October 24, 2014

Can Serato Give you More Control?

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allen & Heath's DX hardware
The world bends for Digital DJs

In the next issue of DJ Times, Wesley Bryant-King reviews Allen & Heath’s Xone:DX controller for Serato’s ITCH, a snippet of which reads like this:

With ITCH, Serato endeavors to improve integration, ease of use, and reliability by bundling software and hardware together into a dedicated, purpose-built system.

And Serato didn’t limit the hardware to a single manufacturer like Rane. DJ equipment makers including Vestax, Numark, Denon—and now England’s Allen & Heath—have jumped on-board to produce dedicated ITCH hardware that is sold bundled with the ITCH software.

In the case of Allen & Heath, that product is the Xone:DX.

Many a digital DJ has experienced that frightening-as-heck moment when their laptop freezes-up or some other catastrophe brings the music to an expected and rapid end. While neither the DX nor ITCH had a single hiccup during dozens of hours of testing and use, it is some comfort knowing that the Xone:DX provides a “direct input” jack on the back panel—just for emergencies.

Connect an iPod, CDJ, or other audio source to this jack, and if the worst happens, mash the play button on the source, and its signal is routed through the master outputs on the DX, while you deal with restarting your laptop and recovering from the adrenaline rush.

Once I settled in with the Xone: DX and ITCH, I found the combination to be incredibly easy and intuitive to use. I like it when I don’t have to touch my laptop at all, other than to search for specific tracks.

Finally, being new to Serato’s offerings, I was pleased to discover their Whitelabel Delivery Network. This promotional music service—free to Serato users—brings some of the latest releases, across multiple genres, straight to your hands. Using a special, extended MP3 format, the music can be played at low resolution using any MP3 playback software or device, but when played within Scratch or ITCH, the music is rendered at full fidelity. It’s an incredible value-add for the Xone:DX and ITCH package.

Conclusions: All in all, using the Xone:DX and ITCH was the sort of intuitive, elegant experience that I’m sure Serato envisioned back in ’08 when they announced the ITCH platform. It’s very much “plug-and play,” but the pairing is no toy—I’d be at home with this duo whether I’m doing a high-intensity club set, DJing a relaxed dinner event, or anything in between. At around $999 (MAP ), it’s priced within reach of serious amateur jocks looking to raise their game, as well as pros looking for a serious digital DJing system that’s powerful, easy to use, and light enough not to be a burden to lug around.

For full review, see the next issue of DJ Times.

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