Novation Makes Me “TWITCH” Review
As we learned months ago Novation was releasing a highly anticipated “controllerism” inspired Serato Itch controller. Many of us saw the initial video and marveled at it’s unique layout and advanced functionality. We finally got one in which magically coincided with Serato’s release of Itch 2.0. We agreed that the Twitch merited some additional footage and documented it’s arrival and first impressions before we really got into the nitty gritty. Here is what transpired.
The Twitch is a smaller controller compared to the usual suspects that occupy the market which I see as an advantage considering this is a niche product that probably won’t become standard in every nightclub or venue. The layout is a little different, too. The “juicy” area consists of 8 small pads on the lower left and right of the controller that trigger 4 performance modes. Above those is the Performance Mode selector buttons for Hot Cues, Slicer, Auto Loop, and the wonderful Loop Roll. There are multi-prupose Touchstrips above those on both sides that take the place of traditional jog wheels. These act as nudges, position drops, swipes, and also mode selectors for performance effects. The transport section consists of cue, play, keylock, and the oh, so vital sync button. The pitch adjust is an orthodox rotary knob that is actually more accurate in my opinion when dialing up the BPM by decimal point. The beat grid set and adjust buttons, and shift button complete the area. The center mixing section has long throw line faders, quality cross-fader, trim and EQs, and the unique fader FX section. All output volume control for headphone, mix, booth, and master are located on the upper right of the controller just above the browse and load section. FX control and selection for decks A and B are on the upper left of the controller just to the left of the Mic/Aux volume control. Overall the Twitch layout is very logical and conducive to controllerism. All of the knobs, buttons, sliders, and pads feel and look pretty good even in a full plastic construction.
I love the versatility of the 8 cue buttons. You can choose to control Hot Cues, a Slicer function, Auto Loop, and Loop Roll. The pads felt good and responded well, but we couldn’t manually drum out sixteenth notes using them as Hot Cues. Luckily, you can emulate this in Auto Loop mode. The Slicer mode captures 8 beats at a time corresponding to each pad in a measure. This makes for some really creative performances, especially in transition. The gold star goes to the Loop Roll performance mode. This gives you the ability to choose what type of roll to use on the fly as your track continues to play. You can very accurately and seamlessly create glitchy remixes and expressive phrasing with absolute ease. FUN.
Stripping and Syncing
The touchstrip is the most obvious feature simply because of the lack of any jog wheels. You must approach mixing with a different frame of mind. Many DJ’s (even those who use digital vinyl systems) utilize cue points at the first downbeat and trigger them to start their incoming tracks whether they use a button or a key on their laptop. You should get used to doing this when using the Twitch with Itch and Traktor. The touchstrip allows for navigation and drops when you are preparing cue points and grids for your tracks. THIS PROCESS IS IMPERATIVE WHEN USING THE TWITCH. You can also use the touchstrip to nudge your track faster or slower when it is in swipe mode. Let’s face it, we all want accurate mixes and this controller is largely based on “sync” mixing so your tracks must be well beat-gridded. Luckily, Serato’s Itch 2.0 allows for “Re-optimized Smart-syncing” and Grid Editing, even on the fly, and is relatively easy to accomplish. Despite my love affair with Traktor I found it very enjoyable using this feature in Itch 2.0.
Changing the Game
The Twitch is certainly a great product. The question is will it change the way DJs mix and perform? The answer is yes. The fact that there are no platters alone suggests this. Not to mention it’s compatibility with Traktor and Ableton. This is a solid product from the same guys that brought us the Dicers and the Launchpad. Seriously. Novation isn’t trying to take any one away from their turntables or DVS systems. They are simply opening another door to those of us who have discovered controllerism and have the desire to add it to our arsenal. This isn’t the first product to move into this direction, but it is certainly one of the best. Especially at a price far less than $1000. We will have more info on this an many more that follow I’m sure. Check out our video and witness the strength. Until next time, happy gigs!
Transcript:Scott: Novation Twitch is a product that, we know it’s a game changer, so we wanted to do something that’s going to parallel that concept. We wanted to do something that’s going to present it, we wanted to interact with the other users, the other people that are kind of pushing the envelope, in an environment like a DJ Expo there is no greater environment than that. Well, the revolution is at stake, honestly, Novation has come out with some products that have been go to products for DJ’s, for producers, for the Live PA. Twitch is going to really change the game and Novation is putting themselves out there, gladly, because they’ve got the technology and performance to really back that up. It’s making me sort of think outside the box of the way I do things and I’m really enjoying that, I know a lot of DJ’s out there are going to move into it and absolutely love it, kill it, destroy it. Twitch is a dynamic controller making a DJ more like a musician without just the element of turntablism. Twitch is changing the game because it’s the first product of its kind just blazing a trail for a new style of DJing, that’s what it’s doing. The Touch Strip allows for, the direction the technology in my opinion is going, people want a phone that they can touch, people want a screen that they can touch, there’s nuances of pinching to expand and that is what twitch delivers, integrating technology with the new form of DJing. The learning curve, for me it was pretty easy, because I was familiar with the software, you know, you have to approach it differently and you have to be patient about that or you can actually see it as an open door that’s going to lead you to greater things and that’s how I saw it. Kid Cedek: What’s going on this is Kid Cedek I’m here with Unique Squared over here on the Mobile Studio we’re over here at the DJ Expo. UniqueSquared brought me out to really get my hand out to some really different DJ’s and producers to let them know who I am and what I do with UniqueSquared. The Twitch is definitely a game changer, the more and more I play with it the more I’ve noticed how relevant it is probably going to be in the near future. All the effects are like post fader, so actually, if you have an effect you can switch to what ever effect you want and the way you are controlling it is as simple as turning the volume down on that channel, and it’s going to give you the effect, so you get as much as you bring down, so you can do some really cool stuff with it. Scott: It’s just the new era of DJing, I know that it’s just going to get better from here and I very much look forward to it, this is how they’re going to start with controllers, honestly? They are really going to change the game.