Carl Cox Explains His Traktor + CDJs + MODEL 1 DJ Setup

One of the most legendary house DJs – Carl Cox – is apparently an avid user of Richie Hawtin’s MODEL 1 mixer. In a new video released by the PLAYdifferently brand, Carl talks through his setup and explains the basics of how he mixes.

Carl Cox DJ Setup Talkthrough

Gear used by Carl in this video:

DJ Mixing Tips from Carl Cox

There’s a few key lessons in this “How I Play”-esque video. While a lot of it does feel a bit heavily focused around the MODEL 1 mixer (it’s a product video, not a pure interview), the ten minute session in the booth with Carl reveals some great tips and inside secrets. Here’s a few we loved:

CDJ Platter Useage Shows Audience That The Mix Is Live

“I always start my sets with [the CDJs]. People want to see something from me which is tangible, so if I’m playing a track, they want to see the action. If I do that (Carl backspins on a CDJ), you hear that. I’m able to do spinbacks, cuts, loops, and track marks [beat jump].”

Carl’s very right about this – people still expect to see DJs have some tactile interaction that lines up with sound. CDJ platter manipulation is a great way to prove, very quickly, that it’s not a prerecorded mix coming through the speakers.

Planning? Who Needs It!

Carl doesn’t plan his DJ sets – instead, he builds up a collection of records for a gig and chooses from it. It’s a common technique for many DJs, especially in the digital age. We highly recommend building large playlists and choosing from them instead of trying to program out the entire night.

The two CDJ-2000NXS2s (what he calls the “outside players” in the video) are not controlling Traktor Pro via HID. Instead, they’re actually external players that he’s syncing up to Traktor. The editing in this video and Carl’s explanation are confusing – but as our commenters have pointed out below, it’s the CDJs are controlling Traktor via HID.

Traktor FX: T3, Beat Masher, and Flux

On his D2s, we don’t see Carl do too many complicated things – but he does use a few effects to layer, loop, and repeat what’s already playing. He shows off T3 Delay, Beat Masher (which he calls “the looper”) and even taps into Flux mode to show how to quickly create ad-hoc loop builds.

Watch more artist interviews:

carl coxDj mixerHow I PlayModel 1Traktor Tips
Comments (31)
Add Comment
  • DJ Gear Trends + Predictions For 2018

    […] 1) with a high-end feature set to match. For DJs who can afford one, it’s an amazing tool. Just listen to Carl Cox talk about how integral the mixer has become to his […]

  • Answerd makes his debut on NSD

    […] 1) with a high-end feature set to match. For DJs who can afford one, it’s an amazing tool. Just listen to Carl Cox talk about how integral the mixer has become to his […]

  • URL

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More Infos here: […]

  • drno

    2017 and Cox would sound great playing with a kontrol s2 and traktor, vinyl, whatever hu$tle gear hawtin has concocted, 3 pitch cassette tape decks……whatever he gets his hands on.

    It will always be what you play, not what you play with for me and most of the headz out there.

  • Mark Stephenson

    Carl just goes where’s the money is. It’s not five minutes since he was fawning over the s8 in what was clearly a paid promotion.

    • Seeds Deep

      Well he is still using tracktor stems

  • Harry Freq

    That is the setups of all setups!!!

    • Lee Robertson

      Hmm not sure, I have I px5 with Traktor on 2 channels (D2 to control), abelton on another with the AUX as a Abelton monitor, a 909/303 in my final channel. APC40 to control all the abelton stuff at the side and sync box using audio as the timing giving me a midi clock that never moves all in sync super tight and a truntable to scratch at the side. Thats is a setup of all setups

    • Tim

      Funktion One F88 + BR218, seems to be new models

  • Peter Munch

    I wonder how he gets more than 3xstereo channels out of the RME Fireface UC soundcard… into a DB25 cable. Anybody here using the RME Fireface UC soundcard?

    • Toby

      1 Dsub = 4 stereos…

      I have no idea how he’s connecting a 4th deck when the RME only accepts 3 stereos. As far as I can tell, he has 1 or 2 cables connecting directly into channel 5 or 6, though unsure with what. I wouldn’t use the RME personally.

      • Kevin Jacquot

        Fireface UC has 18 outputs, 8 hardware outs => 6 balanced TRS, 1 unbalanced stereo TRS (ch7/8 labeled as monitor) and the rest via adat or spdif

        Output DA: 6 x 1/4″ TRS, servo-balanced, DC-coupled signal path. 1 x 1/4″ TRS unbalanced
        Output Digital: 1 x ADAT optical or SPDIF optical, SPDIF coaxial (AES/EBU compatible)

        • Toby

          Possibly ADAT for further connectivity. I can’t see him using the Monitor Out.

          • Jérôme LeBel

            ADAT doesn’t work on external mixing in traktor.

            I have a Fireface UC and you can’t put external deck as ADAT output. Traktor simply crash.

            If anybody got a fix for that let me know 🙂

    • frankle

      We made his custom cable (Factory Sound) from the Fireface UC to the DB25 on the Model 1. Outputs 1-6 are balanced TRS for the first 3 decks, and the 4th deck comes out of the headphone socket as an unbalanced TRS (tip left pos, ring right pos, common ground). The trick to getting it to the right level and to sound the same as the other outputs is in the Fireface settings, you need to choose +4dB.
      I also have a UC and use a similar setup with my 92.

  • Peter Munch

    The RME Fireface UC soundcard doesnt make any sense. He’s connected through DB25 cable. The UC interface doesnt have DB25 and only 6 analog outputs.

  • Jesse James

    Im creative with Xone 92 , X1, Boss Delay, audio 10 and a macbook

    • Sevenkami

      Same setup here!

      Two things that ‘bother’ me though:

      1. The sound qualilty of the Audio 10. It is terrible compared to CDJ’s. Plus you have to manually set each channel to -5 db to avoid clipping. You’d expect more when the hardware is from the same company as the software. Kind of beats the purpose of having a good mixer like the Xone 92.

      2. I love A&H filters and wish i could have one for each channel. The Model 1 has exactly that. Plus it seemingly sounds even better than the Xone 92. But before i would consider buying that, i need to fix my soundcard. Eyeballing RME.

      • Jesse James

        Im with the Xone only 2 weeks, was a DJM 600 for 10 years lol

      • zendoo

        Perhaps your input gain coming from the Audio10 is set too high? You know what’s weird, I can get down to 9ms of latency when using it at 96khz. At 44.1 or 48khz, the best I can do is 11ms without artifacts.

        • Sevenkami

          That is indeed the problem. By -5db per channel i mean in Traktor (software), otherwise the channels will clip. Which is kinda retarded considering NI made both the software and the hardware in this setup. You’d think they would at least made sure things don’t clip in the default settings and at best optimize the whole signal chain to their own advantage.

    • zendoo

      Big ups Boss delays! Although I still have a couple pedals, I switched to a Korg SDD-1000 for general use. It has more physical controls than the later SDDs, and a very friendly feedback knob.

  • Trygve Haugland

    The CDJs are connected with HID to Traktor.
    You can see the USB cable on the back on the players. When he do the backspin you can see the waveform on the D2 is being manipulated. I just think he has a strange way to explain how his setup is connected to Traktor. He did it the same way when he used the Traktor S8 controller. D2’s is controlling deck A-B and the CDJs C-D.

    • Mojaxx

      Yeah I must agree with that. You can see when he activates loops on the D2 that the ooop lights flash on the CDJ, also.

      • Mojaxx


      • Spacecamp / Dan

        On a third rewatch, I agree – but annoyingly the video’s editors seem to have cut it in a way that it doesn’t make sense in any explanation he gives.

        • Dubby Labby

          I wasn’t noticing that due I wondered this way from the moment he said 4 decks in traktor (so not using the player part of the cdjs)