Final Scratch 2
In other words, music is in a digital format, but controlling is analogical. The FS2 package contains the ScratchAmp, which is the hardware part, the driver for the ScratchAmp, in case you use a notebook (Mac has this driver from fabric), its original software Traktor Final Scratch from Native Instruments (but you can also use the rest of the softwares from the same vendor, like the last version of Traktor DJ Studio completely combatible with FS2), the firewire cable to connect the ScratchAmp to the computer, the needed RCA cables, that is 6, and the 2 vinyls and the 2 coded cds.
For starting to use FS2 you have to introduce both pick-ups or cd-players in the ScratchAmp, to connect the line outputs from the ScratchAmp to the line inputs of the mixer and also the outputs of the Thru in the inputs of the phono (these last 2 are used for mixing regular vinyls while you mix with the FS2, just letting the sound go through the ScratchAmp, and changing from line to phono at the mixer). The vinyls or cds have recorded some frequences on them which are sent by the pick-up to the ScratchAmp. The ScratchAmp interpretates the movements of the vinyl and instantly sends commands to the software. No matter how small the movement over the vinyl is, it is immediately felt in the software. This way, controling the plays digitally is the same as controlling two regular vinyls.
Technically speaking, FS2 offers an excellent sound quality, 24-bit/96kHz specific to the sound from the studio. The software reads mp3, aiff, wav, aac,wma. Because it uses firewire conexion, sending commands is very fast, unlike FS1.5 or Rane Serato, both using USB. The ScratchAmp has MIDI output and input so that any controller midi for software, aux-in for the microphone or for thr line-in can be connected for recording directly an external line in the Traktor.
The thing that really makes this tool extraordinary, in my opinion, is the combination FS2 with the Dj Studio 3. Combining the two you overpass the classical idea of mixing: a simple beatmatching and a passing from a play to another. With Traktor DJ Studio 3 you can use loops on the fly of 1, 4, 9 measures just by pushing a button, but still having control over that loop by vinyl. The software offers the possibility to use 4 decks, being able this way to bulid up another play from different loops of other plays. You have the possibility to use effects on each deck and I can tell you they are extraordinary. It would be ideal to use a MIDI controller for better acces to them. Don' t believe that the beatmatching part is left behind. Still, it is not Ableton. You still have to sincronize the 2 of 4 decks you use, like the classical beatmatching of two regular vinyls, the options getting higher and higher.
Another characteristic that seems extraordinary to me is that the Traktor DJ Studio 3 can send the MIDI Clock to another computer for example, where is playing Ableton Live(which can also read MIDI Clock). Any loop from Ableton is perfectly sincronized with your mix without any headache. The possibilities of creation have just risen very high!
This pakage is more stable if you use a performant laptop, beacuse the software asks for many resources. I would recommand a powerbook G4 from MAC from many points of view: it is more stable than a notebook, you don't need installation drivers, you don't need separate electric power for the ScratchAmp, because the powerbooks have firewire output on 4 large pins, that giving electric power to the ScratchAmp. The cost of this pakage are somewhere around 750 euros, plus the notebook which is between 1500 and 2000 euros. So, it is kind of expensive, but it is worth taken if you want to explote at the maximum the classical mixing.
Serato Scratch Live
Serato Scratch Live is from the Rane Company. It is another alternative for those who love turntablism, who don't want to give up controlling the vinyl. Practically, the Serato package is similar to the Stanton Final Scratch: it has hardware ScratchLive with USB, 2 vinyls and 2 cds, so that when you connect the hardware to the computer you can mix from the cd-players, but also from the pick-ups. And of course, the package contains the compatible software with Windows XS (for PC), but also with OS X (for MACs). The software has many functions like beat extraction, real time tempo metering, multiple cue points per track and an integrated iTunes library.
The ones who used Serato confessed that it is more stable than the FS2, the hardware is smaller and the software is very easy to use. Another thing to mention, maybe the most important, is that Serato is recommended first of all to the turntablists, to those who love old school scratch. The graphic interface offers all the information and the „tips" for mixing correctly. Thanks to the ID3 tags labels, the plays can be easily found. The estimative price is 750 euros.
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February 17, 2006 at 6:36 PM CET