The days of effortless sync are upon us. Hot on the heels of a Serato update adding Ableton Link support, Traktor 2.11 is available in public beta with the same.

Actually, the fact that you have both Traktor and Serato with Link support is itself significant. You could play back to back with a friend using the other DJ tool, and remain in perfect sync.

This also opens up Traktor to easy integration with everything else with sync support. Add an iPad drum machine. Drop in loops in Ableton Live. And it seems soon inevitable that we’ll see some additional solutions that allow easy hardware connection or ship with Link support already integrated in hardware.

It’s interesting to see users complain online that you can’t work with Traktor and other NI products. Maschine would be an obvious choice. But I think that’s missing the point. Shipping Traktor means now the two top computer apps for pro DJs have Link support. And NI have overcome any initial hurdle about the “not-invented-here” technology from Ableton. More products will surely follow soon, from NI and other vendors.

The other big feature in Traktor 2.11 is a step sequencer. Step sequencing Remix Decks is a concept first envisioned by one Tomash GHz. The Cyprus-born Tomash released the product for free and even implemented special hardware he built himself, since discontinued, for controlling it. The idea was picked up by DJ communities not long thereafter.

Tomash didn’t just throw a clever hack up on the Internet, either. He’s a model of virtuosity with this very technique:

It’s great to see it show up in Traktor. I’ve been pleased to learn NI have been hosting regular internal “hackdays” – a chance to get out of the usual slog of product development and try out cool ideas. I don’t know if this was a hackday product, but I do know that some of that work does eventually ship.

Here is in action:

You get some cool functionality, too. (I’m going to try this out with the F1, to save space.)

Adjustable pattern length
Volume per slot
Filter per slot
FX send per slot
Pitch per sample
Global swing
Native support for S8 and D2
F1 user mapping
MIDI mappable

To sign up for the beta, you’ll need an account on NI’s CenterCode site. But once you’ve verified your email, you’ll get instant access to the download and documentation.

So have at it now:

Native Instruments beta site

I also recommend if you’re on a recent OS (10.9-10.11) that you might consider the upgrade to macOS Sierra, particularly if you’ve experienced audio problems on 10.11. Take that word “consider” carefully – that is, you could potentially cause incompatibilities with other software, and you’ll certainly want a full backup first. But while rushing to upgrade macOS is usually a bad idea, this is a unique instance: Sierra ships a critical audio fix that could significantly improve reliability for users who have been impacted by the problem. I’m going to make the leap and report back myself, but one person’s anecdotal evidence isn’t compelling. What I can tell you is that feedback I’ve gotten supports the idea this problem was widespread.

As for the Traktor update, this to me adds up to a fundamental answer to my complaints about laptop DJing. If you show up at a gig with a laptop, you need to make sure of two things. One, you need to reliably integrate with the night – plug in smoothly, don’t take up too much space, and for the love of God, don’t crash. Two, you need to then do something that suggests you’re using that choice of gear for a reason. That’s not just for the booker or the crowd; it’s primarily for you, for some reason to lug a laptop and do the extra work to make it function properly, rather than just plug into CDJs. I don’t think it’s always the right answer, but I’m glad there’s a choice. In fact, I’ll appreciate the best CDJ sets, too, if I know it wasn’t the only default option.

  • Dubby Labby

    Bomebox could be a great host for Link Api.

  • Step sequencers: exciting!.. but awfully rough compared to mine (Traxus Control) and others’ third party solutions… Looking forward to trying it over the weekend. I am, ironically in the midst of building a new touch interface for Traktor (or rather a very similar one with a new technology + enhancements to the remix sequencer) that will probably be announced just in time to become obsolete by this launch. Still some questions to be answered though, I took a look at their demo videos and the narrator makes it sound as though you can only sequence one sample per slot? I find that alone to be awful limiting but it might be an issue of retaining a simple UI especially with their hardware.

  • heinrichz

    wow, awesome..and of course i would like Maschine Link, but meanwhile i could can already use Maschine as a plugin in Live as a work around.

  • an3

    great, i was actually hoping for traktor dj ios to finally have the link function implemented in an update. and remixdecks for ios.. that would be a gamechanger

  • Hermann

    I have an “Digital Warrior”, special edition (with additional Midi Encoders) of Thomashs for sale. Anyone interested? Thanks and sorry for being OT…

  • lala

    with link stems all of a sudden start to make sense

  • May be a dumb question but can I use link to sync Live and Traktor on the same computer ?

    • Toby

      Yes!

    • DJ Kimotei

      Its cool that it is possible, but I agree with Richie Hawtin that it is super easy to sync manually to external apps and devices the oldschool way, (it’s not like vinyl anyway, computers keep more stable tempo) sounds more organic, and it’s more fun, keeps you occupied. Well I appreciate both. Sometimes it’s nice to focus on other things then keeping sync. That said, ableton live keeps a steady sync for atleast 5-6 minutes. That’s much longer than vinyl. Don’t remember how long CDs stayed in sync, and i’m all in the box aka traktor these days regarding DJing. Traktor never falls out internally but probably similar to ableton live when synced manually to other laptops. With Live it’s sooo easy to use nudge into sync manually if you have a little bit of oldschool dj skills. Only need to do it once a few seconds at every track. Did that for years with my partner when playing live on 2 laptops. With vinyl you must nudge every minute on technics 1210s. And if you like long/eternal mixes you got yourself pretty occupied, sweating, and generally have a lot of fun! No time to dance and wave. 😉

    • leolodreamland

      Now and for many years with virtual midi

      • yeah but i was wondering if i could use LINK instead of MIDI