I can’t believe this is the first I’ve heard of this:
- Now, however, it appears that the ideal marriage of digital and analog technology has finally been made.
When [Josh] Wink arrives at Ruzyne airport for his Friday, Nov. 15 appearance at Abaton, he won’t be waiting for two heavy crates of records because most of his music will be stored on his laptop computer. He will perform using Final Scratch, a new software-based system. As usual, the club will supply a mixer and two turntables, but they’ll be topped with Final Scratch records: special pieces of vinyl encoded with digital signals instead of songs.
If Wink chooses not to bring any old-fashioned 12-inch singles with him, those Final Scratch records are the only two he’ll need. They don’t send music through the stylus — they send information to the computer about the way a DJ manipulates them. The software uses that information to change a piece of music on the laptop’s hard drive accordingly and then sends it back to the mixer and out through the speakers. The setup allows needle-dropping, speed changes and even genuine-sounding scratching.
Forward-thinking DJs have been quick to embrace Final Scratch technology, formulated by a group of hackers in the Netherlands and sold to Stanton Electronics earlier this year. It hit the market in August. Wink, one of an elite group of international DJs to have access to the system before its release, has been using it since February.
“I liked the idea of being able to use a computer as my record box,” he says. “I feel that I perform better as a DJ using Final Scratch because I’m not as limited by the 75 records that fit in a record box. I now have over a thousand songs to choose from using Final Scratch, and because of this I can be more versatile and creative as a DJ.” [from The Parague Post Online]
The thought of lugging around all of those records for all of those years makes my back scream in remembered horror.
Here are the FAQs from the Final Scratch site:
- Q) What is Final Scratch?
A) FINAL SCRATCH is a unique and patented technology that allows real-time manipulation and even scratching of digital music files such as .wav and .MP3 by using your turntables.
Q) What are the system requirements for a computer running final scratch?
A) Standard CPU with at least 500 MHz, RAM 128 MB, OS Linux. USB port and a CD-ROM drive that is ATAPI compatible (all drives shipped last 3 years are, so all new PC’s equipped with a 500 MHz CPU will).
Q) What kind of soundcard do you recommend for Final Scratch?
A) No special sound card is required because Final Scratch has its own special Scratch Amp, which eliminates the need for a high-end sound card. Your standard sound card that came with your laptop should be sufficient.
Q) When and where will Final Scratch be sold?
A) The FS10K (first release) should be out in the market around JULY 2002.
….Q) How much will it cost?
A) $799 US will be the MSRP in the USA[ Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price ].
Q)What is included in the Final Scratch package?
A)The FS10K package includes three special vinyl records, the ScratchAmp (to connect the computer to your existing turntable/mixer setup), and the Final Scratch software disc (including FREE a Linux Auto Boot). Your standard DJ setup, 2-turntables and a DJ mixer with 2 or more channels. DJ skills are NOT included.
Q)Why do I need special (encoded) records?
A)The specially manufactured vinyl record can be used to mix digital audio files like MP3, WAV, AIFF, and audio CD. All mixing is done directly from the turntables, including, pitch shifting, cueing, spinning back and forth, even scratching and “needle dropping”. This special code is what controls the actual file being retrieved from your computer. The final scratch records can even be used in combination with traditional analog records when mixing your set. However it cannot be used without the ScratchAmp and software.
Q) Do I need a special mixer or DJ cartridges?
A) No, Final Scratch was designed to be a plug and play system. It integrates with any standard turntable and 2-channel mixer (with switchable phono/line inputs); special DJ cartridges are not required but a fresh (new) set of styli are recommended for best calibration. (In other words dirty carts will affect the performance of your system)
Q) What’s the big deal?
A) Final Scratch is the best and only real bridge for the both the professional and home DJs to enter and have total control over the digital world. By using any standard turntable & mixer setup, DJs can now manipulate digital music the way they have always done it… by hand – with vinyl. DJs can now mix both analog records and digital files back to back, and do it the same way they are accustomed to.
Other reasons include:
· No more heavy vinyl to carry around.
· No more damage to the sound quality of your music.
· No more additional cost of cutting acetates / dub plates just to play original music on turntables.
· No more conflict between digital / analog mediums (FS uses both).
· No more time wasted while producing tracks, go from studio production to playback club in a matter of seconds.
· No more “digging in the crates” looking for that favorite record.
· No more wishing you had brought that favorite record to your gig…..