I have huge respect for Ean Golden and his Tech Tools crew, I am a follower of their blogs and posts and always like their videos. It seems to me that their musical genre is more based on the hip-hop, dub step side of life and this video outlining their use suggestions for Traktors Remix Decks highlights this fact.
I think the video is excellent and shows off some great talents and tech know-how, but it seems like the tasks he explains in this video are so much of an effort to get things set up and going, especially with building macros (midi controls with multiple functions) just to use over one track. Its great for setting up for a ‘Jam’ with buddies and a bunch of beers, but for a DJ set, it doesn’t seems like a lot of effort and not all that user friendly.
My Take on the Remix Decks
Coming from a background of house music, I feel I have a different perspective of the remix decks. I feel they are more related to the same uses as that for which ableton is so popular. Each remix deck to me appears like a mini ableton set up, albeit alot more basic. I know you are limited to four tracks per deck, but you have 16 layers on each one and if you were to use all 4 decks as remix decks you have huge potential for a ‘Live’ DJ set. At any point during the set you can simply convert decks A and B to track decks and use some turntables again. Its such a great set up.
It helps if you produce
If you are a music producer, the remix decks will be your best friend during your DJ sets. You can spend some time in the studio creating bass-lines, create some kick patterns, create some leads etc etc then you can set up a remix set in Traktor ready for your show. Each slot of the remix deck has its own volume control so you can fade in and out, it also has a cue button, its own filter and you an even layer effects onto each slot, using the already existing traktor effects units. I would be inclined to set up the lower end of your track in deck 3 and then higher end such as one shots, vocals and melodies in deck 4. This way you can alternate back from deck 3 to 4 swapping out the lower end for the next track and so on all the way down the 16 lines of each remix deck, ultimately giving you the potential for 16 tracks to be played from 2 saved remix sets.
Uses will grow
Over time people will find their own control preferences and the remix decks will evolve. Once NI opens up the mapping protocols, the functionality will expand greatly, allowing the use of 3rd party hardware to control the remix decks. As it stands, a 3rd party controller can only be assigned to the top row of slots in each remix deck, keeping the functionality akin to the previous incarnation of the sample deck. I’m currently working on a Maschine mapping for the Remix decks, obviously this will be limited to just the top slots, but hopefully will later be adaptable to the full remix decks control.