How to web DJ with Traktor and a cheap soundcard.

July 22, 2006

Web DJing seems to be getting more an more popular every day, with every body wanting to give it a shot. A recent article on digg managed to make it to the front page, and is all about how to setup a radio station with icecast. A quick overview for those who are unfamiliar with Icecast, it is a free (and open source) server that is very similar to the shoutcast protocol and allows people to setup a radio station. I won’t go into much more detail than this, because the digg article does a fine job. What I do want to go over is how you can use Traktor to DJ straight into Icecast, mainly on a rubbish soundcard.

I have a nForce2 motherboard, with built in sound. It does a fine job really, or at least I thought it did. When you get into DJing more and more, you realise that this isn’t really going to cut it. You need to be cueing up tracks in the background, and with only audio output on the card – you just can’t do that. As a result,each track trainwrecks and you, or more importantly, your listeners aren’t very happy. Now before you go out and buy yourself a nice new card (which you should do!) – there is another way.

Traktor ❤ Icecast. ‘Nuff said. Traktor comes with bulit in support for Icecast, and can act as a client to the server. This means that your master channel in Traktor can be streamed to the server, instead of “WhatUHear”, “Stereo Mix” or whatever your soundcard likes to call it. This gives you the ability to cue up tracks, sync them perfectly then hit your crossfader over. Sure, it won’t sound nice to you, and still takes a bit of guess work – but it works a hell of a lot better than before. You listeners will never hear the cueing, and all should be good!

The Setup

Ok, want to give this a shot? Here’s how it works! Firstly, your going to want to get ASIO drivers for your soundcard/chipset. If you can’t get them, you really shouldn’t be doing anything. ASIO gives low latency (I get 2.5ms) between the computer and your speakers. Also, for me – ASIO seemed to give me more information on my sound channels, while nVidia’s DX driver did not. So, with this installed – bring up the “Audio Setup” dialouge in Traktor’s preferences, and go to the “Soundcard” subsection. Set this up to use your ASIO driver, and get your latency down to something small (I’ll explain more on latency later). Now, pop over to “Output Routing.” For “monitor”, select the first 2 channels as the left and right, respectivly.

This has setup our sound output. If you have a microphone and want to use that as well, pop into Input routing, and for Channel C (we’ll see why you use C later), do as we did above – first 2 channels to left and right, respectivly. Now, you’re all ready to DJ in Traktor, but you won’t have any listeners. So, let’s setup Icecast! Go to the broadcasting section, and enter in all your details. I can’t really tell you what to do here, but it’s all very self explanitory.

Some notes on DJing

Now you’re all setup and ready to go; almost.This setup isn’t excellent, so I need to show you how to get going. Hit 4 on your keyboard to change to the 4 minimised deck layout. Click on deck C. Now, in the bar at the top, right click in some of the grey area and select “channels.” We’re going to set the mic up. First, click “Ext” in the Channel panel. This tells Traktor that it’s external, not internal. Also, click the Arrows at the bottom of the dialogue, so neither are active. This bypasses the crossfader – which can be a real pain in the butt for micing. When you want to mute the mic, just click Ext too, and you should be ok.

Right, onto Djing. Switch to the full 4 deck layout by pressing 4 on your keyboard. In the main mixer, see that little dial, “Ph Mix.” This means “phones mix” and what that really means is how much of the master channel you hear. When it’s at 100%, you hear what everyone else hears. When it’s at 0%, you won’t hear any of the master channel. Also, notice that each deck has a Cue button? This routes the output of the channel into your headphones, so you can hear the channel without anyone else hearing it, aslong as your Ph Mix is less than 100%. Here’s what I suggest:

Load a track into Deck A, move the crossfader all the way to the left, play the track. Load a new track onto Deck B and activate cue. Lower Ph Mix to 40%. Play Deck B and make sure it’s beatmatched (I can’t explain how to beatmatch now, maybe in another tutorial if this prooves useful – check out DJ Forums for beatmatching tutorials) and when it is, put Ph Mix back to 100%, and toy with the crossfader.

Hopefully, that shows that you don’t need an expensive soundcard to be a hobbiest Dj, but it does still require some talent, and certainly outside the box thinking. Any questions, drop a comment!

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I got a job!

June 3, 2006

Well, so strange soul seemed to think I'm suitable for a job! Well, they'd be right anyway, oposite to what you might think -_-. So, I'm now working on the tills down at Morrison's. My hours are quite nicely spread out, monday is 5-9pm, friday is 5-9:30pm, Sunday is 2 – 7pm. That's all at 3.94 per hour, then 4.50 after 12 weeks, iirc. Anyway,
pay stuff isn't something that concerns me.What I need is just some type of
constant income, so I can finally get some of Apple's yummy products (role
on iPod and MacBook Pro!)

On the Apple side of things, my mum recently got an iPod Nano. A few friends at school have them, but I can't believe how dinky those things are. Pheanominal work there! We've got her music on, and she understands how it all works, which is very good. My mum's not stupid, but it does take her a while at getting the hang of things, and she grasped this all in no time.

Finally, on the exam note, they are so nearly done. And thank f%#$ for that. I'm fed up with these exams. I've been streseed, and missed out on the cool Fringe stuff down at our local gardens (lots of live music and hippy stuff). 6 more papers to go, all to be done next week. Monday bus stud, Tuesday mechanics (maths), Friday physics. Ahhh, then I get to see how baddly I've done, yay!

Oh, and yea, the formatting on this post totally broke itself (at least in Opera). Nice eh?

Exams and the future

May 21, 2006

Well, exams are coming up now. First big ones are tomorrow, with 2 maths exams. Meep. I'm determined to do well in this though. Maths exams are generally hard anyway, but I'm not letting that be an excuse! I mainly wanted to write this blog entry to speak about my plans for the future. Obviously, it's going to be game dev as my main career path, but I really thiking about getting into the music scene while I'm into my 20s. Other the last month I've been listening to so much drum n bass, mainly live, and it's just so full of energy.

 I've tried my hand at (software) mixing too, and really enjoyed just browsing through my music to find something that fits in with the last track. Then syncing them and all. I'm really missing out as well with software mixing – no scratching, no beat juggling, non of that stuff. But on top of mixing I've been using my musicality to produce some experiments in dnb. It's nothing good yet, but it's damn fun – and the results I'm getting are achieved much faster than I thought I'd get!

So, to sum this up, in the next year or 2 I plan to get a set of decks, a mixer and a midi keyboard. Then, I plan to practice and then… I wanna get out there, djing to people! I don't think it's going to be easy, but with the dedication I have for things I love, I think I can achieve it! Anyway, hitting the hay now, gotta get some rest for these exams!

Meditation

April 23, 2006

Last night was my first attempt at delving into my sub concious self. I just sat on my bed, thinking about nothing nad letting my thoughtswonder. I only tried it for about 5 minutes, 10 minutes is the "good" amont of times it seem, but I can't approximate time. Gonna give it another try tonight. It was an interesting experience, I don't know if I'm "doing it right" nor do I actually care, because that will come to me over time. It felt really calming and refreshing to sit in silence, in a strange way.

If you're interested in it, here's a great site: Meditation Center. It has guides on getting started, different techniques you can use (I'm doing the Mindfulness Meditation) one at the moment. If you're skeptical about meditation, I really suggest you give it a try, read over the techniques above and stuff.

Anyway, "peace."  😉

Rentacoder, MDX

April 22, 2006

Well, I've been dying for some cash, so I thought instead of getting a job in a superrmarket, why not make a headstart on the kinda stuff I want to do in life? I popped over to rentacoder to see what jobs were going, and there's a nice little HR project and after speaking with the leader of it, I've managed to secure the work. Pretty coll, and I'm excited so he's probably going to get some great results and I'll be paying myself too little, ahh well 😛

Also, I finished my work on a deferred light shader which you can now grab from here. Here's the obligatory shot

Thanks WordPress -_-

April 18, 2006

Heh, blog was down all of yesterday due to maintanence stuffy, but at least they fixed some of the problems I'd been experiencing 🙂 I wanted to get a few posts out, but… couldn't, natuarally. So, my ATi extensions are out here. Didn't stir much interest, I never thought it would, but meh. they are out there! I need to add instancing in.

So… metaprotean. I bet you're dying to know what this is! Well, I doubt that, but I will tell you anyway 🙂 Metaprotean is my shader editor for effect files. The name comes because the bulk of the parsing work is down to meta programming. A class is generated at runtime, and this contains all the parameters of the shader, and does some binding stuff. It's very cool ^_^ Here, have a screenshot:

As you can see, got a few things to tidy up, but it's really coming along nicely 🙂

Also, I'm working on some shaders atm, just some basic light models covered in "Advanced Lighting and Materials With Shaders" but instead of copying the shaders out of the book or something, I'm trying to write them, from the formulas. I can understand the ones in this book ^_^ At the moment I have Warn lighting and Phong lighting, next up is Blinn-Phong then Oren-Nayer 🙂

ATI Fun

April 16, 2006

I just spent the best part of 3 hours (1 hour spent debugging a retarded problem, sigh) on a managed "port" of ATi's R2VB functionality. What does this mean exactly? It mens that on Ati hardware, I can deform a grid of 100×100 vertices, easily in realitme; by that I'm talking well over 300fps. Hows that? 😉 Anyhow, release and such coming tommorow, it's 2am on Easter day, and I am shattered.

Cycling, and stuff

April 14, 2006

Had a nice day today, weather was really good and I decided to get outand do something with it. Me and Martin went cycling, not far, bout 14miles but that's a fair bit when you haven't cycled for months! Also got in a bit of football which was nice. I really want to get my laptop now, so I can go cycling, recover and do some coding in the fresh air (I find it quite refreshing and motivating, sitting in the quiet countyside) then had back. Maybe that will happen in the summer 🙂

In other news, the game engine is really making some swift progress. The structure for a lot of the stuff is down now, and it's all down to getting the implementation right. I tidied the scene graph up, and the kernel and the resource managers are ready to be added. It's all extendable too 🙂 And just before I go to bed, I got my rating over 1100 now on gamedev! I'm chuffed that people are finding me so friendly and stuff, just gotta push it up to 1200 now 😀

Blog again!

April 13, 2006

Yay, I have a blog, again. Not that I need another one, but ah… what the heck 🙂 I decided to get another one because Blogger is pretty naff, I never liked it. Anyway, quick intro seems to be the most sensible thing to do, seeing as I'm trying to get people to read this blog. I'm aCiD2, a DirectX and .NET enthausiast – hobbiest at the moment, but hopefully I'll get it as a job when I'm older. I plan to use this blog to show off my works and write small articles that don't quite deserve to be published anywhere.

My current works are with Fraction. This was my first big engine, but I gave up on it after a while, and moved onto other projects. Since then I've learnt new tricks, and feel like using all my knowledge to rewrite Fraction. Here are my plans for Fraction, some of it I've done before, some needs enhancing and some is totally true. Here are some things that stand out at the moment:

  • Totally programmable, HDR pipeline
    I've done a bit of this before. My last engine was mainly programmable, but I think I was using some fixed funtoinality. Also, I've very recently done HDR (but it was a mess) and think I can improve that a lot. So, to accomplish this I'm going to make the VideoTask the only kernel task with access to the D3D device. Should be interesting.
  • Spatial partitioning
    This one I've never done more than a messy quadtree and frustum culling. I want to make this one a bit more powerful. I plan to give occlusion queries a try, and kd-trees. I think this might be pushing things, but this area is new and important.

In the end, I just want to have a little demo of a terrain, sky dome and water, all hdr, and all dynamic (except the terrain, that's never interested me). Anyway, thanks for reading.