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DIY Autosave In Traktor

Have you recently lost work in Traktor due to program crashes or unkind acts of computer gods? Have you become depressed, despondent or bummed out from forgetting to save your work? Well, you are not alone! Many other DJs suffer from the same clinical problem known as “Traktor Is Missing Autosave”.  But wait! Don’t hurl your computer against the wall – we have a solution!

THE PROBLEM

In Traktor there are three primary data sets that the user can modify and then save:

  1. Cue points, tempo, beat markers (Stored as Stripes in the Traktor folder)
  2. Current Mapping files, keyboard shortcuts, and global settings (.TSI)
  3. Collection work: song locations, folders, playlists (.NML)

Any time you work on songs and update their cue points or tempo, this information is automatically stored to the file tags, so a program crash will not result in the loss of these types of updates you made to songs. This type of data is not lost, and is also redundantly saved to “Collection.nml” upon Traktor closing properly.

When you are making adjustments to mappings, global settings, and your music library, (eg: building playlists and organizing crates) this information is not saved until the program has successfully closed down. Any program crashes or computer glitches will cause all work during that open session to be lost. Information about mappings are saved upon proper shut-down in “Traktor Settings.tsi”, and during a session can  be saved on a regular base using the Export function. Information about collection work (songs added or deleted and playlists created during a session) will be lost if Traktor crashes – so you’ll need to use the “Save Collection” (see below) command to create a manual save function.

First, don’t get too afraid:  Traktor is a remarkably stable program. It takes a lot to make it crash and even then, these downtimes are very rare. Unfortuantly, computer issues are  far less rare. Between system crashes, power failures, and other technical issues, I can guarantee something will happen to your computer while Traktor is open in the background. Somehow this seems to always happen to me after working on important things for two to four hours. Extremely frustrated with losing all that creative work, I looked into creating an autosave solution on my own.

STEP ONE: SAVE IT

Right now there’s no way to automatically save your settings in the background of Traktor (more on the future of that below). However, using a bit of simple keyboard mapping, you can set up a hotkey to save your settings while working.

  • Open Traktor preferences
  • Navigation to the Controller Manager
  • Select “Generic Keyboard”
  • Create a new shortcut for ” Save Collection”  (I like Shift+S)

Unfortunately this will only save your collection file, and will not store any mapping changes. The good news is that I have been talking with the Traktor team over the past weeks, and they saw the value in also creating a “save mappings” command option which will be released in the next update to Traktor 2.6 (which they’re expecting to release soon).

  • Once this update is available including “save mappings”, you’ll be able to double assign Shift+S to do both commands at the same time

STEP TWO:  AUTOMATE IT

If you’re like me, then you don’t like to think about things like saving in the middle of a creative sprint. These things should be automatic! To help us both out, I created a little hotkey script using a program called QuicKeys 4 for OSX and Windows. The script will automatically press Shift+S every 10 minutes while Traktor is open.

“What if you’re DJing?” a smart DJ might ask. That’s easy – just quit the program and it won’t run the script. I even have the QuicKeys set to open with Traktor every time.

Here’s the complete action so you can duplicate it on your own:

To make it really easy for you, all DJTT members can download my QuicKeys preset (this only works with the OS X version) here.

GOOD FOR EVERYONE: This form of hotkey scripting can be really useful for all DJ programs in creating functionality that might not exist. Tell us about ways in which you have used creative scripting to enable non-standard performance! 

WATCH AND LEARN

I recorded the steps you need to follow in order to set up your own Traktor DIY autosave with QuicKeys while on the CNTRL tour. Please forgive my exhausted delivery and the sub-par audio quality but for those visual learners, sometimes a video goes a long way.

TRAKTOR DEVELOPMENTS 

Ean Golden - Author

Ean Golden is the founder of Dj TechTools and a worldwide Dj specializing in controllers and new performance technology.

Follow Ean on: Twitter  Facebook   SoundCloud   YouTube 

  • Sean Bannister

    I take it they never added “save mappings”? Can’t seem to find it.

  • Me

    Epic fail Traktor

  • Me

    Thanks for trying to help E.G. but this traktor library issue really sucks big time. organizing our music and having it ready is the first step in successful djing

  • Me

    the solution is Serato: for flexible library management that works.
    I went to serato from traktor FIVE years ago. I thought it was safe to come back to Taktor now in 2013. I have been trying to give it a chance, but have serious doubts. I even bought a Mackbook Pro for it to run on. Then I lost several days of work today. I thought restarting traktor might help my 4 separate hot cue mapping from all playing cue #1. This Sucks. On my mackbook, Serato to can analyze 4 tracks at once in like 3.5 seconds, while traktor chugs along one track at a time, and then the song has to be reloaded for auto gain to be applied. Sync is great, but so is the cost.

  • Icepick

    Surely such a tactic would cause Traktor to autosave a playlist to your Archive every 10 minutes, as the History contents is stored to Archive as a playlist upon program exit.

    Does the Archiving happen when one presses Save, or upon Exit?

  • DJ Freeze

    nice

  • what we want in traktor – be able to map old maschine with new remix decks, which is not possible (if I havent missed something lately)

    • and I would love to have ability to color single tracks in the collection/playlist as additional “sorting” tool, like for example when you open the collection in traktor you will see different colored track names, each color will have some meaning to yourself

  • I would love to be able to sort the tree in Favourite playlists of the browser each individually so for example I could sort my playlist Deep House by genre and the playlist Tech House by Date added. So when I switch between these playlists, the playlists will stay sorted in that way till I change it and not all playlists sorted by 1 category all at the same time. And it would be nice too to be able to decide what category is being shown in the browser and the wide of the category bars also individually. For example in my Vocals folder I would only show key, track name and comments and have a wider space to enter comments and in my Tech House folder, where all my tracks are listed, i would have all the infos like Artist, track name, key, Genre, Comments,….

  • There is no Mountain Lion support in Quickeys.

  • Enay

    Yet another helpful article, thank you DJ Techys!

  • howan11

    While this ins’t something particularly wowing or even something i care that much about this IS the type of article that made this website one of my favorites years ago. There are only so many tutorials you can make but the teaching part of DJTT is what made it successful in the early years.

  • enable one midimap to global sections to be visible or not, will be util to macbook pro 13″

  • Awesome inspiration.. thanks Ean! I just used this tool to save projects in live 8 with a timestamp in the title. aaaand my most wanted feature for ableton live: autosave of course ? Every 20 minutes i get asked to add a few words about current changes to the .als name. The timestamp prefix keeps the saves in a chronological order. Love it!

  • i have had a number of crashes since last release – where traktor hangs when I closing and shows a “flushing a background thread” window. Some seriously bad thread handling and very annoying since it is usually related to me doing a lot of updates on tags and lists 🙁

  • any programs for the pc?

  • technicaltitch

    Can I just check – you say “Cue points, tempo, beat markers (Stored as Stripes in the Traktor folder)”, then you say “this information is automatically stored to the file tags”, I think referring to the same – cue points, tempo and beat markers, and redundantly in Collection.nml. That’s not my understanding and as I am paranoid about backing up playlists and beat data I wanted to check.

    Am I right in thinking the stripes directory is just the graphical display of the audio wave? I want to be sure on this because I don’t back up the stripes directory as often as I backup the nml and tsi files, (because it is GBs huge, and can be regenerated automatically, albeit over several days).

    Are you sure that ALL cue point, beat marker and tempo data are stored in Collection.nml AND the audio file? And the audio file is written to immediately?

    Also, am I right in thinking WAV files cannot have cue, tempo, etc stored in them, so for WAV files Collection.nml is the only copy of this data?

    • Tim Tilberg

      I was thinking this exactly. I hope someone answers. Ive been under the impression cue info is not stored in the file.

  • Slak Jaw

    Great article Ean. QuicKeys is $60. Is there any chance you or anyone else reading the comments can show us how to do this with Automator in MacOSX? Thanks!

  • technicaltitch

    I second improving the browser in all sorts of ways, and making it detachable?

  • Alsius

    Awesome post. I wish i knew about this two days ago

  • Jester

    Shift + S eh. Handy 🙂

  • Stewe

    ADD MORE MODIFIERS for users who are in to complex mappings. I aware that we can add new generic device which brings another eight modifiers but adding more then five devices (even empty ones) will cause Traktor to take a neap every the preferences window is opened or any other device then current one is selected. Other command I would like to see is master clock/ FX unit and recorder/FX unit toggles.

  • Owen

    Wouldn’t mind getting that prep keys mapping 🙂

  • DJ BOW-tanic

    I am still on Traktor DJ Studio 3 for many reasons, including the countless possibilities for play, pause, cue play or brake stop, separate cue/loop-handling, better master/slave/sync-options, deck wind (for scrubbing the tracks with buttons), deck reverse (although not perfectly implemented), deck mute (by changing the input !!!WITHOUT!!! clearing the deck), bigger beat jump options (I often use 64 or even 128 beats), better screen usage and much more.

    Last week I gave TPro another try, but was surprised that besides the effects there is almost nothing it could do better for me. Even worse: many things I got used to in T3 are impossible to do with TPro. Remix decks and loop recorder are nice tools which I really enjoy, but for my live sets four decks do the job.

    If I really want to do some sample tricks I have some special tracks in T3 and my Ableton Live running in the background, perfectly in sync with T3’s master track and filled with samples of all kind. So whenever I need an extra loop or a good vocal shot I use this as my personal “Bridge”.

    My loop recorder has only one bar, but is done with the delay effect of T3. I know I don’t have an undo option, but it’s still fun to layer sounds and beats with that little thing 😉

    All this said I have to admit, that my T3 only works this perfectly because I added some functionality via Autohotkey. With some easy scripts that always start and close with traktor I can do some tricks the hotkey editor doesn’t offer by default, like setting different cue point flavours, search in playlists, quick search (e.g. press Alt-L for genre: latin), Enter & Capslock Key as modifiers (so both sides of the keyboard have mirrored funtions for 4 decks) and so on. Even my mouse got pimped to easily do things with one click on one of its ten buttons.

    In addition to that I use a database in File Maker Pro which includes everything T3 is missing: exact sorting options, kind of smart crates, different ratings for each track (based on the location I play), different colours for camelot keys, double bpm entry for the same song (“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” at 10 and 206), mark songs to play with bold font or coloured, exclude songs (like the still missing “mark as played” for another mix of the same song or other similar tracks you do not want to be bothered with), prepare playlists, note requests or whatever etc.

    On top of all a single button on each song instantly switches to Traktor and finds that track in a second. This way I have a kind of external browser that is even able to be put on a second screen. Another button does the same query in MediaMonkey which includes some folders I didn’t import to the T3-collection and serves both as a more comfortable prelistening deck and as an emergency player if Traktor crashes (in case of a notebook crash I still got my mp3-Player at hand).

    Conclusion: there are still many things that I truly miss in TPro (which I told NI several times in beta tests, forums or mails without really being noticed) and there are tools like Autohotkey, FileMaker or others that can fill most of the gaps. I found my perfect setup about 3 years ago (incl. Launchpad, LPD8, DDM4000, nanoKEY & Trigger Finger). I wouldn’t be surprised to survive the next 2-3 hypes with this combination 😉

    Greetings from Berlin!

  • DJ Rishi

    Is this related to recent error I get when I import tracks from folders to my playlists and then attempt to shut down traktor. it says ‘Flushing background tasks’ and just hungs up there.. I lost about 60 70 tracks I imported to playlist. Would ‘save collection’ help? Please assist..

  • Ok, how about you guys propose that they actually fix their “fix” on Windows and Alt+F4 keycombo? It is annoying as hell now.

  • I can tell you some things that are indeed missing:

    I would love to be able to color the lines in the browser in the 16 colors like from the F1 or Maschine Mk2.

    I ould ABSOLUTELY LOVE a colored volume meter. A green/yellow/red one like on most mixers out there instead of the all blue meters. Would help A LOT!!

    And they should finally fix that when setting Beat Grids and starting the tick, it should react directly when you move the grid line instead of having to hit stop and play again to hear if its right now. They had that in version 2.3, don´t know what happened since then!!!

    And why not have a small mapping for a tick volume knob? In case there won´t be any space on the gui for another knob.
    Another BIG thing for me:
    Why do I have to reduce the volume knob next to the waveform to prevent getting into red lights on the top master volume bar, have to reduce the master volume knob also a bit and then when I want to record something ADD like +8.5 on the recording volume to get a propper recording??? No sense in taking away some volume and adding it at another point!! There has to be an easier way to get this done.

    Well, just MY 2 cents. Will come up with more if needed. 🙂

    Greetz, Marcus.

  • calkuta

    awesome,so i can stop doing ‘screenshots’-i jus cant believe it took so long to figure this out once one realizes how easy it is…props ean,props all day long-DJTT is the top tippy of our movement.a million thanks

  • Anonymous

    Nice Ean. I’d like to see a much better and more flexible mapping system in Traktor, maybe even a sort of programming language. Something like Bitwig’s open javascript API for midi mapping.

    scamo

  • DjBlaze604

    Hey Ean: Great articele as usual and very helpful as this has happened to me countless times before. This is the first time posting in this website but i have been an avid reader here and come daily for a few years now. Thanks for everything you do.

    I do have a very important question and was wondering if you could tell us or find out when Native Instruments plans on revamping the file manager??? I mean I have been asking for (and know LOTS of DJ’s are waiting this also) to be able to create “smart playlists”. To be honest its frustrating having to manually do every playlist when on my PC all i do is make a smart playlist and BOOM i got an instant playlist i can work from. In fact this is one of the highest viewed and replied to messages on the traktor forum (feature requests) but Native Instruments does not even acknowledge this feature coming or not coming. I just find it hard that traktor doesn’t have this but every other Dj software does (Even those that are not “Club Standard” have them). Now, I know someone will say to use Trainspotter. And YES i am currently using Trainspotter (and much respect to the creator for this useful software. It sure saves me alot of headaches) BUT it is VERY SLOW to load up/save/search and it seems kind of silly that i have to use another software to have some BASIC FUNCTIONS that should be there in the first place.

    Thanks

  • Before they do anything else with anything else, they need to address the issue that Traktor simply, literally does not shut down in Windows 8. You have to access the Task Manager and shut it down from there.

    • Anonymous

      It doesn’t run on Windows 3.1, either. Deal breaker!

    • Dennis Parrott

      Emil, you are a brave, brave man to take the plunge of trying to run Traktor on Win8. I delayed moving to Snow Leopard (first) and then Lion (later) on my Macbook because I was afraid that Traktor would have some sort of hiccup with the next version of Mac OS X.

      You are right though. Win8 compatibility is an absolute MUST for Traktor. The average DJ out there is not going to be able to locate a Win7 laptop anymore and if Win8 doesn’t work, well, …

      At least Traktor runs on Win8…

    • the problem is your on windows 8.

  • m3lv

    Awesome tip, this has actually been the vain of my life with Traktor. Will save me from pulling unnecessary amounts of hair from my scalp in future. I just need a similar script that I could use for my job so I can spend more time with my music 😉
    Thanks!

  • It’s more an question about automation than about this article (though it neat to get these insights), but who can help me with an automation file for starting traktor and closing all other programs and unnecessary processes? I’ve seen a article discussing it, but the attached automation file wasn’t up-to-date.

    • Anonymous

      You should be able to do that with an applescript, no?

    • Just clear your autostart list in OSX System Preferences (such that no apps launch at boot) then reboot and start Traktor!

    • windows or mac???

      • Mac! Formerly I have used windows, but I outdone it. LOL. I even got my system running (tested with dpc latency checker) at 3-4ms, with outliers at 9ms! Though that was in the good old XP days, in W7 it was terrible, since you cannot use profiles correctly.

        Though, as stated, nowadays I’m on OS X ML. While it can run smoothly, i have to shut down all non-critical processes (and most often I forget to switch some off). When I’m at home this is no problem, but when I’m out gigging this bugs me out. When I’m setting up my gear, my least concern must be my mac, as I’m dedicating more time on testing the cdj’s/sl1200’s and plugin it all in. Thus an apple script of some kind which kills all non-critical processes but lets the essential processes and programs running (I prefer stability over low latency)

        • I create a new partition and install a clean and stable os (SL) and just traktor/maschine/live/resolume. Every time i gig i just select that partition and reboot. Gives me complete peace of mind as the os has no extra plugins.

          • Hmm could be an option in the future. Though, I’m restriced to 500gb, so I don’t want to give up my precious space. Thanks for the idea though.

  • Doubledutchdj

    Undo / redo would be pretty handy to! Nice article

    • rt

      I second this comment! it will be a big help

    • Post fader cuts sampling via the loop recorder in internal mode to pretty please, then I’ll truly love my Z2.

  • NIKK-C

    Great article & video. Ean, you look tired, mate.

    • calkutta

      word,take a break,make a beat,wax a girl….no but seriously,you dont sleep and it shows…the ambassador of our movement….you deserve all you have.thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      • thanks guys – I was exhausted on that tour. This was shot on day week 4 of 6 weeks on the road. Lots of sleep and looking much more awake now!