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Scratch Live is a vinyl emulation software application created by New Zealand based Serato Audio Research, distributed by and licensed exclusively to Rane Corporation. Serato was first known for its popular Pro Tools plug-in Pitch N Timewhich was sold predominantly to the film industry However, since its debut in May 2004, Scratch Live has become Serato's main product focus, and as such, Scratch Live is often referred to simply as "Serato" within the DJ and music scene.
Scratch Live allows manipulation and playback of digital audio files (mp3, wav, aiff, ogg and non-DRM aac) using traditional vinyl turntables or CD players via special timecode vinyl records or CDs. It seeks to cross the divide between the versatility of digital audio and the tactile control of vinyl turntablism and has become the industry's dominant digital DJ'ing tool.
In 2008, Serato released the first major plugin for Scratch Live, Video-SL. It allows the playback of video files in similar fashion to audio files. Users can apply effects in real time and mix between video independently of audio.
A demo copy can be installed and used but a watermark is displayed on the main output screen. Activation is done via a serial number.
In 2008, Serato announced the development of Itch, an integrated software and hardware system similar to Scratch Live but tied to hardware controllers and with a more simplified interface. Compatible hardware included the Vestax VCI-300 and the Numark NS7. The controllers connect via USB and use the MIDI Protocol to communicate with Itch. Since Itch's original release, new controllers and accessories have been released by Numark, Vestax, Denon, and Allen & Heath.[Edit; Itch has been replaced by Serato DJ] These include:
- Allen & Heath Xone DX - All-in-one contoller with four channel mixer layout. Allows four deck control/playback(compared to two with other current hardware) and fx control.
- Denon DN HC5000 - Rackmount controller with touch sensitive jog wheels and displays with two line character text support. Compatible with optional CD/DVD drive.
- Numark NSFX - Matching fx controller for the NS7. Unlocks and allows control of Itch's fx section.
- Numark V7 - Single deck style controller modeled after NS7. Features A/B function for two deck control from one V7. When using two decks, the controllers are linked via an RJ45 ethernet cable so that only one USB port is used, which also allows seamless transition between DJs by plugging into the free USB port. Also features built in fx control.
- Vestax VFX-1 - Matching fx controller for VCI-300. Unlocks and allows control of Itch's fx section.
- Novation Twitch
There is also the forthcoming Numark X7 digital mixer which is rumored to allow full four deck control when combined with four V7s.
Serato have begun working in supporting third party players/controllers with the Scratch Live software. These controllers are "natively" supported and do not require the use of the timecode CDs, all playback and control information is sent over USB. The following are the currently supported native controllers:
- Denon DN-HC1000S
- Denon DN-HC4500
- Novation Dicer (versions 2.1 and above)
- Pioneer CDJ-2000 (versions 2.1 and above)
- Pioneer CDJ-900 (versions 2.1 and above)
- Pioneer CDJ-850
- Pioneer CDJ-400
- Pioneer CDJ-350
- Pioneer MEP-7000
- Vestax VFX-1