Traktor Kontrol: wireless touchscreen MIDI controller


Being a fairly trim and boutique team ourselves, we at DJWORX are all for the little guy. I covered the open source software Mixxx earlier in the week, because we love what they’re trying to do, and here we are with another project, this time from Android/iOS app developer Alexander Nowak: Traktor Kontrol.

The mobile app is a fairly no-frills touch interface for Traktor Pro 2. It’s meant to provide you with everything you need for basic mixing, and comes with a mapping file ready to go. It uses RTP MIDI over WIFI with a little bit of setting up and a smart device of some sorts. If you’ve got either a iOS or Android phone or tablet, you’re good to go. There are plans to extend functionality over to Serato and VDJ8, once the developer has access to the software (though I suspect Serato might not allow that sort of functionality).

In Alexander’s own words:

I once searched for Android MIDI DJing controllers and I realized that there’s only some unhandy rubbish on the market so I just had to get my hands on this. It currently only covers the very basic features of your DJing software but I am gong to expand the functionality within the next couple of weeks.

So how does it differ from the other apps? It’s the very first Android MIDI app that offers a touch strip instead of wasting your space with 2 bulky jog wheels. I haven’t seen this approach anywhere else so I thought it’d be a cool thing to publish.

My thoughts

I’ve never been a fan of touch interfaces as a primary means of DJing. I remember when the Jazzmutant Lemur came out and I watched a video of a fairly famous DJ [/producer] mixing on it and just thinking how awkward that must feel. Sure, it can be done, and it’s eminently portable, but not for your bread & butter, day in day out. The Kontrol app makes no secret of the fact that it’s not meant as your main equipment. It’s an experiment that has some practical use as a bit of fun.

I had a bit of a go with the app and I was pretty impressed with how it works. It feels much like using some of the bigger Android DJ apps that are out there, but obviously controls the full-blown Traktor Pro software. For basic two channel mixing, it does the job, though you’d be hard pressed to do anything complex, and you’re better off using the crossfader over the channel faders.

One thing that’s really nice (and actually works quite well) is that the app lets you control the browser using a push to toggle. The action brings up a grey vertical bar that you can drag your finger up and down to scroll through your current playlist. There’s also buttons to drop through different parts of the browser tree and load up your tracks into the decks. On top of that, you’ve got basic controls for effects, EQs, looping, and even the remix decks on channels C and D.

As mentioned, Alexander has plans to extend beyond just Traktor Pro 2 so that the app can work with Serato and VDJ8. He currently doesn’t own copies of either, so the more people pay for the app, the more chance that’ll happen. Personally, I’d suggest it might be better to create separate apps for other software to ensure the controls are specialised from the get go.

Your thoughts

Have you had a go with the app? Would you use it for a gig?

You can grab Traktor Kontrol for both Android and iOS for free, with extra stuff to unlock via in app purchase.