually mix using Traktor’s Phase Meters.
Below is my method of beatgridding in Traktor. Some artists I’ve trained such as Victor Calderone, Dubfire and Nic Fanciulli use this method religiously for every track they play.
Pro Traktor Scratch
I would do all of your beatgrids in your headphones since the music is directly in your ear. I would also recommend doing beatgrids at home or on the flight to your gig, and not live at the gig.Setting a Beatgrid in Traktor:
1) Make sure Traktor’s Auto Beatmarker function is turned on by going to Preferences / File Management / BPM Detection Range / and turning on the option “Set Beatgrid when detecting BPM Range”. With this option enabled, Traktor will automatically set a beat marker in your track where it thinks the first downbeat is located. You also might want to change the BPM detection range to the Tempo (BPM) range that you usually DJ at.
2) Next you want Traktor to analyze your new tracks when you load them into a Deck. You will turn on this option by going to the Traktor Preferences / File Management and turning on the option to “Analyze New Tracks when loading into Deck”. So, when you load a track into a Deck in Traktor for the first time, Traktor will Analyze the gain, transients, and BPM – and with the Auto Grid function turned on, it will place a beatmarker where it thinks the first downbeat is in the track.
3) To make sure you can hear Traktor’s Metronome over the track that you’re beatgridding, set Output routing to “EXTERNAL” mode by going to the Traktor Preferences / Output routing and changing the output routing to “External”. Also make sure you have an output set for Deck A. For example, if you were using your built in output (Mac’s built in speakers or headphone output), I would set the output for Deck A to Output 1 and 2.
4) In the Traktor Preferences set the Mouse Control to “SNAP” mode by going to Preferences / Transport, and changing the Mouse Control Mode to “SNAP”. This will make it so you can click directly on the transients (kicks, snares etc) inside the track with your mouse. Also Make sure the option to Highlight Beatmarkers is turned on in Preferences / Global View Options
5) The next thing you will want to do is turn the “Cue” button on for Deck A on Traktor’s Mixer, and also turn the tick button on in the Master Panel. This will make it so you can hear a metronome over the track loaded in Deck A.
6) Next open your “Grid” panel in Traktor by clicking on the Arrow beneath the “Active” button in Deck A, and then click on the “Grid” button to open the Grid panel.
7) Now, load a new, unanalyzed track into Deck A in Traktor. When Traktor is finished analyzing the track, you’ll notice a white marker in the Track. This is your auto-beat marker. You’ll also notice a series of evenly spaced white lines across the track. This is your beatgrid. Each of these white lines is where Traktor thinks the beats are in the track.
8) Zoom in as far as possible on the waveform by using the + and – buttons in the deck. Click on the top waveform (in the deck) and click on the first kick drum in the Track with your mouse. You can sample the kick drum by clicking the mouse button and holding it. It is best to set your grid markers on the first beat of a bar.
9) Once you’ve found the first kick drum, set a 4 beat loop starting at this point by clicking on the number “4″ beneath Deck A.
Now click on the play button and listen to how the Metronome lines up with the Track.
10) While the loop is playing, you will want to shift the grid left and right with the top 2 MOVE GRID Buttons. This will shift the entire grid left and right. Keep moving the grid left and right until the metronome is perfectly in sync with your track. If you are new to doing beatgrids, I recommend shifting your grid far to the left and far to the right of the beat, so you can hear how it sounds when the tick is off beat, and then adjusting it back onto the beat – not unlike tuning a guitar. If you need to move the grid faster, you can hold the control button. In this step you are only using the TOP 2 Grid buttons. Do not touch the bottom 2 yet.
11) Now that you have the first 4 beats perfectly synchronized to your metronome, let the track play by clicking on the loop button (4). Now you are going to listen to see if the metronome stays on beat with the track as you skip forward in the track. If it does, then skip through the song by clicking on the waveform and listening at different points of the song to make sure its on beat, then skip to the end.
If the metronome is drifting off beat, listen to the track from the beginning and use the bottom 2 BPM INC / DEC buttons to make the grid lines closer or farther apart. This is also changing the BPM value. Usually for tracks you buy on Beatport you will not have to use the bottom 2 buttons. You will just need to shift the grid left and right, and maybe change the BPM from 127.999 to 128.000.
12) Now set a 4 beat loop at the end of the track, preferably on the last measure of the track that has percussion. Listen to how the metronome lines up with the last 4 beats. If it lines up perfectly, then you are done. If not, use the BPM INC/DEC buttons to compress and expand the grid until the metronome perfectly lines up with the last 4 beats. Now your BPM reading will be accurate to the 1/1000′th of a BPM. Usually if you’re BPM shows up as an even number like 128.000 this means that you don’t have to touch the bottom 2 grid buttons, and that you only need to shift the grid left and right.
13) Once you are done, and the metronome perfectly lines up with the track from beginning to end, click on the LOCK button to save the beatgrid to the track. This will save the beatgrid to the tracks ID3 information and will make it so if you send the track to another Traktor user, they will have your beatgrid, cue points, and loops inside the track. If you do not click the lock Icon, Traktor will still remember your beatgrid in your Traktor collection, but will not write the beatgrid to the actual track.
Now that you have a beatgrid set, you can use Traktor’s SYNC button to keep all of your tracks perfectly synchronized, and they will never go off beat, and all of your loops, and effects will be perfectly on beat.
on Nov 13, 2013 in DJ & Live Performance 0 comments
One of Traktor's powerful commands is the Sync feature. A highly useful function, Traktor's Sync gives you the ability to lock the tempos of two or more tracks together. When utilized correctly, this powerful tool allows Traktor to take care of beat-matching, which gives you the space and freedom to make creative musical decisions during your set.
If you're going to be using the sync function, it's a good idea to have an understanding of the following sync-related features and functions in Traktor:
Traktor has a Master Clock whose tempo will determine the tempo of the tracks that are Synced. You can access the Master Clock by pressing the metronome in the upper left hand corner of the GUI.
Phase: Phase is a term used to describe the position of one sound wave relative to another sound wave.
In relation to DJing, two songs are 'in phase' when the drum hits in each songs' waveforms match each other, and are out of phase when the drum hits in each song are out of alignment with each other.
Traktor has a phase meter that displays the phase of each song. To display the phase meter, open the Traktor Preferences. Recover garageband files ipad. In the Decks section, under Deck Heading, click 'Show Phase Meter' to display the phase meter.
Beat Grid: A beat-grid is the white lines that are placed overtop of Traktor's analyzed tracks that correspond to the song's drum hits, and tell Traktor the BPM of the track. Once set correctly, beat grids will enable to you to perfectly sync your tracks in time.
In Traktor 2, there are three different types of Sync available for you to use.
Here's a breakdown of the different versions, so you can choose which type of Sync is best for you.
Beat Sync is Traktor's default Sync mode, and is activated when you press the Sync command in the GUI. It can also be selected in Traktor's Preferences, under Transport/Sync Mode/Beat Sync. When you press Beat Sync, the song's tempo and phase are matched to the tempo and phase of the Master Clock.
Beat Sync will not work properly without an accurately placed beat grid on your chosen track. You can use the auto grid function when you import songs into your collection, and if needed, adjust your beat grids to properly position them.
Tempo Sync is available in the MIDI commands, (in Traktor's Preferences/Transport/Sync Mode) not the GUI. When engaged, the tempo of the selected deck matches the tempo of the Master Clock. It is useful for quickly matching up the tempos of your tracks, but you will still need to carefully match the phases of the tracks using your ears if you use this mode.
Phase Sync is available in the MIDI commands. A one time command, when engaged the tracks's phase will match the master source but the two are not locked together.
Before you begin to play sets using Beat Sync, you'll need to ensure that your beat grids are correctly placed on your tracks.
Here's what a beat grid that is properly placed looks like:
If your beat grid looks like this, you'll need to fine tune it:
Here's a reliable method you can use to adjust your beat grids.
First, you're going to want to have Traktor automatically set the Beat Grid when loading tracks. Since Traktor does a good job of correctly placing Beat Grids, this will ensure that the adjustments you make to the Beat Grids are minimal.
Open Traktor Preferences, and navigate to File Management. In the File Management section, check 'Analyze new tracks when loading into deck'. You can also choose to select 'Analyze New Imported Tracks'. In the BPM Detection section, make sure 'Set Beat-Grid when detecting BPM' is checked too.
Next, navigate to Output Routing. In Mixing Mode, Select 'External'. Make sure you set an Output for Deck A (eg. Your sound card)
In the Master Panel, turn on the Metronome in the Options section by selecting 'Tick'.
Next, click the headphones (cue) button in Deck A. This allows you to hear the tick of Traktor's metronome.
Load up a new track into Deck A, and have a look at the white markers that are now displayed on the track after it has been analyzed; this is Traktor's auto Beat Grid. Zoom in on the waveform by pressing the 'plus' arrows on the right hand side of the waveform to have a closer look at how the Beat Grid is positioned on the track.
Press Play and Sync on Deck A; your song will sync to the Master Clock. Listen to how the track sounds when compared to the sound of the metronome; you need these two to perfectly match.
Click on the Grid button (located on the left hand side, underneath the track), and use the two top left or right arrows to adjust the Beat Grid position until it's perfectly positioned on the drum hits in the track.
Once your Beat Grid is adjusted, click the small lock button (located to the right of the arrows) to secure the grid in place.
You'll get quicker at adjusting your beat grids as you continue to practice this method. Try to set up a few beat grids at a time (eg. When you import new tracks each week) rather than trying to set them all up over your entire collection in a few days.
Traktor Pro Dj
I believe that by using the Sync functions available in Traktor, you'll be able to enhance your sets by focusing on more creative elements, rather than spending all your time beat matching. Now that you've learned about what each Sync mode allows you to do, you'll be able to make a solid decision about which type of Sync is best for you.
In most cases, I recommend DJs use the Beat Sync function to ensure your tracks are synced correctly. If you're working with Beat Sync, I do recommend that you spend time preparing your sets by properly adjusting all your Beat Grids. A little effort spent on preparing your tracks will go a long way, and help you to rock the crowd during your sets!