Build Your Next Traktor MIDI Controller In Google Chrome

Want to make your own custom MIDI controller for DJing, production, or visuals, but don’t have the money or time to make a DIY controller? In this article, we spotlight a project that DJTT friends Traxus Interactive have been working on that allows multi-touch control of Traktor in Google Chrome.

The Age of Touchscreen MIDI Instruments

When large touchscreen mobile devices started coming on the market 6-8 years ago, it made a lot of sense for app developers to start building digital MIDI interfaces for them. Apps like TouchOSC and Lemur were developed to create new interfaces for controlling MIDI-accepting apps.

But all of that changed when webMIDI was first introduced in 2015, and integrated into the Google Chrome browser. Suddenly, developers can quickly and easily build MIDI-capable applications inside of Chrome.

That’s exactly what the team at Traxus Interactive set out to do when rebuilding their Traxus Control Traktor Multitouch Interface – they explain:

“we hand coded our own JavaScript library of multi-touch objects including faders, knobs and button arrays along with a versatile MIDI I/O binding framework that allows us to quickly whip up browser contained interfaces similar to what some iOS and Android apps provide but without the clunky editors.”

WebMIDI + Traktor

The Traxus team sent over a demo video of the new setup in action, video above. To explain what you’re seeing, they’ve included this description:

The setup consists of one PC running Google Chrome and Traktor 2.6.8 atop of Windows 10 with two monitors connected. The Interface uses the webMIDI API to send and receive midi to Traktor through a pair of loopMIDI virtual MIDI ports. An optional Python script translates a small range of MIDI notes into QWERTY keystrokes to manipulate the search box in Traktor’s file browser.

The Future Of Rapid Instruments + Prototyping?

So what makes this project so compelling? Creating MIDI instruments for touchscreen mobile devices has always been cheaper and faster for users – but making it a webMIDI / Chrome-based tool is even better. It’s a great democratizer:

  • There are tons of casual developers in the world who know their way around Javascript and HTML.
  • Chrome will run on almost any type of device – regardless of operating system and hardware.
  • There’s no complex or costly app to purchase
  • You can run Traktor and the interface on the same computer – no dual devices required.

Want to try it out for yourself? It’s currently in a closed beta – but you can learn more and apply for access here on the official site. Alternately, discuss it in the DJTT forums or comments below – the creators are active DJTT users!

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  • Glyn Evans

    Seems DOA re. ChromeOS emphasis? I imagine it wouldn’t take too long to port it as Jasonslack mentioned though. It won’t garner the same interest, but I often use VirtualDJ’s drag and drop designer mode. If you can create your own assets you can get that “Tron look” really quickly and easily! (Yes I know. Traktor vs VDJ, no contest yada yada but visually, very easy to customise)

  • Anthony Alonso

    I dont care who you are. This is pretty cool.

  • Zzzuperfly

    Hu? Latency isvthe dealbreaker

    • Nic Boileau

      Latency is comparable to or better than its counter parts iOs/Android apps… remember that both chrome and Traktor are running on the same computer in this instance, and communicating through virtual midi ports versus something like TouchOSC which talks through a network

  • King Porteous

    I love the way technology levels the playing field and creates accessibility to all in ways such as this. Such a powerful concept not only from a cost point of view but the bespoke possibilities of it. As technology evolves and reduces in cost it can only get better too. I know there is a certain appeal to hardware but I do think we will reach a tipping point where the benefit is just too great to ignore.

    It would also make me feel like Daft Punk performing in Tron which is always a bonus!!!

    @kingporteous

  • jasonslack

    I would personally use Electron (https://electron.atom.io/) as Google are dropping support for Chrome Apps except on ChromeOS. Good thing about it being HTML and JS, it’s easy to port.

    • Nic Boileau

      Very Interesting; I wonder if they are compliant with the WebMIDI API spec, currently it is just Chrome and Opera as far as browsers go.

    • ??

      This isn’t a Chrome App, this is a web page running in Chrome.