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 …

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Record as Record Player: DIY Turntable, Donuts for Serato in New Releases

Record giant Universal Music Group is cutting prices on the CD, as analysts clamor for still-lower prices. But as for actual records – the kind made of vinyl – odder and odder innovations flourish. If the CD is dying, the vinyl record is an undead, sexually-alluring vampire. Two recent releases not only treat the record as “delivery mechanism,” but also tools for playing the record. The late hip hop great J Dilla (aka Jay Dee) gets a well-deserved tribute from his label Stones Throw, complete with some fantastic, unreleased instrumentals (“Safety Dance”, “Sycamore”, “Bars & Twists,” and remastered cuts for …

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Read Traktor-Timecoded Vinyl in Max, Max for Live, (Soon) Pd

This freaky-looking screen image: yours free. It looks like you’re navigating some microscopic rover on another planet. Awesome. More software is speaking timecode, opening up control of digital sound to real, physical vinyl on turntables. The latest addition: Time TunnelXL is a pair of externals that decodes Native Instruments’ Traktor Scratch vinyl and scratches not only sound, but visuals or anything you can make in the open development environment Max. Right now, it supports Max/MSP (and thus Max for Live) on the Mac, but support for Linux and Windows and the open-source Pure Data as well as Max are planned. …

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Ms. Pinky + Max for Live = Scratch Anything in Ableton

Ms. Pinky Revised from Mastah Lee on Vimeo. What should DJing in Ableton Live look like? How could conventional vinyl cueing and scratching be integrated with the Live environment? Serato and Ableton gave us one possible answer to that question last week with The Bridge. Their solution: use your Serato DJ set normally, and simply sync the transport of Ableton Live when the two run simultaneously. That solution could be ideal for some users, but it falls short of what many expected, which was the ability to scratch audio elements from Live as though they were on vinyl. Scratching Live …

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Ableton + Serato: The Bridge Fuses DJ Sets, Live Sets; Full Details

Live maker Ableton and DJ and virtual vinyl developer Serato today announced the results of their partnership. First off, this isn’t what many of us originally speculated: it’s not a DJ deck inside Live. Instead, the collaboration seeks to bridge (ahem) the gap between the way DJs perform and the way Live users perform. The result focuses on the way a performance set is assembled in the two paradigms, an attempt to guide the flow of music between the two programs. Here’s how it works. Bring Serato “mixtapes” into Ableton Live: Save a DJ mix – called a “mix tape” …

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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. …

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Vinyl + Ableton: Ms. Pinky and Max for Live Working Now

Photo (CC) Brendan Dawes. It’s round, it’s mechanically-resistant, it’s tangible, it supports multi-touch and gestures. Yep – it’s the turntable, and outdoing it would mean reinventing the wheel, literally. And so it is that more than a few Ableton fans have wondered how they might work vinyl into their software axe of choice. Ableton and digital vinyl vendor Serato have announced they’re doing “something,” and then announced at the beginning of October that an announcement would be announced on January 14, 2010 at NAMM. Oh, and they said it will “unleash your creativity,” which sounds good. (It’s better than, say, …

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