Category Archives: Scratch DJ Academy

Serato Workshop 3: Looping

What’s up everyone! In today’s lesson we will be discussing one of Serato’s mostpopular features, Looping. Looping is a technique that allows the DJ to repeat acertain portion of the record over and over and over again.
Sound familiar? In one of our previous posts, we discussed how to execute thistechnique by using two of the same records. In Serato, we can achieve this sametechnique using one record and the looping feature in the program.
Let’s take a look step by step on how this works.

1. LOOPING: You can set up to 9 different LOOPS on 1 track andyou can Loop as large as the file itself, but you wouldn’t really wantto do that. The purpose of looping is to grab a section of the songand set it so that it continuously plays that portion of the song. It’salmost as if you are extending the song without actually changingthe length of it. Looping is great for intros or outros when you needsome more time to mix, do a live remix or mashup.

2. With your loaded track and Cue Points, move your record/cd tothe “1st Beat” which is a kick drum (RED). A Yellow Cue Point isplaced where this KICK is and the start of the loop.

3.Next, click the IN BUTTON. This will be the start of your loop.Once you hit play, you will see the waveform with a BRIGHTGREEN SELECTION on it. (REVIEW THE NEXT 2 IMAGES)

4. Once you have gotten to the desired length (usually a 4 or 8 barpattern), click the OUT BUTTON to close the LOOP.

5. You have now successfully created a LOOP. You can lock itby clicking the box with the number “1” in it. You will see a REDsquare around it. If you need to start over, Press the X button tocancel out the loop.

6. If you wish to have additional loops, just click the arrow to the rightof the number to go the 2nd Loop Bank.

7. Just follow the same steps as before and there you go.

Now let’s try AUTO LOOPING. It’s very simple and easy to use. The barthat is below the IN and OUT buttons is your LOOPING BAR. The valuesare NOT in BARS but in BEATS. The lowest value is 1.8th and the highestis 32 beats. Below you will see a few examples of using the Auto Loopfeature.

1 BEAT LOOP:

8 BEAT LOOP

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Trick or Treat Juggle

Halloween has passed, but Scratch’s Halloween spirit continues on!  In today’s video, Scratch NYC’s own DJ Suga Ray and Dirty Digits are going to show you a “trick” to use at your next get together.  Let’s take an in-depth look at how to create a melodic juggle.

What you will need:

  • Digital Djing Software (Serato, Traktor, etc)
  • Two of the same song and a different song to be used as an underlying beat
  • An understanding of basic looping and beat juggling.  (You can check in previous posts about “Looping” and the “Beat Juggling” series.)

Melodic Juggle:

  • Load up the same track on both virtual decks.  In the video, Ray uses the theme song to Halloween the Movie.
  • Figure out a simple juggling pattern that is creative and also easy to execute.  You can start off by using a simple looping pattern if it helps.
  • Once you have the pattern down, practice it for a bit so you know exactly how you want it to sound.  Remember to use your “visual markers” on your records (stickers, Marker Line, etc).
  • The other song (supporting beats) should mix well with the juggling song’s melody.  In the video, Ray uses Dead Prez’ “Hip Hop” which actually fits very well with Halloween.  They are pretty much in key with each other.
  • In your digital djing program, you should have a bank that allows you to play samples separate from the Virtual Decks.  In Serato, you can use your Sample Banks.  Load the “supoorting song” into the sample play.
  • Make sure the speeds (BPM) of both songs are matched up.
  • Play the track from the sample bank and begin your basic looping pattern with decks 1 and 2.  Make sure you are in time with the beat and that you find the “pocket” of the groove.  This basically means to get comfortable doing this looping pattern over another beat.  Get funky with it.
  • Now try and execute the simple juggling pattern you created at the start of all this.  Try and make sure that your juggle is right in time with the support beat track. 

The “tricky” thing about this is that you have to use a track that is just the melody – no DRUMS.  If you have drums on the juggling track, and then you have the supporting beats, it’s going to sound real cluttered.  You can see this in Ray’s video – since he has just the melody of one song and the instrumental of Dead Prez – it sounds clean and clear. 

 

Check it out!

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Digital Djing Workshop 2: Cue Points

In today’s workshop we are going to discuss Cue Points, their importance, and multiple uses for them.  The software that we will be mainly working with today is SeratoScratchlive 2.1.  So, before we get into it, let’s discuss exactly what Cue Points are.

 

A Cue Point is a digital event marker that is used to indentify a certain part of the song, sample, or sound and is either triggered by a control within the software or by an external midi device.  This digital marker, once set, will be permanently stored to the digital audio file.  In Serato, the user has up to 5 Cue Points to save per track, and an additional “Temp Cue Point” if all 5 Cues are stored. 

 

 

Setting a Cue Point in Serato is actually very easy to do.  Here is a step by step on how to set your cue points.

 

1.      Make sure you line up your track right to the edge of the wave file.  The “white line” that runs across your Waveform Display is considered “Needle Placement”, so the edge of the wave should line right up with that white line.

2.      Mouse over to your “Cue Point Table” and press the PLUS button.

3.      You will instantly see a colored Cue Point pop up on your waveform.  Additionally, you will see the 1st Cue Point bank in the table store that point. 

4.      Now let the record play.  You can trigger the cue point by either pressing the “PLAY ARROW” next to the cue point, OR, you can use HOTKEYS.

5.      HOTKEYS are keys on your keyboard that control functions in your software.  For cue points you can use: (HOT CUES-make sure ENABLE HOT CUES is ON in your SETUP screen) 1 thru 5 (numeric key row) for the Left Deck, and 6 thru 0 for the Right Deck.You can also press COMMAND 1 thru 5 for the Left Deck and COMMAND 6 thru 0 for the Right Deck if you don’t want to use ENABLE HOT CUES.

6.      If you watch the dial on the virtual deck that has a Cue Point, you will notice that the dial matches the color of the cue.  This is actually a very helpful feature here.  Whether you are approaching the Cue Point or moving away from it, the dial will either fill up or deplete in color, letting you know exactly which cue point you are closest to.

 

 

Why would someone want to use Cue Points in the first place?  Cue points actually have multiple purposes; here are a few uses for them:

 

·        Identify and mark your Mixing Points.  Can be used to mark the top of each Chorus or Outro to ensure a structurally tight mix.

·        Can be used at the START of the song so the user doesn’t have to backspin/rewind the record all the way to the start.One click of a button and BOOM…back to the start. This saves the DJ time and allows them to be faster when mixing.

·        Can be used to mark uncensored lyrics.  Obviously you are limited to only 5 so if you have a track that has more than 5 “bad words”…you might have to get a clean version.  But if there is a couple, it’s a great way to know that there is some profanity on the track.

·        Can be used to “Chop” up parts of the song, which can be re-arranged in real time play.  It’s almost like using an MPC or some other form sampler.

 

 

Hit us up if you have any questions or issues concerning Cue Points.  Have fun and as a friendly reminder, make sure you always “back up all your music files”.  See ya later!

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The Echo Transition

The Echo Transition   

In today’s video, DJ Tim Martell is going to show us how to use the Echo Scratch as a transition when jumping from one record to the next.  The Echo Transition is one of the most unique transitions that DJs have been using in their sets for quite some time.  When done correctly, the DJ creates a sort of “echo effect” that almost sounds like it was done by a machine.  Transitions like this are used when two songs can not mix together, jumping from Genre to Genre, or to just add a little bit of “excitement” to the set. 

Now let’s break down the Echo Transition step by step.  In order to do this properly, you’ll first need to review how to do an Echo Scratch.  You can review the technique in our April 14th blog.

Please note, there are a couple of different ways to achieve the “echo effect”, so whichever one (in the link or in the video) you chose is up to you.

1. Record 2 is playing.
2. With Record 1 you are going to line up the start of the song (using visual markers – stickers, tape, etc) and then pull the record back 1 FULL ROTATION and a HALF.  There should be about a 4 count of SILENCE before the song’s intro starts.
3. Now when you are ready, release Record 1 and immediately jump to Record 2 and begin to “Echo Out” the song.  Usually a kick drum or a snare is the best to use because of the drum’s crisp sound.
4. Make sure you are keeping a count in your head!!!!
5. If you time it right, as soon as you finish the “Echo Scratch”, the intro of Record 1 should start right up.

Check out the video and let us know what you think.

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An Intro to Digital DJing…

As technology advances on a daily basis, it’s pretty hard to ignore how much of an impact it has us on all different levels.  The DJ Culture has definitely felt the heavy impact of technology with advancements in DJing Software, equipment, digital downloading and much more.  DJs are really able to break barriers with access to an extensive music library, unique software features, and additional controllers to add to the traditional DJ set up.  With all of these elements growing at a fast rate, the bar of creativity is being raised at an excelled rate, leaving some DJs in the dust. 

 

In this new blog series, we are going to take an in-depth look into some of the software that a majority of DJs are using, new midi controllers, VCI controllers and much more.  As always, we will also provide helpful video tips and tricks to make your Digital DJing experience worthwhile.  We will also do Software comparisons between Serato Scratch Live and Native Instrument’s Traktor Scratch with detailed program features and info.  This is definitely a series that you don’t want to miss. 

 

So what exactly is Digital DJing?  Digital DJing is a technology that allows a DJ to control their music via control records, an audio interface, a computer, and DJing software.  The DJ is able to access their music through an audio interface that connects the turntables or CD players to their computer.  From here, records that have “control signals” recorded to them allow the DJ to have complete control of their mp3 catalog.  There are several brands out there to choose from, all pretty much doing the same thing at the end of the day, but some have defining features that sat them apart from the others.  The main intention for Digital DJing setups is pretty cut and dry…it’s all about convenience and mobility.

 

In 2001 a Dutch company by the name of N2IT teamed up with Richie Hawtin, John Acquaviva, Tim Hernel and Bill Squire and created one of the first Vinyl Emulation Software and Hardware setups to break into the DJ Culture.  This innovative product was titled Final Scratch and was being backed by Stanton. 

 

The original release was PC Linux based only and used an audio interface called a Scratchamp, which made it possible for the time coding to speak with the software on the computer.  Of course in it’s early stages the software suffered latency and stability issues and had very few exciting features.  On top of this, it was not well received among the vinyl community. 

 

With version 1.1, Stanton decided to partner up with Native Instruments and re-develop the software, which later became Traktor Final Scratch.  This time around, Final Scratch was available for Linux, but also could work with Mac OS X.  As the two powerhouse companies kept rolling out new versions, more unique features were introduced, stability issues were fixed, and there was finally a Windows XP version that was now available.  Even still with this groundbreaking technology, there were still issues that plagued the developers, and the die-hard DJ Community was not embracing it as much as Stanton thought they would.

 

Stay tuned for Part 1 of our Digital DJ Series.

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