Scratch Track: Scratch With Timecode In Any DAW

The small crew at Stagecraft Software has just finished and released their latest project, Scratch Track, which is a VST plugin that allows timecoded vinyl to be used in any DAW or audio software that supports plugins. Watch a complete demonstration of all of the plugin’s features that take timecode to the next level, read our quick interview with the developer, and enter to win one of three copies of the VST, all inside today’s article.



We spoke to Aaron – the founder and sole employee of Stagecraft Software – to learn more about the plugin.

Hey Aaron! What are the biggest advantages of using Scratch Track in a DAW versus a normal DVS system?

Being a modular plugin certainly has its advantages. We can route the audio in creative ways, adding chains of effects to the turntables output, automating the parameters in ways that would not be possible in the real world (64th note crossfades, etc), syncing of the clips to the DAW playhead (beat matching loops, which means we can scratch them, but then resync at will), and recording snippets of sounds from the DAW to the plugin for immediate scratching (the plugin can record loops from the DAW).

But the real advantage here is that we can record the outputs directly. From an EDM producer’s standpoint – this gets rid of the need for a massive amount of equipment, and a library of printed vinyls to scratch, plus reduces latency because we don’t need to use rewire or other third party drivers to route the audio from the DVS to the DAW. With one turntable, some time coded vinyl, and this plugin, you can lay down a collection of scratches immediately. Put simply, this is the easiest way to add scratches to a track.

What timecode vinyl does Scratch Tracks support?

Serato Scratch Live, Traktor Scratch, Traktor MKII, Torq, Ms Pinky.

Can you use scratch track to beatmatch/mix tracks in a more traditional manner well?

Full tracks can be loaded up, and there is support for beat matching. Having said that – this product is not focused on traditional DJing (there are no playlists, and you cannot hold longer tracks in loop mode as you might with traditional DVS systems). It will allow you to crossfade between the DAW output and what is playing on the turntable, however, so for the DJ who wants to alternate between playing a track, and performing within a DAW environment, this is just the ticket.

How is the latency? Will vinyl purists be happy with the response?

On par with any DVS system – the turntable velocity curve is recalculated every 32 samples, regardless of input buffer size. The crossfade uses nonlinear equations to smooth the response between incoming midi notes, giving an extremely natural response curve. It is definitely up to professional standards.

How big is your team, and how long did this project take?

Ha!  My team is me.  I use “we” in all the videos because my marketing team (also me) thinks that sounds better.  I have ongoing work with several well known music companies however, and am developing a VST effects library in conjunction with OpenLabs.  Look for all that coming soon.

What’s next?

Well, a few things are in the works.

  • A more traditional DJ DVS plugin is definitely coming soon (two turntables, plus playlists), to allow traditional DJing inside ableton and other hosts
  • Several more plugins are already available on the website (Cloud Browser – which allows you to search SoundsCloud and then drag-n-drop samples right into your DAW, as well as a really nice delay plugin).
  • A few new and innovative plugins are on the way (a beat analyzer that lets you grab the beat from incoming audio in real time and replicate it with different sounds, or as midi, and some DJ glitch style effects)
  • And the ongoing standalone project (Livetronica Studio), which is a fresh approach to modular DJing.  This is a standalone, live performance oriented, drum machine, plus plugin host plus synth, plus sequencer, plus DVS.  Basically a DAW environment that allows scratching.  Don’t expect this too be perfect just yet, but the beta is up and easily available on the website.


Want a copy for yourself, for free? We’re giving away three, just use the widget below:

Thanks to Aaron for spending a few minutes answering our questions – check out Stagecraft Software’s site for more about his ongoing projects. 

dawsscratch trackscratching in dawsstagecraft softwaretimecodetimecode in abletonturntablism
Comments (45)
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  • calkutta

    ive seen Aaron do a few,very very well needed projects,I wish a large company would just snatch him up as thier R&D guy or better…for just one guy,he really loves Turntablism and electronic music…dont let this guy fall off like all the other greats who just came and went…please.

  • Sigmund

    is it possible to scratch samples with quneo?

  • Damien

    I’ve plugged a traktor mk2 vinyl over a vms4 and nothing happen in the plugin. I’ve tried every in ports and the plugin control is on MKII

  • Sinus

    Any chance of an AU plugin?

  • Jason Paul

    no widget but I WANT IT!

  • James Lena

    So I just want to get this straight.. All you need is the time coded vinyl and not an interface like the SL2?

    I have a Numark TTX, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, and Ableton. I am about to purchase a time coded vinyl but I just want to make sure I don’t need anything else.

    Also, can you recommend a type of time coded vinyl? Does it not matter for this VST and only if I plan to use Traktor/Serato/etc later on?

  • Exit


  • Tim Rice

    Wouldn’t work for me since i don’t have a digital crossfader. I like serato since the audio comes right out of my mixer as an analog signal into ableton. It would be cool to maybe loop the signal from scratch track to my mixer then back into ableton. Dunno how bad the latency on that would be though.

  • Brewster.B

    Widget is missing (Firefox 23 on OSX 10.8)

  • Kutmaster TeeOh

    UH….anyone else see the pointlessness of this? Just run your DVS system into the DAW. Ta-Daa!! Why would you go thru all that extra crap and buy that program just to add scratches to your DAW? Makes no sense. If you don’t want to buy Traktor or Serato…. get VDJ (It’s free) and use a USB turntable with a timecode record. I guess I should write an article on that too. smh

    • Aaron Leese

      Well, there are a few extra things going on here that you may not have thought of. First, you can record from the DAW to the plugin and get new clips (very hard to do that with a DVS and DAW in tandem). Second, this has lower latency since you don’t need to route between applications. Third – not all DVS systems can scratch one-shots yet, so for people that want to do that, this is an easy way to do so. And finally, you can automate the parameters – so producers who want to record scratching and then tweak it after the fact, this is the way to do it.

      Having a full DVS system separate from the DAW does give you some options that this does not, however. Particularly if the midi clocks are linked, you can take advantage of DVS systems track beat matching (which you cannot with the plugin). You also get access to the DVS effects – though really, most DAWs have better effects frankly, so this doesn’t add that much IMHO.

      Anyway, it really depends on what you want to do with scratching. This is more oriented toward producers and turntablists who want deep integration with a DAW.

      Thanks for the input.

      • Kutmaster TeeOh

        Not to argue but simply to really see the difference. Everything you said is not hard to do. I run Serato into Ableton seamlessly and there is no latency issue. I lay cuts on tracks daily if not every other day. Can’t scratch one shots? A one shot just a sample of sound that doesn’t repeat. So yes a DVS can. That doesn’t even make sense. You can automate after you finish inputing the audio. It’s just like recording vocals into your DAW. You can use effects, covert to midi, automation, panning, etc. There is nothing you mentioned that can’t be done with a DVS into a DAW.

        • Aaron Leese

          Automate the scratches – no you definitely cannot (please show me if you have some secret way). And record to serato? Pretty sure you can’t do that at the moment either?

          Also – this is a $20 solutions. So for people that don’t already own serato or traktor, this is a muuuuuch lower price point. Makes a ton of sense, say, for the producer who isn’t interested in having the ability to scratch every day, but needs to occasionally add some scratches to a track.

          • Kutmaster TeeOh

            I understand if they don’t have it. But that means they would need to get a turntable and CV. They can buy a USB turntable and CV for use with VDJ or Traktor. I was just wondering the advantage. And yes you can record into Serato ( However, I record into Ableton. I go internal by routing audio into Ableton via the sound card. Another way is line out from the mixer into my studio sound card. Automation applies to many things. No you can’t automate in terms of drawing it in but I was referring to things like volume, panning, effects.

          • lokey

            i for one see this as immensely more useful than a traditional dvs, at least if you’re already firmly embedded in using a platform like live. Being able to record scratch variations as automation is going to be lots of fun. Clip juggling scratch sentences!

            Although, that said i really wish ableton would step away from the ‘everything plays in time’ mindset, and allow you to specify different tempos and playback rates for tracks, so that direct scratching of clips could be accomplished. They’re already halfway there with the ability to set clips to control the master tempo…

          • Kutmaster TeeOh

            What doesn’t make sense is a producer who scratches but doesn’t have scratch records or a software already. What producer decides to up and start scratching one random day? Nobody. So someone who can scratch wouldn’t need this. They’d record with regular records or probably already have a DVS. Producers I work with that don’t scratch call me in or send me the track to lay cuts for. Producers I know that do scratch a bit have either their own DVS or a USB turntable with either regular wax or CV running thru Traktor/VDJ. Does just fine.

          • Kutmaster TeeOh

            Yes you can record into Serato ( However, I record into Ableton. I go internal by routing audio into Ableton via the sound card. Another way is line out from the mixer into my studio sound card. Automation applies to many things. No you can’t automate in terms of drawing it in but I was referring to things like volume, panning, effects.

          • DJ TLM

            You don’t use The Bridge?

          • Kutmaster TeeOh

            My question is, who is going to automate (draw in) scratches? You don’t need a turntable for that. If you are just going to draw in the audio why even bother with this plugin? Just get some scratch samples. If you want to make some, you don’t need a plugin for it. Once you have the sounds you can use a midi controller to trigger them.

    • symbiosis

      very interested in your method, would you care to elaborate on the topic on how to route vdj in ableton? seems i cant find the info anywhere

      • DJ TeeOh "The Official"

        Just run the sound card you are DJing with into your DAW. You can route it by setting an external input. Ableton doesn’t record any midi signals the way they have it set up, it’s only audio. So just run your DJ setup into an audio channel and hit record.

      • DJ TeeOh "The Official"

        All this DAW timecode stuff is just a plugin that allows you to open an audio file and scratch it. No different than throwing on a record and capturing the audio via an external input. If you have timecode records, you also have a DVS and mixer…just plug a line-in.

  • Guest

    psssttt …. there is a free trial on the website, and it’s only $20 anyway.

  • 4eoN

    I got a question^^

    Do i need an audio-interface with timecode-support?
    Or can i just plugin a turntable (with timecode vinyl) into an input of my computer and the software will interpret the timecode signal?

    • Aaron Leese

      Yeah – the second one – no additional hardware needed, all you need to do is plug in in a regular turntable with timecoded vinyl on it and route the signal to the Scratch Track plugin.

  • kappesante

    widget missing too on safari / osx 10.8.4

  • realsuperawesome

    Widget is missing (Firefox on OSX 10.6)

  • DJ_ForcedHand

    Yay! You released it!

  • mvscncv

    Widget is missing from my browser. Cannot enter the free giveaway.
    Using: Chrome on Win 7.

    • chrispop

      yep, i can confirm this. same browser/os.

      • Aaron Leese

        psssttt …. there is a free trial on the website, and it’s only $20 anyway.

  • Alexkidd

    how exactly are we entering?

  • bidders

    would be interesting to hear somebody who can actually scratch using it, it sounds pretty sketchy to me as far as the quality of the scratch goes although it may just be the awful sample he was using

    • Aaron Leese

      Hehehe. Yeah, I know it. He is me. I”m working on getting better, and also at finding some folks to help me out with better demos. Thanks for the feedback.

      • bidders

        Hi, me and my mates would be happy to test it for you if you want us to (direct message me on youtube) so we can put it through it’s paces, between us we have traktor, serato and torq. try some of this with it and let you know the results

  • Donzarelli

    I know it works with timecoded vinyl, but will it work with controllers like a Numark NS6? Any particular setup that needs to be configured inside Ableton? Thanks.

    • Aaron Leese

      No support for that at the moment. This would be a difficult to add because they all do it a little differently (I’ve checked – the midi signals vary from controller to controller – some using pretty odd schemes). CDJs should be supported though, for the people that use those.

  • coolout

    It’s finally time someone re-visited this concept. Hopefully they can smooth out some of the humps that other solutions faced. The developer of Ms. Pinky had a DVS running as both a M4L and VST plugin years ago. It even included a browser, cue points, and loops. I tried and it worked pretty well, but the biggest downside was that there wasn’t any sync with the host DAW, plus it only supported Ms. Pinky and Torq timecode records. Probably the reasons it never caught on. Deckadance also works as a VST plugin and supports DVS, but I think both apps don’t send any kind of midi out to control the DAW host’s tempo or are integrated with the DAW’s browser. So aside from routing ease and CPU overhead reduction, there really aren’t any game changing benefits.

    • Aaron Leese

      Good summup! The pinky guys are awesome. The plugin is worthwhile, but does have a few issues as you note. Although mine lets you play samples, and loop in time with the DAW, it doesn’t support needle dropping (which pinky has), and there are a few other functional ways in which it differs from the pinky plug. I’ll be glad to hear how ours works out for you!

      • coolout

        I’ll check it out when I get some spare time. Most of my time is currently being split between finishing an album and playing gigs. BTW…I wonder how much of the current Ableton API allows access to Live’s browser and control over tempo. If Live’s looper plugin can set tempo (based on the start, end, and number of beats) and can also drag n’ drop from the looper to a clip slot…should a DVS plugin do the same? Another possible solution for integrating with Live or (any other DAW) would be if the plugin included some sort of universal browser. By universal I mean one that would read not only the tempo info in the ID3 tag but also whatever metadata Ableton stores it’s info. Mixed-In-Key support would also be cool. Perhaps Acid WAV format would be more universal since it contains both tempo and musical key, yet is supported by most DAWs. Basically a browser that could bridge the gap between audio analyzed by DJ apps and audio from a DAW then be able to put them all together into a playlist.

        • Aaron Leese

          Great ideas! I won’t go into details, but I’ve looked into most of that. Control over live itself is difficult / limited, and the API is not well documented. I have an embedded browser that is fairly universal (scans itunes, plus directories). I wish more tracks included tempo in the ID3, but unfortunetaly they dont 🙁 There is a third party (echonest) that I have at times integrated to look up the beats (you get metadata for every beat in the song, not just a bpm – pretty rad). Anyway, solutions are on the way, thanks for the thought!

  • proben

    Finally! I’m still going to wait for the “more traditional DVS DJ” plugin they say they’re working on, but this is really good news. As far as I’m concerned the lack of timecode is the one major thing making Ableton a less attractive DJ platform than Traktor. (Decent library and loop management are other things but they’re not deal-breakers).