Scratching with a mouse just doesn’t feel right. One solution, as in FinalScratch and other products, is to print timecode onto the vinyl. But then there’s the direct approach: strap that mouse right onto your turntable and hit the club!

That’s just what the DIY-oriented community of users of terminatorX have done. terminatorX is a fully open-source scratch synth on Linux, with support for files like OGG, MP3, and WAV, and even (recently) Linux’s open stereo plug-in format, LADSPA. terminatorX lacks fancy features like support for timecode-printed vinyl, so users take a more literal approach to melding mouse and turntable.

Practical? Well, not especially. But fun? Heck, yeah. (Added benefit: a couple of these are far lighter and smaller than a real turntable.)

Necessity is definitely the mother of invention:

  • Some of the projects use a series of belts to connect rotation mechanically to the mouse apparatus
  • Toqer worked with a DIY optical sensor apparatus; several of these use optical sensors on the mice to keep from touching the records (thus making these even kinder to records than an actual cartridge would be)
  • A number of projects feature full-blown motors and entirely-concealed mice
  • Adam King built an entire DIY turntable with a mouse connected inside the unit (pictured, top)
  • My personal favorite, Fernando S. Fabreti took the brute-force approach and put a mouse directly on the tone arm. (below) Insane. Brilliant.

More projects, photos, and links to specs and how-to instructions (I imagine you could do damage with ideas like this using other software, or even applications other than turntables):

terminatorX Turntable Gallery

This should also leave you more than typically safe from stepping on any N2IT/FinalScratch patents. Thank Douglas Englebart for this one.