Serato Scratch Live: Know Your Gear With DJ TeeOh Part 2/3 – StyleFlip.com

 
The Scope View

Scope View

The Scope View

The scope views on the setup screen in Scratch Live display the input signal as a phase diagram. The key factors to look at on the scope display are crisp clean lines, round shape, and the tracking percentage in the lower right corner. This view shows how well Scratch Live is tracking the control signal.

 

 

Adjusting the scopes

Once you have set the threshold, start both turntables. For optimal performance the inner ring should be as close to circular as possible. Use the scope zoom slider (1x to 16x) to zoom in or out as necessary. Use the scope L/R balance and P/A balance controls to adjust the shape of the inner ring. The number in the top left corner of the scope view gives the current absolute position within the control record or CD. The number in the top right
corner is the current speed in RPM.

Adjusting the Scopes


In the bottom left is the current threshold setting, and the number in the bottom right shows the percentage of readable signal – this number should be at least 85% when your system is calibrated properly. Realistically, anything below 95% is going to degrade performance.

Diagnosing the Scope Views

This is an example of a good, clean signal displayed in the scope view:

Good Signal:
For optimal performance the inner ring should be as close to circular as possible. Use the scope zoom slider (1x to 16x) to zoom in or out as necessary. Use the scope L/R balance and P/A balance controls to adjust the shape of the inner ring.

The bottom left corner is the current threshold setting.
The bottom right corner shows the percentage of readable signal – this number should be as close to 100% as possible when your system is calibrated properly. At values of less than 85% you may start to experience tracking difficulties.

Many playback problems that you encounter when using Scratch Live can be attributed to not getting a good reading of the control signal from your vinyl or CDs. The scopes are a great tool for diagnosing what is happening.

Following are the most common scope views you may encounter with suggestions to help you solve the problems they can represent.

Note: Some problems cause similar looking scopes (eg. dusty needle and damaged needle) so it is recommended to try all suggested solutions until your problem is solved.


Here are the various symptoms that could be displayed in your DVS.

 

Stay Tuned for Part 3 of Serato Scratch Live: Know Your Gear With DJ TeeOh!

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Serato Scratch Live: Know Your Gear With DJ TeeOh Part 1/3 – StyleFlip.com

The best instance of professionalism is that hard work pays off. In the music realm this translates into quality. Whether you are a producer, singer, or a DJ you must ensure that you are using the maximum quality possible. This means connecting and calibrating all equipment to function at maximum capability.

Would you show up to perform with only one turntable knowing you need two?

No. This is the same as showing up with damaged equipment or failing to properly set up. Most people know their gear well enough to setup with little or no issues. However, the most commonly neglected aspect is calibration even though it should be conducted every time before performing. If you are like many, you probably show up and use whatever gear is at the venue. Problems that may arise include:

  • Gear is switched
  • Gear is broken
  • Gear is misused

This is also where bringing your own accessories comes in. I would never use a clubs house needles or headphones. Relying on community gear will surely land you in a bind. Bringing your own gear gives you the peace of mind in knowing that it works. Should something go wrong you can usually eliminate your own gear right off the go. If you do bring your own setup (turntables, controller, etc) then calibration is equally important.

Anytime you move you equipment you should calibrate.

 

What is calibration?

In short this means setting up so it works right with other gear. Failure to do this may not have affected you yet, but it will. Something could go wrong in front of 4,000 people (but that’s a different story). There is nothing worse than having your equipment fail during or moments before your performance. To prevent this situation you must service your equipment.

Most of us know to check cables, make sure grounds are solid, and everything is plugged in correctly. Setting up your software is just as important as the hardware. The most important part of setting up your software is calibration.In the following I will walk you through a generalized calibration using Serato Scratch Live. These steps also can be applied to other DVS systems as well as controllers and Timecode CDs. Should you encounter a problem that requires troubleshooting please read the troubleshooting tips in Part 2. If you are not using Serato simply refer to your manual or online resource for specifications.

Why is it important to calibrate your DVS?

In the standard configuration of DVS systems an analog audio source (turnable / CDJ) sends the Scratch Live control signal into a Rane Scratch Live hardware device, where it is digitized. It is then sent to the Scratch Live software and used to control playback of a digital audio file. Calibrating allows the software to distinguish between what is heard as the control signal and what is recognized as background noise and ignored.

If you have not correctly calibrated for your system and environment you may run into a number of playback issues including glitching/skipping playback and your tracks not playing at all.

The noise threshold in a DVS system is the limit below which the input signal will not be interpreted as a control signal. In other words, if it’s below the threshold, it is considered noise and ignored by the software. This setting is necessary because a turntable stylus is very sensitive and will inevitably pick up noise from the environment as well as the signal on the record. This is especially noticeable during a live show or busy club. Turntables and CDJs can be effected by vibrations from the sound system as well. Every precaution should be taken to reduce any vibration.

Setting the noise threshold
1) Turn the sound system up the level you will be playing at during your performance.

2) Play a track from an audio CD or from the other deck in internal mode.

3) Place the needle on the record but keep the turntable stopped.

4) Click and hold down the Estimate button for a few seconds – Scratch Live will estimate the optimal threshold setting for the current environment. Alternatively you can try manually moving the estimate slider to the right until you notice the number in the upper-right corner of the scope view STOPS fluctuating.

You should be at the best point for good tracking of the vinyl movement and ignoring noise. Note: Just because it says 100% does not mean that is the best setting.

5) Repeat this process for each deck. Once completed, start the deck and look at the Scope view.

NOTE: The process for calibrating a cd player is virtually the same. The only difference is you’ll need to press pause on the cd deck with the control cd in the player before hitting the estimate button.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series coming out Friday October 19!