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Midi-to: New iPad app for Serato

Got an iPad and trying to figure out how to complement your DJ set rather than use it to DJ?  There have been a lot of articles written (including one on this site) about using your iPad for digital DJing.  While some of the apps that exist out there are pretty impressive (Mixr and djay are my favorite so far) most of them assume that you are going to use your iPad to control your whole set.  While the portability and ease of use of this type of setup likely can’t be topped, if you already have a killer setup you probably want to use additional hardware to enhance your existing setup instead of replace it.

MiDi-to

MIDI-TO ($4.99 – iTunes App Store)

The Good: iPad app that extends all the major features of Serato Scratch Live (promised support for Traktor in the future).  Plus since it is portable you can pick it up and work the crowd while tweaking a filter.

The Bad: Some minor latency due to the fact that it transmits over wireless.  Only supported on Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

The Bottom Line: Great app if you own an iPad and want quick access to all of Serato’s features without having to spend the whole time with your finger on the mousepad.

Available in the app store

http://www.midi-to.com/

Created by a bunch of guys from Barcelona, this iPad app currently only supports Serato Scratch Live (although they are promising to support Traktor in a future release) and works over a private wireless connection which means no additional software or cables are needed.  MiDi-to gives you control of practically every feature in SSL across three panels accessed from the top of the screen within the application.  The Main panel accesses the 5 cue points of each deck, loop parameters, playback modes, the Ultraknob effects and 6 sample banks.  The effects panel gives you access to all three DJ-FX presets per deck but you can’t get into the individual parameters to tweak the presets.  The last panel gives very basic control of your library to allow you to tab through crates, select songs and load them onto a deck.

1. SETUP

Setup is pretty straight-forward although it does not equate to turning it on and rockin it out.  Accessing the information panel gives you step by step instructions on connecting the iPad to SSL.  The MIDI-to website also gives a friendly step-by-step video.  I found myself watching this the first time I set it up because you have to set up an Audio MIDI Network on your Mac and a private network in your AirPort settings which are things the average user has probably not done before.  The private network is handy though because it means you don’t have to have wireless access at the club for this to work.  But this also becomes the app’s only drawback.  There is a small but noticeable latency when triggering a button.  This isn’t an issue for the effects or library panels but for the main panel where you need to trigger samples or cue points very quickly then you will start to notice the delay.  I found I got used to it after a few sessions but do you really want to train yourself to work around a small flaw?

2. LAYOUT

The size of the iPad screen allows the buttons on the interface to be the perfect size and bright colors let you know when a feature is turned on.  The only ones I found to be a bit small were the sample buttons across the bottom.  If you find yourself doing fast mixes and want to trigger some samples in-between you might find yourself accidentally hitting a cue or loop button instead or just hitting the black bezel around the iPad screen (which is a much better outcome – believe me).

MiDi-to effects panel

The effects panel is where I find myself spending most time during a set.  I had never really played much with the DJ-FX panel in SSL because I didn’t have a controller to match and I try to avoid looking at my laptop as much as possible (more on this later).  But with the easy-to-use sliders and a pull-down menu for each effects bank plus one-touch on/off buttons I’m now addicted.  And since the iPad is so portable I can pick it up and go crazy with the effects while working the crowd at the same time.  I could literally walk out in the crowd and start controlling anything in SSL.  Not that I would ever do this, but just knowing that I could stroll back to the bar to get a drink and trigger a horn-flanger at the same time is pretty cool.  Plus it is a lot easier to turn on an effect in the middle of a mix and push the effect slider up (say on a high-pass filter) all while keeping one hand on the fader.  I find this hard to do on a standard mixer with built-in effects due to the closeness of my hands and even harder if I have one hand on my laptop mouse controlling the effect in the SSL software directly.  I like being a little more spread out and having some space as well as having a large visual of what effect is turned on and the relative mix of the effect.

CONCLUSION: SOMEWHERE ELSE TO PUT YOUR HANDS

That is really where this app excels.  I’m a visual guy.  In a dark club I need constant visual feedback, with a very quick glance of what is turned on or off, be it a loop, sample or effect.  I’m also prone to becoming stone-faced and glued to my laptop screen if I am not careful.  This does nothing for the crowd.  Anything that moves my focus away from the laptop and onto another surface causes me to remember there is an audience listening and a little interaction with them does me some good.  And it never hurts for the crowd to actually see what you are doing, especially in clubs where DJ booths are elevated.  Holding the iPad up and cranking an effect makes the crowd feel a little more involved and connected (as silly as that may sound to some).

CRITICAL DATA

  • Reviewed: MiDi-to version 1.0.1
  • Price: US street price ($4.99 – iTunes App Store)
  • Communication (hardware) / Operating System (software): iPad and OSX for Mac only
  • Available: Now

About the Author: Jeremy has been DJing for over 10 years as Kid Kardia  in all different kinds of venues across the country and currently resides in Denver, CO.

TRAKTOR ALTERNATIVE:

A similar app that is a more general controller for Traktor is the midi-pad. There is a great article on the software at CDM.

  • Frank_batista

    Can I get your permission to post this post in my website please http://mymixes.net/ 

  • 00gaia

    Try the Lemur app is FAR better

  • Em

    If you have iOS4.2+, try control (midi + OSC). It’s essentially a free version of touchOSC. You can make your own interfaces for it in JSON. Been using it for the past few days, seems pretty decent.

  • Em

    If you have iOS4.2+, try control (midi + OSC). It’s essentially a free version of touchOSC. You can make your own interfaces for it in JSON. Been using it for the past few days, seems pretty decent.

  • Mr Dj roman

    Love the app. I would to see a cable/USB hook up. I think it be a lot better. Also what about a iPhone app… Worth trying. Once again great job!!!! I been waiting for something like this for a well!!!

  • Here is a new feature showcase video where you can see the responsiveness of the app.

  • Last day of our contest!
    You can win a free promo code of our app by just saying how you are going to use it!
    head to our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/MiDi-to-iPad-app/144156555633184 for details.

    MiDi-to team

  • This is really interesting, I’m seeing a lot of people jump into the ipad djing bit. Once ipad’s become ubiquitous and more powerful, I can’t imagine hardware being the focal point of being a DJ. It’s going to be all about the software.

    • Berto

      Wat about the music?….

  • J0be

    “Plus since it is portable you can pick it up and work the crowd while tweaking a filter.” What a bonus!! DJs would NEVER be able to work the crowd without this portability!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111

    GAY

  • Maximus Moretta

    Oh look serato Serato Scratch Live can do midi on a ipad, LOL I’ll givem’ another year before they come with a midi Controller, Don’t get me wrong Serato Scratch Live is an excellence program but they just be take a bit long to introduce new thing to the DJ realm. “don’t worry I’ll wait!…LOL”

  • R3 BONAIRE

    so i might need some help..I tried the Touch OSC on my Ipod Touch and if i turn on my wifi in my laptop i get pops and glitches in my sound. If wifi is off nothing happens. My laptop has 4GB and a core I5and solid state Hdd M audio Ftrk on Win7-64.This app i had for a long time ago but was never able to use it. What settings do i need. I like to control ableton from a distance.
    thnx

    • MrBlenderson

      What audio interface are you using?

      • R3 Bonaire

        I use a M audio Fast Track Pro and also have a NI AK1 but both do the same when Wifi is on. I did a DPC latency check and it shows when wifi is on i drop alot in value.
        thanks

  • MrBlenderson

    To map an XY pad for TouchOSCa and OSCulator you just have to mute one axis while you map the other one. Mute X-axis and map the Y, then mute Y-axis and map the X. Then unmute them both and you should be rocking!
    I just did this over the weekend with TouchOSC and OSCulator, and I agree with other posters that it is a great way to fill out a controller setup. I’m using DVS with the Dicers and use TouchOSC for XY effects control. It’s basically like having a Kaoss Pad that uses Traktor effects and it rocks!

  • Berto

    I use midi-to its super responsive, and easy to set up. Dont knock it untill you try it, you wont be dissappointed

    • video

      @Berto Would you mind giving us a video and showing us the responsiveness while stressing the app. If there is any latency then it is a fun toy for $5.

      I think that touchscreen will offer a lot in the future when they get latency issues under control when the ipad gets better. I think that nothing will ever replace knobs, faders, and drum pads. I do think that an ipad is a great compliment to any set up.

      Thanks techtools for reviews non traktor stuff. Can’t wait for the SL4 review. That thing will be the best dj interface out there

      • Berto

        I do not have camera to make a video but no joke i have been using it with ssl 2.2 macpro dual core 4 gb ram osx 10.6.6 with not a single issue and ipad touch response as much as i will get flamed for this is way more responsive than all the different android tablets i have used

  • –>Contest alert!<–

    We decided to do a little contest:

    You can win a free MiDi-to license by writing on our facebook wall how you will use our app in your DJ set.

    We will make a draw on Friday (14:00 GMT) and the winner gets our app for free!

    Everyone is invited to participate!

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/MiDi-to-iPad-app/144156555633184

    MiDi-to team

  • Flik

    Gimmicky rubbish. I like controls that you can get a firm grip of, theres nothing natural or responsive about touch screen. Clumsy.

    • meh

      you used it then?

      • Flik

        No, i havent used it yet, but i have seen a few DJ/mixer apps on the ipad already demonstrated, which seem cool, but showing multiple failed attempts at dragging faders up and down via the touch screen. I dont want to have to drag my finger a few times before i get a response on a controller. Using the ipad for a controller would just be a novelty, i personally dont think it would be a serious contender.

  • Thanks for the review!
    We are very proud to be on DJtechtools.com!

    About the latency there might be other factors involved.
    We measured 3ms while connecting the ipad to a macbook pro via direct wifi.
    If you connect via a router latency can be 10ms and higher.

    We are a working also on an iPhone version for the people that don’t have iPads and trust us we have taken into account the limitations and we believe it will have great results!

    Best regards,

    MiDi-to team

  • B3nikun

    I saw this today on the app store. I was looking for a simpler alternative to touchOSC. I like TouchOSC because of the customizability but have trouble mapping the xy pad to an fx bank.
    Can you plz do a tutorial on how to map xy pads, not just on ipad, but on all sorts of controllers. i.e. korg ect
    Also, how bout a wrap up of controller apps for ipad. I’d love to see your opinion as we broke dj’s can’t afford to shell out just to try an app

  • itskindahot

    “There is a small but noticeable latency when triggering a button.”

    I would really like to see further analysis of this issue by DJTT. You suggest the cause of latency is the wireless transmission. That could be true, especially if there are interferences (other WLANs, microwaves, cordless phones, etc.)

    However, the digitizer on touchscreens are another, potentially significant source of latency. For capacitive touchscreens (as used in the iPad), Wikipedia mentions a response time of <15ms. I assume this number is for a single-touch. It is well known that it is more time-consuming to digitize multi-touch gestures.

    • I really wouldn’t expect DJ TT to do “in-depth” of the technology behind (that may or may not be causing the latency). It’s a little out of their scope…(in my opinion).
      ***********
      But the overall issue of latency, is concern that I share. Though I def love knobs and faders, and arguably there is no other tool as precise, there is something that touch screens have that can’t be ignored: customizability. But I agree if there is latency issues, then its probably not tool I would want to use…

  • Cool Little App. Just downloaded and am going to give it a run through.

    Way easier and Cheaper then the Cash I spent on TouchOSc + Osculator and It didn’t take me hours to design my own template for all these effects. However with TouchOSC, your creative sky is the limit, and I use is to control Video SL which is fantastic!

    Either way these iPad apps are really great for myself as a serato user in combination with the ttm57 + dicers (purchased along with a crane stand from no other dj site then this one!)

    Love the site team, keep up the good work

    DJ DoubleDown

  • [quote]touch screens may look great but i doubt they would be able to deal with the rapid sampling that goes on at times[/quote]
    No one uses touch screens because they “look great”. The reason you use an app like this running on the iPad is because it gives you the ability to have a completely custom interface for your software. That’s something that no traditional hardware can give you.

    I can use a totally custom layout in TouchOSC or MIDITouch to control only the elements of the software that are important to me, fill gaps in my controller coverage (like effects 3 & 4 for instance), or put those elements into groupings that make more sense to me given my workflow.

    Then, I can turn around and with a simple layout change or by running another app, I can get total control of a completely different piece of software (like using Touchable to control Ableton Live). This is something else hardware can’t do very well.

    People who are thinking about touchscreens like they’re an “all or nothing” solution are missing the point – ESPECIALLY with the app in the OP. OF COURSE this app is going to be used along with more traditional gear – it’s Serato. But to handle the functionality of this app with tactile controllers would take several different devices to replace (A couple Trigger Fingers and a Dicer pack would do it). That’s a bunch of stuff to have connected at a venue, a lot of USB ports to use, and a fair amount of setup. Or you could use 1 iPad connected via wireless. And that iPad can turn around and control something completely different in a few seconds and with no changes to hardware setup.

  • khaiyin

    I’d just love to use an ipad as a traktor library window and have all 4 decks full view on the laptop without having to touch it. Can’t beat the tactile feel of buttons, knobs and sliders when it comes to real-time controlling.

  • Looks great but I’m still sticking to hardware mixer effects !

    http://soundcloud.com/djinstinkt/instinkts-f-ck-2010-tech-house-mixtape

  • Yello

    great to see decent ipad apps comming about…..but hardly something id consider….for me i love using buttons and knobs, just feel you have so much more control….touch screens may look great but i doubt they would be able to deal with the rapid sampling that goes on at times

  • Just to add more info here, the MidiPad software referenced in the article has been “coming soon” for about 11 months, and was supposedly released to the app store last July. Seems like it’s been dead in the water for months.

    There are MANY choices for Traktor (or Serato for that matter) iPad MIDI apps. Of course, TouchOSC has been a favorite of users for a long time. It’s robust, mature, and stable.
    http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=288120394&mt=8

    But TouchOSC also requires the use of an external editor, which can be a pain in the ass for some people. For those who would rather have a complete all-in-one app with the functionality of TouchOSC, you should look at MidiTouch.
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/midi-touch/id398930935?mt=8

    MidiTouch is amazing, allowing the user to create, test, and deploy setups all on the iPad without needing an external editor and all that clumsy back and forth. And since it’s release, every update has included major new functionality. If you’re looking for a flexible “DIY” MIDI interface, then do yourself a favor and check MidiTouch out.

  • djerikt

    cool article on the serato app. when checking the other app MidiPad, It’s not out in the App Store yet. Their website says “coming soon’. been waiting on this one for a while.
    http://www.midipad.de

    Control (OSC + Midi) is another app, and its free. haven’t tried it yet.
    http://charlie-roberts.com/Control/

  • Atari Ferrari

    Looks cool, sure but is it worth it? I guess if you already have an iPad sure. If not, I doubt it

  • meh

    actually looks pretty good. nice one

  • Beatninja

    Can’t wait to get my hands on the traktor version! Cool to see a ipad dj app thats worth having