Torq 2.0 Review
Avid has long been a player in the DJ software market with the introduction of the then M-Audio Torq about 7 years ago. Torq has always been considered one of the most advanced DJ software of the major players in the market. Torq 2.0 takes it to the next level. Avid adds a producers approach to the new software and envisions a more creative approach to a DJ performance beyond anything we have ever used. We gave it a spin in the studio and went deeper down the rabbit hole.
The Basics and Beyond
With Torq software, automatic beat-detection and synchronization are just the beginning. Four full-featured decks—each with EQ, level control, headphone cueing, and crossfade—give you the power to build complex mixes and experiment in brand-new ways. Use the decks to prepare tracks during your set, then drop them into the mix and create dense, layered soundscapes. Tempo Anchors remove tempo variations from your tracks—or make other songs adopt the tempo changes—so you can easily blend older styles of music (such as classic funk and soul) with new. The zplane élastique time-stretching algorithm performs extreme audio warping with exceptional precision and sonic quality—allowing you to keep your entire mix perfectly in key.
Torq software’s patent-pending Traq Morph™ feature is the biggest innovation in fading since the crossfader itself. It allows you to perform exciting transitions that would otherwise be impossible—short of having six hands and a rack of studio gear. Select between four flavors—Cut, Filter, Duck, and Morph—and Torq intelligently applies effects as you fade between songs. Use Filter mode to cut the bass out of Track A while introducing the bass of Track B as you move the crossfader, creating seamless transitions. Select Duck mode to introduce electro house-style ducking as you fade. Enable Cut mode to rhythmically cut back and forth between tracks in the mix. Or choose the Morph setting and hear Torq mix your audio sources in radical ways. Traq Morph takes you beyond the basic crossfades of yesterday and delivers exciting new transitions that will leave the crowd begging for more.
Torq 2.0 allows for integration of your favorite VST effects giving your live mixing limitless capabilities and dynamic firepower for your live production. Avid’s approach is geared toward giving DJ’s a gateway to production within DAWs like Pro Tools and Cubase. Each deck supports four simultaneous built-in effects and one VST effect—for a total of 20 effects at once—so you can completely reinvent your sound night after night. Torq also delivers a host of advanced looping tools for remixing and mashing up tracks on the fly—including QuickLoop buttons, Pre-Loop functionality for capturing a section you just passed, and Smart Mode for capturing loops of musical size. The 18-cell, tempo-synced sampler makes it easy to add loops, samples, and other audio to their mix. Torq 2.0 even comes with 100 MB of free, ready-made loops to get you started. Many long time users of Torq utilize the software like a musical instrument using the 6 hot cues and loops in conjunction with the sample banks to play tones, one-shots, and loops in order to transition and build the mix in the same way a score is created for a visual performance. The entire project can also be recorded directly to your hard drive and easily imported for use in a studio environment.
Torq 2.0 can be used as a DVS system with a compatible audio interface, and Torq control vinyl or CDs. We found it relatively easy to map it (thanks Ariff) to the Numark NS6, but it can also be mapped to the NS7, Vestax VCI-300 and many others. To be sure, you have to be very creative in trying to get all of Torq’s features to translate to your desired controller, but we were able to come up with a very effective mapping in order to give the software a good run through. It is best suited to be used with M-Audio’s proprietary controller, the Xponent. It’s strength is in it’s Midi learn protocol which makes it easy to use with almost any device that uses Midi. The software also supports MP3, AIFF, WAV, WMA, and AAC files.
Behind The Wheel
At first I found the layout to be very busy, especially in the 4-deck mode with everything in the open. The manner in which the looping is set up definitely took some getting used to. You can choose to loop by beat or measure, and by phrase or beat quantization. The syncing feature was a little frustrating at first because some of my tracks had to be grid-adjusted perfectly in order to read accurately. There was a lot of preparation that had to be done, but not too much more than other software we have used like Serato Itch. Setting my cue points was a little cumbersome, too because of the designated set and clear tabs, and then the “are you sure” window when I wanted to clear just one cue point. It really lacked the all powerful “shift” button that I’m accustomed to in Traktor. I’m sure I can go into preferences and make some adjustments or even creatively map to a quick toggle, but this feature does not need to be so labor intense. We are talking about cue points that I should be able to create and destroy in 2 seconds. The jog sensitivity had to be super-fine tuned in my preferences in order the make the NS6 jog wheels cue and scratch accurately, too. To be fair, I was very thankful that Torq offers so much in terms of mapping and control because I needed it. Once I got my pre-gaming situated mixing was pretty easy. I streamlined and customized my layout, gave it an aesthetically pleasing color make-over and really had some fun using the rad effects and morphing crossfader. It was easy to mix and I finally got a chance to witness Torq’s strength.
I recommend Torq 2.0 for djs and producers that are interested in using it as a production tool more than for live and every weekend gigging. Torq just isn’t quite there yet in terms of being a dominant force in DJ software. It does, however, stand out as one of the most advanced in terms of technology and versatility. Unfortunately, this is probably what intimidates most dj/remix enthusiasts from trying it and especially beginners from buying it. Luckily, there is a downloadable demo version available at Avid’s website so you can taste the flavor. Please feel free to comment with your own experiences from using Torq 2.0, I would love to hear your feedback. Until next time, happy gigs!
Transcript:Hey, this is Scott Magno, DJ MadFlip here with UniqueSquared.com. Today we’re checking out AVID’s Torq 2.0 DJ controller software. Now the Torq software has been around for a while, but now with the Torq 2.0, it is becoming one of the major players in the DJ controller software market. We’re going to have a look at four of my favorite features of Torq 2.0. So, Torq 2.0 is going to give you all of the bells and whistles that you would get with any other DJ software out there. You’ve got two deck and four deck control, you’ve got hot cues, looping, some really great effects, and also sample and looping banks. Now, what’s great about it is that it’s so versatile that you can use it with practically any MIDI controller out there and yes, you can go into your preferences here and you can go ahead and map it. We’ve got it to the NS6 today from Numark, but it’s very versatile. It’s also the very same software that you use with connective for DVS control, time code vinyl, and time code CDs as well. Very, very, versatile. Torq 2.0 is very customizable as well, that’s really nice as well. I can go from two deck control to four deck control at the hit of a button. I can get rid of my mixer, I can add my sample banks, I can add my VST area in my effects. I can also go through and change all of my visual displays. Being able to customize your DJ software and make it exactly how you need it is perfect. Now, let’s talk about the effects matrix in Torq 2.0. I’ve got thirteen high quality effects that I can choose, the amazing thing is that I can have two separate effects ready to go per channel and adjusting them is easy. I have, in most cases, the ability to adjust several parameters within my effects. I’m also able to route those effects to other sources, depending on what kind of setup you have. Really, truly, amazing, awesome effects. So the crossfader mixing in Torq 2.0 is really amazing. You can actually transform your mix in four different ways using these effects; you can use an envelope filter effect, you can use a ducking effect. You can also use a chop effect which slices your mix when you use the crossfader, and you can actually use a morphing effect, which takes in and out which takes out high medium or low frequencies when you cross from one track to another. Really cool way to give a little more flavor to your mix, only in Torq 2.0. So AVID’s Torq 2.0 software, very dynamic, you can really get in there and do some damage. It’s quickly becoming one of my very favorites. If you have any other questions about Torq 2.0 software, hit us up here at the website, you can also follow us on our Facebook, our Twitter, and also on our blog. This is Scott Magno, DJ MadFlip. Be you, be unique, at UniqueSquared.com.