It’s Richie Hawtin Watch time! The latest: NI teases an upcoming DJ controller by sharing video of Richie playing it in a club. The surprise: it’s actually what he’s doing with Maschine that seems most interesting to me. And if you recall the Twitter DJ app that he promised in the spring, it’s here, ready to use so long as you have Traktor and a Mac. (If you’re reading, Richie, do let me know if I’ve gotten my facts straight…)

Native Instruments yesterday pointed me to a video they’ve posted of Richie Hawtin DJing at Berlin’s lovely Saturday Adventure Club. The point of this is, of course, to tease an upcoming DJ controller they intend to announce in detail in November. You can already tell a lot from watching the video: it’s a hardware controller (or two chained together) that focuses on the Traktor working method. That is, there appears to be an emphasis on control of multiple effects, and cue and loop points, and it seems you can control Traktor’s full four decks. (At least, that’s what I get from squinting at the video; I could be wrong.) Regular Traktor users may be able to tell more, so … um, squint away.

To me, actually, it’s what Richie is doing with Maschine that looks most cool. He’s using NI’s drum machine to program in live beats and loop those, and it appears he’s then using Traktor as a sort of software DJ mixer / DJ source / effects unit. This shouldn’t be a big deal; in an ideal world, we’d have lots of DJs getting crazy playing their own beats atop their mixes and really mixing up the stuff they’re playing. Sadly, too often what you get is people playing tracks straight, which means you could just stay home and drink and dance in your living room. Richie’s sets do a lot more than that – and of course, what a lot of us are looking forward to is a rebirth of his original Plastikman stuff on tour, expected some time in the near future. If you’re interested in what he’s doing in his live sets, and his fellow minus mates, let me know and I can find out.

Before anyone complains about his line-up of gear, Richie was involved in the development of all these products, including the Allen & Heath mixer. So I would expect him to use the stuff!

In other news, the TwitterDJ app is now freely available, for Twittering tracks live from Traktor. The bad news is, the installation and setup is pretty involved, and it’s Mac-only. I like the idea – part of the vision of TwitterDJ is getting DJs reporting tracks they’re playing, so producers get paid when their music is played. And letting clubgoers discover tracks they’re hearing is also a great thing. I suppose the advantage of it being on Twitter is that it’s accessible to people at clubs with cell phones. But you do wonder if a Web-based format wouldn’t be better, and given that underneath is the cross-platform Icecast streaming server, it seems too bad to me that the app is Mac-only. Building networked apps is a perfect application for platforms like Java and Python. But don’t get me wrong: it’s great to see someone who plays out as much as Richie does experimenting, and sharing the tool he built. I’d like to know if the tool is open enough that other people could take it and adapt the idea to other platforms and servers / communication media.

  • Amanda

    Looks like the NI product is for the control of the songs and effects only. He's got two up there so my guess is that each unit is for one "turntable".

    Doesn't look like there's a built in mixer, maybe they figure it's better to leave the mixers to allen and heath and keep the cost down.

    Don't own Traktor but that's my guess. Sure as heck beats the crap out of

  • it’s a hardware controller (or two chained together) that focuses on the Traktor working method. That is, there appears to be an emphasis on control of multiple effects, and cue and loop points, and it seems you can control Traktor’s full four decks.

    It's definitely two identical units, each controlling 2 decks (and effects). It actually looks similar to the Faderfox DX2, except with better visual feedback, and dedicated knobs for two FX units (the DX2 uses on set of knobs and buttons for 2 effects).

    Also, while the unit may not some particularly innovative, the lack of jog wheels and pitch faders (as found on most DJ oriented controllers) is interesting, and quite forward thinking in my opinion: It means less emphasis on the physical act of mixing, and more on the transformation of the source material via loops and effects.

  • I meant "while the unit may not seem", I need to learn to reread my comments before hitting the submit button…

  • @Mateo/Amanda: Yeah, that was my take exactly. It's tough for a hardware controller to really emulate a turntable, so in this case the controller focuses instead on other things. And if you're not scratching, you can put attention elsewhere – like beat programming.

  • hermetic

    still waiting for your real NI maschine review peter…before the release of beat kangz.

  • hmmmmm

    I don't understand why Richie didn't just develop a lastfm plugin for traktor and start the scobbling. Seems he is just reiventing the wheel, in fact this TwitterDJ appears to offer less!

  • @hmmmmm: i think one advantage of the TwitterDJ is that there are plenty of mobile twitter apps and thus almost each one of the club audience are able to receive his tweets immediately.

    What do you all think can be a more open alternative compared to TwitterDJ .. but with the same potential in the ease of reaching people?

    Maybe a multi client tool that can post track information (maybe out of several audio softwares, not Traktor alone?) to different kinds of accounts, like Twitter, and others.

  • @Shufflebug: No, you've got it exactly. I guess my issue was, I'd rather have that information stored in a structured medium, and have *that* translated to Twitter, which should absolutely be possible. Of course, this is why it often takes me a long time to get things accomplished, because I tend to scale up ideas instead of scaling them down. 😉 But in all seriousness, the issue with Twitter is that you don't have that data in a structured, permanent way as you might way, and it really wouldn't be hard to, say, put it in blog format with an RSS feed that in turn did a condensed post to Twitter.

  • Twitter is simply a cool feature, useless unless someone develops a way to get stats from the feed. And like someone said early Twitter is more for people to be able to see what he is playing in real-time from their phones in the club. I think that he is not scrobbling on lastfm because all his tracks are not correctly tagged since he has such a mix of released and unreleased material that is being updated and renamed all the time.

    As for his controllers. I think it is funny how Twitter has taken away trainspotting and now the new form is trying to figure out how the DJ is doing what he is doing. I am sure each one of the NI:1D is in control of two decks and does what the DX2 essentially does but hopefully better.

    As for the other Macbook/Maschine he has the D16 Drumazon VST and PSP 42 VST in Live. The Aux out on the XONE92 goes out through the PSP 42 and back in to Mic channel 1 (to provide a nice mix between dry/wet signal) and he has the Maschine (aka TR-909) coming in on mic channel 2 to add more creativity, a human touch and old school feel to the beats he plays.

    This is getting far more advanced from where he started out in March 2008 and is making for exciting times for both DJs and club-goers alike.

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  • XPect more

    This sounds like keymashing your drum machine. A better option might be to do your own remixes ahead of time and drop those?

    Traktor has linked with Beatport for downloading tracks while DJing. That didn't really catch on. This business with Twittering will probably be little more than the same gimmick. Compare this video to the instructional videos of the APC and this just seems like sizzle.

    Allen & Heath mixers have the most musical filters, a real treat.

  • julian

    sorry if this is old hat, but isnt this the new controller in the NI demonstration at the start

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