I've searched around and seen almost one hundreds threads about this flaw ("Unknown medium", which is Traktors inability to identify the type of timesignal (vinyl/cd/etc)) regarding the new Traktor Scratch Pro/Traktor Pro. There are in fact 99 (NINETYNINE!) threads about this on your forums: See for yourselves.
I've found the cause and solution to this common problem, it's in the last post from me in this thread. Read on, especially if you work for NI. I've also been editing this thread multiple times to the point where it's now really long, sorry about that, now it's sure to only be of interest to NI and people affected by the problem. It contains all pertinent info and troubleshooting to solve this problem, and it is 100% confirmed to be a software-only issue, due to the proven fact that the issue can be solved through SOFTWARE methods shown later, and the fact that NO HARDWARE CHANGES are needed to get it to identify the vinyl, no need to change needles, nothing hardware based whatsoever. This is a sporadic software flaw in the timecode identification code. People have been trying replacing their Audio 8s and all kinds of things, I feel bad for them since it's a software flaw. Read on for thorough testing and proof.
Video added: http://www.scummgames.com/traktortemp/tracking.avi (DivX, 7mb). Click here to see the EXACT timecode waveform I am seeing in Traktor. See how perfect it is, yet Traktor says "Unknown medium". The first half is both decks playing. After that I move the needle on Deck B, then on Deck A, to show that the signal is perfect no matter where on the record you go. This is a digital screen recording, not camcorder, so you see a pixel-perfect image of what is on my screen. Read on:
The problem: "Unknown medium, calib. failed" when Traktor is trying to identify and calibrate the vinyl timecode signal. CD users are reportedly affected by the same inability to identify the TYPE of timecode it is reading. This inability to identify whether it's reading timecode vinyl or cd causes the pitch to jump around wildly, but playback still works (you can even scratch). HOWEVER, since it has NO CLUE what medium you are using, the Track Scroll section does not work, for instance. Traktor MUST know what medium you have connected, and not having perfect, accurate identification code in Traktor is unacceptable.
The consensus is that either the Software or the Audio 8 is at fault. One or the other. I decided to investigate which one it was. Findings at the end.
Here's what's known about MY setup:
- BOTH STEREO CHANNELS are working properly, I've tried with regular vinyl and sound is coming from both speakers.
- The AUDIO 8 is set to TIMECODE VINYL mode.
- The GROUND CONNECTION is PERFECT and connected properly to the Audio 8 (also tested grounding to the Mixer, same result with identically perfect waveform no matter if you ground to mixer or to Audio 8. The waveform is round and crisp. If the ground is completely disconnected, the waveform becomes very fuzzy. In other words: Ground is perfect where it is.)
- I (and others) have at your suggestion tested the GROUND LIFT option in the audio interface. It made no difference either in WAVEFORM or performance. The waveform does not change at all, and continues to look perfect (that's a key thing to note here, the waveform is great, Traktor SOFTWARE is at fault).
- The control WAVEFORM in Traktor looks PERFECTLY CLEAN AND ROUND, it's round and crisp, no fuzziness or distortion or missing channels or "unroundness", it's P E R F E C T.
- Testing has been done with both COMPLETELY NEW CARTRIDGES (Ortofon Q-bert Concorde) + NEEDLES and with OLD CARTRIDGES (Ortofon Night Club Concorde) + NEEDLES.
- Using the EITHER OF the needles mentioned above results in PERFECT performance when trying Deckadance + MS Pinky vinyl (just wanted to verify that my hardware setup was working with other software and timecode solutions, so I tried this and the timesignal was perfect with Ms Pinky Vinyl through Audio 8 using the Deckadance program, indicating that indeed the NEEDLES and TIMECODE are perfectly read, and in that program there was no jumping/jittery pitch either, which is natural because this is on a 1210 M5G with Quartz lock 0% pitch enabled, resulting in stable rotation speed), so it turns out that:
- TRAKTOR PRO SOFTWARE is wrong here. NOT the VINYL, NOT the Needles, NOTHING other than the software is wrong here. Illustrated by the fact that all sources of user error have been verified to be false. The source identification and vinyl handling seems bad (the inability to identify the timesource medium, and the jumping pitch indicates this to be the only plausible explanation).
Update 10 minutes after posting this thread, I found that it is WITHOUT A DOUBT a Traktor software fault that is affecting all these people:
Traktor Pro/Scratch Pro is REALLY... I mean REALLY bad at understanding the Timecode Vinyl. The code needs serious fixing!
By WILDLY both >>RAISING<< and >>LOWERING<< the Audio 8 Latency (Preferences > Audio Setup > Audio Latency), and restarting the program after every change, results in it EVENTUALLY being able to identify the vinyl and say "Vinyl 10 min" and have a 100% stable, non-fluctuating pitch (as I said, this is on a perfect 1210 M5G with Quartz locked 0% pitch enabled). Whether it identifies the vinyl or not has nothing to do with the actual latency being too low, as you'll see:
You may try 100ms latency and get "Unknown medium" and then 10ms and get a correct identification. Then change it again to 15 and get no signal. Each time you restart/change value it's a gamble if it will understand the signal or not. Additionally, it's sick how bad the program is at handling high latencies, when I tested latencies like 50ms, it kept popping up "Vinyl 10 min, skipping", it thought the vinyl was skipping! The high latency value caused this misreading, despite the fact that such a high latency will be perfect as far as INCOMING TIMESIGNAL goes, due to the nature of audio buffers and how higher buffers cause smoother audio with less interruptions/crackling.
IN FACT: Once you have played WACKED AROUND with the buffers up and down, and restarted the programs until it FINALLY identifies the vinyl (when it will do this is a gamble), you are then free to (WITHIN THAT SESSION) set the buffer to 1 MS (1 millisecond, the lowest value! proving that this is not buffer-related!). I repeat: THIS IS NOT BUFFER RELATED. THIS IS NOT AUDIO-PICKUP/CRACKLE/QUALITY/GROUNDBUZZ-RELATED. THIS IS NOT HARDWARE RELATED AT ALL.
IT IS A SOFTWARE FLAW IN THE TIMECODE IDENTIFICATION CODE, and this flaw has NOTHING to do with any buffer settings or hardware setup. The issue can be solved RANDOMLY by jacking around with the buffers and restarting the program which will eventually lead to Traktor identifying the vinyl properly, no HARDWARE changes or fixes were needed, and then you are free to set the buffer even as low as 1ms within that session (restart and tracking will be lost again, proving once again that it's a flaw in how you try to identify the incoming timecode signal). Once the timecode is actually identified, the tracking becomes perfect and pitch fluctuation stops completely. Therefore, the code is in need of major overhaul to solve it so that it ALWAYS identifies the timecode properly.
Jesus christ, please stop all your other Traktor work and fix this common (see above, 99 other threads since T Pro was released!) problem in your timecode identification code. As you saw, it has nothing to do with hardware or buffers, and once the timecode has been identified, all pitch fluctuation problems go away as well. Solve the timecode identification issues and boom, all these users will be able to reliably use your software. As you saw from some of the threads, people have actually gone to gigs and had the software be unable to identify their timecode all of a sudden. It's completely sporadic and doesn't even have anything to do with the needles or cartridges. It's entirely a TRAKTOR software flaw.