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Musikmesse 2011: Novation Twitch
Musikmesse 2011: Novation Twitch
Posted by Gizmo on April 5, 2011 :

Novation twitch serato ITCH controller

Last week saw a whatthehellisthat frenzy caused by Novation's teaser for their next DJ focussed product, followed by certain individuals pooling their hive minds to come up with an idea of what Novation's new thingy could possibly be. Well it's finally here and we pretty much nailed it - Twitch for ITCH (no I'm not kidding) dispenses with any kind of jog wheel or platter and focusses on new features in ITCH. Yes - I said Twitch and no jog wheels.

Novation twitch serato ITCH controller
Novation twitch serato ITCH controller
Novation twitch serato ITCH controller

Twitch has been developed in collaboration with Serato to be a DJ controller with a difference. It comes with Serato ITCH, DJ software that can automatically beat-match tracks to let you get creative with your DJ sets, and it has unique Touchstrip controls that enable you to do amazing things with ITCH’s new performance tools. It can also be MIDI-mapped to other DJ software such as Traktor or Ableton Live.

Twitch provides a completely new perspective on DJing. The Twitch control surface — with two banks of eight large Triggerpads, professional cross-fader and per-channel Fader FX — opens up awesome possibilities for digital DJs and the new breed of controllerists. The two LED-backlit Touchstrips let you manipulate your tracks using gestures as you would on a multi-touch trackpad or touchscreen. Now, you can grab, pinch, tap and nudge to navigate, perform and improvise with your tunes.

It has four performance modes (Hot Cues, Slicer, Auto Loop and Loop Roll) that interact seamlessly with ITCH, so you can mash up your tracks and mix them back together, totally on the fly. Hot Cues mode lets you instantly jump to markers in your tracks, and re-trigger up to eight hits, just like you can with a sampler. Slicer mode allows you to do something completely new, and re-arrange your tracks while they’re still playing using a step sequencer-style user interface. Twitch’s Auto Loop and Loop Roll modes allow you to further manipulate tracks and, in combination with the Touchstrips, change loop lengths in the mix to create glitch effects — all without falling out of time. Further expanding your creative potential, effects can be assigned to the channel faders at the touch of a button, so you can perform tricks with fader movements as well as with the knobs of the Master Effects section.

Twitch is rock solid: designed for life on the road and on stage. It's robust and compact, ready to slot into tight spaces in the DJ booth, and can be carried away from the gig in a laptop bag. Twitch is also bus-powered — simply plug in the USB and audio cables and you're ready to play. It includes a high-quality 2-in 4-out USB audio interface with balanced, high-level master and booth outputs, which can be connected directly into any PA system or home setup with excellent audio quality. Quarter-inch and mini-jack headphone outputs supply a loud and clear signal to any set of headphones. There’s also a Mic/Aux channel with mono jack and stereo RCA inputs so vocalists and MCs can be blended with an external audio source, such as an MP3 player, and routed through Twitch’s effects and master outputs.

"It has been exciting to work with Novation; their expertise with controller design combined with our leading DJ software has made for some really incredible possibilities," says Sam Gribben, General Manager of Serato Audio Research. "Twitch is the result and we think it will be an instrument for the next generation of musicians and performers."

  • Comes With Serato ITCH Professional, comprehensive DJ software.
  • Versatile Touchstrips Tactile, multi-function control.
  • Unique Slicer Mode Chop up beats and create new grooves on the fly.
  • Compact & Portable Slots anywhere in the DJ Booth and is easily transportable.
  • 1-to-1 Control In ITCH Dedicated controls for all ITCH performance functions.
  • Robust Build Quality Solid case with Aluminium top plate.
  • 2-in 4-out Audio Interface High-quality, loud headphones output. Balanced master connections.
  • High-quality Cross-fader Hard-wearing, sensitive and replaceable.
  • Software Effect Control Blend per-channel Fader FX with assignable master effects.
  • Bus-powered USB connection provides all the power needed.
  • Mic/Aux Input Route a mic and an external audio device through the effects and master outputs.
  • Switchable Booth Outputs Choose between master and cue feeds.
  • MIDI Compatible To control any DJ software, such as Traktor or Ableton Live.

Twitch will be available worldwide in early July 2011, priced:
USA: $599.99 MSRP / $499.99 at dealers.
UK: £399.99 inc. VAT typical street price.
DE: €529.00 inc. Tax UVP (MSRP)

Soooo… is it what you thought it would be? In the rush to nail the feature set, I think I actually lost sight of what it was really all about. ITCH has largely always been about the regular DJ metaphor, and in particular giving superior jog wheel or platter performance from a controller. But it didn't really occur to me that ITCH could actually also be just about loops, cues and beat grids. For this style of DJing, spinny wheels and largely irrelevant.

Novation twitch serato ITCH controller

These touchstrips will be the creative core of your performance, and all but eliminates the need for even a crappy jogwheel. It looks to me like the key to this is preparation. Sure you'll be able to do a lot of really nice tricks on the fly, but having cues and loops set up already will make Twitch a lot more sensible.

Slicer (the leaked but not accurate name for Twitch) appears to be some sort of remix as you go mashup construction kit for your tracks. Sounds a little convoluted without seeing it, but given the target market for this i.e. not DVS users, the scope for mixing, remixing and mashing up quickly and easily seems good.

What is missing is any mention just yet of which version of ITCH this will work with. Screenshots have been leaked that show a new ITCH that looks much more SSL-like in appearance (a whole thesis in itself), which hopefully and logically means the new version will be the one that drives Twitch. Looking at the features in the above press release, the ITCH I know doesn't do much of this right now. Fingers crossed for more word on that later today or tomorrow.

But it's not just about ITCH users. Being a MIDI unit too, I imagine that all DVS users and possibly Ableton Live users will also be able to make good use of such a thing. Those pads certainly are a draw. And if it's anything like Vestax's VFX1, I imagine we'll see direct Scratch Live support for Twitch sometime soon.

I did pick up on something - well 2 things actually. It does appear to me that Twitch needs to be sat between a pair of decks or V7 style units. And this does also lead me to think that the "high quality crossfader" points to much more hands on deck style usage than the pad bashing and loop slicing might imply.

Anyway, I'm sat on Huddersfield station finishing this piece off, but no doubt I'll more for you tomorrow. More than you might expect hopefully.

NOTE: No further comments are being accepted.
14 comments to this story

On April 5, 2011, Scott Ullrich said this:
Not sure why I am seeing this but this controller reminds me of something from the 80's. Kinda ugly, really.

On April 5, 2011, DJ Dub Cowboy said this:
I like it. I can see using this for small Itch gigs and as a midi controller for SSL when video is a must. Price is right on.

On April 5, 2011, Jamesr said this:
"It does appear to me that Twitch needs to be sat between a pair of decks or V7 style units."

i hope so...

On April 5, 2011, qirex said this:
I think this and a single V7 or something like it could be an excellent compact setup while still keeping the expressiveness of a big platter

On April 5, 2011, Double DutchDj said this:
" quote:"It does appear to me that Twitch needs to be sat between a pair of decks or V7 style units."

i hope so..."

It's one of the main thing that holds itch back, being able to combine any itch based controllers, especially V7's with this would be very cool.

I really like the looks of this, god it's nice seeing a new controller that's not just another mini traditional dj set up. Would it be fair to say we finally have our first controller that is designed towards being an actual instrument? It doesn't appear cluttered, decent sized pads and well spaced controls.

God if NI would finally give Traktor post fade fx in internal mode I'd be very interested in slapping this Twitch in between a pair of 1210's. Yeah I'd still have to use an NI souncard but dam it would be nice having all those midi controls without having to venture beyond my decks.

On April 5, 2011, Boba said this:

On April 5, 2011, DJ Roro said this:
No thanks

On April 6, 2011, Mark said this:
Can someone explain to me how this would work with a V7 or 2? It only has a stereo AUX in right? So you'd still need an audio mixer to process the two channels from the V7 right?

On April 6, 2011, Gizmo said this:
@Mark: Given that Twitch is doing the audio, it's not inconceivable that the V7 could act simply as a USB controller.

On April 6, 2011, Bulge said this:
It's by far the most interesting controller released. I find it far more groundbreaking than the new Pioneer and NS6 ITCHers.

Removing the entire revolving disc paradigm (although I think it should be dropped from the GUI as well) and changing to a touch strip is important. Discs really have been a part of laptop based DJing ever and have only been emulated to keep the oldies (me) happy.

As I spin funk / hip hop... scratching is too much a part of that style so I'd not give up platters... but for remashers and electronic DJs I think this is a super smart move. It's been tried before with things like the vestax TR1 but I think they missed point with pads, and looping.

Hats off to Novation for having the balls to axe the jogs. I think a lot of people will love this thing. I'd love to be able to use it in conjunction with other ITCH controllers... we'll see on that.

As it seems, ITCH is releasing great purpose built controllers without compromise... whilst the NI's S4 to me feels almost like it tries to everything to everyone - and not quite nailing the functionality as well as the ITCH controllers.

Which approach is better? An Android vs. iPhone comparison could almost be drawn here.

On April 6, 2011, edocronian said this:
this is absolutely *THE* controller I've been looking for, if Itch worked with the SSL timecodes. and the fader had a slope control.

SSL doesnt have the feature set for me to consider mapping it, and the SLx boxes dont have the right outputs for this to replace the mixer.

the only mixetroller I've seen that could offer anything like this for SSL is the Rane 68 and thats out of my price range by a mile.

Its frustrating that Serato have driven such a wedge between their two products, so hybrid-style dj's arent fully catered for.

Its almost enough to make me jump ship to Traktor.

On April 6, 2011, Evz_himself said this:
Hehe. This is damn ugly.. And just incomplete.

On April 7, 2011, DoubleDutchDj said this:
[quoteAs I spin funk / hip hop... scratching is too much a part of that style so I'd not give up platters... but for remashers and electronic DJs I think this is a super smart move. It's been tried before with things like the vestax TR1 but I think they missed point with pads, and looping.[/quote]

I'm with you on everything you pointed out. This could never replace my battle setup, but I do enjoy mixing a bit of Disco and house now and then and having turntable's or full DVS can at time be an over kill considering I'm not scratching or juggling with those genres. So having a nice mini fair priced controller that's designed to get creative with quantized music is really appealing, respect to Novation!

On April 22, 2011, Jack said this:
With you 100% edocronian. Serato is driving a huge wedge between it's users who want hybrid control between timecode AND midi. Traktor is winning here on this topic.

Otherwise, I love the minimalistic "instrument" type design. Metal control surface rocks too.

More question about Twitch:

- Do the Low/Mid/High EQs cut to true "0" as in all the way off when turned counter clockwise, or do they just attenuate?

- Why are the touch strips positioned horizontally? Humans' hands/fingers don't naturally move in left/right direction when addressing them, rather they move up/down. You have to rotate your wrist/arm in order to get your fingers to comfortably pinch/swipe <<< >>>, where as if the strips where orientated vertically, no wrist/arm turning would b necessary. Hold you hands out and try it. You'll instantly see what I'm talking about.

- The product description said something about overlays for Traktor 2 or 4 deck control, but how is that possible with only two channel faders for controlling volume?

- Why are all level meter segments red rather than just clip being indicated by red as nearly every other piece of audio gear made?

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