xwax interface

When it comes to scratching virtual vinyl using timecode-imprinted records, Linux users aren’t left entirely in the dark. Simon Balarabe points to xwax:

xwax project page

Don’t expect it to be Traktor for Linux — the software supports only basic playback options — but for that purpose, it looks reasonably capable. It supports playback of MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, and AAC files, and has surprisingly-robust support for absolute-mode timecode vinyl. The developers claim you can perform “needle drops, pitch changes, scratching, spinbacks and rewinds.” (In other words, it has just reverse-engineered all the lovely things that Serato can do, now on Linux.) The only vinyl supported is Serato Scratch, though; it’d be nice to see Ms. Pinky (and somewhat surprising they didn’t use that first, given its open SDK).

If you’re a C programmer looking to develop your own solution, there’s talk of open sourcing the code.

We’ll be looking at new vinyl systems Deckadance from Image Line and Traktor Scratch from Native Instruments soon, but it’s nice to see something on the Linux side.

Simon also points to a timecode vinyl DJ system I’ve never seen before, called Quad. My brain can’t quite assimilate another Windows option, given the stiff competition, but if anyone’s used it, feel free to chime in.

Linux audio for the mainstream commercial developer seems a long way off, but if there are increasingly-compelling audio demonstrations, that could be one step closer to convincing developers to take the leap, especially if you look a few years into the future. I certainly would never have imagined Dell pushing Ubuntu on their towers, as they are now. Small steps, but interesting.