by Mike Henderson

How to make a MASCHINE Mapping
for TRAKTOR – part 2 of 2

In the second part of the series, learn how to use MASCHINE
to control TRAKTOR with this expert mapping tutorial.

Following on from our first part, check out NI’s detailed mapping tutorial guide, showing how you can use MASCHINE to enhance and control your TRAKTOR setup.

If you missed PART 1, click here to get up-to-date.


12. Getting to know TRAKTOR’S Controller Manager

Now that we have all of MASCHINE’s controls pumping out unique MIDI messages, let’s blast off into TRAKTOR and hook the MIDI up to our Decks, FX, and more. Make sure all of your controllers are plugged in and turned on.

In TRAKTOR, go to Preferences > Controller Manager. It’s resizeable, so go ahead and drag the window out to a comfortable size. The Controller Manager is where you create, edit, load, import, and export controller mappings – it’s crucial to creating mappings, so let’s take a minute to understand it.

At the top is the Device Setup area, where we manage all of our mappings, referred to in TRAKTOR as Devices. Let’s make a new mapping. Click Add… > Generic MIDI in the Device section near the top, then Edit… > Edit Comment to name the mapping “MASCHINE”.

Before going any further, ensure the In-Ports and the Out-Ports in the Device Area at the top are set correctly for every Device. The In-Port defines where the Device is getting MIDI from, so for our “MASCHINE” mapping, we set it to MASCHINE MK3 Virtual Input. The Out-Port is where the Device sends MIDI to (mainly used for visual feedback like LED Pad lights and metering), so we set it to MASCHINE MK3 Virtual Output.

Because all Device mappings are active at once, it’s best to disable unused ones by setting their In-Port and Out-Port to None, to prevent accidental triggering.

Now select the MASCHINE Device mapping again from the menu – its assignments populate the Assignment Table below, with each row representing one assignment. Ours doesn’t have any assignments yet, but if it did, it would look a bit like this:

Using this table, you can create so-called Controls that define which TRAKTOR functions respond to which input MIDI messages (ie, which MASCHINE pads, knobs and buttons). Controls can also //send// MIDI back out – for example, to change the color of MASCHINE’s pads. You can add an input or output Control assignment with the “Add In…” and “Add Out…” buttons.

The Control column shows the assigned TRAKTOR action or function.

Assignment shows which section of TRAKTOR the Control refers to: Deck A-D, Global, FX Unit 1-4, Remix Deck 1-4 and Slots 1-4, or Device Target (ie, the Deck that has Focus, with an orange highlight on the Deck’s identifying letter: A, B, C, or D).

Mapped To indicates the source (i.e., a MIDI note or CC coming from MASCHINE) for input Controls, and the target for output Controls.

The selected Assignment is highlighted yellow – if there’s another Assignment to the same MIDI note or CC, it will be highlighted dark yellow. This is very handy for debugging complex mappings. The selected Assignment’s parameters appear in the Device Mapping and Mapping Details sections below.

Sort the table by clicking a column’s header – very useful with big mappings. You can even add custom text (eg, “Group A – Deck B – Pad 14”) in the Comments field, and sort by that.

Keep in mind that you can test the mapping functionality in TRAKTOR without closing the Controller Manager window.



We’ve already planned and labeled our entire mapping in the CONTROLLER EDITOR, so all we have to do is create assignments for it in TRAKTOR’s Controller Manager.

Let’s start by mapping Deck A. On MASCHINE, use the Group Buttons to select the Pad Page for Deck A (usually Group A). We’d like to assign a simple Play button to a Pad, so choose Add In > Deck Common > Play/Pause. This creates a new Control in the Assignment Table.

Enable Learn in the Device Mapping section, and hit the MASCHINE pad you want to assign to Play. The MIDI Note and Channel (eg, Cho01.NoteC#1) should show up next to the Learn button and in the Mapped To column. Alternatively, MIDI notes and CCs can be set manually in the dropdown by the Learn button. When you’re done, turn Learn off. To remove a MIDI note/CC assignment, hit Reset.

Now check out the Mapping Details section. First, set Assignment to Deck A, so the Pad always controls Deck A.

Interaction Mode configures behaviour for the Control. For a Button, you get the following options:

  • Toggle: The assigned feature is enabled with a press/release of the MIDI control (eg, pad) – press/release again to disable.
  • Hold: The feature is only active while the MIDI button/pad is held down.
  • Direct: The feature is set to the value given in the Button Options panel. For the Play button, “0” is off, “1” is on.
  • Trigger: The feature is triggered/activated each time the MIDI button/pad is pressed down, ‘one shot’ style. This is only available for certain features such as Loading into a Deck, Loop In / Loop Out, Loading into the Preview Player and Duplicating a Deck.

For our Play/Pause button, set Interaction Mode to Toggle.

To test it, load a track into a Deck, then hit the MASCHINE pad you just assigned – the track should come blasting out of the speakers at you. Hit the pad again to stop playback.

If nothing happens, double-check you assigned In-Port and Out-Port correctly. You’ll know when TRAKTOR is receiving MIDI because the CTRL lamp (at the top of TRAKTOR’s interface) lights up when you use a control on MASCHINE.


14. Going beyond buttons: further interaction modes

Not all TRAKTOR Controls are simple on/off button types, and for these, you may see different options in the Type of Controller parameter, along with different Interaction Modes.

The other relevant Interaction Modes are:

  • Inc/Dec: Increases or decreases the value of the TRAKTOR function by one step. It can be found for commands such as Loop Size Selector, or Browser > List > Select Up/Down.
  • Reset: Returns the value of a function to its default value, equivalent to double-clicking a control in the TRAKTOR interface. A good use for Reset is returning to the beginning of a track (0:00).


15. Assigning pad LEDs for visual feedback

So we just made our first Play button! Now let’s make that Pad light up when the Deck is playing.

Select Play/Pause in the Assignment Table and click Add Out… – you’ll notice that Play/Pause automatically appears at the top of the menu (if not, you can find it under Deck Common > Play Pause). Select it to make an LED feedback Output Control.

The new assignment should automatically be mapped to the same MIDI note as the Play / Pause pad. If not, use Learn to assign it.

Now hit your Play pad, or play the Deck in TRAKTOR. Does the pad light up? Does the light turn off when you stop playing the Deck? If you can answer ‘yes’ to both of these questions, then you are on the path to MASCHINE mapping mastery! If not, double-check your assignments and settings.


16. Browsing with MASCHINE’s encoder

Let’s map MASCHINE’s encoder to scroll through our tracks. Go to Add In… > Browser > List > Select Up / Down. Map the turning of MASCHINE’s Encoder using the Learn button.

Set up the Select Up / Down Control like this:

  • Assignment: Global
  • Type of Controller: Encoder
  • Interaction Mode: Relative
  • Encoder Mode: 7Fh / 01h (This is the standard mode used by most controllers. If your encoder is misbehaving, such as jumping to the top or bottom of the browser list, try 3Fh/41h instead)
  • Rotary Sensitivity: 100% (How fast the TRAKTOR control moves for each of the encoder’s ‘clicked’ steps)
  • Rotary Acceleration: 0%

Click Add In… > Deck Common > Load Selected, and use Learn to assign the pad/button for loading the selected track into Deck A. In Mapping Details, set Assignment to Deck A.

Now you can browse tracks with the encoder and hit the pad/button to load the selected track into Deck A.


17. Creating load pads for every deck

We want Load buttons for the other Decks too – let’s save time by duplicating the Load Control we just made.

Highlight the Load Selected (Deck Common) Control in the Assignment Table, then click Duplicate underneath the Assignment Table. Change the Assignment of the new Control to Deck B, then use Learn to map it to the relevant Pad/Button. Repeat the process to create Load buttons for Deck C and Deck D.


18. Mapping sync to pads

Go ahead and use what you’ve learned so far to map the Deck Common > Sync On control for Decks A, B, C and D, complete with LED light feedback. You shouldn’t need to change any of the parameters in the Mapping Details or Button Options sections.


19. More mapping: hotcues

Let’s map four Hotcues for Deck A. By now, you should know what to expect – but there are a few extra parameters to take care of for Hotcues.

Click Add In… > Track Deck > Cue > Select/Set+Store Hotcue. Map it to your desired pad, and set itl like this:

  • Assignment: Deck A
  • Type of Controller: Button
  • Interaction Mode: Hold
  • Set to value: Hotcue 1

Now Load a song into Deck A and try setting a Hotcue with your Pad.

If everything works correctly, use Duplicate to create three more Hotcue Controls, Learn them to the desired Pads, and configure ‘Set to value’ as appropriate (ie, Hotcue 2, 3, 4).


20. Advanced LED LED feedback for hotcue status

Let’s configure LED Output so we can see a Pad’s Hotcue status immediately.

Add a new Control for Hotcue Type via Add Out… > Track Deck > Cue > Hotcue 1 Type.

In Mapping Details, set:

  • Type of Controller: LED
  • Interaction Mode: Output
  • Assignment: Deck A

Next, we need to set our Controller Range. This allows us to light the LED depending on the Hotcue’s status. The values the Hotcue can output are:

  • -1: No Hotcue
  • 0: Cue (Hotcue)
  • 1: Fade-In Marker
  • 2: Fade-Out Marker
  • 3: Load
  • 4: Grid
  • 5: Loop

The sensible approach is to set Controller Range from 0 to 5, so if there’s any kind of Hotcue set (0-5), the pad will light up – and if there’s no Hotcue set (-1), the Pad will show its Off color.

Leave MIDI Range at 0 to 127.


21. Dual-purpose pads using modifiers

How about deleting Hotcues? It would be logical to use the same pad for both storing and deleting a Hotcue – and we can do that, using Modifiers. These work like the keys such as Shift, Ctrl and Alt on your computer keyboard, allowing the same physical controls to have multiple functions.

TRAKTOR supports up to 8 Modifiers, and each can have 8 Conditions (0-7). For each Control in the Assignment Table, you can define which Modifier Conditions must be met before the Control can be activated. This way, you can define many layers of commands – especially handy for controllers with a limited number of physical controls.

Be careful not to use Modifiers until you really understand them, though, because it can be a real headache to troubleshoot a mapping that makes extensive use of them.

So let’s create our first Modifier for deleting a pad’s Hotcue. First, we need to decide which controls on MASCHINE we’ll use as the Modifiers. The buttons on the top or side of the main pad section are good choices, as they’re easily accessible – we’ll use the Fixed Vel button. Click Add In… > Modifier > Modifier #1, and use Learn to bind it to Fixed Vel.

Set these parameters:

  • Type of ControllerButton.
  • Interaction ModeHold.
  • AssignmentGlobal.
  • Set to value: 1

Now, when you hold down the Fixed Vel button, Modifier #1’s Condition is ‘1’ – you’ll see it reflected in the Modifier State bar above the Assignment Table. This area shows the current Condition (0-7) for each of the 8 possible Modifier keys.

It’s vital that our existing Hotcue Controls only respond when the Modifier condition is 0 (ie, when Fixed Vel is not held down). To do this, click each Select/Set+Store Hotcue Input Control and set Modifier Conditions to Modifier: M1 and Value: 0 (note that there are two sets of Modifier/Value parameters – you can use either).

To set up the Control for Deleting Hotcues, click Add In… > Track Deck > Cue > Delete Hotcue, then Learn the pad you’re using for Hotcue 1.

Set the parameters like this:

  • Assignment: Deck A
  • Type of Controller: Button
  • Interaction Mode: Direct
  • Set to value: Hotcue 1
  • Modifier Conditions, Modifier: M1
  • Modifier Conditions, Value: 1

Now when Fixed Vel is held down (Modifier M1 = 1), we can hit the pad to delete Hotcue 1; when it’s not held (Modifier M1 = 0), the pad will set/trigger Hotcue 1.


22. A smart workaround for modifier toggles

Sometimes it’s not convenient to tie up a finger holding down a Modifier – you may want a Modifier that toggles on/off with each push, for example, called a Modifier Toggle. There is no Toggle option for Modifiers – but there is a crafty workaround.

Make a new assignment by clicking Add In… > Modifier #2, and use Learn to assign it to a pad/button on your MASCHINE.

Set these parameters:

  • Type of Controller: Button
  • Interaction Mode: Direct
  • Set to value: 1
  • Modifier Condition, Modifier: M2
  • Modifier Condition, Value: 0

Duplicate the Control, assign it to the same MASCHINE button/pad using Learn, then change Set to Value to 0 and Modifier Conditions>Value to 1.

Push the Modifier 2 button and you’ll notice that it changes to 1 when you push it once, and turns to 0 when you push it again.

Now you can set up layers of Controls for use with Modifier 2, just like we showed you in the previous step.


23. Multicolored hotcue mapping

Now we’re going to get into something that’s super nerdy: multicolored Hotcue mapping. For example, if your Hotcue is a Load Marker, the pad on MASCHINE will be Yellow; Cue Points will be Blue; Grid Markers will be white; etc. This way, you can see exactly what kind of Hotcue is assigned to this pad.

It’s going to take a lot of work, but trust us: it’s worth the effort.

First we need to go back to the CONTROLLER EDITOR application, select our MASCHINE MK3 Template and for each Hotcue Pad, change Color Mode to Indexed. This mode allows setting of specific pad colors from TRAKTOR, rather than just the one or two colors we pre-programmed in CONTROLLER EDITOR.

Back in TRAKTOR, click Add Out… > Track Deck > Cue > Hotcue 1 Type, and assign it to your first Hotcue Pad.

Set it up like this:

  • Blend: Off (disables “crossfading” of the colors – we don’t want that here)
  • Invert: Off
  • Modifier Condition: Modifier, Hotcue 1 State Deck A; Value, ‘-’ (means the LED will light up while the Hotcue is set to ‘none’. That’s right: Modifiers aren’t only buttons on your controller!)
  • Assignment: Deck A
  • Controller Range: -1 to -1 (corresponds to No Hotcue – more on this shortly)
  • MIDI Range: 0 to 6 (the pad will light up red when active – see color table below)

Duplicate the Control, Learn it to the same pad, then adjust the settings like so:

  • Modifier Conditions: Value, Cue (now the Control is only triggerable while the Hotcue is set to ‘Cue’)
  • Controller Range: 0 to 0 (corresponds to Cue)
  • MIDI Range: 0 to 46 (means the pad will light up blue)

Now test it – the pad should light up red when there’s no Hotcue, and blue once a Hotcue has been set.

Let’s go over the parameters we just set in more detail.

Controller Range

The Controller Range specifies the type of Hotcue we’re using, and each type has a value associated with it, like this:

  • No Hotcue: -1
  • Cue: 0
  • Fade-In: 1
  • Fade-Out: 2
  • Load: 3
  • Grid: 4
  • Loop: 5

Normally, you’ll want a separate color per Hotcue state, so you’d set Controller Range Min and Max to the same value, eg, Min and Max to 4 for Grid.

MIDI Range

The MIDI Range Max value sets the pad color. The Min value should always be left at 0. Here are the MIDI Range Max setting for each possible color on the MASCHINE MK3:

  • Red Off: 4
  • Red: 6
  • Orange Off: 8
  • Orange: 10
  • Light Orange Off: 12
  • Light Orange: 14
  • Warm Yellow Off: 16
  • Warm Yellow: 18
  • Yellow Off: 20
  • Yellow: 22
  • Lime Off: 24
  • Lime: 26
  • Green Off: 28
  • Green: 30
  • Mint Off: 32
  • Mint: 34
  • Cyan Off: 36
  • Cyan: 38
  • Turquoise Off: 40
  • Turquoise: 42
  • Blue Off: 44
  • Blue: 46
  • Plum Off: 48
  • Plum: 50
  • Violet Off: 52
  • Violet: 54
  • Purple Off: 56
  • Purple: 58
  • Pink Off: 60
  • Pink: 62
  • Fuschia Off: 64
  • Fuschia: 66
  • White Off: 76
  • White: 127

Keep in mind these MIDI Ranges are specific to the MASCHINE MK3 hardware, so you’ll need to look up the ranges for your own specific controller.

Modifier conditions

As we hinted at already, there’s more to Modifiers than just creating ‘shift’ keys for your controller – the status of a function inside TRAKTOR itself (e.g., whether Deck A is currently playing) can also be used to alter the action of MASCHINE’s knobs, buttons and pads.

For our multicolored pad, we create a Control for every color, with each Control using the corresponding Hotcue status as its Modifier. If we didn’t use Modifiers here, TRAKTOR would try to send all possible Hotcue colors at once, which would really confuse MASCHINE. If your LED outputs aren’t working as expected, double-check your Modifier settings – you’ll need to set it correctly for every Control that’s part of your multicolored scheme.

So we’ve mapped our pad for the No Cue and Cue states – now carry on using the Duplicate button to create uniquely colored assignments for the other four states: Fade-In, Fade-Out, Load, Grid, and Loop.

The Duplicate button is going to be your best friend while setting up these mappings, but if you’re really serious about TRAKTOR mapping, check out Xtreme Mapping. It’s an advanced tool that lets you duplicate, copy and paste large selections of assignments between large lists. It’s like the Microsoft Excel of TRAKTOR mapping.

When you’re done, your Hotcue LED mapping should look something like this:

And if that all seems like way too much work, then there are some excellent professionally designed mappings out there that’ll give you all of this functionality right out of the box. For example, check out the superb MASCHINE MK3 Mapping from MIDI Monsters – it’s one of the most powerful and feature-packed TRAKTOR mappings yet devised.


24. Macros for enhanced workflow

Macros give you a way to tweak multiple parameters at once from a single knob, pad or fader. They can also be used to fire off multiple TRAKTOR actions in one go, to speed up your workflow, or for creative effect, as we’ll demonstrate here.

We’re going to map a Flux Mode Macro for on-the-fly drum rolls on Deck A. The way we’d like it to work is that when we hold down a pad, the Loop and its Size are instantly set, and Flux Mode lasts for as long as the pad is held.

Make three Controls via Add In…:

  • Deck Common > Loop > Loop Set
  • Deck Common > Loop > Loop Size Selector
  • Deck Common > Flux Mode On

Learn them all to the same pad, and set the parameters like this:

Loop Set:

  • Assignment: Deck A
  • Interaction Mode: Hold

Loop Size Selector:

  • Assignment: Deck A
  • Type of Controller: Button
  • Interaction Mode: Direct
  • Set To Value: /2 (this gives us eighth-note rolls)

Flux Mode On:

  • Assignment: Deck A
  • Interaction Mode: Hold

Now you can create live buildups and rolling fills on the fly without losing the phrasing or skipping a beat.

Macros are limited only by your imagination. Here are a few suggestions for how to use them:

  • Magic Hotcue: Play On – Sync On – Jump to Hotcue 1
  • Effect Assignments: Assign all FX Units to one Deck – Disable them for all other Decks
  • Effects Macros: Effect On – Dry / Wet Amount – Effect Amount
  • Tidy Browse Mode: Collapse All Decks when you turn the Browse Knob


25. Mapping effects knobs

So far, we’ve focused heavily on mapping pads – now let’s give our knobs some love too. We’ll map out the knobs for FX Unit 1.

Click Add In… > FX Unit > Knob 1, Learn it to the corresponding MASCHINE knob, then set it like this:

  • Type of Controller: Fader / Knob
  • Interaction Mode: Direct
  • Assignment: FX Unit 1

Direct mode means the knob position always matches the value of the TRAKTOR function – it’s the mode you’ll use most of the time. Relative means that when you move the knob, fader or encoder, the TRAKTOR function will move relative to its current position in software – handy for things like a tempo fader or browser encoder.

To finish FX Unit 1, map Knobs 2/3 and Dry/Wet Adjust in the same way. You can use Duplicate to speed things up. Easy, right?

26. Exporting your finished TRAKTOR mapping

Now that we have an awesome mapping, let’s save a copy as a backup – or indeed, to share the goodness with others. Many users make the mistake of clicking the Export button at the bottom of the Preferences window, but this will export all of your Device mappings and TRAKTOR settings.

To export only the MASCHINE mapping, make sure it is selected in the Device menu, then choose Edit… > Export to save it out.



And that’s how you make a MASCHINE mapping for TRAKTOR. With your newfound mapping skills, you can design your own unique DJing workflows, allowing you to focus on the performance instead of your laptop screen. Don’t be afraid to experiment, either – you could accidentally stumble upon tricks and hacks that other DJs have yet to discover, and even help to shape a whole new style of DJing.

Happy mapping!


For more information about the author Mike Henderson, check the following links:

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