Stanton has released the details of its new DaScratch touch controller, and I have to admit, it looks pretty terrific. About as far as anyone has gotten with a smart touch controller is an X/Y pad; this controller, by contrast, defines different areas of the touch surface for different functions and provides LED feedback so you can see what you’re doing. “Scratching” alone doesn’t really make sense in the computer world, even with DJ software, so you get lots of different functions for live performance. I think this may be as big a hit with Ableton Live users and laptop musicians as DJs.

Updated: Richard Devine video above now restored.

The specs:

  • 5 touch sliders, 3 of which are switchable via preset
  • 1 rotary touch controller (switchable)
  • Loads of buttons: 4 hardware backlit switches + 10 + 9 switchable buttons
  • USB bus powered
  • Windows, Mac compatibility (Linux should work, too; it’s class compliant — you just miss out on the included software app)

What can you do with those touch areas? Stanton suggests scratching, scrubbing, navigation, cueing, looping, sampling, pitch shifting, effects, and the like, but of course, you can hook it up to whatever you like, and for our friends building crazy Pd and Reaktor soundmakers, this could be even more fun.

By switching modes, you can shift the kind of gestures you’re using on the center touch area, selecting three vertical faders, or one vertical fader and a circular touch area, or one fader and buttons. That’s in addition to the buttons and fader areas elsewhere. I’m impressed that in a small space, there’s a significant set of controls. If you want more, you can even snap together multiple units.

The clever addition is that, on top of the hardware, you get a software app called DaRouter. Dumb name, but functional stuff: built on Bome’s MIDI Translator, the software makes it easy to swap between presets for Traktor and Serato or select a generic/Ableton preset. You can’t edit the software presets directly, but you can make your own in MIDI Translator. See the DaRouter page for more.

The best part? Our friend Richard Devine demoing the unit in the video at top. I’m sure Richard can do something a lot more out there with this as the controller, though.

Lots more at the product page:

SCS.3D: DaScratch

Pricing: US$299 list
Availability: Unknown

Stanton wants this to be part of some giant “system,” by which they mean they want you to buy more things from Stanton. I’ll leave that up for you. On its own, this looks like a potentially wonderful controller; I’m eager to try it and see if the hardware build and touch quality delivers.

Previously: Stanton to Release Touch DJ Controller; Surface One, Thunder, Reborn?