learn to scratch on controller

Learn to scratch on a controller

Learn to scratch on a controller

The type of controller

First of all for learn to scratch on a controller, you need of course a controller, a DJ software and preferably long samples. Then according to the type of controller, the technique will not be the same. What you should know is that most DJ controllers work like CD players with a non-motorized platter.

The tray or jog wheel

Although the scratching techniques come from vinyl, the controllers try to reproduce the feel of vinyl. Take the Numark NS7 controllers, the 7" platters are motorized and mimic a spinning vinyl. It is easy to find the position of the sample we are scratching with.

D'other models use visual cues with rotating lights like on Pioneer CD-Js. However, there are no markers on the low-end controllers, and no motorized platters either, which makes it difficult to find your way around. Therefore you have to look at the screen of the software used to find your way around. A powerful enough computer and a fast image refresh are mandatory so that there is no lag between the sound and the image of the displayed waveform.

In addition, the sensitivity of the tray (jog wheel) may be adjustable on some models, for more precision or speed in the movements.

Finally depending on the type of controller you are looking at:

  • the tray if it is motorized,
  • rotating lighting (CD type jog),
  • or the computer screen if your controller has no visual cues.

The crossfader or the fader

Regarding the crossfader or fader part, set the curve as short as possible. Just like a scratch mixer, the crossfader should act as a switch. This is what will allow the cutting of the sound. This parameter is adjustable in the software or directly on the controller, if it has this option.

Learning to scratch on a controller is not much different than learning on vinyl decks. The biggest difference is the size of the jog wheels which are smaller than vinyl. Use a fast computer for greater sensitivity of the decks. The key is the coordination of the jog and crossfader to produce worthy scratches. For example, well done scratches with a controller will be the equivalent of scratches with a DVS (digital vinyl system) with a few less techniques.

Indeed, some faderless techniques are only possible with motorized platter controllers.

To conclude I tried the NS7 III from Numark. It is true that the platters are precise and no need to look at the screen. Compared to the mix track pro III it's a time saver for quick scratch DJ maneuvers.

learn to scratch on controller

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