• smilk

    don’t use large sound files? play mp3’s? play loud through say a funktion one system you can definetly hear the difference

  • Zach Stone

    Really great article!

    Just another note about calibration. This is the most important things to do correctly in order to get the best response. A threshold setting that is too low (depending on the environment you are in) will introduce noise which the system will interpret as control tone and cause audio issues. If its set too high (depending on the environment you’re in) your scratches will be sluggish and late.

    As a Scratch Live user, I manually calibrate my threshold setting.

    To do this first play music as loud as you’re going to be playing it during your set.
    I usually put one of the virtual decks in INT mode so I can calibrate both decks at the same time.
    From there, put the needle on the record with the platter stopped, or, if you’re using cd players, press pause on the cd player with the control cd inside the player.

    Now drag the estimate slider for one of the scopes all the way up to -24.
    Take note of the number in the upper right corner of the scope view.
    That number should be stable as 0.0 or -0.0. It should not be fluctuating.
    From there, lower the estimate slider (to the left) until you start seeing that number fluctuate. This is the point where SSL is starting to pick up interference which you don’t want.
    Once you’ve reached that point drag the estimate slider to the right one notch or until that number stops fluctuating.
    That will be the perfect threshold setting depending on the environment you’re in.
    Calibration is to be done ANYTIME you move to a new location or make major changes in volume.

    If you simply put the threshold in the middle you will more than likely suffer from one of these two issues when playing in quieter environments (your bedroom) or really loud environments (the club).

  • Kutmaster TeeOh

    I’ve performed with Qbert and D-Styles. D-Styles had Serato and Qbert just records. I’ve also seen Q on Serato and traktor. There is nothing that can’t be done on a DVS. If you can’t do a scratch on it…..either practice more or your setup is off.

  • SimpleSoundWaves

    Anybody still use Ms.pinky DVS from Cycling74′? Ms.PInky and M4L is awesome. http://createdigitalmusic.com/2009/10/vinyl-ableton-ms-pinky-and-max-for-live-working-now/

  • bartykutz

    “Don’t Use Large Files” this advice is plain wrong unless you have a really slow computer.

    • Markku Uttula

      True… I believe not a single application these days handles their internal buffers in anything other than the uncompressed format. Fast random access required by the applications using a compressed buffer is… hard – even in the best scenario imaginable (having a file with constant bitrate and consisting of frames that have a predefinable size, etc.)

      Therefore, no matter if the original file happens to be a 1MB MP3 or a 10MB WAV, in the end it doesn’t make a difference (aside from the speed at which the file is originally loaded from the hard drive into memory… which *usually* is not such a big deal) internally, they are both accessed as if they are 10MB WAVs anyway.

      • wallangalang

        I thought the amount of processing power needed was reduced when using larger files (wav’s, aiff’s, etc) becuase they’re uncompressed, unlike mp3’s which are compressed and the computer needs to uncompress them and then play them. Make any sense?

  • the man

    good tip could be to use real vinyl… lol

  • KIO

    ” On the other hand, they eat up more memory and resources, so when using such large files, you are only stretching your system more, without any improvement in performance.”

    I doubt this statement: mp3 is a coded file of music. A computer actually has to decode the file into wav which is an actual signal that can be send as a voltage to speakers to make sound. Surely since 90% of the information was thrown away when the mp3 was coded the wav after decoding is much smaller, but the CPU is still processing wav. Added to that it also needs to spend CPU power to the decoding of the files. So, as I said, I wonder what takes more CPU power? Big wav with 100% sound information and no decoding or small wav with decoding?

    • kebzer

      Maybe my statement about large files was a bit bold, but nevertheless this article is for the average user where clean and fast systems are not that much of a standard.

      Anyhow, I was reffering to the sounds used for scratching, not playback, so being extra precautious won’t harm anyone.

      • RBX

        perhaps suggest breaking scratch sentence into shorter pieces rather than entire 20 minute a side vinyl rips . Nonetheless WAV still uses less CPU. It’s a little like talking in your native tongue vs a foreign language, which takes less brainpower to translate and respond?

        • kebzer

          You can use cue points to seperate a tool, but still you could also rip individual parts if you use some of the loaded tools, or even combine in a DAW your favorite parts only. Good point indeed.

          As for wav vs mp3, your saying is correct but the way I experienced it with both Serato & Traktor was like trying to say too much in your native tongue while you could just use a small sentence in English, like trying to say a proverb. Anyway, this is getting far now, lol!

          • Kutmaster TeeOh

            Did you analyze the tracks 1st and give them time to load up?

      • KIO

        Let me say that I don’t scratch nor do I have a DVS system, so I cannot verify if doing trickery with digital files differs between file types. I just doubt if it is more difficult for a CPU to manipulate wav over mp3 accurately according to the movement of the control vinyl. Additionally, I’m also not sure what a software does to the coded mp3. Does it decode in real time and thus have to do two things at the same time (decode and manipulate the sound to emulate scratching)? Or does the software decode the mp3 to wav, store the wav in RAM and do all the manipulation on the file in RAM. Being an engineer I would make my software do option two.

      • Kutmaster TeeOh

        That makes no sense. Scratching is playback. Once the file is analyzed it is buffered really fast upon loading. Wav files sound better on DVS both with music and scratching. Being precautions is one thing, but what you are saying is incorrect.

    • RBX

      I would also have to agree that the statement is INCORRECT. I can remember reading in the serato manual and serato forums saying WAV files ALWAYS use LESS CPU power than MP3 because they do not require a codec to be decoded. A wav file may use more RAM and disk space but not more CPU power. If you install serato from the included CD it has a scratch sentence
      included which is in WAV format, not MP3. Why would they do this if you
      come off worse off CPU and latency wise? A an entire album in WAV format takes up no more than 700mb when done in standard CD format (16bit 44.1khz). If you do not have a spare 700mb RAM in your laptop is it definitely time for an upgrade.

  • Esgrove

    For scratch live users what matters most is the threshold-setting that controls how “quiet” signals are interpret as part of the control signal with everything below taken as noise and ignored. For best scratching performance and vinyl response, especially when spinning the vinyl slowly, it should be set all the way to the left to the most “sensitive” setting (-72 dB if i remember correctly). In any case by default everybody should use it like this and only increase the threshold when needed in case of noise and vibrations (bass feedback…) It’s really easy to see the effect of this setting by turning off the turntable mid song with both extremes of the slider 😉

    The article itself didn’t really tell anything that wasn’t kinda self-evident. The “don’t use large files” is total bullshit ( apart from using a laptop from 1999). There are two main hardware aspects that relate to the performance of audiofiles: processing power and disc read-speed and bandwidth for moving the bits. Wave and aiff files are pure audio represented digitally (see “pcm” aka pulse code modulation in wikipedia), you can just send it to the d/a converter like that and get music without any decoding/processing needed so it takes very little processing power to play these files. Mp3 and other lossy and/or compressed formats on the other hand are coded via a complex algorythm and needs to be decoded by the processor before it can be played back as audio. So these files take more processing power compared to simple wave and aiff. However as these files are much bigger, it’s true in a theoretical sense that they demand more bandwidth and faster read speeds from the system – as the article rightly argues. However even the lowest spec modern pc has no problem coping with these requirements. So in fact wavs and aiffs tax the system less, especially if read from a ssd (when you are trying to read 50 wav files at the same time from a hdd then you might start getting problems as in daw software -> solution: store some of the files to ram which is much faster)

  • eazy

    Most important in my book, turn off key lock when scratching

    • kebzer

      Good one! Forgot to mention it. Key lock can get really annoying!

  • monst

    10 great tips for learning to scratch on DVS?

    Where? What?

    All i see is tips for setting up.

  • I really love the performance of the Traktor DVS system, I’m able to pull off fast ass lazers/tazers/scribbles with no problem. I’m very much picky about my DVS systems and with a nice powerful PC and those latency settings dropped nice and low, I honestly feel no difference between my traktor control vinyl and my pure vinyl.

  • DJ Tisdale

    There is an incorrect word use that you should be alerted to.


    “Turntablists who have had issues with DVS in the past often site poor performance”

    The word “site” should be “cite” as in citation.

    • Dan White

      I’ve located the site of the word that you’ve cited and adjusted it accordingly. Thanks!

      • DJ Tisdale

        No problem! Thanks for putting out such great articles.

  • Can’t stress the latency factor enough. Too many times have I been to a friends place only to go for a scratch and find it waaaaaay off. They’re like “yeah I don’t like scratching with dvs, its all laggy.” Jack the latency down for them and they’re like ‘holy s**t’

  • Aaron

    Hi, I know this posted may be a little unrelated to the blog post but I was just wondering (as a beginner DJ), when you use a DVS system with something like Traktor Scratch Pro, do you still have access to the on-board effects on a mixer? For example, a DJM-750 has built in effects…can you still use these effects or do you have to use the one in Traktor?

    • O

      you can still use the effects on your traditional mixer as your audio interface is sending the audio from the different decks into the different channels of the mixer just the same as if you were using records or cdj’s etc.. You could add a midi controller such as the X1 to this set up so you could control effects in traktor / browsing / cue points / sync and so on while using the traditional hardware mixer as a mixer..

    • kebzer

      Your DVS and its internal FX will add to your mixer’s effects. Like using normal turntables/CDJ’s, you will still control everything via your mixer. With the addition of a DVS you also get extra FX, controlled via the software with an external controller like the X1/VFX or with just your keyboard/mouse.

  • Dan White

    Just a note here of something interesting that I found while doing some editing on this one – did you guys know that the RZA claims to have been one of the “inventors” of Final Scratch technology? Watch this YouTube interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXsYXMqw4Zc

    • bidders

      in ‘V’ estor, not inventor. investor

    • 031999

      RZA was like the Will I Am of the early 2000s, he overhyped himself a little too much and blew alot of hot air.

    • kebzer

      This went viral a few years ago but never got past the point of this interview. I have great love for RZA but this is just hilarious!

      PS I haven’t seen any real refference yet, but I pretty sure that DVS was born from the SMPTE protocol.

    • Mark

      Trouble is, his credibility is dented by sounding like one of those crazy guys you find propping up a bar when everyone else has gone home. Try these:


  • Dj Drizzle

    im no 1