The Novation Twitch is a potentially groundbreaking DJ Controller Design – we put it under the microscope
Despite being packed full of creative performers, the world of musical equipment is often a bit… well, conservative. In part, this is due to the fact that performers are often have quite ‘fixed’ working methods. It’s also due to the fact that developing and launching a new product is a risky venture- develop something that is too ‘wild’ and people might not understand it.
Progression relies on those brave enough to break the mould however. The Novation Twitch does just that, with a design that throws away the typical twin-platter template, in favour of touch strips and many more neat touches.
All very well, but does it work? Will the revolution be Twitchy?
Solid, all-in-one construction
The Twitch is one of the most compact DJ controller units currently available. Around the same size as a laptop, it packs in two ‘decks’, with a two channel mixer, cross fader, along with a built-in, two input, four output audio interface.
At the bottom of each deck is eight cue/ trigger pads, with master FX controls to the upper left, master volume controls to the upper right, and 3-band EQ incorporated within the central mixer section.
As with all Novation gear, the construction of the Twitch is of a very high standard, with a metal front panel, buttons and knobs well seated, and solid. The size of the Twitch clearly earmarks it as a portable solution, and its build ensures that it will cope with the rigours of been transported.
Unique interface approach
As previously stated, the design of the Novation Twitch is very different from that of its peers. The ‘traditional’ two platters/ jog wheels are nowhere to be seen, and in their place, two touch strips.
These are used to cue tracks, much in the same way as jog-wheels. However, they can be used in a similar way to ‘needle-drop’ ribbon strips. In addition, the strips’ LEDs mean that the user can follow the play position, and grab the LED, swiping it back and forth, much like scratching a record.
The strips are also used for tweaking and editing effects and other settings, with multi-touch style gestures (such as pinching for example) allowing for powerful and intuitive performance, unlike any controller on the market.
The Novation Twitch is designed predominately for Serato Itch software (included in the package). It is when used with this software package that this unit’s intentions become clear.
The lines between the DJ and the live performer have become very blurred in recent years, and the Twitch is a unit is the first unit designed specifically for those DJs who aren’t just playing tracks, but dismantling them and reassembling them in real-time.
The eight trigger pads allow the user to trigger cue-points, loops, rolls and slices. But, things get really interesting with the new ‘slice’ mode…
Essentially, this will take a selected section of a track, and cut it into evenly sized portions, before assigning them to the trigger pads. The DJ can then hit these and rearrange a track in perfect timing with ease.
Effects have come to be fairly standard on computer based DJ set-ups. Those included within Itch are particularly nice, however.
If Serato isn’t your bag, however, a Traktor overlay is also available (*Update- Twitch is now also Ableton compatible, too).
Change can be scary. There are DJs still clinging to 1210s and vinyl records. A set-up without platters will undoubtedly be treated with suspicion by some DJs.
However, for those willing to throw their pre-conceptions out of the window, the Novation Twitch offers functionality that is unique in the marketplace.
For those with a bent for controllerism and mash-ups it has no peers. For those who DJ more traditionally, its design will make you life more straightforward than ever. Plus, you can scratch with it too, if you wish (however, this isn’t really the unit’s forte).
Put simply, the Twitch is mini revolution in a very conservative world. More please, Mr. Novation?
Share on Facebook
Powered by Facebook Comments