Itch 2.0 Reviewed – Onwards and Upwards

Itch is a much misunderstood beast. Specifically designed as an integrated solution in conjunction with hardware developers, its total 1:1 control plug and play usability is what’s at the centre of its charm. Whilst it looks the same on the surface, under the bonnet Itch is tweaked and perfected for the specific controller it ships with.

Itch 2.0 has been a long time coming – too long, probably. Serato have taken on board a lot of user comments, both encouragements and lamentations, and finally bestowed the brand new, sleeker and stronger 2.0. Whilst we’re glad of the new changes, and particularly excited by some, it’s not all wine and roses… here’s our honest opinion.


  • Colour scheme and new views. It’s felt a little bit like Itch’s drab grey colour scheme has been something Serato has stuck with simply to differentiate between it and Scratch Live, much to the detriment of Itch. First impressions do count, and it’s great to finally see Itch looking sleek in a little black number. It’s also nice to be able to switch the view to look more like Scratch Live.
  • SP-6 Sampler. Scratch Live beat Traktor to the punch when it came to sample decks, and since everyone else caught up it felt a little bit like Itch was in the lurch. The SP-6 is now in Itch, which will lead to some cracking new controller developments with real focus on sample decks – something that many of us consider an afterthought when with just a little bit of regimentation (read considerable R&D on the part of Serato and their hardware partners, something that organisations like Novation, Numark, and Allen & Heath have proven they’re not shy of), they could be a major player in a revolution in live performances.
  • Four Deck Support. A bit of a no brainer, this one: Four deck support is what people are coming to expect from controllers, and now Itch is no different. Considering that the decks and sampler are discrete units in Itch, four deck support won’t come at the cost of the sampler and vice versa, either. Itch 1, Traktor Pro 0?
  • Better sync management. Nobody’s completely decided on how they want to approach sync yet, with different approaches having their own strengths and weaknesses. Itch 2’s new approach is a definite improvement on the old, though, with proper beat sync which can easily be dropped into and out of, making it easier than before to lock deck timing together very quickly mid mix.
  • Better Library Management. Smart crates are the best thing to happen to libraries since tagging, and Itch’s new found ability makes intelligent management a breeze. Add to that the way it figures out music stored on external drives much better, which is great for laptop sharing moments, and the crates system that Serato employ could very well be our favourite.


  • Still No External Controllers. Adding features to Itch is all well and good, but it’s largely a move that will please new users and leave existing ones out in the cold. We’d love to see the ability to hook up a pad controller or MIDI Fighter to sit along side the Itch controller and control the SP-6, for instance.
  • Still No Remapping. It might go against the entire design philosophy of the Itch platform, but an opt-in reconfiguration process would be an excellent way to integrate the SP-6 sampler into older controllers, or maybe even some more complex mappings above and beyond what was originally envisioned.
  • Same old effects. One thing that could be updated and retrofitted onto just about all controllers is a better effects section, because really Itch’s main weakness is its audio mauling capabilities. Scratch Live’s Super Knob implementation still isn’t quite as in depth as what you can make Traktor Pro do, but it’s not that far off and it’s something we’ve really got our fingers crossed for in a future incarnation of Itch.
  • Slightly inefficient screen usage. Having to select between viewing the SP-6, the effects, and the recorder is frustrating when the library section will expand indefinitely. The new views are great, but we’d like to have the ability to have both the sampler and the effects on the screen at the same time.


What we’ve always really liked about Itch is how simple it is to set up – the accompanying hardware feels much more like standalone equipment, and to be honest 80% of the setup of a controller isn’t the mind boggling complex modifier based trickery that we love so much, it’s the mundane setting up of standard controls, not least figuring out where they should all go on a controller.

What many of us bemoan is quite how stubbornly the Itch software holds onto control of its workings compared to most other DJ software that allows varying degrees of customisation. We get that Itch is designed very precisely for the controller it comes with, but now more than ever, with the addition of the SP-6 sampler, we wish we could plug in an additional controller – if anything just to control the SP-6.

Finally, Itch performs better than Traktor when it comes to platter control (at least, with most controllers) but it really lags behind on effects, Itch’s offering seeming, for the most part, basic in comparison (we’re extremely impressed with the Novation co-developed Slicer mode, although we’re not strictly placing that in the ‘effects’ category. That said, it does go to show that when effects and manipulation options are considered in the design stages, they tend to have more direction than simply throwing more, more and more into the mix). Here’s hoping a future 2.x update will integrate Scratch Live’s Super Knob implementation into Itch – that’d be fantastic. As it is, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Itch to a user that wants to dive right in and for whom complicated mappings are a turn off rather than a must have. One thing’s for sure – we’re excited to see what the new breed of SP-6 integrating four deck Itch controllers will look like.

Comments (77)
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  • Tokash

    OK, just got a Twitch last week, in the past I DJ’d off a Novation X-Station controlling Traktor for a number of years and I got on fine. Now I have this Itch software, I’m itching to try it 🙂 So after a week (running V2.2) I’ve got quite used to it and I think it’s pretty good all round. I spotted some comments here both for and against Itch- honestly I think that any controller/software is as good as the hands it’s in. A creative DJ/Controllerist/performer will be able to make even basic gear sound good if they know the ins and outs. I find the grids are very good and easy to set up, more than Traktor for example, and the simplicity actually does help to declutter the workspace and concentrate on music, tweaking it on the hardware and getting away from the screen and the mouse. I also dig the touchstrip action on the Twitch and it’s a perfect gizmo for getting stuck in straight away on the mix. I recommend Itch and Twitch!

  • Shiva3

    Itch 2 is rubbish. Traktor all the way.  I bought Novation Twitch to run Itch and found the beat syncing to be poorly implemented.  Some people might say it’s not proper mixing but it’s what I like to do and if it can’t do it properly then it’s rubbish to me!

    Mixmeister is my best choice Dj software.

  • Unit-D

    I am well glad to see a soundly critical article on ITCH published and wholeheartedly support every point of it. as a user of over two years I have been more than frustrated with it’s slow development. serato would do good to gear up a little!  

  • HarveyMacay

    Itch 2.0 is just the beginning of great things to follow. I love 1:1 controllers. Sp-6 though will soon have midi mapping capabilities like SSL 2.0. Itch 2.1 will really tighten things up I’m sure!!

  • Jonathanr007

    I think this is a fair review of Itch 2.0. I have has an NS7 and my number one issues was always the need for a sampler. I tried KueIt, but I found that it kept “losing” my profiles and I ultimately stopped using it. With 2.0 at least I can have 6 samples (which helps keeps me more focused on the music and less on a dealing with computer issues during a set).

    As for midi control, I have found a happy medium (at least for my needs). I can keep the FX info on my computer screen while I control the SP6 from my iPad. Djdivinejustice posted a link to a youtube video, the software that is being used is actually TouchOSC, you can get it in the App store. You will also need Osculator to translate the midi messages and send them to Itch. Osculator already has a midi mapping written for the very basic commands in Itch and the SP6. Not only does it work great when standing in front of my rig, but having some basic control on my iPad keeps me from being chained to the booth all night.I am currently trying to create my own midi mapping of Itch to suit my specific needs using the Touch OSC Editor and Osculator.

    • Purpose13

      Hey Jonathanr007! How are you getting touchOSC to talk to itch? I can see my key presses are registering on OSCulator, but Im not sure how to map the TouchOSC buttons to any of the itch controls, namely SP-6. I, much like you, would appreciate a means of triggering samples without having to reach over my NS-7 over to my laptop each and every time I want to drop a sample. : ) Any word of advice you can provide would be great, thanks!! 

      On that note, I would like to add that I am in favor of Serato adding support to mapping out midi on Itch, if only to the SP-6.. Anything anyone has on this topic, I am all ears..

  • J.J. Gonzales

    I have both the NS6 and S4. The NS6 blows away the S4 as far as hardware goes. It sounds better (to my ears, maybe its the Hi-Fi resampler Serato offers), has better inputs/outputs such as 1/4 headphones, XLR Out, 2 mic, Booth Out etc. The platter is 10X better than the S4 in both feel and response. It didn’t come with the platter problems at launch like the S4 had. Plus, it is a real mixer and uses real faders and a long pitch slider. You can’t even adjust the volume or EQ of an external input on the S4. Itch offers CENSOR (not a effect like Traktor) and you can customize the platter stop when paused (again, not an effect).

    However, I love the rubberish buttons the S4 offers. The S4 has more buttons and knobs for effects. It has a dedicated FILTER per channel which is a must nowadays. It is SCRATCH certified which is why I ordered it. But I’ve only used it once.

    Itch 2 is better than Traktor 2 except in effects and customization. However, Serato needs to unleash MIDI support, more effects and customized effects like in SSL. Once this and the Video and Bridge plugin is released, it will easily surpass Traktor. Although, once NI releases stack-able Deck display, I probably use it exclusively.

  • Hardbitrocker

    At the end there is only one thing that matters. Sound. No one on the dancefloor gives a damn on which software the dj is using. 

  • rishi

    “Finally, Itch performs better than Traktor when it comes to platter control (at least, with most controllers) ”

    Can you explain why this is the case please?

  • Darren E Cowley

    Sampler will be controllable from the Novation Twitch with the next release apparently….

  • Yousuf Qureshi

    Ean, I just browsed through what people are writing, and it seems your site is full of Haters. If they not bashing, Itch, they bashing Windows7…retaliation and the opposite happens. Mostly worthless comments that give little input to any sort of meaningful discussion. Maybe most readers comment after a heavy night of partying, which understandably can result in random blabbering.
    If you like Traktor, use it, and let others use whatever else they want. Itch has less ‘awesome’ effects than Traktor, probably yes, but someone who is not into using effects for mixing may not give a crap. Is Traktor more feature packed, probably. But am I a dumbass if I buy an iPhone just to make calls and have no use for any of its other functions…?

    I think the only big issue with Itch would be the incompatibility of using additional controllers. Of course it all comes down to the 1:1 support between hardware-software. Also Itch being freely available to all Itch certified equipment users most probably factors in as well. But I think they could somehow work into the programming that if you have one Itch certified controller hooked up, that you could use one non-certified, such as a midi-fighter to control some functions…
    Also what I have seen done with the Novation Twitch in Itch is pretty great, with the splicing, and whatnot. So it has other potentials….

    • Yourfbbutton

      If you ask me the effects are really a minute issue. You can always use post fader effects which allow more control over the sound anyway.

  • Pronoia

    it seems your biggest issue is the sp-6 intergrtion into oolder controllers, but cant you use  a key stroke to midi program and use a midi fighter or really any usb midi device mapped to key strokes  to trigger, Ive done it in the past to use all my cue points on the vc1-300 , i havent attempted yet but seems like it would be the exact same,, and as a dj who uses both programs traktor needs to stack waveforms to turn all the serato users over,  SYNC is a plague, and most traktor djs i know live on there sync button,

  • Sigh

    Im so glad the Traktor blog gave me “The Verdict” on Itch.  THANK GOD.

    • Donkey

      I’m so glad we have a condescending prick to give us the verdict. THANK GOD.

  • K03gsxr750

    2.0 Paves a much smoother road for ITCH to follow down. There are some gripes for sure, but overall it’s an improvement. I don’t think any MIDI fighter fans are going to be jumping ship anytime soon. But IMHO a DVS plug-in, Video and MIDI (even an ITCH licensed controller) would make it a much broader appealing product. Heck most of the ITCH user base would pay good money just to use a NI X1 like you can on Scratch Live.

    Personally I own the DDJ-S1 and did a fair bit of kicking myself for the first month. Now that 2.0 is out I have a much better outlook.

    Dream setup would be a INNOBender and a 1200 to the right with an X1 / Albeton to the left.

    • erikt6

      ooooohhhh, don’t say the word ‘video’ around here,  you’ll wake the trolls.

  • Andrew Northern

    This is a fair article…it is pretty transparent that the author is not an itch user though.  The reason why I make this statement is that any itch user will tell you the big let downs of 2.0 are that itch is missing video and the Bridge.

    Once itch supports the bridge, video and limited midi mapping (for Sp6 and ableton) it will be a juggernaut.

    • Isobar

      Is the video DJing thing in high demand? I thought everyone was using TouchDesigner at this point.

      • Andrew Northern

        I look to video as to supplement my DJ sets not just to play music videos…i think that layering well thought out visual cues can really add to a performance.  There was an article on here (DJ Techtools) where they showed the Space Invader tour which the visuals were very well done and controlled via SSL and video SL.

  • Anonymous

    Why wont this load on my windows 7 home premium laptop with all the latest updates, I’ve tried like 6 times and the installer just won’t complete the installation. 

    • JohnMatrix

      because nobody uses windows to dj with…

      • DJFernandough

        you’d be surprised…. 

      • 4321djgear

        hows lion treating you? 32bit only?… I’m not paying for Apple’s snob tax and receive an inferior hardware platform. Optimise Windows 7 for DAWS/DVS and don’t game/porn/download crap and you win.

      • Alexio Beez

        are you sure ? win7 x64 rocks…

        • DJFernandough

          yes it does…. and it’s true on the snob tax @f3558a08a7441dc283d2f6d88b1c47d7:disqus they’re pretty looking with the little glowing apple there but also pretty overpriced! now a few pc guys are making metal finish laptops, so sturdy build, same and in some cases more power, for 3/4 sometimes half the price? IMO you can keep your glowing fruit…. the instrument doesn’t make the musician! in fact it’s the other way around… peace

          • cavejunkie

            yeah but Jimi Hendrix sounded oh so sweet on that strat.

      • catraxx

        Wow another person from the land before time !

  • Anonymous

    Nice summary, although as you concede, some of your “don’t likes” are the product philosophy, it’s differentiator. I for one like working within limits, it puts my focus back on the music instead of tempting me to get all techie and spend time mapping and hacking when I could be cratedigging! 🙂

    You’re right about the sampler – not even enough keyboard shortcuts to control it is a big weakness. It needs addressing as for me, trackpad is a no-go when performing.

    By the way, four decks aren’t new to 2.0.

  • Djdivinejustice

    Here’s a video called “Midi Controller with Itch 2.0”
    where a guys has a numark ns7 and is triggering the sp-6 sampler with a trigger finger. I believe he’s using Bome’s Midi Translator.

  • JayMan574

    Hey Ean, can you change the logo to a chick scratching her back?  That is nasty dudeee

    • Isobar

      …Because men are for looking, and women are for looking at? Not all DJs are dudes, dude.

      • PhatManMoshiach

        I’m a dude but let’s face it, men are disgusting. I’d rather look at some sexy chick’s back than some average guy who looks like me lol.

  • JayMan574

    Traktor-> Serato-> Itch…  2.0 is much more like Serato now which is a plus, effects are pretty much like you would see on djm.  Pretty much standard **&%.  I dont get why all you Die Hard traktor fans always bash (not all of you) other equipment because of there midi capability blah blah effects blah blah Arcade buttons blah blah.  Not everyone is trying to mix 4 tracks all the time, some people like to just lay back and listen to tuns. Serato = Republican     Traktor = Liberals (Crying Bitch#@$)

    • Josh

       Im not bashing I have used itch and SSL. SSL is Decent. but if you buy a S4 no need for a soundcard or big ugly box 🙂 and its buggy and nothing Special just like Torq 2.0 . 

      • bcondemi

        What is buggy? the S4? I didn’t quite follow?


      • Sigh

        you know whats a hell bigger and uglier than a soundcard or SL box? a S4.

    • Redskyy

      and what if im Independent what kind of software am I then, since were comparing software programs to Political Parties?

      • Anonymous

        I think you’re Mixxx 😉

    • Anonymous

      Ha ha your analogy made me laugh, I think I’ve bcome less liberal over time – as I’ve swayed towards Serato 😀

  • Josh

    Im so glad i cancled my NS6 and got the Traktor S4 probably the best decision I have Made. Traktor 2 takes itch 2 hands down. Itch is the like the snobby kid in highschool everyone hates. sorry Serato you still suck. 

    • PhatManMoshiach

      Ya know what? That’s exactly what I’ve always thought about Serato in general. It seems to me a lot of people who use Serato have big egos and use it just because it’s the “Industry Standard”. I guess that’s just my opinion and not a fact. All the Serato Youtube Vids I’ve looked at have NOTHING on the Native Instruments vids.

    • Dirptydirp

      yeah nothing about your remark sounds snotty at all…

    • Jasonb8582

      o but really you can use the NS6 with traktor or itch so really it all up to you and o yea i use a NS6 and a MF pro with traktor…

      • jprime

         Still waiting to see Traktor in a club.

  • NotSoSiniSter

    What audience is itch trying to go after? I just don’t see how Itch is better than traktor…flexibility is what makes traktor so great, being able to map anything midi enabled swings a million doors open. This just seems…sad…

    • ihavegreenhair

      agreed it realy does seem like an average version of traktor apart from the platter control

      • Jhgjg

        I always liked Traktor but have switched to ITCH and it’s related hardware because the Traktor hardware felt cheesy to me and the V7s are not plug and play with Traktor.

    • Chris Jennings

      The lack of flexibility and need to do extra stuff to set it up is a what makes it better to some. 

      • Grant Reynolds

        well those sort of people should stay away from controllers and stick to decks.. Mapping and customising is what controlerism is all about and what this site is all about..  

  • Jesc1200

    Hi Guys! Itch 2.0 is a overhaul that was much needed