Serato DJ Pro General Discussion

Talk about Serato DJ Pro, expansion packs and supported hardware

any one have suggestions how to use the FX intelligently.

madninjaskillz 10:06 PM - 2 February, 2010
Product: itch
Version: 1.3
Hardware: numark-nsfx
Computer: pc
OS Version: win7
---

I finally gave in and got me an nsfx.
Ive been watching the djcerla videos (I may not see eye to eye with him on the mac vs pc issue but i have mad respect for his skills) and i just cant seem to manage to acheive some of the stuff he does.

I managed the scratch synth one. the one that gets me stuck is the 3 deck mix one. how DOES the repeater work? i ant seem to really 'control' it - and if i repeat from the main i CAN cut the deck and have it loop - but not for very long. Im really hoping for sasha style mixing without resorting to ableton (i just feel like thats cheating). mostly what im acheiving so far is just fancy drops and was hoping for some advice on using some of the effects a bit more intelligently.
2:29 AM, 3 Feb 2010
Discussion moved to ITCH General Discussion
Serato, Moderator
Matt-C 2:30 AM - 3 February, 2010
Hi madninjaskillz.

I've moved this into the ITCH General Discussion as other users will be able to give you hands on effects experience and advice on use rather than just technical help.
Cheers.
djcerla 9:29 AM - 3 February, 2010
Quote:
Ive been watching the djcerla videos (I may not see eye to eye with him on the mac vs pc issue but i have mad respect for his skills)


thanx :)

As far as using FX intelligently, I'd suggest you the following:

1) during your gig use the FX as a tool, don't over-focus on it. I usually have the LPF loaded as a go-to utility, use the HPF sometimes (mainly for short sweeps/fills), the flanger sometimes, and that's it, but:

2) prepare one or more "performances" at home, and practice them to absolute perfection, like a pianist would do with a Chopin adagio. This may involve building tracks ad hoc, like for example a special "performance" track with 2 full songs and 3 scratch sounds. Do extensive use of cue points in your performance, and find the "right" order of events (FX switch, FX on-off. jump to cue point) until the result is very musical, flowing and your workflow is flawless. You will know you are ready for prime time when your hands fly to the controls without any effort. Then go to the club and kill it!

This way, you will focus on MUSIC for 90% of your set (that's what DJing is about), using the FX mainly as a transition/buildup enhancement tool, and you will show your audience and club owner some perfect, high-level performances that will take you to the next level.

Last, experiment with FX in every weirdest way you can imagine, you will come up with something interesting to incorporate in your next "performance".

Just my 0.02
djcerla 9:40 AM - 3 February, 2010
PS: for your "performance", use music that people go mad for; this way they'll immediately recognize that "something is going on" in the DJ booth and you'lll also avoid the dreaded "DJ busy on empty dancefloor" scenario.

In other words, build those performances as the higher climax of your sets.
KLH 5:06 PM - 3 February, 2010
+1

My .02, a little effects goes a long way. In this aspect, it's like scratching with EDM - less is more.

-KLH
madninjaskillz 6:47 PM - 3 February, 2010
thanks for the advice guys. Im really thinking the NSFX wasnt really the tool i wanted after all. if they added a better looper type effect id be over the moon.

youre right about the using it as a tool. i kinda got the use of LPF etc as a sweep tool (bitchrusher can work for that too) im just hoping for something more creative - but i guess thats not really seratos core market. not meaning to dis anyone but the hiphop guys majorly out number us dance music guys and its aimed at them. not saying they arent creative, but theres only so much scratching/beatjuggling you can do in a drum and bass or progressive set before you scare everyone ;)

if serato added VST effect support, i really think that would be heaven. vdj's beat grid thing would be awesomes too - i expected the repeater to be similar (it might be, but i just cant get it to behave in a way that makes sense)
kraal 11:27 PM - 3 February, 2010
maybe if you can find on video what you are wanting and post on this thread....

i am not sure about the repeater on the nsfx but it is not 100% like the beatgrid on vdj but can provide some stuff......

i am not sure what vst effects are so elaborate a bit
madninjaskillz 12:49 AM - 4 February, 2010
vst's are plugins you use in composition software like cubase or fruity loops. theres already a massive library of them and all can be tempo synced so it just makes sense to use them. vdj kinda has support (but only for older vsts, not vst2)
kraal 12:53 AM - 4 February, 2010
sorry i meant which ones maybe serato can do some thing for us;)
djcerla 12:55 AM - 4 February, 2010
VSTs are fine, and would be fun indeed, but they would introduce a severe degree of instability to the system.

Given that the focus of ITCH is stability, I highly doubt VSTs will ever be supported.

(via Ableton Bridge? could be, however, in this case Live and not ITCH would actually use the FX)
kraal 12:59 AM - 4 February, 2010
what i am saying is what sounds are you actually looking for maybe those can be added as effects
madninjaskillz 10:34 AM - 4 February, 2010
effects id like:

a vdj style beatgrid to manipulate the order of parts.

a looper which loops a section controlled by the param knob, and new parts are overdubbed when the fx button is held.

sampler - select from 5 sample slots using param, when no sample is in position, hold fx to sample. when sample in slot hold to play, double tap to loop (set by deck tempo) tap+retap and hold to delete maybe

key changer.

notch filter.

saturator/overdrive.

effects that could be good but im not so fussed on:

autotuner/vocoder (would probably need a midi kb too)

metronome/beat track - sounds silly, but the ability to have a nice standard 4/4 kick without using a deck could come in very handy sometimes, especially for dual deck scratching.

compressor/desser/exciter type tools - useful to fix bad mp3s (should be done pregig but sometimes thats not an option)


I totally agree about VSTs introducing instability, and youre perfectly right about them not being included.
KLH 3:12 PM - 4 February, 2010
Unfortuantely, VSTs are unstable. They also use more than one parameter. Overall, they aren't suited to DJ use.

-KLH
kraal 3:57 PM - 4 February, 2010
those sound more like production tools not effects
madninjaskillz 4:34 PM - 4 February, 2010
kraal: thats probably because I've been producing a LOT longer than I've been djing - but as I said in the orig post - i want to be more creative than just playing records after each other. We've got a digital system - we dont need to keep to the vinyl constraints. i can understand if its not seratos priority, but it cant hurt to put this stuff in.
kraal 4:40 PM - 4 February, 2010
well that is the main reason for THEBRIDGE i am sure it was made with people like you in mind

however as far as djing goes it is about rocking a crowd unless you have a niche fanbase people just want to dance and move not watch you create a new song....

what i mean by that is you create the songs and home and play the live later
madninjaskillz 8:20 PM - 4 February, 2010
does the bridge allow realtime sampling without an extra soundcard (as in is it just timecode - or is there an audio path in the software too?)

if so, i should have bought an ableton controller and not the junk that the nsfx is turning out to be (not numarks fault)

i dont want to produce everything at home. half of a djs job is changing stuff as the crowd reacts. picking different records, different mix techniques (some crowds love it when you chop, some hate it, some love effects, some hate it)

if im gonna be prepping stuff like that at home, i might as well do the mix in adobe audition to make sure its perfect, burn it to cd and drink myself silly while it booms out of the club ;) (tempting but im not sure ill get paid hehe)

I paid £1300 + £160 for the nsfx, id rather some basic directly implimented tools to do some track tweaking, not a full blown seperate app (thats even more cost) to do things that i could on my hercules (which cost me £100) and the software that came free with it.

I do appreciate the 1-1 control and the stability they strive for - after the AWFULLY buggy practice session i just had, im half tempted to say throw in all the damn toys, who gives a hoot about making it unstable, it cant be any worse ;)

(and yes, I tried replicating the issues and i got most of them on my mac too but it was less rubbish than the pc was ;) )
czar 8:23 PM - 4 February, 2010
Quote:



I paid £1300 + £160 for the nsfx, id rather some basic directly implimented tools to do some track tweaking, not a full blown seperate app (thats even more cost) to do things that i could on my hercules (which cost me £100) and the software that came free with it.


+1
kraal 8:28 PM - 4 February, 2010
Quote:

if so, i should have bought an ableton controller and not the junk that the nsfx is turning out to be (not numarks fault)




THEBRIDGE will prob not do what you want or asking. So yes you should of got an ABLETON controller if that is the style of djing you want to do. ITCH is different than abelton
maestromind 9:16 PM - 4 February, 2010
Well the good news is that a Novation Launchpad and APC20 are both roughly the price of the NSFX - so not very expensive. Personally, I'll definitely look into getting those if the Bridge is all it's cracked up to be in ITCH.
That being said, a looper, sampler and key changer as madninjaskillz described sound like great additions to ITCH FX. However, I wholly agree that VST effects are very subpar for a live environment, as I learned the hard way from using VDJ before.

On the tangent: kraal - I think madninjaskillz has a point in that different crowds want different things - I know plenty of people who don't consider simply beat matching Top40 tracks DJing (of course plenty more patrons just want to hear Poker Face on repeat while they drink). A really great DJ should be a tastemaker - introducing the crowd to things they didn't even know they loved. Whether that's a dope new underground track or a live "performance" depends on what you and the crowd are into, though.
kraal 9:23 PM - 4 February, 2010
i agree but what i was saying is there are things that ITCH can do and things it cannot.
and that needs to be looked at when choosing gear.
kraal 9:31 PM - 4 February, 2010
see the bridge seems to allow you to use abelton with your dj set=up but a lot of people will say why not just use ableton
madninjaskillz 8:54 AM - 5 February, 2010
kraal: i WANT to dj. thats the primary thing. I WANT a vinyl feel with digital benefits. Ableton is not what i want, the NS7 IS.

Ive managed to get the kinda thing i want to do using a seperate (free) app called jeskola buzz which is a VST host (also has its own plug in format) which is free. I can run the ns7 cue output to it and set it to sample/loop etc etc. its all basic stuff really, its just how you use it.

Hell, the existing loop roll would help if you could lock it on and then change track without losing the roll. Im not asking for piano roll, just some more creative effects.
czar 9:01 AM - 5 February, 2010
ninja be thoughtful about ur purchase. I would wait for Itch 2 to show up. SL is a much stronger choice at this time and Serato will benefit from it as well.... Itch 2 will hopefully change that, but the might would be enough for me as a prospect buyer to consider. if u cant wait I would suggest u check out SL... if u can wait, I would check Itch 2 to see of we get a nice rich piece of cake. =)
madninjaskillz 9:21 AM - 5 February, 2010
czar: i know what youre saying. its such a shame you cant use the NS7 as SL controller. I can think of hacky ways to do that (ripping the control vinyl to wav and putting them on the NS7 decks and then pumping the output to SL hardware and seperate laptop)

I'm still not sure if understand the benefit of SL and Itch being seperate apps. Itch feels a bit like the Photoshop elements version...

Dont get me wrong guys, I LOVE my NS7 and (when it isnt being a total ass to me) i love itch. If i use the macbook and avoid certain effects, its flawless (other than the beat detection sometimes). The hardware totally totally feels worth the money. Its just im missing the creativity i had with cheaper, less able tools.
kraal 4:35 PM - 5 February, 2010
madninjaskillz: we are now back to what i was saying earlier maybe examples of what you are looking to do....
maybe all you are asking for is a sampler?
KLH 6:53 PM - 5 February, 2010
Quote:
I'm still not sure if understand the benefit of SL and Itch being seperate apps.

I think that it has more to do with Rane exclusivity for SSL hardware than anything else. If that's true, then congrats to Serato for going beyond the bounds of SSL.

-KLH
kraal 6:55 PM - 5 February, 2010
i think it has more to do with the intergrty of the software.... i mean which software out the both the timecode and the midi versions are completly the same program?
I1Kirm 7:14 PM - 5 February, 2010
emmm, VDJ, Traktor (Skratch Pro version has everything Pro has plus timecode), Decadence, Miss Pinky, you name it.
Almost every other program out there has timecode & midi under the same hood
kraal 9:48 PM - 5 February, 2010
and out of all those how many can read the ns7 properly?
I1Kirm 1:18 AM - 6 February, 2010
To my knowledge only VDJ can work properly with NS7, but that doesn't mean flawlessly
kraal 1:21 AM - 6 February, 2010
right which leads me back to saying there is a reason that ITCH and SSL or two seperate software solutions......
czar 4:41 AM - 6 February, 2010
people who have issues running Itch on any OS could as well argue that the NS7 doesn't "flawlessly" run with Itch as well. Varies with user. Get with the program.
KLH 7:26 AM - 6 February, 2010
Quote:
right which leads me back to saying there is a reason that ITCH and SSL or two seperate software solutions......

There is no TECHNICAL reason but there's likely a BUSINESS reason (like Rane exclusivity to SSL). If that's the case (and it's really none of our business anyway), good for Serato. They're making it work for them and us... which is all anyone can expect.

-KLH
I1Kirm 8:41 AM - 6 February, 2010
Serato has a different business model than the rest of the competition. Essentially their software is available for free but not playable without the appropriate hardware. So, when you buy Rane or NS7 or VCI some of the money go to Serato and the rest to the hardware vendor. Actually, their approach is very similar to Apple's with the exception that they don't own the hardware as well.
For years Serato was/is enjoying a dominant position over other digital DJ solutions as all of them were essentially timecode based but SSL had the advantage of superior hardware (i.e. Rane). Then Traktor changed its model by adding infinite variability and support for almost every other hardware out there. Serato realized the need for a change but the "problem" was that SSL is binded to Rane since that was the deal from the beginning. Rane more or less "owns" SSL but Serato still owns the copyright of the source code.
So, the only solution was to create a new software, one that will directly compete to Traktor pro but on the same time won't be a threat to Rane, thus timecode was excluded right from the beginning.
But Serato likes its business model; being binded to specific hardware certainly has its advantages. Besides better integration & stability, by following this tactic Serato is in the unique position to not worry for piracy issues. It's meaningless to steal a software if it can't work with your hardware and if you have already bought the appropriate hardware then you have paid for the software as well.
So, when creating ITCH Serato followed exactly the same business model as with SSL with one big difference, no exclusivity or should I say more "flexible" exclusivity. Any hardware vendor is free to jump on the vagon as long as it doesn't directly compete with any of the other vendors already on the vagon.
Of course, having excluded timecode and by forcing 1 to 1 mapping to the other hardware vendors Serato could also change their software as well and thus while SSL and ITCH share a lot of common code, they work and look different. But make no mistake, it would have been easier for them to just add high resolution midi into SSL than creating a whole new software.
So yes, being without timecode has its technical advantages but the main reason was business.
Munki 8:19 PM - 6 February, 2010
@I1Kirm

The most intelligent thing I've read on this forum tonight. What about 'PC vs Mac' or 'this/that feature is in SSL but not included in Itch' or other pointless nonsense?

:0)

The Munki
I1Kirm 10:26 AM - 7 February, 2010
Thanks Munki.
I prefer not to take part in the other debates you mentioned though since they never end and make absolutely no sense to me.
Munki 2:20 PM - 7 February, 2010
I hear you. I was a very early adopter of Itch and the NS7 and with the unit costing £1300 over here (over 2000 USD?) I made sure I did my research - online and in person with those developing both the software and hardware at exhibitions etc.

Now as far as using fx intelligently goes, does anybody else use the tremolo effect to transform scratch due to the fact that they are absolute cack with their left hand?

The Munki
madninjaskillz 12:21 AM - 8 February, 2010
munki! totally - id just started learning scratching (never been brave enough to try it but thought id have a go now since ive got no needle to destroy)... i discovered using the tremelo by accident...two steps down from the default is AWESOMES. i do wish it had a hold pattern (aka the ultimate cheesy trance pad - bababaaa bababaaa etc)
Munki 8:41 AM - 8 February, 2010
Glad somebody else found it ;0)

It does seem to drift somewhat though - more fuel for the BPM engine to be overhauled for v2.0
djcerla 8:46 AM - 8 February, 2010
Quote:
t does seem to drift somewhat though - more fuel for the BPM engine to be overhauled for v2.0


Yep... tremolo cut to transients was one the first requests I made when I started to test the FX.

HINT: use the NSFX fader to drop a long note from time to time, this way the scratch sounds more realistic. I'm making a short demo video on this.
Munki 9:08 AM - 8 February, 2010
@djcerla

Glad to see someone's ahead of the curve ;0)

Quote:
HINT: use the NSFX fader to drop a long note from time to time, this way the scratch sounds more realistic. I'm making a short demo video on this.


Would like to do that more but I've found scratching, using the normal crossfader and reaching for the fx fader a tad demanding!

Be interested to see that demo...
djcerla 9:10 AM - 8 February, 2010
Quote:
Be interested to see that demo...


coming today or tomorrow...
madninjaskillz 9:10 AM - 8 February, 2010
it'd be REALLY nice for scratch transforms if you could change the tempo of the cuts without it totally drifting out of time. it seems the effect is not tied to tempo - it takes a frequency on initialisation, whether or not this is on beat.

These issues are less to do with issues with the effect and more to do with us using the effects in ways not imagined by serato - which is cool :D

the other cool thing with using the trem for scratching is that it frees up a hand to play with the pitch control - so you can do like djcerla's scratch synth trick.

as a beginner scratcher, i recommend using the individual faders for the transforms over the xfader - its just easy to handle.
djcerla 9:12 AM - 8 February, 2010
hi madninjaskillz

try to tap tempo on the NSFX ;)
madninjaskillz 9:15 AM - 8 February, 2010
cerla: its not really the tempo as where the beat is. if you hit FX on the beat its cool, if you hit it (or change param) NOT on beat - it does in tempo but not in time (ie, if the trem was another turntable, itd be at the right tempo but the sound would be a train wreck ;) )
djcerla 9:17 AM - 8 February, 2010
Yep, I was just addressing your "it seems the effect is not tied to tempo" part of the sentence.
madninjaskillz 9:21 AM - 8 February, 2010
hehe - if i use the right terms, ill get the right help ;)
nik39 11:16 PM - 13 February, 2010
Quote:
For years Serato was/is enjoying a dominant position over other digital DJ solutions as all of them were essentially timecode based but SSL had the advantage of superior hardware (i.e. Rane). Then Traktor changed its model by adding infinite variability and support for almost every other hardware out there.

That is quite wrong. Traktor has been on the market longer than Scratch Live has been on the market. Traktor has always been open for any soundcard.

When SL came out the biggest competitor was Stanton/NI's Final Scratch. In fact it was the market leader.
czar 4:30 AM - 14 February, 2010
SL won because people wanted to use turntables.. if technique would have come up with turtables without needles it would have kills too. and if technique qould have chosen to partner with NI, SL would probably not exist. Except for the mixer part which also played a good role being rane mixers in the picture too. IMO...
spazz 6:26 AM - 14 February, 2010
Quote:
SL won because people wanted to use turntables.. if technique would have come up with turtables without needles it would have kills too. and if technique qould have chosen to partner with NI, SL would probably not exist. Except for the mixer part which also played a good role being rane mixers in the picture too. IMO...

You must have typed this while you were drunk, because I don't know what you're saying. Please explain it better.
I1Kirm 8:21 AM - 14 February, 2010
Quote:
That is quite wrong. Traktor has been on the market longer than Scratch Live has been on the market. Traktor has always been open for any soundcard.


I wasn't referring to soundcards support. I was talking about controllerism. At first everyone was about timecodes, then Traktor pushed hard to the controllers direction which soon became much more diverse and powerful than any DVS.
nik39 1:16 PM - 14 February, 2010
Controllers AKA Midi support has been in Traktor forever.
I1Kirm 2:58 PM - 14 February, 2010
Again, you are sticking to the terms and not looking how things true were/are. It's one thing to support something on paper and another to push all your efforts to this direction.... Anyway, I've done my homework and still support my story.
nik39 3:13 PM - 14 February, 2010
I guess we have to agree that we disagree.
I1Kirm 3:19 PM - 14 February, 2010
True :)
djcerla 3:20 PM - 14 February, 2010
Quote:
I guess we have to agree that we disagree.


Given that this approach saved our asses from World War III, I think it's a good start.