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Hey guys,

How can one create those scratches that DJ's do? I have tried speeding up and slowing down samples manually, without satisfactory results. Any pointerS?

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Speeding up and reversing a sample is only half of the scratch sound -- your material also plays a huge part. 98% of DJs, when they're scratching, are using spoken word, something that's basically white noise like a crowd, or a solo-A Capella singer.

Anything musical almost never has the same results.

Also, it's not entirely a speed-up thing; sometimes it's a matter of slowing it down and using the crossfader to cut out before and after the sample becomes recognizable. But it's usually a speed-up thing.

All in all, the main thing to consider is your sample. If it doesn't sound good, try something else.

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  • @Dave Thanks Dave, good info there on the fact they use spoken word and solo A Capella singer type source material..will try that! :) Jan 3 '11 at 18:35
  • No problem. I was just a kid that could never get it right until I got a fifty-cent copy of Bill Cosby. Now I just need better turntables. :D Jan 4 '11 at 14:36
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I use two battle scratchers in one of my bands and I don't know anything that can reproduce a human at doing this. Different techniques like crabs, chirps, tears, flares etc etc etc can never be replicated well (its always so obvious when you hear an attempt to replicate a real dj that uses vinyl or even Sorato or cd decks). The speed these guys work at is amazing and one guy I know spends up to 4 hours a day practicing one technique until perfected. We use these guys as an instrument in the band and they practice as much as most musicians do. I am sure we would never try to replicate complex techniques for a guitar or violin and it is really the same for scratching too as it needs a human who knows his instrument to make good sound from it. Unlike Dave's experience, most scratchers I know do not only use voice samples but use many different instrument samples in their sets. They can also easily make tunes up live with sine waves using pitch on the record deck. I feel that none of the software mentioned (apart from Serato or similar as they still use the real techniques) can cut it at replacing a good DJ with decks unless you need very very simple scratches. Hope this helps

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  • @Lenny Thanks, I am looking at very basic scratches, purely for effect. I also recently (last week) met a DJ chap who scratches and he's cool with me bringing my mics over and recording some stuff! Jan 8 '11 at 7:29
  • Thats great, I would take a line straight from the mixer into your recorder or audio interface, might be worth taking the mics if you want any recordings of the crossfade or faders tapping or other physical sounds that could be used in the future for for sound effects.
    – Lenny
    Jan 8 '11 at 17:55
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try native-instruments Reaktor. I've seen some nice scratching machines there.

https://co.native-instruments.com/index.php?id=userlibrary&type=0&ulbr=1&plview=list&word=scratch

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I never used it, but it seems to do what you want: http://www.kvraudio.com/db/163

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  • @Michael Thanks, I have that plugin, but I cannot seem to get it to record to track what I do with it...DAW noobness on my behalf maybe... Jan 3 '11 at 18:34
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If you own a copy of Ableton Live 8, you can download this pretty neat little Effect Rack, based on their Ping Pong Delay (!) that does an ok approximation of that 'speed up/slowdown' sound when scratchin. The link to the Fx rack is in this tutorial:

http://www.massive-blog.com/2010/03/21/dubspot-pseudo-scratching-in-ableton-live-8/

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I was doing it in Traktor DJ by mouse =) but if in one hand you will keep a fader and in the other graphic tablet with stylus - it might be succesful imitation

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If your software has a scrub function it will allow you to move forwards & backwards manually, e.g. In Nuendo I can use the mouse to control the forward/backwards speeds with the jog wheel or with the scrub playback tool.

If youre talking about the actual sound of the needle scratching on the vinyl you could easily record that if you have an old record player. Otherwise plently of SFX libraries have that sound effect.

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Baby Scratch on iPhone FTW!

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Serato or Torq or Traktor.

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