Changing the Game with Torq Conectiv and M-Audio
The renowned scratch DJ reveals how M-Audio’s Torq software is helping him take his DJ game to the next level
Like all genres of music, DJ culture is constantly reinventing itself as new artists and technology come along and shake up accepted norms. The digital revolution is sweeping today’s DJ scene just as it did the recording industry. DJ Revolution—known for holding down the decks on the internationally syndicated hip-hop radio program, The Wake Up Show, and lending his scratch techniques/production skills to artists like Dilated Peoples, Canibus, Chino XL, Tha Alkaholiks and more—was one of the first DJs in the hip-hop scene to ditch his vinyl records in favor of some of the earliest digital DJ systems. While instantly recognizing the advantages that computer-based DJ rigs offer over traditional hardware, he and other forward-thinking performers had to deal with the steep learning curve and stability issues that plagued these early setups.
All that changed when DJ Revolution got his hands on M-Audio’s Torq Conectiv hardware/software system with Torq Control Vinyl. After experiencing its stability, ease-of-use and creative options, he chose Torq Conectiv as his new performance platform. Amidst his busy schedule, we caught up with Revolution to discuss Torq Conectiv and its impact on the remarkable transition to powerful computer-based performance rigs in today’s DJ scene.
What initially attracted you to digital vinyl systems and specifically Torq Conectiv?
With vinyl, I could only bring a limited amount of music with me, and I was always restricted in where I could go genre-wise in a set. I actually went on this club tour where British Airways had lost all of my records and I had to do a couple of gigs on other people’s records. When I came back, I swore that I would never bring crates of records overseas or anywhere ever again. So that was pretty much it. Once I started using Torq with Torq Control Vinyl and I realized how I could use it to take my craft to the next level, there was no turning back.
With other systems you can do only so much. With Torq, there’s no limit to what I can do. Now I can customize things to a point where my set is 100 percent unique. There is no one else who will have a set like mine and play music like I play it and do the things that I’m doing. It’s so customizable with the optional vinyl and so much more fun than the other systems. That’s really what it’s about for me.
Specifically, what aspects of the Torq software enable you to take your DJing in a new direction?
There were a couple of things that caught my attention. First, the built-in effects and the fact that you can stack VSTs on each deck is great. Right there, you’ve got so many options for changing up your tracks and adding a new dimension to your set. The built-in sampler is amazing. The ability to create snapshots and save all of your level and effect settings and then recall them on the fly is amazing. All of it is pretty mind-blowing. And this is the first software that makes all of that possible.
When you switched over to Torq, how long did it take before you felt comfortable performing with it?
I was ready to go in a week. There is a very substantial search engine built into Torq so you can filter things out if you’re looking for a specific track. It’s really extensive, and it’s pretty simple. Even if you were new to DJing with a computer, you’d only need to spend a couple of days learning the software. Once you get all of your music transferred over, you’re pretty much there.
What is your opinion of the SynchroScience Control Vinyl? How does the feel and response compare to standard records?
It’s night and day compared to other digital vinyl systems. When I really got into it and started messing around with it, I realized just how different it was and how much better it was than the other systems. The response—the tracking and the feel of the vinyl—is spot on. It feels almost exactly like a real record. You can’t ask for much more than that.
When you tour with Torq Conectiv, what is the response like from other DJs and the audience?
When I first jumped into digital vinyl systems, people seemed a little confused by it. But that’s changed quite a bit. Everyone seems to be really excited about it. I think the rest of the world is finally catching on. For me, this is this system I’ve been waiting for because it’s going to allow me to do things that I couldn’t have even dreamed possible a few months ago. What’s so great about this system is the idea that it will work for both the professional, forward-thinking, creative DJ as well as people who just want to come to the club and spin a few records. This is for everybody, and it’s really fun to use.