Video: Novation Twitch Hot Cue Demo

I was impressed with the Novation Twitch when we reviewed it recently, and have been using it for one of my gigs this last few weeks. Now I've got the hang of some of its features, I thought I'd do a short YouTube video showing off one of the functions that they've made truly simple to use: Hot cues.

My gig is a "sundowner"-style event at a bar called Palm Beach, where I can play anything from funk, soul and disco through to reggae, indie, 60s psychedelic, mellow dubstep and broken beat - and anything else with a sunshine/beach groove. But the main style is 110-ish BPM "slo mo" disco, and so I look for records around that BPM that I can beatmix into and out of that style.

Toto's Africa fits the bill nicely, not least because you can see Africa across the Mediterranean from my DJ booth! Because Serato ITCH has "elastic" beatgridding, which means you can allow for variances in tempo on non EDM music such as this track, you can easily include such tracks in a tightly beatmixed set.

And because the Novation Twitch allows for simple track manipulation on the fly, the only danger was one mojito too many and a "yellow carding" from the management - as I mention in the video!

What kind of gear do you use to perform live re-edits? How do you make your DJ sets interesting or different from the next DJ's? Do you mix unusual styles of music where you play too? Would love to hear from you in the comments.

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  1. little tip for fader FX…. hold shift and rotate the Fader FX encoder.
    you can now select an FX in any direction instead of having to push and cycle through all the FX

  2. I do something similar with V7 but I agree with you Twitch is a great piece of gear!

    Check the vid:

    I hope you enjoy it!


  3. have been doing this traktor and my 4midiloop controller for quite a while now. I don’t really see what’s so special about the twitch…

    • I guess what makes Twitch special is the 8 dedicated hot cue buttons.

    • Will Marshall says:

      Depending on what you’re after, it’s smaller, more portable, has more LED feedback, bigger/easier buttons and tighter integration with Twitch. Layout seems more ergonomic as well.

      To each their own, of course: but it certainly has some quite big pros.

      • That’s it – apart from slicer there’s nothing massively innovative here but it has brought front-of-house many of the advantages of digital and put them on big, tactile buttons that you can “play” in a way no other all-in-one has done as of now. It’s light, portable and most importantly, fun to use.

  4. it's all about soul says:

    hey Phil, love this balearic track, i play that stuff :)

    check it out, this track had tempo variation right, so to do perfectly the hot cues, you fixed the grid before playing?

    or is it easy to do while play ?

    • Exactly, but Serato Itch has elastic beatgridding so it’s easy to fix tracks like this, and also Twitch has beatgridding buttons so you can do it in a few seconds before playing a track if you wish.

      • it's all about soul says:

        Nice ! tanx :)

      • Personally, I could´t see the point on wasting time adjusting the grids if you are not planning to mix it with another song/beat.

        As other people already said, not totally impressed by this controller. As a piece of advice: stay with your current set-up, buy a cheap pad controller and save your money (buy some good tracks with it if you want to)

        BTW, big fan of your websie

        • Whether or not to beatgrid is another debate… but once you’ve beatgridded non EDM there’s lots of fun to be had with it, and elastic beatgridding is required to do this. I don’t tend to beatgrid EDM, but I do with variable tempo stuff I want to mix into such a set.

          If you already have a controller you should always consider the cost effectiveness of upgrading – as you point out, it’s about music, not gear – but what I like about this controller (apart from its portability, always a good thing for me) is that it’s been bold enough to come out and state that jogs maybe aren’t important, and the real estate they take up can be more usefully replaced by other things – like the best performance buttons I’ve yet to see on a DJ controller. It’s like a pad controller and a DJ controller in one.

  5. Nice video and skills! Really looking forward to try twitch myself. And Phil, wouldn’t it be easier to first press play and then use the hotcues? This way you’ll have both hands free to use effects.

    • Yes, it would, but I couldn’t get the stuttery effect at the beginning by pressing play first – but you’re right, once the verse had started I could have just pressed “play” and removed my hands from the unit. Had I had that mojito nearby for a sip I probably would have… :)

  6. Just to be pedantic: Toto – Africa is not 110BPM, not even close: it’s actually just under 93BPM.

    Still, I’ve had fun yesterday doing the same, using my Akai LPD-8 and Traktor. It’s good practice, as a rhythmic exercise…

    • You’re quite right! What I got wrong was not mentioning that a lot of my stuff is 95 – 110 BPM but still follows a basic 4:4 rhythm, so I can easily mix into a 100BPM slo-mo disco tune with “Africa” pitched up a little… :)

  7. Am I the only one who thinks that this controller is just lame ?
    ITCH is a poor copy of Traktor, especially when talking about hotcues and loops, I don’t see any reason why someone who knows a thing or two about djing, will actually spend money for it.

  8. On the Kontrol S4, the sample buttons can be set to be extra hotcues, so it would definitely be capable of this sort of slicing. You can still use the sample decks, too, by switching decks. This is without MIDI mode and custom mappings, by the way. Prefs -> TKS4 -> Then set Sample Play Buttons to “Hotcues 5-8”. That said, the TKS4 is probably considered to be a level or two bigger.

    I’m not sure about ITCH, but with Traktor, if a track is playing due to a held cue/hotcue button, you can hit play, then release the cue/hotcue button and the track will continue as is. This set could be done this way with taps, instead of tap-and-holds (which is tiring after a while and keeps you busy doing nothing).

    • Yeah of course, there are plenty of similarities between the two controllers, like you say. End of the day, the S4 is bigger but has more built-in stuff.

      You can do the cue > play thing on Twitch too, I just didn’t bother!

  9. Nicely done! Thanks for the great review and videos!

  10. Connekted says:

    Hey Phil, love your in depth reviews of the Twitch over the past month. Very thorough! Anyways I had one question about the Twitch, its not exactly a deal breaker but a concern. I’ve heard the audio out is very quiet and very lacking in loudness. I get that its usb powered and the audio isn’t going to be any where near say the Xone dx, but is it pretty substantial? I could always run it through my external mixer for a some more headroom, but if I didn’t have that option would i be ok?

    Thx! Pzzzz

  11. Phil nicely done my friend…. Alfredo would be proud of you…. I’ve been looking at the twitch ever since it was previewed at the German music conference …. I currently own a VCI-300mkII love it and Itch…. As I did scratch live before it…. I’ve noticed a bit of snobbery mainly from traktor uses….. Yes the S4 is perceived as the best controller on the Market(at the moment) …. But is it the best software…. I say different horses for different courses…. I’ve owned traktor pro and the amount of drop outs… Crashes… Freezes over the years I used it I lost count off (MacBook pro)…. And then the aftersales service…. Well that just tipped the penny off the wall… Serato software was designed to be stable first and formost and then add the bells and whistles…. It’s all about the music and doing them little pieces of happiness justice… That the be all and end all…. Keep Keepin on Phil…. I’ll try and catch one of your sets next time I’m out there…

  12. Daniel Elias says:

    I brought the Twitch the other month as my first DJ controller after dabbling on CDJ’s a few years back. The twitch doesn’t do anything particularly fancy but everything is very intuative to use and the hotcue buttons along with the ease of selectability (can instantly become loops, auto loops, loop rolls etc.) is really good for carrying out a mini-remix on set – regardless of genre.
    I’m really impressed with it so far and find serato alot nicer to use than Traktor which I did play with before choosing on controller.

    It’s all personal guys, and at the end of the day the people on the dance floor can’t tell serato from traktor with their ears.

  13. I got Mylsef a novation twitch Controller, But Serato aint for me, i prefer the under rated IL Deckadance, closet thing to ableton withs its Vst Support and also being a vst plugin itself.

  14. I watched and enjoyed this video already, but now I wanted to show it again to a friend of mine and YouTube tells me that the video isn’t available…

    Has the video been removed?

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