Routing Maschine Through A Live Deck In Traktor Using Jack Audio

There are a number of different methods online for routing the audio from Native Instruments’ Maschine into a live audio deck in Traktor, but I’ve noticed that the method that I use isn’t quite documented anywhere, so I thought I’d share it.

Native Instruments’ recommends using a second sound card to route the audio internally or to run an 1/8″ to RCA cable from your computer’s soundcard into an input of your S2 or S4.  That’s great and all, but I use a Numark 4Trak which does have audio inputs, but it disables midi control when flipped to the mixer input, so I can’t really leverage the EQs, filters or effects.

So, determining that option was out for me,  I found a great post on dj techtools about routing Maschine through Traktor using soundflower.  Now, the dj techtools tutorial works, but I find Soundflower a little buggy, and it requires setting up a multi-audio device, which I find adds an extra layer of latency, so I use Jack Audio instead.  Best part about Jack Audio is its multiplatform, so it runs on windows too.

Credit:  My setup is an OSX tweak of xine44’s forum post on the Traktor forum at Native Instruments.  The principals and steps are identical, ‘cept mine is for mac and has pictures.

So, here’s how you run Maschine into a Traktor Live deck on a single laptop using Jack Audio, and only one audio card… cue white noise filter rise.

STEP 1: SETUP JACKAUDIO

I’m gonna go ahead assume you’ve downloaded and installed Jack Audio.  I’m not going to teach you how to do that… if you don’t know, maybe you should stick to just one program at a time.  I will, however, recommend you use JackPilot as opposed to qjackctl, unless you know how to use that patchbay routing thing (and if you do, please comment and tell me how you’ve done it successfully).  When you start Jack, you’ll want to go to the Preferences and setup your 4Trak to work through it…  from this point forward, I’m going to assume everyone reading this is using a 4trak, and those who aren’t  are smart enough to figure out how to substitute their own sound card).

Ok, so in the Jack prefs, you want to set the input and output device as 4Trak, sample rate and buffer to 44.1K and a 512.  I suppose sample rate and buffer aren’t written in stone, but I’ve never tried messing around with those settings, so these ones work for me.  You want to make sure the Interface input and output channels match the number of ins and outs of the 4Trak.  Then you can go ahead and set the number of virtual input channels and virtual output channels to whatever you want.  I go with 8 ins and 4 outs, because someday I might want to use the 4 ins I have on the 4trak along with ins from Maschine, Ableton and whatever else strikes me).  For this tutorial, you can probably get away with 4 ins and 4 outs (2 ins for the mains, and 2 for monitoring).  That’s all up to you.  Moving on…

Last step is to make sure the “Auto-Connect with physical ports” is checked and you’re good.  Here’s a screenshot of my setup:

Tricky Mouse's Jack Audio Preferences
Screenshot of Tricky Mouse’s Jack Audio Preferences

Save that and click the Start button.  Jack is now running and ready to start routing.

STEP 2: SETUP TRACKTOR

In the Traktor preferences, under Audio Setup, set the Audio Device to Jack audio device.

Traktor Audio Device Setup

Next, go to your output routing and setup your Master and Monitor Output routing for your 4Trak.

traktor output routing

 

Then setup your input routing to use the Jack Virtual ports.  My setup doesn’t use deck A and B for Live Inputs, but to keep it straight in my head (and make it possible to change later) I set deck C to ports 5 & 6 and deck D to port 7 & 8.  You can set it up however you like, but you need to remember your configuration for when you do the final routing in Jack (later in the post).

traktor input routing

 

So that’s it for the Traktor setup… with the exception of syncing Maschine to be a slave of Traktor’s MIDI clock.  I’m going to go ahead and assume you’ve already learned how to do this from this awesome Dubspot video by the amazing Traktor genius and mixmaster DJ Endo.

STEP 3: SETUP MASCHINE

Setting up Maschine for JackAudio is a similar process to setting up Traktor.  Go to “Audio and Midi Settings” under “File” in Maschine, under the Audio tab, set the Driver to “Jack” and the Device to “Jack audio device” and make sure your outputs are turned on under the Routing tab.

maschine setup

Click OK and you’re done!

STEP 4: ROUTE AUDIO THROUGH JACK

Now comes the tricky part…

The interface of Jack Audio isn’t the most intuitive, but its a great program and the developers who create and maintain it are awesome and have a standing opening on the guest list for any of my gigs.  That being said, the UI is sticky and can be a little frustrating at first, but once you finally get it, it makes sense.  Basically, JackAudio works off of two columns, Send Ports and Receive Ports (In ports and out ports).  All the devices routed through Jack (in our case, system, Traktor and Maschine 2) will show up in these two columns, left side is OUTs, right side is INs.  To make a connection, you need to show the ports by clicking the disclosure triangle for the devices you want to connect, then connect them by clicking the port in one column, then double click the corresponding port in the other column.

Here’s how I do it.  For Traktor, I set Out 1 – In 1 to “system”, playback_1, Out 2 – In 2 to “system” playback_2, and so on…

traktor routing 1traktor routing 2traktor routing 3traktor routing 4

Then I connect the Out 1 – Maschine Out, Out 2- Maschine Out to the Traktor inputs I defined when setting up Traktor’s preferences.  I personally route Out 1 to Port 5 and Out 2 to Port 6.  You don’t have to do it that way, just makes sense in my head.

maschine routing 1maschine routing 2

And that’s pretty much it!  You’re ready to run Maschine through a Traktor Live deck.  You can sync a drum pattern to your Traktor master deck, finger drum, what have you.  You’ll know that you’ve setup the right number of inputs and outputs if the number of ports you set up match the number displayed in Jack Audio (in my setup, that number is “6”)

final routing

One thing to remember, and I sometimes forget from time to time, is that you need to make sure your deck flavor is set to “Live Deck” and not a regular deck, otherwise you won’t hear anything coming from Maschine.

Pro Tip:  Its quite useful to map the Clock Send and Clock Trigger MIDI Sync to buttons on your controller, as it will let you turn Maschine on and off, and trigger a resync to the master clock.  I find it useful to tap a Clock Trigger MIDI Sync button on a 4 count to line up the one beats of Traktor and Maschine.

Map clock sync buttons on your controller and you can quickly resync if things go out of time!
Map clock sync buttons to your controller and you can quickly resync if things go out of time!

So, that’s how I route Maschine 2.0 through a Traktor Live deck on a single laptop with only one soundcard.  I hope you found it useful and/or informative!

 

 

 

Words, ideas, tips and other stuff…