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Controlling That Twitch

Introducing Novation's Twitch, their newest take on the humble controller

Lopazz has had an illustrious career working as a DJ, music producer, artist and engineer for almost 20 years, releasing on cult labels like Get Physical, Cocoon, Pokerflat and many others. He is currently working on his new album, has just finished producing the latest DJ T long-player and is putting the finishing touches to the upcoming BAD COP BAD COP ‘Wings Of Techno’ album on Pomelo. All this and he still finds time to tour, taking his blend of DJing/live gigs to the stage at clubs and festivals all over Europe like Fabric London, Watergate Berlin, DJ-Fest in Georgia, Energie Festival in Portugal and many more.

Lopazz has been one of the lucky few to get his hands on Novation’s new Twitch controller, so who better to ask about this all-singing, all-dancing little box of joy…

How do you find Twitch to use?
“Twitch is pretty easy to use in a gig scenario, it’s very easy to connect and use with its USB and inbuilt soundcard — simply take the stereo outs connect to the spare channel of the club mixer, and you’re done. It’s always a pain to connect a full Traktor-style soundcard whilst another DJ is playing, that’s if it hasn’t been done pre-gig. Twitch is simple and effective and works well with the supplied Itch software.”

How do you use Twitch in your set-up?
“I use Twitch as my main controller to the point that in the last couple of weeks, while testing the beta-units, I have played my complete set with Twitch, but I still like to use CDs or records if the club is providing a stable turntable set-up. With Twitch I can combine both and do hybrid sets as I like to call them, a mixture of DJing and live, using the microphone-input and effects. I like this modern way of DJing very much, and Twitch makes it very simple.”

What do you think of the layout of Twitch?
“The layout offers you everything you need at the right place, nothing’s too big or hidden, and the feel of Twitch is great.”

What do you like about Twitch?

“The fact that it’s the size of a laptop, it fits everywhere, and I’m also happy about the new touch-strips.”

What in regards to the touch-strips is so appealing to you?
“I think that’s one of the main plus points of Twitch. I don’t need vinyl or jogwheels to control digital files, I can do everything I need to with the touch-strips, audition tracks to jump to select areas of the audio — that sort of stuff. I need a tool to beat-match manually and with jogwheels it’s fine, but to be honest vinyl for controlling digital files is not what I am looking for. There are definitely reasons for high-class hip-hop DJs and turntablists using vinyl, but not for my needs.
“I also use the touch-strips for changing the beat-grid in Itch. When I play, I beat-match my tracks manually by hand, not by sync. I appreciate touch-strips and this kind of new innovation as we move into new areas, especially in digital mixing.

“Actually it’s a bit strange that ‘digital-jockeys’ still have to fight with the vinyl jockey’s mentality of ‘if it’s not mixed on turntables, its not mixing!’ Why do we still talk about that? It’s a different skill-set, it doesn’t have to be the same as mixing two records on decks like it was done years ago? Should we also stop using drum machines and stick to real drums? It’s 2011 and I like the development and direction of DJing, even if we have to fight with the negative sides of it. I love my analogue gear and the tape machines at my studio, but I think we need to move on. The combination of analogue and digital equipment is sexy, and Twitch fits this gap nicely in my opinion.”

How would you compare Twitch to other controllers?
“Well, I am going to have to say it’s the best one of all I’ve tested. Perfect size, great layout and sound — it works well with the supplied Serato Itch software, and the effect section is smooth and not that oversized like on other DDJ software. To be honest, I get amazing feedback on Twitch every time I play with it!”

What are the main differences, if any?

“Well, the touch-strips and the slicing option. With the pads you are able to program beats, play melodies or re-arrange your sliced tracks. The touch-strips are easy to work with (you can compare it to the iPhone/iPad touch-screen surface).”

Have you experimented using Twitch with other software such as Traktor or even Ableton?
“I have been using Twitch on a beta-basis, the actual one I am using is a pre-production hand-built controller, so I could only test it with Itch. But everything’s been smooth and stable. I am excited, though, to be able to use it with Ableton for my live set-up — this will give me added dimension to my sets.”

What’s your overall opinion of Twitch?
“I fell in love with it! With everything I’ve said so far I’ve tried to describe how happy I am with it. Finally I have found MY controller...”

Can you explain a little more about the unique Slicer Mode?
“Slicing is another way of looping and re-arranging audio tracks. With the chopped/sliced parts of the track you can use it as effects or re-arrange it as a new track. With Slicer, I start selecting loops with the pads and then put them all into sync mode with another looped track. I’ll then play around with the loops and use Slicer mode to slice the tracks into kicks, snares, claps, hi-hats, basslines, and re-arrange it on the pads. You’ve got the sliced parts at hand and it’s great fun to play with them all. I have already put together a live remix with Twitch at the studio — it really allows you to be quite creative!”

How do you use the eight banks of trigger pads?
“I use the pads for controlling the Autoloops in Itch and for playing the sliced parts. I think once Novation or Ableton delivers a Midi Map for it, I’ll use it for triggering samples and stuff to create beats and melodies in Live and firing off clips.”

What would you change on Twitch, if anything?
“It would be great to get one or two visual displays on Twitch for selecting tracks, or indicate the tracks that you’ve selected instead of having to look at the laptop-screen. But hey, that’s my wish-list.”

Price   £399.00
Contact   Novationmusic.com/twitch
Build Quality
  9.0
Ease of Use   10
Features   8.0
Value for Money   9.0
Sound Quality   8.0
Hype  

It’s the hottest controller (in my opinion) on the market, with its unique touch-strips and Slicer-Mode. All-in-one interface for DJs, live-artists and vocalists!

Gripe  

No visual display, you need the computer to check what’s on and what should be playing next...

Conclusion   Whilst I am still waiting for the final release and the midi maps for Ableton and Traktor, I’ve been convinced by this handy, solidly made, good sounding hybrid-controller for DJs and live-artists. I would buy one for my studio and tour set-up!
Overall Score   8.8/10
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