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Music Thing: The Scratchophone

Peter Rojas
04.22.05
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Scratchophone
Each week Tom Whitwell of Music Thing highlights the best of the new music gear that's coming out, as well as noteworthy vintage equipment:

The Scratchophone is a portable DJ instrument, designed and prototyped in France by student Alari Thierry. Alari realised that his turntables weren't a real musical instrument, just a big stereo system. Instead, he had a vision of a "portable scratching bongo drum", something which would let him jam with his friends in bands, and play music outdoors without a sound system.

Scratchophone

He set about designing a suitable device. It has with batteries, a mixer, an amp and speakers hidden in the bottom shell, but the clever thing is the tonearm. Normal record-deck tonearms are high-precision, delicate things with counterweights. The Scratchophone has a gooseneck tonearm with the guts from a Vinyl Killer toy record playing van stuck on the end. It?s certainly not audiophile, and it couldn?t play an track from end to end, but it holds the needle in the groove well enough for scratching. As Alari says: ?It?s not perfect but does the job more or less.? Most importantly, the Scratchophone plays real vinyl, unlike the Vestax STC-V1, which is just a controller for a CD player.

The Scratchophone?s world debut was at an Urban Music festival in London last weekend, and this video [wmv] shows that ? remarkably ? it really works. He?s currently looking for backers so he can create a real production model. My vision for the future? A marching band of DJs, scratching away together like a Brazilian samba school.

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