Needle dropping is a hot topic that is showing up in both software and hardware, since everybody wants to scrub trough their tracks.
Traktor Scratch and Ableton Live both support it. And with controllers like the Numark NS7 and Pioneer CDJ-2000 there is a new hardware standard: a horizontal touch sensitive strip.
Although any MIDI button can be used in the software to control Needle Dropping, those horizontal strips do have some advantages. You can accurately point the playback to the absolute position of the touch sensitive strip. Which is of course much better then turning an endless rotary encoder that works relative to your current position.
Cross Fader Needle Drop
So I figured that the cross fader on my AKAI APC 40 should be very well suited for this job also. I normally don’t do anything with cross faders and they end up getting in the way. So I mapped my cross fader in Ableton Live to the scrub parameter. When I move my cross fader to a certain position the playback marker appears on the same place in the track and playback will start according to the quantization settings. When no quantization is used, moving the cross fader around is just like pushing the needle across vinyl.
Of course this can be done with any MIDI cross fader. I’m pleased that my cross fader on the APC 40 now has a useful purpose.
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