January 17, 2013

Novation Twitch: A Retrospective

The world of DJ controllers really opened up to new possibilites with the release of the Novation Twitch DJ Controller. Sure DJ’s were already using control surfaces that did not reflect a traditional DJ setup, but this was the first time we saw the replacement of jog wheels with touch strips, and a DJ controller that seemed designed specifically for the new breed of controllerist. This of course sparked debate amongst DJs and controllerists as to what constitutes a proper DJ setup or the proper way to DJ. But the truly creative and innovative controller connoisseurs saw this as an exciting prospect for the future of digital DJing. It was also one of the first DJ controllers to offer 8 pads on both decks which could be used to setup hot cues, launch one shots, or control FX and their parameters. With controllers like the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol F1 and the latest Pioneer controller the Pioneer DDJ-SX 4-Channel DJ Controller, this seems to be a staple amongst the latest DJ controllers. When the Twitch was released in the Summer of 2011, these types of features didn’t really exist on many popular DJ controllers on the market. They were included on more niche control surfaces developed by lesser known companies, and used by DJs who had a knack for MIDI mapping and experimenting with different types of MIDI controls. The Novation Twitch was the first time that these types of features were made accessible to nearly every type of DJ at all types of skill levels.

Another unorthodox feature was the pitch adjust. Typically in the form of a fader, on the Novation Twitch this had been replaced by a knob. Whether used to save real estate on this already smaller-than-most controller or to compliment the functionality for controllerists, it was certainly something new and interesting. Additonally the FX on the Novation Twtich are able to be controlled via the faders which allow for some very unique performance controls. We are only now in the last year or two beginning to see this type of functionality on a wide array of modern DJ controllers. Upon its release, the big appeal of the Novation Twitch was its cross-platform functionality. Sure MIDI controllers were able to be mapped to other softwares, but this was one of the first to offer nearly every option under the sun when it came to DJ software. While initially developed with Serato Itch as the flagship software, Novation also provided an overlay that allowed for a visual representation of controls when using Traktor. As with the popular Novation Launchpad controller, the Novation Twitch also allowed for integration with Ableton Live, which made it very appealing to controllerists upon its release and up to today.

The Novation Twitch is one of those controllers that you must use sync to perform with appropriately. Because of the absence of a jog wheel (and because the touch strips are a bit awkward when trying to beat match by ear) you are stuck having to almost exclusively use automatic synchronization of your tracks. This also means that you will be taking the time to beat grid your tracks appropriately if you really want to take full advantage of the performance features on the Novation Twitch. For some DJ’s this is cringe worthy, but others may find it rather liberating to focus more on creating unique and dynamic performances by focusing more on integrating different sounds and effects into their mixes. We will leave it up to our readers to debate the reliance on the synch button, but from the looks of things auto-synch is here to stay and has been integrated into nearly every DJ controller in the last few years.

You can read our preview of the Novation Twtich when the first videos and press releases began to surface from Novation on our blog.

We first got our hands on the Novation Twitch just before leaving for DJ Expo 2011 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. We took it on the road with us so we could share it with other DJ’s to get their impressions on a controller that we felt was game changing. Some folks thought it was a lot of hot air, others scoffed at its unabashed affront to traditional DJ control, and others were blown away by the type of control offered by the Novation Twitch. This changed the way a lot of people looked at DJ controllers from the manufacturers who design them all the way to the bedroom DJ. We began to see more DJ controllers and complimentary MIDI devices at Winter NAMM 2012 that offered more in the way of using a DJ controller as a fully functional performance tool. The Novation Twitch offered an exciting window into the future of MIDI controllers because we began to see a break from the traditional design of two big platters dominating the space of a MIDI controller. If anything something like the Novation Twitch, and similarly the Novation Launchpad, are an affront to the stigma that some DJ’s are just “glorified button pushers.” It forces you to get hands on with your mix rather than synching up two tracks and taking a nap. Even if the Novation Twitch is not your thing, it certainly opened up new doors into the way people treat DJ controllers and how they use particular functions when it comes to their performances.

You can read our thoughts on the Novation Twtich after we had a chance to demo the features and get some feedback from other DJs on our blog.

In this video you can see all the features mentioned to get a better idea of how the touch strips, pads, and faders work to make this a great DJ controller for the controllerist DJ who values a versatile performance.

If you have been looking at Twitch but been hesitant because of the price, well you can put all that hesitation to rest. is offering the Novation Twitch for an unbelievably low price. Go to for all the details as well as a great selection of DJ controllers and other professional audio equipment.

Novation Twitch Deal of the Week

Novation Twitch Deal of the Week