xwax interface

When it comes to scratching virtual vinyl using timecode-imprinted records, Linux users aren’t left entirely in the dark. Simon Balarabe points to xwax:

xwax project page

Don’t expect it to be Traktor for Linux — the software supports only basic playback options — but for that purpose, it looks reasonably capable. It supports playback of MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, and AAC files, and has surprisingly-robust support for absolute-mode timecode vinyl. The developers claim you can perform “needle drops, pitch changes, scratching, spinbacks and rewinds.” (In other words, it has just reverse-engineered all the lovely things that Serato can do, now on Linux.) The only vinyl supported is Serato Scratch, though; it’d be nice to see Ms. Pinky (and somewhat surprising they didn’t use that first, given its open SDK).

If you’re a C programmer looking to develop your own solution, there’s talk of open sourcing the code.

We’ll be looking at new vinyl systems Deckadance from Image Line and Traktor Scratch from Native Instruments soon, but it’s nice to see something on the Linux side.

Simon also points to a timecode vinyl DJ system I’ve never seen before, called Quad. My brain can’t quite assimilate another Windows option, given the stiff competition, but if anyone’s used it, feel free to chime in.

Linux audio for the mainstream commercial developer seems a long way off, but if there are increasingly-compelling audio demonstrations, that could be one step closer to convincing developers to take the leap, especially if you look a few years into the future. I certainly would never have imagined Dell pushing Ubuntu on their towers, as they are now. Small steps, but interesting.

  • http://indiedanceparty.com DJ McManus

    Man, this digital emulation of vinyl scratching is so backwards thinking and anachronistic. Isn't there a digital counterpart which would be more interesting?

    What about keeping the track continuously playing but scratching only some frequencies or … I don't know … midi control or arpeggiating the scratches?

    And while were on the subject how come I can't find a decent vst tremolo effect?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Actually, if you use Ms. Pinky within Max/MSP, you can use vinyl to control whatever you want. And people have done unusual things with it, from manipulation of video to crazy sonic installations. There is a certain amount of emulation that does need to go into the timecode, just so the physical gesture is represented as digital control. But from there on out, you're right — you can do whatever you want. And I agree. It's time for something new. If all you're left with once you're done is a turntable, then there is something missing.

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  • http://indiedanceparty.com DJ McManus

    Let me put it this way. The old Yoda puppet was way cooler than the new cgi one. Until you saw him fighting by spinning around in the air and shit.

    For me, the concept of scratch emulation is like trying to make synths sound like "real" instruments. Do something new or just use a record.

  • Simon

    I agree in someways because the creative potential is quite big with the TCV systems (especially M$ Pinky + Max) ;) but another benifit of it is being able to take loads of pieces of music with you with out having to carry a load of records or cd's, also I like the idea of making a synth sound like a real instruments in some applications :) have you herd wendy carlos' 'Switch On Bach' ;) In the end its horses for courses :)

  • http://indiedanceparty.com DJ McManus

    I've done some googling and one idea I found was with Torq you can use control vinyl to scratch loops in the program's sampler.

    That's kind of cool.

    I'd love to see assignable effects which work exclusive on one direction of vinyl movement. Delay only on the backspin? Those kinds of things would be nice to see. Variable speed effects dependent on the speed of the platter movements.

    I'd love to see someone who's really taking that stuff to the limit. Q-bert are you on it?

  • Simon

    Have a go your self :) You could create somthing that did this if you wanted in Max/MSP :) using the Ms.Pinky External :) and some Ms.pinky vinyl :) providing you have max and the vinyl that is, but even if not you can still achive some interesting stuff with comercially avaialble apps that use TCV, Torq, DJdecks etc….That is not possible with two decks and a mixer :) , and you can still combine your old records with the tcv :) also with regards the the tremelo check http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=253:)

  • Jamis

    I've used xwax at a few Burning Man fundraisers and it works great. At the last party we had Final Scratch V2 and xwax hooked up at the same time. The DJ using Final Scratch couldn't get it to work without glitching. He tried everything he could and in the end he wasn't able to play because he was depending on it.

    xwax worked with a glitch for two DJ's including myself. The only issue was the playlist navigation but I will help fix that when the source is released.

    For users who want more then just basic vinyl emulation, remember that this software is a 0.1 release. It's incredibly stable right now and I feel that it will only get better with time.

  • http://lopsided.org alex

    excellent. i'm looking forward to trying it! now someone needs to make ableton live for linux and i'll happily uninstall windose =]

  • valentino

    right, alex! I already did!