Want to reignite interest in DJs who actually use their hands and fingers to slice up and juggle sounds? A cavalcade of “laptopists” is the ticket. Suddenly, at least in some corners, people are again interested in turntablism. It’s nice to see how a controller can integrate digital loop and cue points with a setup that still focuses on scratching. And Stanton’s SCS.3d turns out to be scriptable in the open source DJ software Mixxx. As some live PA musicians revert to a “push play” mentality, DJs can keep it interesting.
I’m generally not so interested in posting videos from manufacturers, but in this case it’s fun just watching DJ Jungleboy work behind a pair of Stanton SCS.3d controllers. These instruments seem designed for him. In a way, a lot of what he’s doing could easily be done with a sampler and drum pad, like an MPC setup, but then he’s got it mapped in a slightly unusual way, and the radial layout serves that nicely.
Oddly, what Jungleboy is doing is “DJing,” whereas some people with Traktor or Ableton Live supposedly doing “live PA” (some, not all) are basically just playing finished tracks – something you might more accurately term “iTunesing.” It’s a strange world, and what may ultimately happen is that we start to divide things between people who are making an effort to be musicians, good or bad, and people who aren’t.
These SCS.3d’s I see are now at a street price of US$200, which could make them a nice buy.
Open Source SCS.3d Scripting?
Need another reason to check out the SCS? All due respect to the folks at Serato, here’s a neat twist: you can script the SCS.3d with Mixxx, the open source DJ tool for Windows, Mac, and – yep – Linux. Serato is a terrific and solid tool, but if you’re looking for something a little different, Mixxx looks terrific.
This also demonstrates why choice makes controllers much more powerful, just as you’d want choices and versatility with a musical instrument. There’s a detailed post over at Mixxx’s blog from back in February. Basically, if you’re a power user, you can make the SCS.3d do any trick you like with its controllers, response, and lights. If you’re not, you benefit from the hard work DJ Pegasus has been doing to make this possible.
Now, I wonder if we’ll see this scripting applied to Akai’s APC40 soon, too, in Mixxx – my guess is yes, if that team gets their hands on one.
One thing’s for sure: the spirit behind turntablism, virtuoso manipulations of sound, lives on. And those of you just faking turning knobs? You’ll have to figure out how to live with yourselves.