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Create Great BeatGrids in Traktor Pro

Lots of great questions came up in the comments, so lets address them here.

Why do you need to beatgrid? 

  • In Traktor Pro, Locking SYNC, or locking on tracks grid to another will not work without a grid.
  • Beatgrids allow for quantized beatjumps, loops and cue jumps even in breakdowns
  • to get the precise BPM of a track
How can I beatgrid material with tempos that float?
You cant fix a floating song but there are a few alternatives
  • for older songs and rock tunes, set a grid on a clean rhythmic part (like a drum intro) and loop that section while mixing.
  • for electronic songs that float, try placing several beatmarkers
  • for material that must be in time over long sections, use albeton live to warp the track and then export an adjusted version for dj play.
Dont forget to LOCK the grid
I forgot to mention an important detail, thanks to our super sharp readers for pointing this out. After you get the grid perfect, click the lock icon. This will store the info to the tag and prohibit Traktor from messing with that data at any time.
  • Ash

    What about when the song its self goes out of time? For example im trying to mix MJ’s Thriller. But it goes out of sync even when I adjust the beat grid.

  • Anonymous

    Hi

    I seem to be able to warp accapella’s using multiple beat grids, and manipulating the space in between.

    Traktor just take it out of sync slightly then back in, this is good news since most accapellas fall foul to human error.

    One night in and Im 90% there, just needs some fine tuning… mind you all 8 hotcues are in use…

  • +M

    Hi All

    would love it if someone could answer this quick, probably a rookie question….

    Does this mean that i have to set new beat grids for all of my tracks cause they aren’t syncing properly???

  • Symo

    What does everyone think about using the snares for DnB tracks? Would you stick with the snares or try to track the kick?

  • Loz

    Ok, I warp my songs in ableton, for mash up sets, but being new to Traktor I have a few tracks that because they are a band, have a break down in them without any time signature. When the track comes back in, Traktor has the beat markers not on the beat, in the case of one track as an example, on the hihat off-beat, between the kick and snare for the last section of the song… fine for mixing in, but not for mixing the next song over, the kick of the next track starts on the off-beat of the problem track. So my question is: is it possible to beat grid the last portion of the song to the new position it comes back in at without affecting the first portion? It’s timed perfectly to 96 bpm, but the random bit 3/4 through changes the start position.

    Cheers

  • Hey Sara,

    Those buttons do not appear in Traktor Scratch Pro, however the midi mappings for them work fine even though they do not appear on the interface.

    You can make them reappear by turning off the vinyl control for that deck, but if you are using timecode vinyl on that deck then there is no way to get them to reappear.

  • Sara Simms

    Hi! Thanks for posting up this excellent article, and video, I found it really helpful!

    I have a quick question about the layout in my Traktor. (I’m on version 1.2.5)

    In the video, next to the ‘play’ button for each deck, there are ‘cue’ and ‘cup’ buttons.

    However, in my version of Traktor, next to the play buttons I have the buttons for ‘absolute’ and ‘relative’ mode. Is there a way that I can get the cue and cup buttons instead of absolute and relative? Please let me know if I can change this, thank you very much!

  • Evan

    Ahhh, i just worked out how to do this in Ableton, works great! if a little time consuming..

  • Evan

    How can I beatgrid material with tempos that float?

    You cant fix a floating song but there are a few alternatives

    for older songs and rock tunes, set a grid on a clean rhythmic part (like a drum intro) and loop that section while mixing.
    for electronic songs that float, try placing several beatmarkers
    for material that must be in time over long sections, use albeton live to warp the track and then export an adjusted version for dj play.

    Hi Ean,

    Would you consider doing a tutorial that demonstrates in detail each of these processes for beatgridding floating tracks?

    Thanks!

  • Doesn’t setting the beatmarker on the snare mess up the beat count?

  • thenapking

    what i can’t fathom is why i can’t get a perfect constant beat grid on to a disco tune, which i’ve spliced into bars and timestretched in Cubase. it’s crazy! this is easy in ableton… and it can’t be much work to implement changes to make the system work like ableton. finger’s crossed that’s what NI are doing…

    • Edfs

      Old disco tunes pre dated computerized beats. Meaning they’re left to human error. So they drift slightly off over the course of the song. All those little imperfections add up.

  • djelevation

    Thanks for the awesome article. I just read through the whole Traktor manual on this topic and they did not explain it half as good as this two minute video. I just converted from SSL and am so much happier now that I know what I’m doing. Props to DJTT!

  • [quote comment=”17653″][quote comment=”16838″]
    Warping in traktor! Hah, never gonna happen.[/quote]
    [quote comment=””][quote comment=””]I mean beatgrids was saved into mp3 tags.[/quote]

    According to Native Instruments:

    http://www.native-instruments.com/forum/showthread.php?t=83499

    “Q. Are you planning to implement a technology that can straighten out tracks with inconsistent BPMs, like the warping in Ableton Live?”

    “A. We are indeed planning to approach this area soon.”[/quote]

    Wow, that’s awesome!

    TPro BOW!

  • [quote comment="16838"]

    Warping in traktor! Hah, never gonna happen.[/quote]

    [quote comment=""][quote comment=""]I mean beatgrids was saved into mp3 tags.[/quote]

    According to Native Instruments:

    http://www.native-instruments.com/forum/showthrea

    "Q. Are you planning to implement a technology that can straighten out tracks with inconsistent BPMs, like the warping in Ableton Live?"

    "A. We are indeed planning to approach this area soon."

  • Anonymous

    [quote comment=""]I mean beatgrids was saved into mp3 tags.[/quote]

    Anyone can beat match these days, i dont mind, ive paid my dues for years beatmatching on vinyl,i only use traktor for loops though its almost impossible to match two tracks identicle to one another, cant seem to stop them drifting even with perfect grids, so technology is still no match for the human ear or brain (maybe in some cases) but not traktor.

    Peace-djrezource

  • Mindsurfer

    I mean beatgrids was saved into mp3 tags.

  • Mindsurfer

    But why Traktor Pro don’t read beatgrid was set in Traktor 3?
    It’s a ptoblem, cause it would take days to do it again in Traktor Pro.

  • plus for any digital dj, i think a majority of your time is spent in preperation & practicing. a well rounded dj will probably learn how to both beat grid &/or warp as well as match by ear. DON'T FORGET YOUR ROOTS!! beyond professionalism, it's much more respectable. the sync button is great. i love it. but i don't touch it every once in a while to see if i still got it. (hell, i'll even close my eyes to experience the magic)

    why i really wanted to say anything in the first place is because the way i have it set up is beat, cue, loop markers & delete markers are all hotkeyed on my comp. so i don't have to do all that mousey stuff. you should know the mousey stuff & props to ean for putting in work!

    but i do the same thing on the snare except i just push a button. saves some time i think every one should at least know that you can do that.

  • thomas barron- warping is basically what they call beat griding in ableton except with a few nuances. with abletons system of warping you can augment set multiple beat markers & augment one & have it not affect the other markers (which you can't do in traktor) & it'll affect the playback bpm of the song. not alwasy the song itself. i.e. if you're playing a song at 130 bpm & there is a break down into 100, with ableton it'll keep playing the section in 100 to the 130 bpm where in traktor it won't. there are ways to vary the play back in ableton but i think that conversation is for a different forum.

    i totally agree though. traktor would be the most superior dj software out there if they took that idea into consideration in there program. but you know that they know. so they must've not put it in on purpose. i'm sure for a number of reasons but reasons i can think of 1; to distinguish traktor from other programs & 2; as digital as the program is, to give it that vinyl nostalgia with or without the vinyl. beyond that i just wish they would add the native recorder back which is a whole different conversation.

  • as an alternative to traktors Beatgrid, or Ableton…

    i also want to mention torq…

    since version 1.5 it has additional beat anchors, that u can move to "warp" the track like in ableton…

    to straighten some handplayed musik of funk or whatever…

    in realtime o to mix in sync, in case u dont use ur ears 😉

    question:

    what nice tool does help with creating such nice tutorial vids?

  • I think is better to learn how to use the EARS … I can't lose 10 minutes with each song doing this – Traktor Scratch is amazing , but to use the ears is more professional .

  • Thomas Barron

    Cool post[quote comment="16838"]This is not a hate-post, it's a sad-post.

    Warping in traktor! Hah, never gonna happen. They had to switch to the version4 and remove more money from users just to change interface, add new stretching algorythim and crate flick.

    What about v3 long list of bugs, what about full OSC implementatin, the number of simple features that users request for years now.

    If you want warping, switch to serato as they are connecting with ableton.

    Just read the NI forums for a bit, it is sad.[/quote]

    First off,

    Very cool post for people just starting with this stuff. I wish I had this post a year ago :). Second, ToS, What is warping? I've always wanted to try Serato but I don't know anyone who owns it and I want to try it out first before I spend all that money on the hardware. The fact that they are teaming up with ableton makes me wonder if NI is going to be able to compete. I have a huge amount of respect for Ableton. I've just started tinkering with live and it's awesome.

    Totally unrelated:

    DAMNIT. I get an email while I'm asleep telling me that the VCI-100 firmware kit is available. Of course by the time I get there all 20 units have sold out again. Will there be more coming this week?

  • ToS

    This is not a hate-post, it's a sad-post.

    Warping in traktor! Hah, never gonna happen. They had to switch to the version4 and remove more money from users just to change interface, add new stretching algorythim and crate flick.

    What about v3 long list of bugs, what about full OSC implementatin, the number of simple features that users request for years now.

    If you want warping, switch to serato as they are connecting with ableton.

    Just read the NI forums for a bit, it is sad.

  • Pepehouse

    To move the grid or bpm faster just click with the right button of the mouse instead of the left.

  • davemex

    Thanks for the update Ean! I didn't realize that you could set a second beatgrid after a break. I'll have to try that this evening! That's going to make life a lot easier.

  • narrowing the bpm detect range in the prefs also really helps with auto detection

  • Tigris

    I found the autogrid detection being not that bad in Traktor Pro, so I drop cues with the snap-function on (after deleting the Autogrid-Cue).

    I know that this won't work with the snares-approach, but for my tracks it does ease up the work quite a bit.

  • there's currently a bug in Traktor Pro, which means that you can delete the grid markers from a locked track with shortcuts.

    the bpm information stays locked, but the grid marker disappears. you can't, however do this by clicking on the 'delete marker' button on screen, only via a mapped shortcut.

    kidn of annoying. it's been reported to support…

  • Cheers, and nice post :)[/quote]

    [quote comment="16817"]I'm sometimes spinning som popped electro house which has 1 or 2 brakedowns in tempo where the song shifts from example 130 bpm to 95 bmp – is there a way to tell traktor this? As far as I've come I can't find a workaround.

    Cheers, and nice post :)[/quote]

    just do as ean says in his updated post.. beat lock a section and loop it to mix in/out of.

  • I'm sometimes spinning som popped electro house which has 1 or 2 brakedowns in tempo where the song shifts from example 130 bpm to 95 bmp – is there a way to tell traktor this? As far as I've come I can't find a workaround.

    Cheers, and nice post 🙂

  • great questions and comments guys, I have updated the post with some more specific answers to your questions.

  • Fatlimey

    [quote comment="16811"]In other words does the sync button sync to the white lines on the grid?[/quote]

    Yes, the sync button syncs the white lines on the grid. If the beats in the track line up with the white lines, your sync button will do it's job perfectly. That's essentially what Ean is trying to explain – Traktor doesn't sync music, it syncs grids. It's just pretty good at guessing grids (but not perfect).

  • Priscilla

    Will a beat grid also make the sync button work flawlessly when clicked. For instance if you set two perfect beat grids and mix a song in and hit the sync button, will the songs sync perfectly? In other words does the sync button sync to the white lines on the grid?

  • DJ Elvis

    @ Cristian

    In traktor Pro I canot even lock the sync button if one of the tracks has not a Beat Grid, I can sync, but canot lock the sync what is a great option for delayed sound systems (cards and Midi controlers). and out of rithym drunk DJs

  • Anonymous

    EAN… can u make a video of how to dj with Ableton live….please…. i just got it and i dont know what to do with it….thanx

  • Redex

    [quote comment=""]What about Torq?

    Torq creats beat grids automatically after it analyzes a song, however they are rarely accurate. Is their anyway to adjust the grid like you did in Traktor?[/quote]

  • Redex

    What about Torq?

    Torq creats beat grids automatically after it analyzes a song, however they are rarely accurate. Is their anyway to adjust the grid like you did in Traktor?

  • davemex

    @Cristian

    The best option that I've found (unfortunately) is to not use beat grids in this case. Traktor Pro will still detect the beats even if they don't fall onto a grid. I have some songs that although they don't change tempo, the first beat after the breakdown does not align to the grid before it and so by letting Traktor find its own beats, it will pick back up on the beat automatically. It usually does a pretty good job on its own (especially if you're just spinning house stuff like me) but you still want to make sure the tempo is at least set correctly

    Of course you could always do the less preferred option and handle the off tracks manually, but who does that anymore? 😉

  • jaan

    Yes but that would mean going to ableton live for each drifting track in your big collection, warping it, exporting it as wav, converting to mp3. Right now it's easier to stay inside ableton live and warp tracks as I go along.

  • Felix

    What about Ableton Live?? Doesnt live have the ability to warp the tracks and export them as waves or mp3s. Wont that help beatgriding disco tracks better?? What do you guys think? I looked at melodyne and they pretty much said if your not editing or recording just use lives warping tool and you should be fine.

  • jaan

    I really hope NI decides to fix traktor to allow for some type of 'warping' to let us play tracks that drift. i have ripped most of my vinyl collection and many of the best tracks drift, so this forces me to use ableton to DJ for the time being. Traktor would be the perfect software for DJing if it wasn't for that huge flaw. Please NI!

  • to dj nvidia: its so you can get super tight mixes and loops happening – like when djing in ableton.

    to christian: maybe open the file up in ableton and do your warping with that before bringing it into traktor to help tie up the loose ends. its worth a try. or if you've seen the videos for celemony's melodyne program that could be of some use too – if you have the money!!

    josh

  • Cristian

    Is there a way in Traktor to set up beat grids for "imperfect" beat songs? Talking for example about some disco songs of 70's (pre-drum machine era), where the drum beat is human, therefore falling a bit off of exact bar timing? I can get away with it in Mixmeister (which I'm not big fan of, for many other reasons), because I found how its beat marking system allows to even assign a beat marker independently to each single beat (kick or snare) place in a track, therefore allowing to come up with an "irregular" beat grid, but that actually keeps every line of the grid lined up with every beat of the "irregular/human-musician generated" drum pattern. And so, then auto-synced mixes with other tracks/grooves come out flawless.

    Is there any way to play something similar around in Traktor?

  • RjW

    Don't forget to hit the padlock once you're done to LOCK your beatgrid to the track!

    Great Vid, Thanks 🙂

  • Just thought of a question:

    Maybe a stupid question but: why should someone set beatgrids at all? What is the benefit of a grid? And what can you do with it once you have it?

  • Awesome video, always wanted to know how to do this….