Two of the larger players in DJ land are Native Instruments and Pioneer. Their DJ software programs Traktor and Rekordbox are widely used by pro’s as well as the amateurs. They have a lot of similar functionalities, although Rekordbox is only used for preparing dj sets and not for playing them. There are a lot of djs (like myself) who use Traktor as well as Rekordbox. For me it is Pioneer CDJ’s on the road and a nice timecode setup at home. Maintaining the same collection within Rekordbox AND Traktor is tedious work, with a lot of duplicate actions and wasting time.The logical question at that moment is: Can’t I just sync those libraries!?
Yes you can!
For these combined Rekordbox and Traktor users there is good news. Next Audio Labs is developing this syncing software for quite some time now and it is called Rekordbuddy. Up to the beginning of this year, Rekordbuddy had two major disadvantages. One big one is the fact that it only works on a mac. Unfortunately for the Windows users this is still the case. The second big disadvantage was the fact that you needed to delete and reload you entire Rekordbox collection after every sync. You even needed to reload you playlists and tracks on you USB drive. These extra steps took a lot of time and made the software unworkable for most djs. Through developments in Traktor as well as in Rekordbox, the developers from Next Audio Lab were able to improve the workflow of Rekordbuddy. For us a good moment to test this library syncing software!
Rekord Buddy can be downloaded via the Apple App Store and will cost you less than ten dollar. Not a lot of money if you ask me, especially when the software is going to save you a lot of time. Next to that, it is good to know that Rekordbuddy is under continuous development, with free updates and improvements when possible or necessary. After downloading and installing Rekordbuddy you need to go through some steps to set everything up and running. This involves some settings within Rekordbox as well and it is advisable to make backups of your Rekordbox and Traktor Libraries, just to be safe. You can never make too many backups! I also advise you to check all Rekord Buddy tutorial movies, before you start with the software, since there are a lot of small things you need to know about in order to work with it properly: http://nextaudiolabs.com/tutorials/
Working with Rekord Buddy
When all settings are made properly you are ready to go. In my case, I use Rekordbox for making playlists and organise my music for use with CDJ’s on dj gigs. At home I don’t have those CDJ’s though, but turntables with a Traktor Scratch Set-Up, combined with a X1 controller for loops and hotcue’s. The good thing with Rekordbuddy is that you can choose which way you would like to sync. In my case, I first sync my playlists to Traktor, before I start dj-ing at home. When I finish dj-ing with Traktor, I can than sync the newly made grid and hot-cue information back to Rekordbox. It maybe sounds a little tedious, but if you get the hang of it, it is actually pretty easily and quickly done. Rekord Buddy has an interface in which you have several ways to see if your library data is in sync. Just choose whether you want Traktor or Rekordbox as master and you instantly see which playlists and or tracks are out of sync. You can sync per track or per playlist, or just everything at once. If you are not sure whether you need to sync, you can double click a track and see exactly what info has changed and will be synced.
As you can read from my given example Rekord Buddy seems to be ideal for syncing your collections. Is ideal the right word? Not completely if you ask me. Unfortunately (at the moment of writing), the libraries of Traktor en Rekordbox still differ from each other, which keep RekordBuddy from being able to work without the need of manual actions. For example: you still need to re-import the files and playlists in Rekordbox in order to have changes by Rekord Buddy implemented. There is no need for deleting you collection first though, which is a major improvement compared to the earlier version of RekordBuddy. In Traktor you need to import new tracks before you sync their data, in order to get the waveforms and artwork. These are small and easy steps, but still, you need to do them manually. And you also need to be careful with syncing. If you delete a track in you Traktor collection and you sync your Rekordbox library, the file will be deleted from there as well. That could be the way you want it to work, but it is something to be careful with!
Important! With the new Rekordbox 3.0 from Pioneer, things got a little more complicated again. Unfortunately it’s not possible anymore to update tracks via RekordBuddy and you need to delete and reload your tracks in Rekordbox after a sync. A step backwards for which RekordBuddy is not to blame. Let’s hope Pioneer releases a quick fix for this!
First of all: Rekord Buddy delivers what it promises: you can sync your Traktor and Rekordbox libraries, saving yourself a lot of time and work duplicating playlists and track information like cue points and grids. Furthermore, Rekord Buddy is continuously under development with regular updates and lots of support options. Whether you seek contact via Twitter, Mail or their forums, they will respond quickly to your answers. Something you can’t say about some of the larger companies. It is important to know that you still need to make some manual actions and you need to be careful what you do. Therefore I advice you to back up your collections and check all tutorials on Rekord Buddy BEFORE you start working with it. When you understand how the software works and you make sure that you work consistent it is a real time saver. And that is ultimately what this is about: Save your time for the music itself!