How To DJ on Traktor DJ

Traktor DJ is an iOS app that was released in 2013. The app was created by Native Instruments, the same company that developed the desktop version of Traktor. Upon release, Traktor DJ had taken the DJ world by storm as it was the first proper legit attempt to create a professional iOS DJing solution. Yes, you can use Traktor DJ at your gigs. So let me explain to you how to DJ on Traktor DJ.

NB. This is not a full on step by step tutorial. There are plenty of those out there on Youtube and the web. But most of those videos don’t really give you a clear idea of the capabilities and drawbacks of this software. I merely just wish to share my experiences using Traktor DJ with you.

How To DJ on Traktor DJ

Traktor DJ might have been developed by the same team that brought us the desktop app, but the apps are in no way similar. The main similarity that they share is perhaps the looks. Traktor DJ is a very clean interface that is easy to understand and use. The only thing that you will have to get used to is the apps unconventional user interface. Instead of having two tracks play side by side, Traktor DJ stacks the two tracks on top of each other.

The Traktor DJ app has the basic EQ and Crossfader functions as well as High and Low Pass filters. The app also offers more technical functionality in the form of effects, looping, and the amazing Freeze feature. These are more than enough features to have at your disposal during gigs. I find that executing the effects of Traktor DJ absolutely fun and amazing. Even better than the Desktop variant.

What Do You Need To DJ With Traktor DJ?

The obvious and most important item is an iPad (or iPhone). It has to be a compatible Apple iPad because the app is only available on iOS. No Android versions available yet. You can try out an iPhone, but Traktor DJ for iPhone differs drastically from the iPad version and has fewer features. It’s best to use an iPad because of the screen real estate and extra level of expertise.

The next obvious inclusion to your setup should be speakers. Normal, inexpensive computer speakers should be fine if you plan to casually mix music in your home. When I’m messing about at home, I use a nice 2.1 Creative PC speaker system which includes a subwoofer. The added bass is sufficient for home use and also house parties. The big downside to this direct setup is that there is no way to queue or monitor the next track with a pair of headphones.

If you do plan to include headphones to this simple setup, then you can purchase a relatively cheap Traktor DJ cable. This cable will split the audio from your iPad into 2 separate outputs. These outputs are main audio out and headphone monitoring.

Another similar, yet more professional device is the Traktor Audio 2 DJ soundcard. This 2 channel soundcard is used to connect the desktop version of Traktor to speakers while maintaining another channel for headphone monitoring. This is advisable if you use both laptop and iPad to DJ and if you also have other pro DJ hardware that you wish to add to your setup.

How To Go Pro With Your Traktor DJ Setup

If you don’t mind investing in some pro quality gear to compliment your Traktor DJ iPad setup, then you can go for the Traktor Kontrol Z1. This is a high-end controller from Native Instruments that looks particularly like a DJ mixer. It consists of EQ knobs as well as Volume Faders and a Crossfader. There are also dedicated knobs for gain and effects. The effects knob can also double up as a high and low pass filter.

The Traktor Z1 controller also sports a built-in soundcard and can be connected directly to Active speakers or even big club sound. There is also a dedicated headphone jack with volume and mix knobs available for additional monitoring. There are also cue buttons available so you can start the next track directly from the controller.

This Traktor DJ/iPad/Traktor Z1 setup has been tested by DJs in club environments in the past to a great level of success. I personally used to record live mixes on this setup for radio. I still use this setup most of the time. But be warned, it is an unconventional set up that one must take time to getting used to. It feels like a really simple yet solid modular setup.

Taking It Further

If you plan to double your budget, you can go with the Traktor Kontrol S2 Mark 2. This is a fully fledged DJ controller that has support for Traktor DJ for iPad. While most people will advise that you should use this premium controller with a laptop, the iPad version of Traktor works great. The S2 controller adds more buttons and functionality where the Z1 controller misses out on.

It is possible to DJ completely of the Kontrol S2 without touching the iPad. There are dedicated buttons for browsing tracks and for accessing tracks beat grid and Flux Mode. The Kontrol S2 controller and the power and speed of an iPad with Traktor DJ make for a very compact, portable and powerful DJ setup.

Which Setup is Right For You?

Traktor DJ Setup

Just Traktor DJ on an iPad is sufficient if you are just starting out as a DJ or a Digital DJ. Getting to know the software inside out will benefit you later on. If you do want to take this further, but you are still sceptical, then go with the cheap option of a Traktor DJ Cable for headphone monitoring.

I own a Traktor Kontrol Z1 which was my prefered setup for a long time because it is an absolute powerhouse, yet compact setup. When I do come across new music, I usually transfer the tracks to my iPad and freestyle away as I plan my next DJ set. I also switch to my laptop for a more pro approach with extra features on the desktop software. The Traktor Z1 is also compatible with Windows.


Further Reading – Introducing the Roland DJ 202

Follow Jameel on Twitter and Instagram for more DJ and Music Tutorials. Please message me if you need further advice on Traktor DJ software and hardware.

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Hi. I'm Jameel. I'm a Technology Blogger who loves reviewing stuff and voicing my opinions on anything. I hope you find my reviews helpful while having fun on my website.

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