A compact, motorized DJ controller purely for scratching?
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  1. #1
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    Default A compact, motorized DJ controller purely for scratching?

    I tried posting about this in the "Midi Fighter resources etc" section and my thread never seemed to get any attention, so I guess I'll try talking about this here.

    Ever since seeing the Numark NS7 and V7 I have been obsessed with them and have been wondering why more companies haven't tried to make USB DJ controllers that actually provide their own momentum. Everything else out there just has a dead, static platter, or in the best of cases, it has a static platter but has a touch sensor on it so that it knows when it's being touched in order to engage the scratching or stop the movement of the MP3 in the software. The VTT101 by DJ Tech (a company not related to DJTT) has this, but in my opinion it still can't come close to a device that actually has perpetual rotation. They made a USB turntable for scratching timecode discs as well... and so does everyone else out there, and every time I go on places like the Traktor forums posting about this kind of stuff, that's what I am told to get rather than continuing to hope and wish for the industry to cater to my personal wants, but I don't have that kind of money nor do I have the kind of desk space to accommodate two 1200s plus a mixer, let alone the NS7 which, while small, is still pretty huge. I just want a small controller that is for one thing and that is scratching in Traktor (and at present, the NS7 and its new spiffy remake do not support NI's software, only Serato).


    I also recall messing around with a demo of a unit way way back in 2008 at a Guitar Center that used a laser to read the side of a moving platter, later found out this was the Technics SL-DZ1200.

    http://djworx.com/wp-content/uploads.../Photos-01.jpg

    This thing was genius and I'm surprised more people didn't try to copy it... I mean, basically what you have is a motorized platter with adjustable speed settings and a what amounts to the laser in an Optical Trackball Mouse reading the dots on the side of the platter.

    I really wish that DJ Tech, or DJTT or anyone out there would make a compact controller for scratching that mimicked this kind of ingenuity. I mean, basically all you'd need is a housing the size of a Midi Fighter (or if that's too small, the size of an Akai MPD18), a motor inside of it, a 45 record sized platter with a pattern of grooves on it and a laser sticking up from the housing to read the movement of the platter; what speed it's moving at, whether it's going backwards or forwards, etc etc... You wouldn't even -need- a timecode disc because the grooves on the platter and the laser reading them would be what told the software where in virtual time it was at... hell, the disc wouldn't even necessarily -need- to be 45 sized, it could be CD sized and still work fine, and the smaller the platter, the less motor strength needed to spin it around.

    Why isn't someone out there doing this already????
    Seriously, why? Copyright / patent issues?

    If some hobbyists out there can make something like this out
    of an old discarded hard drive and an optical mouse's laser
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMg3spZM-Ow#t=47
    what's stopping DJTT or someone from making something
    like what I've been talking about???


    EDIT:

    Just now learned of the existence of the Stanton SCS.1
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktn1l6Wpy00
    Holy crap, and here I thought the NS7 / V7 was the
    only controller with motorized platters. If this came
    in a 45 size, used USB instead of Firewire and had
    its own crossfader, I would be in love...
    Last edited by UoPoko; 03-23-2014 at 10:58 PM.

  2. #2
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    I appreciate what you're trying to get made, but I fear you've misunderstood how spinning platter controllers work.

    There's no lasers involved in the SL-DZ (except in the CD drive). It's all mechanical.

    Keep in mind that when you scratch, the platter itself should continue playing at a constant speed, and not move back and forth. Only the 'record' surface should be changing.

    Any tech which reads platter movement would achieve nothing.

  3. #3
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    @Mojaxx - so what you're telling me is that the SL-DZ did not use that little cylindrical nub with a laser in it in the left side to read rotation, so if it wasn't that, then I'm guessing it worked more like the NS7, where the spindle is actually what's being read (platter underneath continues to move, but the stopping or rotating of the spindle dictates the action). From what I have seen of homebrew stuff, though, it -is- possible to create a device where what is being rotated is scanned by an optical mouse's laser.. theoretically, if you could make a device like that with a motor in it that gave it various speeds, and maybe had the laser scanning a secondary piece with a grained or grooved side that went on top of the base platter - then could it not be feasible?

    Quote Originally Posted by UoPoko View Post
    If some hobbyists out there can make something like this out
    of an old discarded hard drive and an optical mouse's laser...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMg3spZM-Ow#t=47
    My other thread probably asks for something even more unlikely...
    http://forum.djtechtools.com/showthread.php?t=80621
    Last edited by UoPoko; 03-24-2014 at 04:12 PM.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by UoPoko View Post
    @Mojaxx - so what you're telling me is that the SL-DZ did not use that little cylindrical nub with a laser in it in the left side to read rotation, so if it wasn't that, then I'm guessing it worked more like the NS7, where the spindle is actually what's being read (platter underneath continues to move, but the stopping or rotating of the spindle dictates the action). From what I have seen of homebrew stuff, though, it -is- possible to create a device where what is being rotated is scanned by an optical mouse's laser.. theoretically, if you could make a device like that with a motor in it that gave it various speeds, and maybe had the laser scanning a secondary piece with a grained or grooved side that went on top of the base platter - then could it not be feasible?



    My other thread probably asks for something even more unlikely...
    http://forum.djtechtools.com/showthread.php?t=80621
    FYI, the performance of the SCS1 was......unfortunate at best. It had all sorts of motor cogging issues, and the MIDI output was never supported well enough by any software to be good for scratching at all. As well, its discontinued, and the software will never improve.

    Your best bet would honestly be to pick up a used V7 and call it a day. The scratch market is too small to ever support anything more (and I say this as a guy who has been scratching for 20+ years).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Professorbx View Post
    FYI, the performance of the SCS1 was......unfortunate at best. It had all sorts of motor cogging issues, and the MIDI output was never supported well enough by any software to be good for scratching at all. As well, its discontinued, and the software will never improve.
    That -is- unfortunate... I just saw one on Ebay for $190, but knowing this and
    the fact it's confined to Firewire is discouraging. This seemed like the only real
    bet for something with motorized plats that would also work in Traktor.


    Quote Originally Posted by Professorbx View Post
    Your best bet would honestly be to pick up a used V7 and call it a day. The scratch market is too small to ever support anything more (and I say this as a guy who has been scratching for 20+ years).
    - V7 was also discontinued, you'd think that since Numark brought out the NS7 II, they would make a MKII of the V7 as well and update it with the same stuff. Even if I managed to save up the dough for an NS7 II, or manage to find a V7 for cheap, I'd still be tied to Serato and would not be able to use Traktor, not unless someone out there manages to come up with a hack to make it possible. (There was a guy named Quartz who had been working on a workaround, he eventually gave up because it was only a non-public beta in which this was ever possible... an associate of his, Hedgehog, took up the reigns and is trying to get it to a point where it's useable, but so far I haven't heard much about that.)


    You know what, forget the motorization aspect... if the Midi Fighter guys could just put out a unit with a static jog that had a pressure sensor to let it know how aggressive / gradual you want your stop / grab to be, I'd be satisfied with that... I saw this for really really cheap on Ebay. http://www.digitaldjtips.com/2011/05...ch-controller/ But haven't heard much good about it... apparently the jog is anything but hi-rez.
    Last edited by UoPoko; 03-25-2014 at 11:47 PM.

  6. #6
    Tech Wizard dj_adm's Avatar
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    I know it's not "compact" buuuuut:

    3900_top.jpg

  7. #7
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    It's nice, it has motorized platter, but... it's massive.
    And it's in the range of $800... u.u

  8. #8
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    The Denons are big (10" platter) and no cheaper than a TT and TSP, but they are nice (I've got a pair of 3700s)
    Iirc Hedgehog was running an NS7 with Serato to play Traktor timecode signals into TSP as a workaround for the NS7 or V7.

    As a cheap alternative the Tonetable app isn't bad but you still need to shell out for TSP and will probably end up buying a TT or motorized CDJ and scratching with timecodes eventually.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippie View Post
    Hedgehog was running an NS7 with Serato to play Traktor timecode signals into TSP as a workaround for the NS7 or V7.
    Last I recall he was working on a legit solution to getting Traktor to read the NS7 platter properly.

    http://www.skratchlounge.com/index.p...r/#entry100615

  10. #10
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    Here lies a problem: Motors with the torque required are big and heavy.

    another of the problems is that in order to use a tracking/encoder based system that you are limited by regular old midi so accurate scratching isn't possible (at least with Traktor) unless HID or 14bit midi is implemented and enabled I believe ?

    it -is- possible to create a device where what is being rotated is scanned by an optical mouse's laser.. theoretically, if you could make a device like that with a motor in it that gave it various speeds, and maybe had the laser scanning a secondary piece with a grained or grooved side that went on top of the base platter - then could it not be feasible?
    I came up with a concept of using a hollow motor shaft, set the traktor deck on pause and the encoder rotation would move the playhead forward/back however the motors and motor controllers themselves are pretty damn expensive for a proof of concept, and I just tested it with a cheap encoder but it worked - albeit really stuttery .

    Another idea that might work in a system was the Tascam TTM1 or something along the same lines that outputted directly into a computer (or sound card!) however i don't believe anyone ever got one working over USB (although some were trying).

    The beauty of that simple concept was that you only needed a platter surface (of any kind) and sit the TTM1 on the side of the turntable - to was just an encoder unit that converted the data into a readable format for the vestax cdx5.

    But damn they wuz ugly !
    Last edited by deevey; 03-26-2014 at 07:34 AM.

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