Nathan Ramella has sent us a video of a new project called ammoBox. What is it? Well, I happen to know a bit about it, but Nathan has sworn me to secrecy, so I’ll just point out:

  • It claims to be the "world’s first stream scratching, simul scratching, sequ scratching"
  • Nathan was a co-creator of the Unofficial Ableton Live API (which now lives on Google Code if you’ve been wondering where to find updates on that) — so we know he’s got the chops for hacking
  • Yes, that’s Ableton Live … yes, that’s a turntable … no, this isn’t quite the same as other things you’ve seen using that combination.

Any guesses?

Bay Area folk, come see this at our 2:30pm competition (and at the CDM Booth) at Yuri’s Night … and everyone else, stay tuned here and on that site for more details very soon.

  • jazzdalek

    Wow! Nice work! Super way Coool

  • I WANT I WANT!!!!!!

  • So, it scratches on-the-fly assignable loops via timecode? Like a virtual battle record? With the ability to assign as many (or few) simultaneous loops to the scratch platter as desired?

    Interesting stuff, though to be totally honest the demo left me wanting a bit – the resulting sound didn't seem all that different from a typical scratch set, but I'm not a turntablist.

  • what the… :D:D:D wanna hear more

  • asger

    it would be nice to have a "final scratch" kinda feature i build into ableton live, but my guess would be that he is sending the note data to ms. pinky or something like that. It is a good idea though. I would love to see someone with better scratch skills demo it.

  • To beatfix: A virtual battle record was one of the foundation concepts I was hoping for when I started the project, but it's a bit more than that. Timecode controls the samples but does not trigger them. And, as far as a typical scratch set, not really.

    Note that in numerous places where there are four notes, the sample triggered by the note continues even after the note-off event has occurred, this gives you a bunch of interesting overlap possibilities in that you can trigger a sample keep it under the needle after it would have otherwise terminated play, this allows you to layer samples up, what I call 'stream scratching', samples are injected into the stream via MIDI and manipulated with the vinyl.

    sequ-scratching is basically the concept of having your samples trigger quantized to the beat, note that when the loops are running on their own (the record is freely spinning), they retrigger at the 1/4th intervals on the screen — this is simply impossible with any existing product and is akin to 'Recycle' for live audio. You can change the speed of the record player and the samples will still start at the same time even if they don't finish at the same time. That aspect is subtle but it really plays up the power of Ableton + ammobox.

    simul-scratching… well. I haven't shown that off yet.. I will though soon. After getting the prototype done my mind has been racing to implement new features, I've got a handful on my whiteboard that'll really rock the house when I get the time.

    Thanks for the positive comments though guys, it's really nice to see interest in my project. I knew I wasn't the only person who wanted this. 😀

  • ian

    pretty badass, glad to see that someone's taking a new approach to the digital turntable concept

  • Cort3x

    That's pretty darn awesome.

    *bows down to monkey overlord*

  • Shiro

    I'm really interested in seeing more of this.

    My head is full of ideas on how I could use this system in my live gigs!!!

    Keep up the excellent work.

  • vnl

    I was experimenting with very similar thing through max/msp and mspinky DVS devkit.

    First thing was to get my own sample combos without having to make a dubplate for it so digital scratch records dubplates where samples are layered as I want and changed on the fly via midi.

    Second, you can record very easily what is happening with record while scratching and apply it to any other sample around – you can scratch once and then apply your scratches to different samples – scratch sequencing

    It is not done quite yet as there is some issues still to solve but I would say that mspinky is more ready for it as when you buy it it is open source…

  • phattfoniks

    i was hanging out for your vci-100 scratch VST…

    but this is prob why i never saw it materialize.

    this is way more revolutionary and plain cool.

    imagine your a dj for a live hiphop trio and youve got all your own beats as clips in ableton ready to go, now you can also have all your samples qued and seq.. ready to go! i cant wait brutha 😛

    (i no longer use my vci-100 but still havent sold it caus i love that midi crossfaader..)

  • phattfoniks

    does this use ms. pinky ???

    i hope so caus i brought it about 6mnths ago.

    i cant tell if thats a pinky record?? (i got torq's with mine)

  • i also was waiting for the vci-100 vst…

    but this is way cooler.

    cant wait for this tool to become released.

  • I hope I didn't come across as too harsh – thanks for the additional details, btw. I can definitely see how this opens up new possibilities for scratching samples, and the combination of quantized beats and free scratching is interesting for sure.

    I'd be interested to hear this technique applied to melodic / harmonic phrases, not just vocal drops and samples – could make for quite a compositional tool.

  • corporation, phattfoniks, my apologies for the VCI-100 vst never materializing. My VCI-100 still is on old firmware, and I cannot get it upgraded — the Vestax USA support has essentially ignored me, never returned my calls. Incidentally I tried calling them again today and got voice mail.. That's basically what killed that project – the jog-dial bug. Without being able to resolve that I could never get the VST working right..

    But it all worked out, I kept pushing the idea and a year later I finally have it, just in a different form (and actually better this way I think)

  • beatfix: I didn't take your comment as harsh at all, it's a common response to wonder whats going on and ask.

    The design principal behind ammobox is to keep the turntable 'the star', technology doing tricky stuff needs to be as transparent as possible, yeah it can do crazy stuff but the core of it is to make on-the-fly improvisation easier.

    I'll have some melodic/harmonic stuff in the demo for Saturday which I'm hoping to video and post up when done. Should be fun!

  • vnl: Cool! I own Ms. Pinky too but not Max, oddly enough the guy who runs Ms. Pinky lives within walking distance from my house! Maybe I'll run into him one of these days.

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  • Nick Dima

    So do you need any other hardware except the turntable and the mixer for this? Like Serato or any other audio interface like that?

  • Only hardware you need is a good low latency soundcard, a mixer, and of course a turntable unless you have Globetrotter level control of spinning things on your fingertip.

  • Doug Rouxel

    There is more updates to the Live API than are apparent on the google code site, there is additional code on assembla and a group on google groups, the main development being a cross platform MIDI implementation of communication through it using a Max/MSP patch to request/decode it (there is a not-very-good Pd version as well – which I'm working on).


  • Nathan – vestax pretty much gave me the same shaft with my first gen vci-100 unit. I've given up on getting a firmware update.

    will this project support midi jogs at all, or just timecode records? i'm guessing just TC…

  • this uses ms pinky vinyl?

    if so, i'm assuming torq vinyl would work as well?

  • This works with any type of time code vinyl,

    Ms. Pinky,


    Final Scratch,

    Traktor Scratch,


    and 'ammoBox timecode', my own 'homebrew' time code (Not available on vinyl, but for CD-DJs could save them a couple bucks..)

  • As far as will it work with VCI-100.. fixed ones yeah.. I wrote this to be pretty modular / usable by people other than myself.

  • jun

    I thought your set showed alot and was good Nathan. I'm very impressed by the interface and concepts this blends. I hope that you are supported in this and not ignored, cause this feature would complete the ableton's Live series apps. Not to mention raise the bar on digital performance for those who like to blend live elements of all styles.

    Best of luck Nathan.


  • all i can say is: give me!

    you rock.

  • djcrucial

    Could you use this as a replacement for DVS? Yes you can scratch but can you change the speed of the loop? I.E. I'm a house dj that scratches and would like to use Scratch Live with ableton but it doesn't rewire. Would this be a good substitue?

  • The cat is out of the bag now, ammobox is a Reaktor ensemble and I'm giving it away for free at and on Native Instrument's User Library.

    Another video up at: showing the ensemble in action with clearer use of MIDI.

    I should note again, ammobox doesn't require Ableton (or any DAW), it just works nicely inside Ableton.

  • More detail for interested parties:

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  • Nick L


    I want to download, but the link you provided is broken! Help!

  • ilo


    What do you mean by fixed VCI-100's?

    *any chance the download link will come back online?

  • edgar

    Hey guys does any one have trouble with ammobox? I bought a Final scratch record but i get two errors. The sample playback gos in sync with the record but it sound sjittery as if there was a fast vibrato effect on the sample. Than when i slow the record down the ammobox ensemble does the same until i fully stop the record. As soon as i stop it the ammobox record starts drifting back or forth. If i cut the sound instatnly with the fader the ammobox record might speed up instantly or do random things. please help… anyone

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  • nerdbert

    Can someone help me. I cant open ammobox in reaktor. All i get is a dialog that ammobox isnt a valid file. What am i doing wrong?

  • pitchy&scratchy

    Can someone help me. I cant open ammobox in reaktor. All i get is a dialog that ammobox isnt a valid file. What am i doing wrong? —> hello i got the same problem? any solutions what we are doing wrong? thx

  • Ah, this sucks so much that this thread & project got abandoned. i still can't figure out how to set it up. I've gotten DeckaDance to work inside ableton before using an FA-101 card with a Traktor Scratch control record.

    No luck operating ammobox though. Someone, please throw a basic guide out there!!!