Traktor Kontrol S4 and Controller Mappings

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The main vision and focus during the development of Traktor Pro S4 and the S4 controller was to provide an easy to use package that even a new Traktorian can use without digging deep into mapping questions. The aim of Traktor Pro S4 was to be a plug and play solution and one can say that this goal was achieved.

However, becoming totally plug and play has its price for the more advanced users who have will feel they have less flexibility with which to customise the S4 in the way they want it. This tutorial explains what you can do and what is impossible..

Generally speaking you have four options using the Traktor Pro S4 software with the S4 controller and with additional controllers

Option 1: The Embedded Mapping – S4 Default

Traktor Pro S4 is the first version of Traktor where the mapping for a controller is embedded inside the Traktor code and is not visible to the outside world. When you start Traktor Pro S4 for the first time with the S4 controller connected, Traktor automatically adds a new device named Traktor.Kontrol S4.Default to the devices list in the Controller Manager (which you can open by clicking the Preferences button in the Traktor header and then selecting Controller Manager in the categories list of the dialog box).

Traktor Pro S4, default mapping

As you can see: you see nothing. The default mapping is completely embedded and it cannot be changed.

Let's assume, for example that you use Traktor's AutoGain feature, that sets the Gain knob of the decks to the correct gain value when you load a track. Here the four Gain encoders could easily be remapped to another Traktor feature, for example the Key knob. Unfortunately it is not possible to make such a small change.

I can only speculate why NI decided to embed the mapping for the S4 controller into the code. Having the mapping in the code prevents the user from making changes by accident, which leads to a non-functional mapping and maybe support calls. Another reason could be that NI reached the limits of the mapping possibilities that are currently available in the Controller Manager and that is was much easier to map the S4 controller from inside the code than to change the architecture of the (not really user friendly) Controller Manager.

Option 2: S4 Default and S4 User Mapping - Side by Side

Your second option is to use the default S4 mapping and a user defined mapping for the S4 side by side. The possibilities in this setup are limited. The reasons are:

I created a small example of an S4 user mapping that can be used side-by-side next to the embedded S4 mapping. This mapping uses the tempo faders and the tempo offset buttons to change the key of decks A and B, and to change the tempo of the Master Clock. You can find the mapping on the TraktorFreaks website. Here is the link: Key and Master Clock Tempo with S4

Option 3: S4 User Mapping Only - S4 the way you want it

The third option is to disable the default mapping and to create your own user mapping. This is an option for advanced users only because the mapping can be quite complex. Beware that it won't be possible to duplicate the embedded/default mapping 1 to 1 in an S4 user mapping. If you want to create your own mapping you can use a TSI file that is included in the S4 installer as a start.

Disabling the S4 Default Mapping

Follow these steps to disable the default S4 mapping in the Preferences/Controller Manager dialog:

  1. Open Preferences/Controller Manager.
  2. Open the list Device and select the entry Traktor.Kontrol S4.Default.
  3. Open the list In-Port and select None.
    Click the Edit button and select Delete. The Remove Device dialog is shown. Click Yes.

After step 3 you will see a red warning message in the lower part of the Preferences dialog stating that you need to select an audio device. The problem is that the action done in step 3 makes Traktor think that the S4 controller was removed and so the audio connection becomes disabled as well. To correct this open the Audio Setup pane, select any other audio device and the reselect the Kontrol S4 device. You need to select another audio device first, otherwise you cannot select the Kontrol S4. The good news: you only need to do this once.

Creating an S4 User Mapping

Now the ground is set for creating a customised mapping. Depending on your knowledge about Traktor mappings you can either use the TSI mapping that was installed during the S4 installation as a starting point or you can create the mapping from scratch.

To import the S4 mapping that comes with the installer open the Preferences dialog and select Controller Manager in the categories list. Then click Add/Import. Traktor shows the Open dialog; the folder Settings is preselected. Surf to the sub folder Default Settings/Controller/Native Instruments and select the one and only TSI file in this folder. Click Open.

Traktor adds a new mapping of type Traktor.Kontrol S4.User to the device list.

Traktor Pro S4, Standard User Mapping

The mapping is quite complex and to get a better understanding of what is going on sort the table by column Control, find the Modifier commands and see to which controls on the S4 controller they are mapped to. This makes it easier to see under which conditions which of the other commands are executed.

In general the standard TSI tries to duplicate the embedded mapping. However: there are some differences. Some of the Sample Play buttons for example are mapped to the new command Backward Loop Size + Set that sets a loop backwards from the current playback position.

Copying a sample from a deck to a sample slot is not implemented. You can use the command Sample Deck/Load from Deck if you want to have this feature available. Not all of the new commands behave as one would expect. The new Traktor Bible update for Traktor Pro S4 contains a reference of all new commands and changes. You can download it here: Traktor Bible Update for Traktor Pro S4.

Option 4: Using other Controllers next to the S4

Because the embedded mapping cannot be customised and because it is not easy to re-map the S4 controller and it is only possible to make small changes, one good choice might be to add another controller to the S4 package. This could be Native Instruments Kontrol X1 for example (the only controller for which HID support is enabled in the Traktor Pro S4 software). All other controllers however can be mapped in MIDI mode.

On the TraktorFreaks website you find (at least) two mappings I specially made for the Traktor Pro S4 software:

  1. Kontrol X1: Sample Slots and Hotcues
  2. Lemur: Sample Slots Control


  1. Great hardware/software combination if the default mapping is exactly how you need it
  2. S4 controller not easily remappable
  3. Easiest way to make features available, that are not mapped on the S4 controller is by using a second controller

Written by: Rainer G. Haselier, edited by Karl Yates
Last update: November 1, 2010


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