There are few TRAKTOR features as powerful as its MIDI mapping capability. Twist knobs, push faders and punch buttons on your MIDI device to control anything you like, from track prep and selection to looping and effects triggering.
If it can send a MIDI signal, it will work with TRAKTOR. You may have seen mapping guru Tekken’s excellent how-to on mapping powerful effects to buttons and encoders, but what if you want to get mapping without the fuss? That’s where custom MIDI maps come in.
Why use custom MIDI mappings?
Whether it’s to increase your control through workflow improvements, or simply make better use of a third-party MIDI controller, TRAKTOR’s highly flexible and powerful MIDI engine can handle it. Everything from the effects to the library Browser can be mapped to physical controls. You can even change multiple parameters with a single button-push or knob-twist (as demonstrated in Tekken’s effects macro tutorial).
Using ready-made mappings is not only a time-saver, but you can also study them to gain a better understanding of how to make your own mappings.
This is exactly why there’s such a vibrant community of mapping gurus. From the huge DJ Techtools database, to the various custom mapping sub-forums, you’ll find MIDI maps for popular and obscure hardware alike.
How to install a mapping
Most custom mappings will at least have a TSI file which contains the information TRAKTOR needs to correctly map its commands to a hardware MIDI controller. You will need to install the TSI via the TRAKTOR Controller Manager, which can be found in Preferences.
Most of the more complex mappings have installation instructions, with some requiring setup in the NI Controller Editor, for example. Some mappings even have extra apps or plugins to install, such as a MIDI bridge, or a Max patch.
Once the mapping is installed, it’s a matter of making sure the controller entry is able to communicate with the hardware via the In-Port and Out-Port at the top right of the Controller Manager.
Five powerful TRAKTOR mappings
GiantSpaceRobot’s MASCHINE JAM Big Mapping
MASCHINE JAM‘s wealth of different modes, buttons, and control options, along with dual-touch Smart Strips make it an ideal surface for maximizing TRAKTOR’s hands-on control potential. And that’s exactly what GiantSpaceRobot’s Maschine Jam Big Mapping manages to do.
The mapping is designed as a companion to a primary DJ controller (for this example, the KONTROL S5). Hook up your MASCHINE JAM and you get loads of instant effects buttons, channel routing for all four Decks, and four dedicated pages for both the Step Sequencer and Remix Decks C and D. The mapping also makes use of the Smart Strips for parameter tweaks and scratching, with great use of the fader LEDs as Deck level meters.
One thing that would be nice to see is a user MIDI mode version of the mapping, so that it can be seamlessly used in tandem with the MASCHINE software.
This dual use approach makes perfect sense for MASCHINE JAM since the Smart Strip faders areis touch-based with LED value readouts, meaning there’s no way the fader settings can get ‘out of sync’ when switching layers.
Ean’s “Rapid Track Prep Tool”
OK, so this one isn’t actually a MIDI mapping – it’s a set of hotkeys for your QWERTY keyboard. Anything that speeds up your track preparation workflow is got to be a good thing, though (here’s a couple of helpful guides to get you started) and Ean Golden of DJ TechTools has got your back with Ean’s “Rapid Track Prep Tool”, a cleverly thought-out track preparation mapping. Just load up a track and work through the process to get it ready to play.
The hotkeys let you run through the sequence to place a load marker on the first beat, quickly scrub through the track, zoom in and out, move the beatgrid, change the BPM, lock the grid, and load the next track in the playlist. The only real caveat is that you need the track to be ‘clean’, i.e., only a single grid marker in the whole track.
DJ TechTools Midi Fighter Twister Sequencer
TRAKTOR PRO 2’s Step Sequencer for Remix Decks can be fully MIDI mapped, and enterprising MIDI mappers have the functionality working on all sorts of controllers, including DJ TechTools’ powerful and compact Midi Fighter Twister.
The Midi Fighter Twister Sequencer mapping gives you a full-on hardware step sequencer that integrates with TRAKTOR’s Remix Decks. For each sound, you can edit the pattern, adjust volume and filter, and store and recall multiple patterns. As an added bonus, you can switch banks to have the Twister control any other MIDI software that’s running, as the TRAKTOR sequencer is on its own dedicated MIDI bank.
dschroeter’s Trash Mapping for Ableton Push
While Ableton’s Push hardware is designed especially for Live, it makes a superb TRAKTOR controller too. The combination of a large number of buttons, endless encoders, touch strip, and visual feedback via the screen all add up to powerful control over your sets.
The Trash (TRAktor puSH) Mapping gives you complete transport control for all four Decks, toggling of Remix Decks C/D, loops, cues, instant effects, and more. Everything is broken down into handy pages on the main pad matrix, with the functions color-coded using the RGB backlighting. There’s even a page for rapid track preparation.
The download includes an additional custom TSI file for the KONTROL Z1, and a Max patch file for displaying important TRAKTOR information on the screen. There’s also a comprehensive online manual that includes interactive diagrams of the controls, as well setup instructions.
Beaubryte’s Tablet-Fighter Remix Decks
The huge customizability of apps like TouchOSC or Lemur make smartphones and tablets – especially those with a larger screen, such as the iPad Pro – excellent options for extending your setup. Coupled with the great MIDI support, they’re the go-to choice for mobile-app DJs and producers on a budget. You can even have a feature-complete TRAKTOR PRO 2 controller on-screen, as with Beaubryte’s Tablet-Fighter Remix Decks, which is a TouchOSC patch.
With Tablet-Fighter Remix Decks, you’ve got control of all four Decks, full Remix Deck control for Decks C and D, and both JogFX and instant gratification effects. It works on both phones and tablets, but large tablets are recommended for easier, less cramped control. Simply bridge TouchOSC with your computer, install the TRAKTOR mapping and TouchOSC layout, and off you go.
DirtyNerd’s Xone:K2 Basic 2Decks + 2 FX Units
The Allen & Heath Xone:K2 is a hugely flexible controller and audio interface, sporting plenty of buttons, sliders and encoders, as well as multiple MIDI layers. Perfect for TRAKTOR, then. With this hardware and the Xone:K2 Basic 2Decks + 2 FX Units mapping, you’re ready to mix on an ultra compact controller.
As the name suggests, the MIDI mapping gives you control of Decks and Mixer channels A and B, loops, effects, Browser scrolling, as well as eight Hotcues per Deck.
Since this is an ‘Ultimate Mapping’ , creator Stewe has mapped pretty much every function. The pad matrix is split in two, with the left side for transport controls, and the right for the “FX Engine”. Each side has seven dedicated pages of controls. On the left, you have BeatJumps, Kill Switches, and a track prep tool; on the right, you get four effects units, instant gratification effects, pages of delays, build-ups, and slicers on the right.