ITCH vs Scratch Live, Controller's vs CDJ's.
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  1. #1
    Tech Guru Bassline Brine's Avatar
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    Default ITCH vs Scratch Live, Controller's vs CDJ's.

    So. This is what I've come down to.

    With the debut of the NS6 and DDJ-S1 at NAMM, those two would be my controllers of choice. Otherwise, going with a CDJ setup.

    OPTIONS: (With Pictures!)

    (Just googled the images to give the idea of what I'm talking about)

    Numark NS6:


    Pioneer DDJ-S1:


    Pioneer CDJ-400 Setup: (Note: Not sold on the DJM400, but it's a solid image idea)


    CDJ-350 Setup: (And really, I don't think I could handle the white version lol) I do however like the DJM-350 with this setup. The USB recording feature is something I KNOW I would use.


    I've also thought about the CDJ-850's, but then I'd really be pushing what I want for cost. In getting a CDJ setup, I'd want to add a DVS (SSL) down the road, and so feel I'd probably be more than happy with the 400 or 350's.

    THOUGHTS:

    I've long preferred Serato products over Traktor, and it really just comes down to personal preference. I respect Traktor and all that it can do, but I just can't get over the ugly and (personally) un-intuitive layout, and basically the NEED to sync (in my personal opinion).

    So go with the basic CDJ's and a mixer, and get SSL down the road. Or get a controller that utilizes ITCH and go with that. Either way it's a very similar setup.

    It seems to me like ITCH is somewhat of the "redheaded step-child" (unrelated note: my wife hates that term because she's a redhead, so I like to use it as often as possible) of Scratch Live at the moment. It's about a year behind in updates, or so it seems. So is jumping on ITCH always going to be so drastically behind?

    I've always been a "power-user" so to speak. I want the most functionality out of what I purchase. I have the concepts down, and just lacking the equipment to devote the time and gain the technical knowledge. Out of my crew, I'm the "Dubstep" go-to guy. I follow the shit like heroin. So I can't wait to drop the money on gear soon.

    I'm actually really happy that these controllers came out. I really liked the S4, but my hesitation was with Traktor itself. And this solves this issue for me. I can stick with a Serato product and honestly be happier with it. And I also have the possibility of just learning on CDJ's and not using a DVS, which is something I'm really not opposed to.

    I just think a DVS (at least in the future) will be easier for file management since I purchase all of my music as Mp3's anyhow. (Less that I dislike CD's, and more about just being lazy about burning them).

    COST/BUDGET:

    Cost not being a huge issue, as these are all options that pretty much fall into my sub 2k budget plan at the moment. (Note: I don't plan on spending over 2k in my initial go, but I know I want something that I can transfer well over to a professional environment).

    I currently DO NOT own a laptop. But as I am going back to school part-time (while maintaining full time work) I plan on picking up a laptop in the near future. So this is something I need OUTSIDE of DJing as well, and so it's in the plans for the near future. So I WILL have a laptop soon, even though I don't have one just at the moment. And this cost is NOT being considered into my "DJing" expenses, as I've convinced the wife that I need one for schoolwork.

    MORE THOUGHTS:

    So, if choosing between controllers, it's a tough call IMO. My biggest thing would be having experience on Pioneer products, because they are honestly what are installed at clubs. Given the DDJ-S1 isn't the same as a CDJ, but it's as damned close as you can get.

    Both controllers use Serato ITCH. Both are honestly very similar in design. I like the cue point control location on the Numark Unit better, but that's not enough to sell me on it. Four deck control is something that's honestly more than I need. I could see using 2 decks, MAYBE 3 once I start getting in practice and would help with speed mixing, but that would be in the deeper future.

    I guess part of it will come down to Jog Wheel feel, and just how both feel in comparison.

    As far as CDJ's are concerned, I really do like the CDJ-400's a lot. If I can still get them, I'd hop on these over the 350's in a heartbeat I think. I just feel like they are more intuitive, and having played with both jog's, I like the 400's better.

    But honestly, I see myself using a DVS in the future, and not just pure CD's, and so it almost seems intuitive to just get a controller instead of a CDJ. Just cost wise alone, it's a wiser investment (even though the cost is quite similar in the end). I can't afford 900's or 2000's, and so I'm going with a "smaller" product no-matter which way I look at it.

    QUESTIONS:

    So for folks who have experience using ITCH and SSL, which would you recommend? Because that's what it really comes down to. All of these above products are very similar, and I am trying to make the decision.

    Also, in terms of laptops, is the anti-glare on the Macbook Pro's really something I NEED? Or is the regular screen just fine. I don't plan on being a superstar anytime soon, but I just worry about not being able to see shit if there are some wild lights going around. I don't have any experience with computers in odd lighting environments, so any input on this would be quite helpful. (Note I'm still not sold on a Macbook, but this would be another thing that I would add to the list of wanting one)

    Stepping into the game now, if you had no equipment, would you go a CDJ or Controller route yourself.... and why?



    Thank you for reading through this. I know I've made a couple similar posts over the past couple of months, but budget plans had changed. (I basically made the decision to spend the 1k+ I had saved on going to Ultra, and in so doing, put off making the gear purchase for a bit). (And sorry if you've seen this cross-posted. Posted basically the same thing on DJForums but also wanted the input from you guys for many different reasons)
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  2. #2
    Tech Guru Nesquigs's Avatar
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    the only thing i could help you on is the anti glare on the macbook.

    mine doesnt have it and its a bitch to use it outside (ive played some gigs during teh day outside and either had to get covered or cast a shadow on it to see what was going on). so its prob worth it especially if youre using it for 2 purposes. -- i loved typing papers outside when i was in school.

    also if my opinion matters, if you go with cdjs, go with the 400s. i love the red ring that goes round.
    Quote Originally Posted by Xonetacular View Post
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigC View Post

    I respect Traktor and all that it can do, but I just can't get over the ugly and (personally) un-intuitive layout, and basically the NEED to sync (in my personal opinion).

    kind of topic here, but the need for sync wasn't really an issue until traktor pro.

    it's one of the reasons i've stuck with traktor 3, because t3 is a bit more open to different approaches to using the software.

    for instance and this is a BIG dealbreaker for me with the software:
    i can find the bpm of a track in Traktor 3 just be setting a loop and manually adjusting the bpm. Because when i manually adjust the bpm of a track the loop size will increase and decrease as i increase or decrease the bpm - so i can get an accurate bpm by utilizing the visual of a loop. for some reason they removed that functionality from traktor pro.... it's such a handy thing, i hope they put it back into traktor pro 2.

    i don't know if that makes sense, it's kind of hard to explain - i assume it wasn't an intentional use otherwise they would've included it in traktor pro. i hardly ever have to set beatgrids in T3 because of that functionality, it's much faster than setting beatgrids too.
    Last edited by wrong chris; 01-14-2011 at 06:20 PM.

  4. #4
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    You should stay with ssl , itch is more a stepchild of traktor IMO. For DVS I think nothing beats ssl and for controller nothing beats traktor pro. I use the 2 a lot it only depends if the club has turntables or not. The difference between controllers and cdj is, at least for me, not worth it. The best purchase I made is the xone 4d it controls perfect traktor and now with the ssl 2.1 you can effectively map to serato. If there is space in the booth I am playing I am taking with me so if turntables are broken I use traktor.
    So if you have any sl dongle keep it, also I own a vci100 wich works beauty with traktor.The xone 4d I got it for 2000 from a direct allen&heat seller.
    I dislike the NI ways of handling customers and updates and the gui is far from natural workflow besides a weird file management. 5 years ago I purchase the sl1 and I am even surprised I am using it every week, with nice software upgrades for free.
    Cheers

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    And about the glare issue no problem on nighclub environment

  6. #6
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    1. Those mixers suck in the CDJ setups. I'd honestly buy a behringer over them.
    2. Those CDJs aren't amazing based on my preferences, though some people love the 400s.
    3. I hate the pioneer itch controller with a passionÖit's also insanely overpriced.
    4. There are much better options even in the same vein as your two basic options. Newest does not always mean best. I'd pick a xone:dx or vci-300 over the itch controllers you listed, though the numark looks interesting. For CDJs, I'm not sure what I'd do, but I'd probably try to stretch for the 850s if I could.
    5. Those controllers won't be available for a while.
    6. The normal glossy Macbook Pro screen is fine. Don't make the mistake of thinking it looks like a mirror like every glossy PC screen I've ever seenÖApple knows what they're doing.
    7. Why are you limiting yourself to Itch and SSL? What about Traktor? Or just CDJs? You don't need SSL to use CD players.


    And in general:
    • I really can't see spending Pioneer prices to use with SSL. Seems pointless to me, though obviously "everyone" does it.
    • I have very strong opinions that obviously don't mesh with everyone. Take everything I say with a grain of salt.
    • I'm serious about the pioneer mixers suckingÖI really would buy a Behringer over them for anything but a club install; and I would put a lot of mixers before Pio's club mixers on my wish list.

  7. #7

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    Agreed on the Pio mixers. Pioneer mixers are expensive and mediocre.

    If you want a cheap two-channel option get a Xone 22 or something. Don't be concerned about "learning" Pioneer mixers, analog mixers are pretty much all the same. If you can use one, you can use any.

  8. #8
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    I'm glad to hear the glossy screens don't make a huge difference. It's the difference between a few hundred dollars (being as I can pick one up in store in NH -no sales tax- with the glossy screen, and would have to have the anti-glare screen version shipped to my home in MA and have to pay sales tax on-top of the anti-glare price). The also don't make the anti-glare in a 13", which is all I really feel that I need. So we'll see where I end up with a laptop.

    Yeah I've been basically looking at the Ecler Nuo 2.0 and the Xone 22 as far as two channel mixers are concerned. The Behringer products have also really caught my eye, and the DJX-900 really looks like a quality piece of kit. I'm very interested to see where they are going. Believe you me, I'm not sold on the Pioneer mixers by any means. It just wasn't the main topic above, and so I didn't go into as much detail as I probably should have. The main meat and potatoes of what I really wanted to hit on here are/were the players themselves.

    I'd like to use a DVS in the future because my music collection is on Mp3's, and I feel that it's a more intuitive step than having to burn things to CD's. I don't want TT's because as far as mobility goes, it's not really an option (I don't plan on going all over the world with my setup, but to easily bring to a friend's place or house parties, that's what I would be going for). Burning and just using CD's is a completely viable option however.

    After much inner debate, talking with friends, and just going over it a million times, downloading a cracked version to test it, trying the LE version, I can honestly say I don't find Traktor to be for me. And howevermuch people want to knock me for trying without buying, I'm very very glad that I did. I like the FX. I like the syncing honestly. But I also have had a lot of experience with SSL, and it just feels 100% more intuitive. And that's just how it is really, everyone has their own opinion when it comes to software.

    I bought and own Ableton as well, and I originally got it because I was interested in using it as a DJing tool, and it was a nice feature as a DAW. Now I find the workflow being GREAT as a DAW, but I don't think it jives with me as far as DJing is concerned. But the bridge interests me a lot, and while I know you can wire Traktor to it, I've already been over my issues with that to a certain degree. So that's another aspect I feel works quite well with either piece of software.

    Right now even though I'm still basking in the glory that is "new products" I still think the CDJ setup may be the one to go for. If I can get a great deal on CDJ-400's, I'll probably go with them. I don't NEED a DVS at the moment, and really feel like I should learn the basics of beatmatching by ear before anything else. (Yes, I'm one of those guys that believes any DJ worth their weight SHOULD be able to beatmatch by ear, or at least have done it at some point. Choosing to sync should be something that you move on toward, because I've seen so many messy transitions and if something goes wrong? Beatmatching is a required skill, even though it's not one you HAVE to use all the time).

    Right now I'm gathering that more people like SSL than ITCH, and I know here in particular has a fairly strong following of Traktor users. Hell, the reason I first came to the website was because I wanted to know more about the VCI-100 and Traktor. ITCH does seem to take a backseat to ITCH, and having CDJ's doesn't seem like a bad move.

    Slip mode on the 900's and DDJ-S1 is compelling however. And it's something the lesser CDJ's don't have.

    Ugh. It's not simple.

    Right now I'm looking at the DDJ-S1, or going with a straight CDJ setup. I really want to see some more info on the NS6, and so I'll be waiting patiently for that. Price isn't as much of an issue as having the features I want. It's like buying a car really (and hell, I've bought cars for LESS than I'm planning on buying my DJing equipment). I'm someone who will buy the used car with all the features I want, rather than the more economical "smarter" new car.

    Does anyone know when the information it ITCH 2.0 will be released?
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  9. #9

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    My own take on this: but I think CDJs are very backwards-looking technology. Sure, you can do all the basics on them, but they don't really sit well with any of the newer tech. You can use them nicely with DVS setups, but they're very expensive and bulky for what they offer in terms of DVS.

    I don't think CDJs are worth the money, and haven't been since we started seeing good Traktor and Itch controllers.

    You can easily learn all the basics using a MIDI deck with jogwheels (as long as they're touch sensitive). The new Pioneer ones might be a good option, as would cheaper options. Beatmatching manually doesn't require CDJs.
    Last edited by willrjmarshall; 01-15-2011 at 12:40 AM.

  10. #10
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    BigC,

    Whats up man. I have an NS7 and had a VCI-300 till the other day. Iíve used Itch for a while, but after getting the S4 and seeing that Traktor is getting colored waveforms soon, Iím now a happy S4 user. Either way, back to Itch. I would get the CDJís and an SSL box.

    Yes, Itch is the stepchild to SSL or so it feels that way. The NS7 is a sweet piece of gear and Iím sure the NS6 will follow suit. The folks I know that use the V7ís all love themÖso Iím sure the NS6 will be a hit. In my opinion it tops the S1 at first glance. Itch is not bad, itís VERY intuitive and because it is streamlined, itís a fun to use and has MUCH more of a ďhands on feeĒ to it. The downside is that your stuck using one of itís controllers. It also seems that development has been rough for Serato because each update must be developed for 5-7 different controllers. I would recommend the CDJ, SSL set up because you are not married to that one piece of gear. You could easily play on a friends set up with just your sound card and laptop. You can upgrade your mixer or CDJís down the road. I know more folks that use SSL than Itch and Iíve seen many clubs where a TTM-57 is the house mixer and you can just plug in (although most of these are mainly hip hop clubs). This is the main reason Iím sticking with Traktor. The flexibility of taking an S4, or an X1 or just a sound card. I would hate to have to carry an NS6 EVERY time I wanted to play music. The biggest drawback Iím seeing is that Itchís 1-1 mapping style restricts future feature implementation on current controllers without having to add new hardware or something else creative that has not been done yet. The buttons on the controllers are already taken and marked. Remapping would go against their 1-1 philosophy

    If your plans are to play at house parties, or small lounges that require you to take your own gear. Then the NS6 or DDJ-S1 are a great one stop shop, plug in a play. Itch does have enough features to rock some really good sets. I would say you can do more on the current version of Itch than you can on two CDJís and a two channel mixer. Also Serato has announced The Bridge is coming in 2011. The mods on the Serato forum mentioned that the last few months the development team has been working on pushing out the new controllers. Now that they are outÖ.I would assume the priority goes back to releasing 2.0 asap.

    However if you plan on doing more than the above, I would strongly consider the CDJ set up and find an SL-1 box. I think thatís the route your leaning towards.
    SSL - DJM 800 - Technic 1200's - X1 - ITCH - NS6 - VCI-300

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