How to use Fade Markers with Cruise Control

break from the booth
Things are getting a little messy, you’re not sure what’s going on in the DJ booth and you need a break!!! It’s time to turn to the Emergency DJ set!

To be honest though, I’d hope that you never get to the stage of the poor guy featured in the image above.  It’s more likely that the situation you are in is as follows:-

You’ve picked up a set in a bar, and your set is 4 hours. You are playing solo with no one else to keep you company or anyone to step in whilst you grab quick break. Sure, there are some tracks out there that I usually line up for this occasion, some good 7 or 8 minute long mammoth tracks, but sometimes, you might even want longer. I know, theres not too many situations where you need that long away from the decks, but maybe, just maybe, you meet someone special at the bar and you wouldn’t mind grabbing a relaxing drink with them? So instead of rushing back to the decks, you can thrown on an emergency set.

Emergency Set

You have a couple of options when it comes to an emergency set:-

  • You can pre-mix and record a set, which you can then mix into your live set at any point.

OR

  • You can create a playlist and use the auto mix “Cruise” function.

Here, I will cover the second point – creating an emergency playlist for use with the Cruise option.

Cruise Control

Traktor has a sweet little feature known as Cruise Control. A little button in the top right of your screen will turn it on. Once activated, it will automatically play through the tracks in the currently selected playlist. How it mixes between tracks, depends on a few different settings.

The parameters you need to think about when creating an automated mix playlist are:-

  • Crossfade time
  • Where you want the mix to take place in a track (Fade Markers)

Crossfade Timing

S4 CrossFadeIn the Traktor Preferences head to the ‘Mixer‘ section, once there you will find a ‘Crossfader‘ section, this is where you will set the auto crossfade time, it can range from 0 seconds to 100 seconds. This is the time that both tracks will be in the mix at the same time, or how long it takes to move from one track to the next. If you select a 60 second auto crossfade it will take 30 seconds for the new track to come in and the following 30 seconds for the last track to fade out. Just below this, you can set the crossfade to be smooth or sharp.

Smooth or Sharp

This typically is used to adjust the curve of a crossfader, more so by scratch mix DJ’s.  A sharp fade, means that even the slightest move of the fader from an off position will instantly create volume.  A smooth fader will creep the volume in as you move it across and will only reach its maximum volume when set exactly in the centre between the two decks. This function does not currently operate in auto crossfade mode.

Fade In and Out Markers

Fade Marker Screen ShotBy default, the auto crossfade uses the end of the track as the guide for initiating the crossfade.  Taking our earlier exapmle of 60 seconds, the crossfade will begin 60 seconds from the end of the track. If you have it set at zero seconds then the new track will not begin playing until the track has reached its very end.  Some tracks have a long silent audio tail, which might interfere with your auto mix if you weren’t to set a different place to start your crossfade.

Let’s see how:-

Whenever you lay a cue point, you have the option of changing that cue point to one of the following:-

  • Cue
  • Fade In
  • Fade Out
  • Load
  • Grid
  • Loop

Using the Fade In and Fade Out markers, you are able to set at which point the auto crossfader will begin its work.  These markers stand out from all others as they are orange in colour. They have a small flag at the top indicating whether it is an ‘In‘ or an ‘Out‘.

‘Fade Out’ Marker – Wherever you chose to place this marker; will be the point at which the next track in your playlist will begin to play and the volume faders begin to move – this marker is denoted by the flag sitting on the right of the marker.

‘Fade In’ Marker – When an auto crossfade begins, the next track in the mix will either begin at the start of the track or will jump to any  ‘Fade In‘ marker that has been placed in the track. As soon as the track starts up, the volume faders will also move; at the pace you have set in the ‘Crossfade timing‘ settings. This marker is denoted by it’s flag sitting to the left of the marker.

Important things to note:

Activate fade in

  •  Make sure that you go into the Preferences > Loading > and Select “Activate Fade In & Fade Out Markers
  • Make sure that all the tracks you choose are have a perfect beatgrid set.
  • Make sure that snap and quantize are turned on.
  • I would also suggest that you have your preferences set to “Set Autogain when Loading Track“. You can find this in Preferences > Mixer > Level.

Set auto gain Traktor

How best to use the Auto Crossfade

The style of music you are playing will determine what kind of crossfade you would like to implement. Maybe for Drum and Bass or Hip Hop, you might want an instant swap between tracks. For deep house, maybe a long smooth mix would be best. It’s your call, you’re the DJ. The video below will show you some examples of this and how to set up these markers.

Creating the Playlist

I recommend selecting 3 or more tracks to use for your emergency set, once you have slected these tracks and positioned your relevant markers, place them in a playlist. If you are not sure how to set up playlists you can check out another tutorial.
Now, whenever you need to take a break at the decks, you can head over to the playlist, load in and play the first track from that list, then activate the cruise button.
Personally, i would only ever use this in a restaurant or bar setting, or even a house party, but I would rarely imagine using it in a club. It is however handy to have, just incase of some kind of emergency😉.

What do you think?

Have you ever used this function? Would you use this function, or are you totally against doing this as you find it is ‘cheating’? We would love to hear from you in the comments.

This article has since been republished with my consent on DJ Tech Tools Website.

I just have to give credit, where credit’s due…. the picture at the top is ridiculous and I have difficulty figuring out what’s actually happening here, either way, thanks go to: dpstyles™ via photopin cc

8 comments

  1. Great tool for those bathroom breaks or a chance to dance with that you were eyeing. This function should only be used for breaks or getting your freak on. I’m personally going to try it out at a gig.

  2. I really want to use this function but I cant find any of these preferences I guess its not avaliable on traktor LE which tracktor do I need and how much is a licence for my pc and laptop

    Regards

    PS

  3. It is a great tool to spin an opening set, especially if you do not have another DJ who can open the crowd for you. Trackor is doing a full frequency mix in cruise mode, so make sure to set the fade in/out points so that mid range do not overcrowd the mix. Remember to leave in the EQs identical and all other effects off.

  4. I use this all the time. I set up my lists before I head in to an event. Once I’m there (to read the crowd) I can move the order around. It’s easy to setup a mapping to enable/disable this feature, which I definitely recommend.

    There’s nothing worse then when you’ve phase synced to go straight into the chorus of the next song as you see cruise starting your deck for the fade in, ruining the surprise >:/

    Well, except maybe when cruise is off and some drunk chick is screaming at you as your playing deck reaches the dead-silent, abrupt ending of a song.

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