How To Use Any MIDI Controller With WeDJ + Cross DJ IOS Apps
There are great DJ apps for iOS that let you connect a controller and use your iPad as a complete DJ system. Unfortunately, some of those apps only allow you to use specific controllers. Today, guest contributor Teo Tormo explains how to get around these restrictions and use whatever MIDI controller you want with Pioneer DJ’s WeDJ and Mixvibes’ Cross DJ.
WeDJ and Cross DJ only allow DJs to use a very limited list of controllers. This is often because of commercial settlements, or because the same brand that develops the app also sells the controller. But if you don’t have one of the “allowed controllers” there is a way to fool the apps and make them believe that one of those controllers is connected!
What You’ll Need:
If you want to use any controller with the WeDJ or Cross apps, you’ll need:
A class compliant MIDI controller: Don’t know if your controller is class compliant? Check the manual. Also, usually class compliant devices don’t need drivers when used with macOS.)
Official Apple USB to lightning adapter*: commonly known as “Camera Connection Kit” or “CCK”. You can use the new one that comes with USB 3 and an additional power port (very useful with some controllers that need additional power) or the old one with just a USB 2.0 connector.
Midiflow iOS app*: You’ll have to buy the app and one in-app purchase, the “Controller Remapping” add-on
It would be also useful to have your controller’s MIDI message list, but this is not required.
* Why the CCK adapter? Many controllers “allowed” by these apps have direct compatibility with iOS. Some use special cables, in which case the app has a kind of built-in driver to support it. But in the end, all of them communicate with the app using standard MIDI commands, there is no HID protocol or anything special. Using the CCK adapter you can connect any MIDI class compliant controller, it will be recognized by iOS, and the controller will send standard MIDI commands.
If your controller does not use a power adapter (USB powered only), it might need more power than the one provided by the lightning port of the iPad. In that case, you’ll need the new CCK with the additional power port and connect the iPad charger or a USB battery pack Another solution for power problems (and that one always works), is to connect the controller to a powered hub, then connect that to the iPad with the CCK.
**Why the Midiflow app? Midiflow is an iOS app that allows to create virtual MIDI ports (and name them whatever you want) that can be seen by any other app, and also allows to patch virtual and real MIDI connections and remap MIDI commands between those connections. The app has some resemblance with Bome MIDI Translator, but made for iOS, and it’s also the key of this “hack”.
What’s The Plan?
It’s simple. We’ll create a virtual MIDI port with Midiflow with the same name that WeDJ or Cross expect to detect when looking for a connected compatible controller. That will be enough to make the app think the real compatible controller is connected.
After that, just remap the incoming MIDI messages from your controller into the MIDI messages that a compatible controller would send, and redirect all the messages to the new virtual port. You can also remap the outgoing messages from the app for visual feedback like LEDs.