As many of you know I recently closed the screen on my laptop and reverted back to playing vinyl for a couple of months. During my vinyl journey I was to play at a venue in Vancouver, but was not able, or did not want, to take a big bag of vinyl with me, so I started to re-visit the timecode.
I noticed a distinct difference between how ‘real’ vinyl performed against mark 1 traktor timecode vinyl that I have owned for a number of years. When the music is stamped into the vinyl, the response is instant as you are actually manipulating the music and not a digital file. I noticed that when manipulating the Mark 1 timecode, the response was somewhat ’empty’.
How does Timecode Vinyl Work
For those that don’t know, the timecode vinyl is stamped with a high pitched noise, this noise is then sent into traktor via an audio interface (in my case the Audio 8). This sound then indicates to the software where the needle is within the track and in which direction it going. The software deciphers the message and uses it to control the digital music file. All of this information happens in a split second, the delay of which is controlled by a parameter known as latency.
Mark 1 Vs. Mark 2 Timecode Vinyl
As I played more and more with the mark 1 timecode vinyl I noticed a strange kind of operation to it. As you handled the vinyl to speed up or slow down the record, it behaved in a way that was a little frustrating. Imagine touching the platter to slow the record down, but the track wouldn’t slow down as instantly as it would on real vinyl, requiring you to push a little more firmly. Once you push a little more firmly the record finally understands what’s happening and suddenly slows down, but then slows down too much, meaning you have to push it to speed it up again. You’re then faced with the same issue going forwards.
I decided to invest in some mark 2 vinyls to see how the operation would be different.
I placed the new mark 2 Traktor Vinyls on the platters and instantly I noticed how much more quickly they calibrated than the mark 1’s. I often had issues with the mark 1’s, sometimes having to speed up the decks to 45rpm and moving the pitch slider to maximum. This time though they instantly calibrated, which made a nice change.
I am not a scratch DJ, so I continued to use the records in the same way I always have and used them for controlling the deep house for long smooth mixes. I noticed that the mark 2 vinyls really held their timing a lot better. and I noticed how they were more responsive to the touch. Instead of having to deal with that frustration I explained above, they simply slowed down when I asked them to, causing me to spend less time getting the deck at the right speed.
I tested the sound whilst scratching and as you can see in the video above, there appears to be no digitization or artifacts in the sound, whether I pull the vinyl slowly or quickly. This is great news for scratch DJ’s.
If you are still using the mark one traktor timecode vinyl, I would recommend the upgrade. The latest mark 2 vinyl is much more responsive and reacts a lot more closely to the real thing. Your mixes will become tighter, or at least setting up your timing will be easier. Those of you who are scratch DJ’s will certainly benefit from the better response of these improved timecodes.