Vinyl emulation software

As digital vinyl system refers to a system that consists of a laptop or computer, special records and an intervening interface and is used by DJs to play music files in various formats (eg MP3) using normal turntable and a vinyl emulator (engl: vinyl emulation software) " hang up ". The classic and intuitive handling of the turntable with the capacity of computer hard disks combined.

As the best known manufacturers of so-called digital vinyl system and vinyl emulators are especially Serato ( Scratch Live ), and Native Instruments ( Traktor Scratch Pro).


Timecode record

The records include additional code. The method is known from the fax or data cartridge, and for analog -to-digital converters. This digital information is transmitted acoustically. The specific records ( timecode vinyl ) are recorded with a control signal ( timecode ) and are on average for about 20 - 30 €. They are played as usual on a turntable, the signal is directly into the mixer, or forwarded via the ScratchAmp to the laptop. Where the vinyl emulation software decodes the signal in real time and calculates velocity and position of the pickup on the disk. The corresponding part of a selected audio file that is located on the computer hard drive is output in the calculated speed again over the ScratchAmp / mixer where the song can be finally mixed by DJ. The high resolution of the control signal enables a practically negligible delay between movements of the record and the issuance of the music to the mixer. This also backspinning and scratching as with ordinary records are possible.


The ScratchAmp serves to allow with phono connections and a USB port to connect between the computer and the turntables. Since the ScratchAmp loop through the signal from the record additionally directly into another channel of the mixer, also regular vinyl without the help of the software can be played, which is useful in case your laptop crashes. However, a prerequisite is that the ScratchAmp is connected to its own optional power supply.


The following table lists various vinyl emulation software, which works with special timecode vinyl records

Only software

This table lists some of the digital vinyl systems, which are based exclusively on software.

Pros and Cons

  • Unlike regular CD players or MP3 player software the music can be mixed and processed as if they were actually present on the record. This allows on the one hand the intuitive operation through accustomed to plates DJs and the other hand makes the sensitive and limiting operation of computer mice superfluous (two hands instead of a cursor ). It allows in particular scratching and pitching, but it can practically all the tricks of turntablism be executed.
  • Easier and more pleasant Transport: A plate pocket with 100 plates weighs about 25 kg DVS with laptop and the special plates come to a few kilograms and is limited only by the capacity of the hard drive of the laptop. A recent computer hard drive can hold tens of thousands of music tracks.
  • No tedious compilation of live sets, as always, the entire music library can be taken. Very beneficial in performances in which the public taste is unclear.
  • Also music on vinyl is not available, can be placed. This is especially interesting for DJs who want to produce their own music and hang them. For some time, music from netlabel and music portals like Beatport enjoys growing popularity among DJs. Previously had to be cut expensive for playing this kind of music called dubplates.
  • As a drawback some find DJs that the usual order system in the storage cases and the " visual search " is lost ( the quick finding of plates based on their covers / labels, especially in dark clubs and under time pressure). All DVS offer for a text search in the ID3 tags of MP3 files and the creation of any number of virtual record cases where a title may also be present in several cases. Moreover, in most DVS the cover of a title will be displayed if this has been previously saved in the day.
  • There is - in contrast to turntables - in computers, the risk of crashes and other disturbances of the system which will lead to immediate silence of the PA. Laptops are the heat, humidity and the harsh environment tend to be less grown in clubs as specially designed for the club use turntables and mixers; Programs and operating systems to crash. After the elimination of initial teething problems, the systems have proved to be quite reliable, so that at least can be considered small risk of a program crash.

Comparisons and alternatives

Different manufacturers of DJ equipment also develop DJ - CD player ever. Current players, for example, Technics, Pioneer or Denon can also pitching enable, through built turntable imitations and technical refinements in the interior scratching, CDs with MP3 files to process and are usually equipped with a host of additional features. However, such players are about twice as expensive as a DJ turntable.

Finally, a wealth of MP3 DJ software that allows you to mix MP3 files on the computer exists. For example, Visio Sonics PCDJ and ALCATechs BPM Studio can be operated via a hardware interface that mimics a DJ dual CD player. The DJ software DigiScratch also shows the cover of the song, so that a "hang-up as usual " is possible.

Serato Scratch Live and Traktor Scratch are quite similar in their functioning.

The audio hardware and software from M-Audio has also brought a similar system on the market. How Traktor Scratch, it consists of a software and hardware part ( Torq or connective ). The control can be performed using timecode vinyl or timecode CDs. The special feature of Torq is that it can be the integration of VST plugins allowed and communicate via Rewire with other audio programs.

A Belgian programmer named " Adion " has set itself the goal of developing a cost-effective alternative. This system called djDecks not use its own timecode disks, but can be controlled with almost all the plates of the major competitors. It offers the best value for money and is the functionality to other programs now in anything after. Support and sale of the license, however, only take place online through the manufacturer 's website and you have to buy the right hardware separately.

Deckadance is treading a similar path as djDecks by supporting different timecode system. Quad is a complete software solution that allows you to mix and scratch up to 4 MP3s, controlled by up to 4 turntables. Quad works with all ASIO sound cards and is supplied with four specially manufactured vinyl, which timecode allows a true analog- scratching.

  • Emulator
  • Music Software