The Numark Mixtrack Quad
The Numark Mixtrack Quad is a 4 channel digital DJ controller with a built-in audio I/O device that was released in Spring 2013 and marketed as the only controller in its class and price range that offers 4 channel capabilities.
It is essentially a 4 channel version of the Numark Mixtrack Pro II, which is itself the second version of the infamous Mixtrack Pro, reportedly the world’s best selling digital DJ controller. With upgraded platters and touch-sensitive backlit drum pads, the Mixtrack Pro II is widely regarded as the current standard for entry level DJ controllers, so the Mixtrack Quad comes from an excellent pedigree. Numark has been producing innovative DJ equipment for 40 years, so they clearly know what they’re doing and have an enviable track record for producing both pro and consumer kit.
The Mixtrack Quad currently retails for around £210 and represents fantastic value for money. Although clearly aimed at the home DJ, it is perfect for learning how to DJ and more than up to the job for house parties and small venues. For more details about the controller itself, please see the excellent Digital DJ Tips review.
Free Virtual DJ Software
The Mixtrack Pro II is bundled with free Serato DJ Intro software, which is by all accounts an excellent tool and can be easily upgraded to the full Serato DJ package for a reasonable fee. Unfortunately, since Serato DJ Intro does not support 4 channels, Numark needed to supply alternative free software with the Mixtrack Quad, so they went with VirtualDJ LE. On the plus side, this software is very nicely integrated with the Mixtrack Quad hardware, and on the surface is a very reasonable software package. If I hadn’t hit an annoying problem within half an hour of first using it, I probably would have been happy enough to stick with it…
There is a known issue with sample playback volume in both the LE and full editions of VirtualDJ. It doesn’t matter how you set the “Cue Gain” (or “Master Gain” for that matter), samples are played back through the headphones at maximum volume. Once you get over the initial shock of being deafened, it just becomes plain irritating to have to take off your headphones every time you want to play a sample. As a software engineer, I find it really irritating to see that a bug was reported in the official VirtualDJ forums back in January 2012 but there has been no comment or response from the manufacturer and no fix. Considering the full version of VirtualDJ costs around $300, it seems really poor that it still has such a basic bug.
However, every cloud has a silver lining, as this led me to evaluate TRAKTOR PRO 2…
TRAKTOR PRO 2 To The Rescue
TRAKTOR PRO is probably the leading DJ software package, at least amongst professionals. Surprisingly, it is also an absolute bargain compared to VirtualDJ at only 79 Euros. You can download a free demo version and test it with your hardware. Since the Mixtrack Quad is a standard MIDI device, there’s no reason why TRAKTOR PRO (or any other software for that matter) shouldn’t work perfectly.
TRAKTOR PRO 2 offers quite a different user experience to VirtualDJ. The interface feels a lot more polished and well developed, and the built-in documentation and user manual are very detailed and easy to understand. The software is so easy to use that you won’t really need to do much reading to get going – it’s all pretty obvious, especially if you’ve used different DJ tools in the past.
If you do decide to evaluate or purchase TRAKTOR PRO 2, make sure you also download the free Remix Sets too – they’re awesome and give you even more creative options.
Mixtrack Quad TRAKTOR PRO 2 Configuration
The first thing you need to do is download a TRAKTOR mapping for the Mixtrack Quad. Numark have released an official TRAKTOR PRO mapping. I have thoroughly tested it and can confirm that Numark have done a really good job of integrating the Mixtrack Quad with TRAKTOR. They’ve even got all the fancy lighting effects (e.g. the spinning rings around the platters) working nicely.
Once you’ve downloaded the mapping Zip file, extract it to a convenient location. Select the “Controller Manager…” from TRAKTOR’s main “File” menu, and then click the “Import” button. Browse to the location where you just extracted the Zip file and select the TRAKTOR Settings Information (*.tsi) file. Leave the default checkboxes selected and click OK to proceed.
Then you need to configure TRAKTOR’s “Audio Setup” as follows:
Make sure you select “Speakers (MixTrack Quad)” in the “Audio Device” drop-down menu. I would also recommend that you enable the “Multi-Core Processor Support” if possible (and if your PC’s CPU has more than one core!).
Finally you need to configure the “Output Routing” as follows:
Make sure that the left and right master output channels are correctly mapped to your left and right speakers, and likewise that the left and right monitor channels are mapped to the left and right ears of your cue headphones respectively.
Once that’s done, you should be up and running. If you have any problems, just let me know. Enjoy!