Novation Twitch - My Review
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  1. #1
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    Default Novation Twitch - My Review

    I guess I could consider this my first major contribution to the online DJ community, and given the relative lack of stuff out there already, I thought it would be nice to give my perspective on the Novation Twitch.

    As a bit of background, I donít fall into any strict controllerist camp or anything. Iím currently overseas, but my setup back home consists of CDJ800ís, 1210ís and a Korg Zero 4, with TSP looking after the 1210ís and the CDJís doing their bit for the shiny physical media.

    When I came to the US in November, I brought with me my VCI-100 with FW1.4, my audio 8 and an X1. Iíve been quite happy with the setup so far, using the X1 mainly for effects. However lugging the VCI-100 around has demonstrated that although small physically, it wasnít exactly portable due to the weight. When the twitch came around, I thought it might be worth a shot, providing a different ďback to basicsĒ feel with ITCH, but still giving me some extra performance modes to branch out creatively.
    So Iíll summarize my thoughts in a few points:

    • Lightweight, but feels relatively sturdy as an overall unit
    • Knobs and Faders feel a little cheaply made, but are adequate. I would much prefer Novation move to a grippier plastic for their knobs and faders though, they donít feel very nice to the touch, and are difficult to adjust in small increments
    • EQ Knobs are spaced a little tightly, but there is a lot of room around the faders
    • The crossfader is replaceable (hereís hoping an innofader can get in there at some point!)
    • ITCH integration is great, and itís really refreshing to be playing with software that lets you stop focusing on the software. Performing with itch is very nice for 2 deck mixing with EQís and the odd filter work with the fader effects mode. I do wish we had dedicated LPF/HPF filter knobs though in ITCH like they do in the Traktor mapping
    • Manually beatmatching with the touchstrip is very intuitive, and in my opinion superior to manually beatmatching on the VCI-100 jogs
    • Slicer is an incredible tool, which has a lot of potential once itís mastered and used properly
    • Track navigation/loading is great
    • Effects implementation is a bit dodgy in ITCH, but we all knew that anyway. I would probably stick with the X1 for effects mapping if I were to use the Twitch in Traktor.
    • I donít know why everyone is complaining about the low sound output from the audio interface, itís fine in my opinion.
    • Sounds very nice, and the booth routing options are a nice touch
    • Aux input is very handy, I think Iíll be connecting my synthstation 25 for some pseudo-analog synth fun.


    Overall, very happy with the unit, to the point where it looks likely Iíll be selling off the VCI-100.

    Any questions, feel free to ask me!

    Cheers,
    Ron
    Last edited by djelektron; 01-08-2012 at 11:25 PM.

  2. #2
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    Here's my 2 cents on the Twitch:

    - Overall build quality is nice. The trigger pads are good but I would actually have preferred hard plastic buttons as opposed to the rubber ones (for a more tactile feedback of knowing that one has hit the buttons, preferably with microswitches to give the nice clicky feedback minus having to mash on the buttons too hard).
    - The knobs are OK but I find some of the cut outs on the face plate to be iffy (my Master knob was very stiff for the first 1/3 turn and then smooth and easy for the other 2/3, I actually had to pull the knob out and swap it with a random one elsewhere on the controller, this fixed the problem which leads me to believe that either the cutout was iffy or that actual knob had some warping that caused it to rub against the cut out, so keep that in mind if you find a knob or two on the Twitch that is super stiff or uneven in the turn, swapping them around may fix that).
    - Itch is pretty reliable for 2 deck mixing, I'm running the beta right now and am excited to see what the SP6 sample deck has to offer.
    - Touchpads work phenomenally well.
    - Pitch encoders are awesome, makes it so much easier to tweak the pitch.
    - The FX section all the way up on the corner I am fine with, but I find that the Fader FX section located all the way in the EQ section kind of odd since if I wanted to set two FX up to use together, I have to keep reminding myself that the Fader FX setting is in the EQ section and that it has a different means to adjusting the FX. I think I'll get use to it but for now, there's a learning curve their since it's like operating two completely different UIs.
    - Beatgridding is pretty reliable for the most part in Itch, which is a good thing since a LOT of the unique Twitch features rely heavily on a properly gridded track.
    - The faders have WAY too much give left and right for the channel faders and up down for the crossfader though I do love the fact that there's strips of felt in the fader slots to prevent dust and what not from getting in, makes it easier to maintain.

    Well, that's all for now. Waiting for my DJTT Chroma caps and knobs to come in to replace the plastic ones on the Twitch which are slippery if your hands become moist or what not. I think I might leave the stock cap on the crossfader though, make that easier to crab on.

    Lastly, if you've ever tried to pull the knobs or faders off the unit, you might be led to believe that they are stuck on there permanently. They are not. They just fit on super tight. I had to go get a pair of those yellow dish washing gloves from the kitchen and put them on to yank my Master knob and the other random knob off because there's simply not enough grip to pull them out with just ones bare hands.
    Last edited by dookiex; 01-09-2012 at 11:36 AM.

  3. #3
    Tech Guru jprime's Avatar
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    Just finished filming up a little routine with it in decent HD.

    Will upload and post when it's all done

  4. #4
    Tech Guru zestoi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dookiex View Post
    I had to go get a pair of those yellow dish washing gloves from the kitchen and put them on to yank my Master knob
    sounds kinky
    11mba / 13mbp / tsp2 / live9 / audio10 / 2x reloop rp7000gold / 2x xdj1000 / 2x d2
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    Quote Originally Posted by derschaich
    "wohoo, i'm touched, turn on the FX"

  5. #5
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    @dookiex:
    -I guess people will vary on the trigger pads. I generally like the soft-touch feel of the trigger pads, but I think it would have been nice if they had a more distinct feedback when pressed (like the x1 buttons for example).

    -Let me know how you go on the Chroma Knobs - I've been pondering this but I'm not so sure on the height thing. I think i spotted a post where someone had purchased alternate knobs which sat flush with the controller? I'm mainly interested in whether they feel smoother/easier to turn. This is something where the VCI-100 feels alot better.

    -I'm more uncomfortable with the main effects section due to the implementation in ITCH. I think it's something i'll get used to in time. The fader effects mode is usually (in my case) assigned to the filters to try and compensate for the fact the Twitch didn't include them. I still feel Traktor has a much superior effects implementation. I'm looking forward to seeing what ITCH can do with the bridge in future, as that would allow perhaps a send return via Ableton and an external controller (maybe the x1 can hang around)

    -Definitely agree on the beatgridding on ITCH. I find it to be more reliable than my experiences with Traktor (especially in regards to finding the 1 correctly)

    Two things I'm most interested in is finding alternate knobs (Faders I think the DJTT faders will work) and what crossfaders/channel faders fit into this. I haven't opened her up yet, but it does look like all three can be replaced.

    Cheers,
    Ron

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by zestoi View Post
    sounds kinky
    It was VERY kinky. Snapped the gloves on and everything.

    DJElektron: Yeah, I saw that thread. The knobs not sitting flush isn't a biggie. When I took the knobs off mine, I checked the posts. They are sturdy and are bolted on so they can definitely take a lot of abuse. I found out after some experimenting that the smoothness of the turns of these knobs are highly dependent on how well the plastic knobs are seated on the posts as well as if the plastic has any slight warping (like the Master knob on my Twitch, it was slightly warped and since that cutout on the top plate where the Master knob is located wasn't perfect, that first 1/3 turn on that knob was really stiff, after switching it out with one of the other knobs on the Twitch, the Master knob works well enough now). All the knobs feel great in terms of smoothness when you pull the caps up a bit so yeah, the stock caps are definitely adding some unnecessary friction to them. The DJTT knobs not sitting flush with the unit I would consider to be an upgrade for the Twitch since you will be cranking on the post without any friction coming between the knobs on the top plate.

    As for the faders, I like them, very smooth and loose (but there's that waggle left-right for the channel faders and up-down for the xfader, that's annoying but in practice, not too bad and you forget about it). If you're use to the faders on things like a Rane mixer, this is definitely nowhere near the tank-like build on those but the looseness of the throw I also consider to be a positive (but you do have to pay more attention to slow fades since there's practically no resistance on these faders). The crossfader itself is built to be user replaceable (if you look on the bottom, there's a plate that you can pop off to get to the xfader) but I have not seen any after market x-faders for the Twitch yet, if anybody knows of any considerably better ones that I can swap the stock ones out with, please let me know. The channel faders, those look like more of an ordeal to replace since it looks like you have to pop the top plate off and what not.

    In regards to the FX, yeah, Itch is sorely lacking in the FX department but what's there, it's sufficient enough I think. Mix in the fader FX, it's pretty decent.

    I am looking forward to Bridge whenever that comes out, for the time being though, I'm just running Ableton in the background and controlling that with an iPad. TouchAble isn't too shabby, I like it better than using an Akai APC40. It's like a poor mans Lemure but honestly, I don't see how a Lemure is better than an iPad with TouchAble, oh well.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by djelektron View Post
    @dookiex:
    ...Definitely agree on the beatgridding on ITCH. I find it to be more reliable than my experiences with Traktor (especially in regards to finding the 1 correctly)
    I have been considering trying out Itch, the only things holding me back are which controller, can my laptop handle Itch and whatever controller I decide on and lastly, beatgridding. Is it realy easier to do than on Traktor?
    --------------------------------------------------
    Still using Traktor Pro 2.1.3
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dj subculture View Post
    I have been considering trying out Itch, the only things holding me back are which controller, can my laptop handle Itch and whatever controller I decide on and lastly, beatgridding. Is it realy easier to do than on Traktor?
    Itch, just like Scratch Live, is tied to the hardware, so definitely choose a controller that can exploit as many of the functions in Itch as possible whilst still being flexible enough to handle alternative applications such as Traktor well (just in case you end up not caring much for Itch, you will still get pretty much full value out of your purchase using the controller for Traktor or whatever other DJ software you decide to go with).

    As for the beatgridding, it's not that it's easier with Itch, it's just that Itch is much better at detecting it and properly gridding it for you. With Traktor, there's much more manual labour involved (it's technically easy enough to do, just takes time). In both pieces of software, beatgridding is totally doable, it's just much easier with Itch since it's superior at doing it for you in that department.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by dookiex View Post
    ...
    As for the beatgridding, it's not that it's easier with Itch, it's just that Itch is much better at detecting it and properly gridding it for you. With Traktor, there's much more manual labour involved (it's technically easy enough to do, just takes time). In both pieces of software, beatgridding is totally doable, it's just much easier with Itch since it's superior at doing it for you in that department.
    So you're saying that Itch is better at auto-gridding? I personally maunually set the grids in Traktor as I don't trust the software to get it right.
    Is Itch easy to manually beat grid than Traktor?

    I've been looking around for some tutorials, but I haven't found any.

    Also, I'm thinking about the Vestax VCI 300, from what I just read on Serato's website, it's the only Itch controller that would work with my current Laptop.
    --------------------------------------------------
    Still using Traktor Pro 2.1.3
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dj subculture View Post
    So you're saying that Itch is better at auto-gridding? I personally maunually set the grids in Traktor as I don't trust the software to get it right.
    Is Itch easy to manually beat grid than Traktor?

    I've been looking around for some tutorials, but I haven't found any.

    Also, I'm thinking about the Vestax VCI 300, from what I just read on Serato's website, it's the only Itch controller that would work with my current Laptop.
    Yeah, basically auto-gridding with Itch is pretty spot on IMHO. Manually setting the grid in Itch is also a very straight forward affair. I wouldn't say that it's easier or harder than it is to manually set them when compared to Traktor, but the fact that Itch has a pretty reliable automation of this is a huge plus. The main reason I believe that Itch is very good at automating this is due to a lot of the features in Itch (and in turn, Scratch Live via Bridge) are very reliant on beat gridding.

    Here's the tutorial for beat gridding in Itch so you can get a sense of what to expect:

    http://serato.com/videos/6358/creati...and-the-bridge

    Additionally, you can actually set up and adjust beatgrid markers on the fly with the Twitch controller which I don't believe you can do with any other controller that's currently out right now. This is a pretty unique and interesting feature. You can technically do this using the keyboard on your computer but having it right there on the controller is pretty great IMHO.

    Hope this helps!

    As for the computer requirements for Itch (which is basically what the system requirements listings are really telling you, it's not that the controller needs to be hooked up to such a machine, it's that the minimum Itch software version that the controller runs on needs those requirements, these controllers are pretty much just straight up MIDI controllers when you get down to it), I find it to be a pretty lightweight application. Worse comes to worse, you'll have to increase the buffer size in Itch to prevent audio drop outs which would introduce a little bit of jog/swipe delay (depending on if you get the Twitch or any other controller which would of course use jogs). Your system should be able to handle pretty much any of the controllers out there for Itch.
    Last edited by dookiex; 01-10-2012 at 05:12 PM.

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