How to create your own TouchOSC templates / layouts for Traktor
TouchOSC is a truly amazing app and the whole reason I decided to buy an iPad in the first place. What separates this from standard MIDI controllers is that you can tailor it exactly to your setup and your style of DJing. It can work alongside your existing MIDI controllers and has infinite possibilites for the digital DJ. You can play an entire set using just TouchOSC on your iPad / iPhone or configure it to complement your existing setup. For example, you may be using Timecode Vinyl and just want to control effects though your iPad or iPhone. Once you get the hang of mapping, setting up new layouts is quick and easy.
In this guide we’ll be looking at how to create your own layouts in TouchOSC and use them to control Traktor. The same principle applies to other DJ software though, not just Traktor, although some of the more advanced techniques (such as Modifiers) discussed later are Traktor specific. It’s split into five parts, so if you’re already familiar with the basics, just skip ahead to the more advanced stuff.
Before we start, you need to make sure that you have the latest version of TouchOSC installed on your iPhone / iPad and you have the latest version of TouchOSC Editor on your Mac / PC. Your computer and iPad / iPhone also need to be connected to the same network. If you’re not sure how to do this, check this guide for Mac or this guide for PC.
To get started, we’ll map some basic controls: a crossfader, volume controls for each deck and play buttons.
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OK, so we’ve mapped a few basic controls. You can continue to add these as you see fit. Perhaps add some rotaries for EQ controls, or some sliders for your filters. Check this guide from the hexler.net website for a list of all commands available in TouchOSC.
The list of MIDI commands in Traktor is pretty large and quite daunting at first. There’s a really useful guide though on the Traktor Bible website which shows you each of the sections of the Traktor main screen. If you hover over a button, it will show you the name of the command in Traktor and the menu section in which it resides. This is really handy and can save you hours of hunting down the right command name for the parameter you want to control.
Using MIDI Outs is a great way of really bringing your layout to life. Almost every parameter in Traktor has a corresponding MIDI Out command. Not all of them are useful or practical, but some are incredibly handy and mean that you can spend less time looking at what’s happening on your computer screen and focusing on your controller instead.
TouchOSC’s LEDs can be controlled by Traktor’s volume / monitor / master levels, which can be really handy (and make your layout look pretty cool at the same time!)
We’ll be looking first at mapping MIDI outs to your volume and crossfader, then creating a simple on/off LED for a play control. Then finally moving to Volume LEDs. In the ‘Modifiers’ section below, we’ll also look at how you can combine Modifiers with MIDI Outs to create toggle switches.
Modifiers can take a while to get your head around (they certainly took me long enough and are still the cause of much frustration and hair pulling!). However, when you understand what they can do, they’re a great way of making the best use of space in your layout as you can control much more than just one parameter with one button, slider, etc.
They’re a quick guide to modifiers by Ean Golden, the King of Controllerism and creator of the amazing MIDI Fighter. He’s a true pioneer of digital DJing and really getting the most out of Traktor and has served as a massive inspiration to me and many others. His guides explain clearly and simply the basics of modifiers and how to create modifier toggles using basic logic.
Other Tips & Tricks
In this final guide, we’ll be looking at some other techniques.
The first is a spinback button, as seen on the iFighter and Mashy 2 templates. We’ll also be looking at creating a fader cut button, as seen on the Thrashy template and loop length indicators as seen on the first version of the Mashy template.
Further advice on layout creation
Until you really start getting to grips with modifiers and multi function commands, it’s a good idea to keep a spreadsheet listing what CCs are mapped to which commands and how they’re being modified by other buttons.
Have a clear idea of what you want to do first. Then plan it out on paper and start mapping.
Try to keep things simple. Although Modifiers are incredibly powerful, they can also be your downfall! When you’re DJing, you need to be careful that you’re not suddenly going to stop the track by accidentally pressing the wrong combination of a shift key and a particular button. Again, having a clear idea of how you want the template to behave in the first case helps keep things nice and simple.
Please join us in the forum if you have any questions or want to share your own tips for MIDI mapping.
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