Serato DJs Get Slim-Line Controllers at Last, with New Akai Hardware

Serato DJs swear by their software. But one thing they haven’t had lately is a lot of choice in DJ controller hardware. Sure, there’s now a range of hardware getting updated for the latest software. But even after a transition to the new Serato DJ platform, almost all of this hardware is of the “really wide with two big wheels” variety. That big hardware is a big problem. It leaves out Serato DJs working with vinyl who just want some added control of the software. It adds two big platters, which are arguably something you don’t need in the first …

READ MORE →
scratchtrackplug

Scratch Anything, in a $20 Plug-in: MIDI, Turntables, and Hosts Like Ableton Meet

Turntablism is still alive, but surprisingly, turntable techniques haven’t entirely harmonized with modern DAWs. One of the first products ever covered here on CDM was Ms. Pinky, a combination of software and vinyl, which recently saw a Max for Live iteration. But Scratch Track is about the most universal, easiest way yet to drop scratching into a project. It’s a VST plug-in, compatible with OS X (10.6 or later) and Windows. It works with turntables. It works with MIDI. It works with host automation. It works with host automation and MIDI even if you don’t have a turntable. And there’s …

READ MORE →

Digital DJing: Serato Scratch Live is Dead; Long Live Serato DJ [In Depth]

Serato DJ With DVS is Here from Serato on Vimeo. Let’s not mince words: Serato’s DJ offerings had gotten confusing, and updates and compatibility lagged. This week, the company has changed the tune: there’s one Serato to support everything, and it’s coming soon. For controller users, that means being ready to go in October, thanks to vastly-expanded hardware compatibility. For digital vinyl users, things are still going somewhat slowly, but a beta will be available later this year with stability afterwards and broader support for hardware early next year. That means controller users are likely to switch this fall, with …

READ MORE →
Helix_iPad_mockup

Helix, A Digital Turntable Proposal, in a Visual, Touchable Circle [Kickstarter]

The basic idea of the turntable, its round rendering of sound as a physical object, still attracts fascination. But is there a way to truly make the same metaphor fit digital media? Peter Adany is the latest to try, with a design proposal and mock-up he’s trying to fund for iPad (and Mac and Windows) via Kickstarter. What makes his proposal compelling, like some of the best concepts in this field, is that the results are visual and sensitive to movement. It’s a design that stays true to the geometry and physics of the record that inspired it – rather …

READ MORE →
remixdeck

Traktor 2.5, Kontrol F1 Arrive with Live Features; Hoping for More Live DJing

Features come and features go. As upgrades go, Traktor 2.5 has plenty to recommend it – plus, it’s free for current Traktor 2 users, meaning you probably don’t need anyone’s advice to try it out. So, then, the question is: will tools mean that the DJ gigs you hear be any different? There’s nothing wrong with DJs who simply smoothly mix records, whether on vinyl or digital. But that doesn’t stop music fans from sometimes longing for more of a performance. Traktor 2.5 is clearly focused around those “live” features – remixing music rather than just beat-matching and playing. As …

READ MORE →
archie-pelago-cover

Turntable Meets Cello, Sax, Laptop: How Archie Pelago Uses The Bridge and Ableton Live

With laidback, exotic grooves and richly-coordinated interlaced cello, saxophone, turntable, and electronics, Archie Pelago’s music relies on some serious technological savvy. To be sure, all you really need to play instruments and computers and turntables together is to get into a room and start jamming. But to realize their specific musical vision, the trio of Hirshi, Cosmo D and Kroba have turned to an advanced Ableton Live rig, centered around The Bridge to couple Serato and Live. Here’s a look at their music – and all the gory details that combine to make their setup tick. Grab the free EP …

READ MORE →

Scratch This: A DIY Project Repurposes DJ Controllers as Scratch Inputs; Recycling DJ Gear

Scratching, meet recycling. Rather than allow MIDI DJ controllers to consign themselves to landfills, a new open source project promises to retrofit these gadgets with scratch capabilities. Scratch Decoder is a collaborative, open source effort to add or extend obsolete controllers, CDJs, and turntables with digital vinyl control – before they get tossed. Inspired by a 2009 thesis by Swiss student Ramon Mathis, advised by the folks who first developed the Ms. Pinky vinyl control system for Max/MSP, and rooted in years of work, the system is now publicly documented. The ingredients: An Arduino hardware board The encoder sensor and …

READ MORE →

The Bridge for Serato and Ableton: Public Beta, Manual Available

This image, via The Bridge 1.0 manual, reveals the “Ableton Panel,” by which Live appears as a sort of virtual device inside the Serato DJ app. We’ve known since January that Ableton Live, the live production software, and Serato Scratch Live, a leading virtual vinyl and DJ app, were to be connected with new software called The Bridge. (See our Q&A from the NAMM trade show at the beginning of the year.) Now, after a limited private beta, the software is available as a public beta. There’s also full documentation online if you just want to browse through and have …

READ MORE →

Rane Sixty-Eight: A Mixer/Controller for Two Computers

It had to happen sooner or later: the computer has supplanted the turntable, so why not a mixer intended for two computers? That’s the idea behind the just-announced Rane SIXTY-EIGHT. It’s intended for use with two computers via two independent USB ports, plus controller support (intended primarily for Serato’s tools, but presumably adaptable to other software) for up to four virtual decks. Now, as a way to manage four decks, it seems like absurd overkill – hasn’t Traktor done four decks for years? But if this solution is indeed software-agnostic, it could be a boon to advanced computer musicians wanting …

READ MORE →

Meet the Digital Vinyl Systems That Predated N2IT’s Patent

It’s something we take for granted now, but not so long ago, the only way to scratch and cue records was with analog vinyl. Now, of course, simulating those behaviors using digital records on turntables connected to computers is commonplace. But that hasn’t stopped the question of who owns the technology from spawning legal disputes. Most recently, a suit brought by patent claimants N2IT against M-Audio was dismissed. You can read the history from the time N2IT, a two-person company, launched their first commercial digital DJing (for BeOS, no less) back in the late 90s. In patents, “first” is everything. …

READ MORE →