Thailand, Traktor, CDJs
One of the beauties of being a DJ is the fact that this profession is truly international. You can play almost everywhere you go, including white sand beaches and luxury resorts.
A few weeks ago, my only plan was to take a break and relax on one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand - Koh Lipe. I didn’t even think of djing there. The plan was to just relax. I did bring my laptop though, to check emails and stay in touch with friends.
On my second evening I walked into Poohs' Bar and had a casual chat with Plug, the owner. His DJ setup (CDJ 850s) without anyone playing, caught my attention. It turned out he himself is djing on and off and he also hires DJs sometimes. If I was a DJ, he asked. “Yes” I responded. “Do you want to play?”. What shall I say - why not. I love playing. But I didn’t bring my controller. So how to connect to his gear? It took me a while to figure it out.
In case you encounter a similar situation in the future, having your laptop on you but not your controller and wanting to use CDJs as a controller for your Traktor, the following tutorial will make things much easier for you.
Using CDJ 850 as a controller for Traktor Pro
- Traktor Pro running on your laptop, 2 USB slots available
- 2 USB cables
- 2 CDJ 850 hooked up to a mixer
1. Make the CDJs control Traktor Pro
1.1. Download the CDJ 850 mapping
Go to the Pioneers Support site, scroll down to the section “MIDI mapping file for Traktor Pro & Pro 2” and download the “PIONEER_CDJ-850.tsi” file.
1.2. Load the mapping file in your Traktor preferences
Under “Controller settings”, select Device: “Generic MIDI”, then click and hold the “Add…” listbox, and navigate to “Import TSI / Import other…”. In Finder / Explorer, select “PIONEER_CDJ-850.tsi”
1.3. Connect the CDJs
Press the “PC” button on the CDJs for several seconds until “Connected” shows in the display.
1.4. Change the MIDI channel on the second CDJ
At this point, Traktor should be receiving controller data from the CDJs. But both CDJs are controlling deck A - no good. In order to make the second CDJ control deck B, you have to change it’s MIDI channel.
On the CDJ which you want to assign to deck B, press “Utility”, navigate to the MIDI settings and change the MIDI channel to “2”.
Now, each CDJ should be controlling it’s dedicated deck in Traktor. Play around with the buttons on the CDJ and find out what they do - it’s straight forward. The jog wheel works properly if you set it’s mode to “Vinyl”. The browse knob works just like on the S2.
2. Setting up the audio outputs
At this time, Traktor will play on your laptop speakers. In order to route the audio output of deck A to CDJ 1 and deck B to CDJ 2, follow these steps (this works for Apple users. Windows users: check the “Drivers for Windows” section on the Pioneers Support site,
2.1. Audio MIDI setup
Open “Audio MIDI setup.app” in your Utilities folder, click the “+” icon on the lower left corner, select “Create Aggregate Device” and name in accordingly. When this new device is selected and Traktor and CDJs are connected, you will see two entries called “Pioneer CDJ-850”. Select them both an uncheck all other devices.
2.2. Adjust Audio Settings in Traktor
Now got to Traktor Preferences, in “Audio Setup” under “Audio Device” select the device you just created in the Audio MIDI setup app.
In the next tab in your Traktor preferences, “Output routing”, set
“Output Deck A” to 1 & 2;
“Output Deck B” to 3 & 4.
That’s it. Now everything should be working fine.
As you can see, the entire procedure is a bit lengthy and not really self explaining when you try to figure it out on the spot. Hence this article to make things easier for you.
If you don’t bring your laptop, you can export your Traktor playlists to an USB stick using RekordBox and Rekord Buddy (in order to convert your CUE points also). This is the much easier way to take your music along with you but of course it comes with the disadvantage of not having all the features of Traktor Pro and the big laptop screen.