To celebrate this week’s announcement of Traktor Pro 2.10.1 – which included the ability to map and view Stems – Ean has put together a dynamic 15 minute mix using Stems, two Kontrol X1s, a Kontrol F1, a Midi Fighter Twister, and a guitar player. Watch the full mix inside and get an exclusive behind-the-performance talkthrough.
Ean Golden Stems Mix (+ Guitar!)
TRAKTOR STEM Remix with Live Guitars
Posted by Ean Golden on Friday, February 26, 2016
Behing the Mix Walkthrough
Want to get a sense of exactly how Ean mapped all of the controllers and LEDs to Stems and FX? We’ve put together an in-depth walkthrough video where he shows off exactly how everything works:
- Each Kontrol X1 controls two decks (A/B and C/D), split down the middle.
- The top eight X1 knobs control the Stems – they are arranged in inverse order from the Traktor UI (Vocals on top, drums on the bottom)
- The Kontrol F1 is acting as a four-channel mixer – with VU meters for the Stems visible on the pads
- The Midi Fighter Twister is running the new Twisted Gratification mapping – allowing Ean to put expressive effects on any one of the individual Stem Decks that is playing.
I was wondering what a full mix would sound like with only stems, and what new opportunities it might provide from a creative standpoint. This was a lot of fun to make because it allowed me to replace every song’s drums with a very consistent groove that glued the entire mix together. It was also possible to strip away lead parts, which created fresh room for a guitarist to step in and improvise. Both of these things combined to create a very original sounding mix that was almost more remixing than playing a traditional set. – Ean Golden
Listen To The Full Mix
Ean’s also put out the complete recording of this Stems mix, listen to it below in the Soundcloud Player:
Want to learn more about how Stems work? Read about the new update to Traktor here.
Want to check out the Midi Fighter Twisted Gratification Mapping? Watch it in action here.
Can you share the mapping for traktor
I would love to take a look at the mapping too, especially the VU meters 😀
Nice mapping! I’ve got the same setup. Possible to post the mappings on the website?
Nice one Ean, enjoyed the mix and a good use of Stems. All the other times Stems have been demoed it is often as if the mix could have been done with EQs and a standard track, but you’ve shown what’s possible. Thank you
Any chance of you publishing the x1 and f1 mappings? Particularly interested in f1 as the mixer
Ean Golden is the Bob Ross Of Dj’s.
Incredibly technical and unbelievably talented, but so laid back he makes everything look simple.
Respect Ean, You are the Zen Master of this shit.
Thanks for putting this together!
I had considered remapping my x1s to work with stems, but was procrastinating over whether it was worth it. Along with the gratification mapping, you’ve convinced me to give it a go! 🙂
IMO this type of playing is better suited for Ableton than Traktor, even with the new gizmos.. But enjoyed it nonetheless!
What I’m envisioning more casual stems use to be is make difficult transitions easier to pull off – ie pulling out that clashing vocal, lead or bassline during a transition. This type of playing is more akin to “jamming”/playing live than playing records as such
Just as I thought. A clusterphunk of noise and doesn’t compare to just playing the original Veerus – My Beat. DJ A.D.D. loves this but it’s a nightmare for the dance floor.
This is an alternative to playing a 7 min track and waiting to transition into something else. “Just playing the original” would not make a video either, and there’s something to be said about DJs who want to do more interaction with their music during a set [without comprising the music]. It shouldn’t be taken as offence towards the producer for not playing their track in its original form in its entirety; rather, every piece has its purpose, and this is a collage.
just playing the original is BORING for a DJ. i largely play weddings and events where people tend to want to hear the originals. this opens up ways to play songs they know in ways they don’t….
Good luck trying to find the YMCA stems
but maybe i don’t need the entire song converted to stems. maybe i can isolate a vocal or other bits and mix that with other stuff.
if i have those bits maybe i can run them through the stems maker and mix them against something else.
Ean has shown a number of examples where some bits of a song were riding over top of something else…
this is one of those times where you need to be saying “what if I take this sample and this stems track and mix the stem and run that sample over top?” and/or similar questions.
which, btw, is what Ean has seemingly done with his example…
pretty sweet. I love how he switches up controllers for different sets and routines. Im all about it!
if you have ever looked around at the background in some of his videos there must be a jillion different mixers and controllers. must be nice to have a library of stuff to just choose from! “well, i think i will drive that Vestax Golden special edition today. i’m feeling sort of nostalgic!” LOL
Keeps it interesting and challenging 🙂 I love trying out new gear and seeing what sticks – over time a really smooth interface emerges.
that was really impressive stuff. I know it said in the video the guitar was recorded, but I’m wondering: did someone engage the loop recorder with a foot pedal? how was the routing done? also would be interested to hear about the pedals that produced the tone on the guitar, or was it routed to Traktor and effected digitally. the communication between the mix and the guitar washes when you dropped “Kenopsia” was insane. that song already has a ridiculous amount of energy, but you managed to pump more into it and add another melodic voice that contributed instead of clashed. really cool stuff. thx for the explanation too
Stems are a dream come true for DJ’s and producers, but not so much for the audience. DJTechtools, as it has with controllerism over the years, is underestimating this.
Any problem of that nature would not be about the stems themselves. It would be the DJ not reading the crowd well enough to tell that he needs to back off. All of these technologies- stems, remix decks, ableton, etc, can be used creatively in ways that the audience totally digs. It all comes back to the basic skills though. You need to be able to tell if the crowd is into it, and if not, you need to change what you’re doing so that they are.
The other piece to this is that the tricks stems and similar creative tools imply are designed to be much more appealing to the more experienced dance music patrons. Younger crowds tend to just want to hear more Martin Garrix and his big room counterparts. Once people get beyond the simple “drop” mentality, they open up to more manipulative styles.
The first problem is that the stems of a track are specifically created to sound good with each other. You need good music skills to rip them apart and make them sound good as separate parts in other settings. Most DJ’s would simply screw up at some point experimenting with these stems in a live set.
Which brings me to the next point: The general audience simply doesn’t care. They just want to hear good tracks to dance to, not some DJ freaking out on controller buttons, thinking he’s the next Richie Hawtin, destroying these tracks.
the stems are made in the process of making a song. that the producer sets us free to do whatever we want with them is just a bonus.
i sort of agree that a lot of DJs would create a trainwreck. i do not think that everyone is blessed with either the ear or musical talent to do what Ean has done here.
as for the audience, i kind of disagree with your point. all techniques have a time and a place to be used. and i think that stems can be used with potentially devastating effect on a dance floor IF the DJ has built some trust with the dancers.
Ean’s moody and ethereal track choices are not the most danceable but that mix (at least the part in the video) would really work nicely in a trendy cocktail bar. again, right time and place and viola the stuff just works.
frankly, now that I can mix these bad boys using my S4 i think i have the tools to completely re-do the type of set i do for this one event i play every year. in the past it has been all instrumental jazz, standards — Miles, Herbie Hancock and so on. i’m thinking about doing the cocktail set using tracks similar to what Ean used. i think it would work. if it doesn’t i can just load up a Miles track and go back to what they know…
as for the recognition thing i think it is all about trust. give the crowd some of what they want but find some nice ways to mix those songs they want in ways that they recognize them but broaden their horizons. (isn’t that what happens with remixes? stems are just a way to remix things on the fly…) if you’ve made it so they can’t recognize the music maybe you’ve gone too far. a good DJ needs to be able to take the crowd on a journey…
we need to remember that stems are a tool not an end in themselves. everybody has to figure out how best to use them in their sets.
@Ean – very awesome example of just how far you can go. i have had the thought that you could do something like what you did but was not going to ditch my S4 for D5s or an S8. now that NI has opened this up, i want to go down this same road… thanks!
Well said! Totally agree if you want to mess around remixing tracks do it at home with Ableton and do it right make it polished, then play it out and give it recognition. Bashing away in the DJ box is just ego the crowd dont give a shit until you fuck it up and you will!
Ean: Love the video, bringing up some new mapping and performance ideas.
Only one thing, since I’ve upgraded to the latest Traktor version, my macbook is getting more warm and the fan starts running harder than with the previous traktor versions.
I’ve seen in your video the CPU load is going high as well…
I believe your laptop must be ‘cooking’ as well?
my buddy and i fix laptops and PCs as a side business. we highly recommend a cooling pad for modern laptops, period. the newer processors just run hot and it doesn’t take much to “cook the board”. you know that a laptop ran hot when the graphics go out because the solder holding the graphics chip melted away. (YES that happens! mostly to cheaper PC laptops – not so much to Macbook Pros…)
be nice to your rig — get it a cooling pad.
yeah – I noticed that the stem files are spiking my CPU like never before.. it’s a legit concern and makes me run my buffers larger than I would like..
Stems + FX seem to be quite an attack on CPU, but for as far as i’ve been able to deduce, the LED feedback of the different stems in the twister mapping were simply to much to handle for my system. Have you tried the difference?
Am I the only one who feels like several elements were not in time and the leveling didnt work out as good as expected? I like the view of the possibilities, though. Thanks for showing us.
thought the timing was spot-on, but sure: mixing elements from other tracks this way you forfeit sidechain compression and EQing. either way, the mix was really tight in my headphones. anything pumping out my laptop speakers is shite.
It was really tough to keep levels in check while mixing digitally because there is no compression on the elements. Sometimes things just popped out and got way too loud without limiters. Next time I will do this mix on an analogue mixer with some natural compression and push the channels so things stay tighter.
Throw a xone92 in there next time 😉