Review: Xtreme Mapping 1.3
From the beginning the first version of Xtreme Mapping totally transformed the creation
of Traktor mappings for your own controller from a PITA experience to pure fun (yes, we all know that Traktor’s own controller manager is terrible). It is not only the large, clearly arranged window and the more sifnificant features that make mapping with XM a treat, but also the many small features that help you to reach your goal quicker.
The new version is available from June 13, 2012 (a happy accident by the way that version 1.3 was released on the 13th). Due to the very low sales price which is only valid for 48 hours, buying Xtreme Mapping now is a no-brainer. The disadvantage: unfortunately Xtreme Mapping is only available for the Mac and not for Windows.
This review covers some of the highlights of the new version:
Compatibility with several Traktor Versions
In almost every new Traktor version there are either minor or major changes to the Traktor mapping commands. The most dramatic changes occurred between Traktor 2.1.x and Traktor 2.5.0: many commands have been renamed and/or moved to other submenus of the Add button in controller manager.
Xtreme Mapping 1.3 now supports four different mapping command dialects. Use the Traktor compatibility dialog (which can be opened from the Xtreme Mapping menu) to select the Traktor version that you use.
Use the Detect version button if Xtreme Mapping is to detect the Traktor version you are using. Alternatively open the list Traktor version and select your version there. Switching manually allows you to create mappings for Traktor 2.5.0, even when the standard version you use is 2.1.3.
It is important to restart Xtreme Mapping once you have changed the version compatibility setting. On launch Xtreme Mapping loads a type of internal database with information about the mapping commands specific to a Traktor version. This database cannot be reloaded while XM is running; hence the requirement to restart XM.
If you use one of the mapping commands to select an effect, Traktor does not store a unique identifier of the selected effect in the mapping (this is to be expected), but the position of the effect in list Pre-Selected Effects (Preferences/Effects/FX Pre-Selection).
As a consequence, mappings are not truly portable. They work without changes on another computer only when the order of the effects on the target computer and the computer where the mapping was created is identical. This is certanly one of the design flaws of the Traktor controller manager.
The Traktor approach for storing the effect selection also caused a problem in previous versions of Xtreme Mapping as well. Even when you made a mapping for personal use only, it was not possible to select the correct effect in XM if the order of the effects in Traktor has been changed.
Xtreme Mapping 1.3 solves this issue with the Traktor compatibility dialog mentioned before. The lower section of this dialog contains two lists that work in the same way as you will be familiar with in Traktor: You can select the activated effects and change the sort order so that they match to the settings made in Traktor. The effect selection list in the mapping details section of the XM window considers the settings you made on the Traktor compatibility dialog.
Multiple Mappings in one File
The new version of Xtreme Mapping can open TSI files that contain more than one mapping. When Xtreme Mapping detects multiple mappings the following window is shown:
Here you can select the mapping you wish to edit.
Basically you now can open the Traktor Settings.tsi file directly, select the mapping to edit, make the changes and then save them back into Traktor Settings.tsi. It is important to edit only one mapping at a time when you open a TSI file that contains multiple mappings. (Of course, editing several mappings that all live in their own TSI file is no problem at all).
If you edit the file Traktor Settings.tsi directly, please quit Traktor before you open the file in Xtreme Mapping. Otherwise it is likely that changes made and saved in Xtreme Mapping are lost when you exit Traktor afterwards: Traktor does always save the settings file when you exit the application.
There is a little problem when loading a TSI file with multiple mappings, if the TSI contains a reference to one of the embedded mappings of most Native Instruments controller (for those mappings there are no mapped commands visible in controller manager). While opening such a file Xtreme Mapping pops up with a message that the file is corrupted – this is in fact not true. Xtreme Mapping cannot handle TSI files that contain references to embedded mappings. It would be better if Xtreme Mapping would show a clearer message. The makers of Xtreme Mapping have confirmed that this is a problem and that
it will be fixed in the future.
Easy Re-Assignment of MIDI Channel and Target Deck
In Xtreme Mapping you can edit several mapping commands, and then copy and paste them. Used in combination with the features to change the MIDI channel and the deck assignment, it only takes a few seconds to change the MIDI channel from 3 to 4 and to change the deck assignment from deck C to deck D.
For the creation of the TSI file from the template/mapping combo package that allows you to control many features of the Traktor remix decks from an iPad running Lemur, I have used a pre-release version of Xtreme Mapping 1.3. The mapping supports the remix decks C and D. To get the mapping up and running quickly I first added all mapping commands for deck C and used the learn function to assign the MIDI message to the commands. On the Lemur side, all buttons, faders, etc. for deck C use MIDI channel 3, and all controls for deck D use MIDI channel 4. Otherwise the MIDI message types were identical (same CC or note for the same fader).
Once the mapping for deck C was ready, duplicating the commands for deck D was a breeze.
- First I selected all mapping commands and dragged them into an empty XM editor window to create a duplicated.
- By using the Edit/Changed Mapped to/Move to MIDI Channel feature I changed the MIDI channel for all mapped commands from 3 into 4. In Traktor this would have taken considerably more time.
- Next step was changing the deck target from deck C to deck D. Very few commands use the new Deck Common commands (like Play/Pause). As there were only a few I changed the assignment from deck C to deck D manually.
- Most of the mapped commands are assigned to a single slot of a remix deck. I sorted the table in XM by the Assignment column and selected all commands whose assignment was set to Remix Deck C – Slot 1. By using Edit/Change Assignment/Remix Deck D – Slot 1 the assignment of the selected commands was changed in a second. I repeated the same step for slots 2 to 4 and the re-assignment was done.
- As I wanted to have the commands for deck C and deck D in the same mapping, I selected all „re-mapped“ commands and dragged them into the editor window with the commands of deck C.
Even in earlier versions of Xtreme Mapping it was possible to copy the modifier settings from one command and paste it into another. Now in version 1.3 you always copy both modifiers to the Xtreme Mapping clipboard (as in previous versions), but you can decide if you wish to paste the first modifier only, the second modifier only, or both.
Anyne that has ever created a more complex mapping and then realized that something was wrong with the modifier logic will appreciate the copy/paste feature for modifiers. For a future XMP update it would be nice if XM would provide keyboard shortcuts for pasting single modifiers as well: using the keyboard would be quicker than using the mouse.
All in all Xtreme Mapping 1.3 is a great update. Not only is it compatible with Traktor 2.5 but some good usability features have been added. Those who create their own Traktor mappings and use a Mac should consider getting Xtreme Mapping now. Especially due to the sales price that is valid for 48 hours.
Price and Availability
Xtreme Mapping 1.3 is available in the Mac AppStore since June 13, 2012. Updating from a previous version is free.
On Wednesday June 13, 2012 and on Thursday June 14, 2012 Xtreme Mapping is on sale for a period of 48 hours. The sales price is EUR 2,99 or USD 3.99.
Starting on Friday 15, 2012, the regular price of EUR 5,99/USD 7.99 will become effective.
Author: Rainer G. Haselier
June 12, 2012