How to Sync Traktor and Ableton Live

If you’d like to expand your DJing arsenal and be more creative in your sets, the next step to take is to begin using Traktor and Ableton Live together. Syncing the two programs gives DJs and producers a flexible workspace that can be utilized in a variety of ways. In one of the simplest scenarios, tracks can be played in Traktor while loops are triggered in Ableton Live. Using the two programs together can be especially attractive for producers who create their own music. Here’s a guide on how to sync the two.


Open Traktor, then open Traktor’s Preferences and navigate to MIDI Clock Preferences.

Check the box to send MIDI clock. The Sending Offset should remain at 0 ms.


send MIDI Clock


Next click on Audio Setup and set the Audio Device to the sound card you use. This would typically be a Traktor soundcard, like the S8, S4 or Audio 10.


audio setup


While you’re in the Preferences, check the Output Routing section to ensure this is set up correctly.


output routing


In the Global Settings, in the Global Section, check off the box next to Show Global Section to make Traktor display this section. We’ll need to change controls in the Master Clock Section, which can be accessed once the Global Section is visible.


show global section


Navigate to the Controller Manager section of the Preferences and in the Device Setup Section create a new MIDI Device by clicking “Add” and then “Generic MIDI.” Rename this device by clicking Edit, Edit comment and change to a name of your choice. (I’ve called mine Traktor Clock) Set In-Port to None and the Out-Port to Traktor Virtual Output. The MIDI Device created will be able to send MIDI clock to Ableton. If you have a lot of other MIDI devices in Traktor, you may want to check through them quickly to be sure that none of them is using the same Out-Port.


traktor virtual output


Next we’ll move onto Ableton Live. Open up Ableton Live, and open the Preferences. Open the MIDI Sync Tab, and in the Input section, next to the Traktor Virtual Output, click on Track, Sync, and Remote.


ableton midi port preferences


Close the Preferences.

In the upper left-hand corner of Ableton, click on the EXT button. This is the external sync switch. When it’s activated, Live will follow the sync source that has been selected in the MIDI/Sync Preferences.



Next, open Live’s Preferences again and click on the Audio section. Set the Audio Output Device to your Soundcard (mine is set to the Audio 10)


ableton audio preferences


Click on the Output Configuration (Output Config) and make sure outputs 1 and 2 are turned on.


output config


Getting it In (Sync) 

Next, send MIDI clock from Traktor to Ableton by clicking on the Master Clock Section in the top left-hand corner (marked by a Metronome symbol) and click on the Auto button. This means that Traktor’s Master Clock will sync to the Deck that is playing. In the Send section on the right, click the blue Play button to send MIDI clock from Traktor.




Check in with Ableton and ensure that the EXT button is still on.

Back in Traktor, navigate to the Master Clock section and in the Send section click on the Sync button to sync Traktor’s MIDI clock to Ableton.


auto w-circle


Fine Tuning

We need to fine tune the MIDI clocks to make sure they are running perfectly in sync. In Traktor’s Master Clock section, turn on the Tick button. Click the Cue button (with the headphone symbol on it) on so that the tick can be heard through your sound card.


headphone cue


In Ableton Live, turn on Ableton’s metronome by clicking on Metronome icon.


ableton metronome


Open the Preferences and then the MIDI Sync tab.

Click on the arrow next to the Input: Traktor Virtual Input so that the MIDI Clock Sync Delay is visible. Adjust the MIDI Clock Sync Delay until the two clocks are in running at the same speed. Good values to try maybe around -16 or -17.


midi clock sync delay


Once the two metronomes are running perfectly in sync, try out playing a track in Traktor and a loop in Ableton. If you’ve done your setup correctly, these two programs should be precisely synched together.

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