Category Archives: Scratch DJ Academy

See You Soon!

What’s up Indaba fans! 

We hope you’ve been enjoying our blog posts and how-to videos.  After covering a variety of topics – from the history of DJing to instructional scratching videos to digital DJing – we’ll be taking some time off from posting any new blogs.  We hope you’ll take this time to practice and use our videos to help work on your skills! 

Please visit for information on courses or to check out our Scratch DJ Academy community.

Thanks for your support!

Scratch DJ Academy

Posted in Artists in Residence, Scratch DJ Academy | Leave a comment

Sticker Cueing

Hey everyone!  For all you vinyl heads out there that are looking for a “cue point” method to use in your battle routines, mixing sets, or beat juggling practice sessions, Dirty Digits has a very helpful method that will allow you to get to that certain spot of the record without using headphones. 

All of the digital DJing software that most DJs use has “Cue Points” which allows you to place a “marker” on various parts of a song – please see our blog on Cue Points in Serato. This feature was actually taken from the Sticker Cueing method and implemented into the software, but without using “real stickers”.  Instead of using stickers, the “digital Cue Points” can be placed on the MP3 and triggered by a midi controller or the numeric keypad on your computer.

With the original method, stickers are used to allow the needle to slide into position at the start of a song, sample or break beat.  Unlike the digital method, only a few stickers are used to mark specific parts.  Too many stickers can result in confusion as to what section to play, and the blocking of grooves.  Most DJs will use 2 stickers at most, and then read the stickers like the hands on a clock.  This method has been made most popular by battle DJs and turntablists across the world.  

At first, Sticker Cueing was seen as “cheating” because most DJs were still using headphones in their battle routines.  Using headphones in a routine actually slowed down the DJ in their set.  The time spent putting the headphones on and searching for the section they wanted to use, killed the flow of energy from one routine to the next.  It’s not known as to whom created this method, but once it was displayed in competitions, it spread rather quickly through out the community.  DJs were able to execute faster and more complex body tricks without having to worry about getting entangled in the headphone cable.  This method also allowed DJs to add even more material in their routine because they were able to shave time on searching for samples. 

Sticker Cueing can also be used for mixing in a regular DJ set.  The method is not as in-depth compared to a battle routine, but if you wanted to cue up to the “one” of a beat or the start of the song without using headphones, you can simply place a sticker at the start of the song so that when the needle hits the sticker, it can slide right into the starting position.

Let’s take a look at Dirty Digit’s How-to video on Sticker Cueing.

Posted in Artists in Residence, Scratch DJ Academy | Leave a comment

2 Click-Flare aka Orbit Flare

What’s up Indaba fans!  We hope your holidays went well and that you were able to get that mixer you’ve always wanted or that pair of Technics you’ve been dreaming about.  So let’s get started and put that shiny new equipment to use!!!

In today’s video, NYC’s Dirty Digits and SupaDupaDa God is going to demonstrate how to execute the infamous 2 click-flare aka The Orbit Flare.  The Orbit Flare was originally created by Dj Disk, one of the founding members of the world famous InvisblSkratchPiklz Crew.  Alongside other founding members, DjQbert, Mixmaster Mike, and DJ Apollo, Disk took the concept of the flare scratch and added on to it.  The Orbit is a commonly used scratch in Dj Battles, Showcases and scratching sessions.  Let’s take a look at how to properly execute this technique.

1.   Using the Aaah sound, let’s first concentrate on our record movement.  Start with the crossfader open, and simply drag the record forward and back.

2.   Once you have this motion down, now let’s focus on the fader movement.  With the fader open, as soon as you push the record forward, click the fader off TWICE in the middle of the sound, and then leave the fader open and continue pushing the record to the end of the sample.

3.   Your sample should be at the end, the tail of the sound, and your fader should be in the open position.

4.   Next, drag the record back and click the fader off TWICE in the middle of the sound, and continue dragging back to the start of the sample.  The fader should return to the open position.

5.   What you are trying to achieve is 3 breaks in the sample on the forward, and then 3 breaks in the sample on the back pull.

Here is a condensed version of the steps.

1.     Sample Start/Fader On.

2.     Drag FORWARD (do not stop dragging forward)/Click OFF – ON/Click OFF – ON/ Sample End/Fader ON

3.     Repeat step 2 on the BACK pull.

4.     Sample Start/Fader ON

Check out the video to see how our guys demonstrate the 2 Click Flare.

Posted in Artists in Residence, Scratch DJ Academy | 1 Comment

Serato Workshop 5: Troubleshooting



Today we’re going to talk about a few steps that can help you trouble shoot in the club.  You never know when you are going to run into a problem, so it’s best to be prepared for anything.  Anything can happen when you least expect it… a faulty RCA cable, a damaged needle, or even the rca cables being plugged into the wrong input.  Whatever it may be - as a DJ you need to be able to fix the problem quickly and still keep the music playing.  Here a short useful guide to help you in the club.




This should be done EVERY TIME you setup and break down Serato, or plug your computer into another setup.


1.  CALIBRATE!  Always check your scope view to make sure you are getting those clean and round GREEN CIRCLES. Most importantly that your getting a signal to begin with.  Make sure all cables running from your Serato Box to your mixer are in the correct inputs and outputs.  Also make sure your needles are CLEAN!  I recommend bringing a small bottle of rubbing alcohol to clean off the head-shell pins.


2. TURN OFF any programs that you are NOT using. Wireless, Bluetooth, Anti Virus, anything that requires memory (Ram) or processor power.  Have any of these functions running and you will experience USB Dropouts.


3.  KEY LOCK! This is huge when having to mix at a faster pitch….it keeps the song from sounding like an Alvin and The Chipmunks Remake.


Additional Tips


·        Use a USB port that has the most power going to it.  On a Mac it’s normally the USB port that is closest to you. On a PC, it really depends on what make and model. If you experience any USB Drop Outs, switch USB Ports until it stops.


·        TURN OFF PLAYBACK KEYS USING SHIFT!  So much easier than having to hold down SHIFT and (Cue Point Key, Loop, or any KeyBoard short cut) and you don’t have to have your CAPS LOCK on.  If you want to set Cue Points, ENABLE HOT CUES.


·        Make sure your MP3s are at a good bit rate. Anything lower than 128 is going to sound pretty bad. Reconvert them in iTunes or another MP3 player that allows you to change Bit Rate.


·        Build Overviews whenever you update your music library. You never know, the songs you may have imported may be corrupted or poor quality.


·        The more Memory (Ram….not storage) you have, the faster Serato will respond. The minimum requirement is 512Mb, but we suggest getting more than this.  Usually 2gb of ram is more than enough and most computers now come with a minimum of 2gb of Ram.


·        Register with the Scratch Live Forums so that you can become part of the community and view other dj’s tips and tricks, and updates to the software.


Posted in Artists in Residence, Scratch DJ Academy | Leave a comment

Serato Workshop 4: Calibration

In today’s lesson we are going to discuss Calibration.  This is extremely important to understand – especially when you are in the club and something goes wrong with the setup.  Always get in to the habit of calibrating your set up before each and every gig.  Just check out the steps below to see how this is done:


Each time you setup your Serato, it is extremely import to calibrate your Serato with the current DJ equipment set. Some turntables may have a faulty RCA and Serato will respond to this. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of calibrating your Serato every time you start up. 

  1. Start Serato and place needles on both records and start each turntable. Make sure you have empty Virtual Decks.
  2. Click on the SETUP button to switch to your SETUP SCREEN
  3. Here, you will see a pair of GREEN CIRCLES.
  4. This is called your SCOPE VIEW. This lets you know if you are getting a CLEAN and CLEAR signal from your record and through the equipment. Your SCOPE VIEW should look like this:


    If your views do not look like this, adjust the dials (P/A Balance and L/R balance) to the left for the left Virtual Deck and the dials on the right for the right Virtual Decks, to try and round out the circles. If you are NOT getting circles, check your RCA connections to the box and check your needles. If you are using CD Players make sure it is set to LINE in your SETUP screen.

  5. Below you will see the ESTIMATE button (click “?” mark for description). This is your “Threshold”. Move the fader to the desired setting that responds best to the dj equipment and you. In most cases you will want to leave the “Threshold fader” right at 48. This will allow you smooth playback with less background interference.
  6. The next 3 settings should also be set to the performance of your computer. These settings are: USB BUFFER SIZE, AUDIO CACHE, and MAXIMUM SCREEN UPDATES. Again, click the “?” mark and move your cursor over each setting to get a full description on what each one does. Once you have everything set, the only time you will ever need to adjust any of the settings is your “Threshold” fader. Other than that, you will never have to change any of the other settings.
Posted in Artists in Residence, Scratch DJ Academy | Leave a comment