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stanton scs.4dj review

First Thoughts

Wow! It’s like a tiny serato inside a boring black box! As a mobile dj, it’s difficult to not be intrigued by a unit like this. Laptops are expensive and vulnerable to crashing. Usually a dj’s best friend, but they can arbitrarily turn on you when you least expect it. These days a $1000+ laptop is usually inseparable from most dj setups. Stanton have proven themselves as a groundbreaker of innovation with this all-in-one, no-laptop-required, portable djing solution. It’s discrete, portable, and inexpensive – let’s take a look at what this unit has to offer.

Hardware

I’ve never seen a piece of stanton gear that impressed me with their build quality. That’s just a harsh reality. That isn’t to say they aren’t usable, just not as durable as other gear (from Rane/Pioneer/Numark). The SCS.4DJ doesn’t break the mold in that regard. Comprised entirely of plastics, the SCS.4DJ is begging for a successor properly housed in a rugged metal body. The controls are not fun to use either. All the knobs and faders are tapered smooth plastic, zero grip. I ended up replacing them all with DJTechTools Chroma Caps. The jog wheels have a surprisingly good weight and feel to them, leaving you wondering if they spent 95% of their R&D budget on the jogs and the rest on everything else. One other major gripe I have with the unit is the crossfader. There’s an inexcusable amount of distance between the extreme end of the fader and the 100% cut-in turntablists are accustomed to. If you’re going to offer a hard cut crossfader curve, make sure 0% and 100% doesn’t have so much distance between them.

Operating System

PATIENCE. This virtue will serve you well if you plan on getting this unit. The SCS.4DJ runs a closed-source distro of linux, pushed by what I believe is an ARM processor. This is how they can keep this unit running without an internal fan. The downside is that ARM processors are just not fast, making a simple task like scrolling through a playlist and selecting a song take anywhere from 10-30 seconds. Oh and that nice waveform the screen displays will most certainly have to be processed by a computer, because if you threw a few thousand tracks onto a USB drive and plugged it in the analysis process would be well over 24 hours. This is a unit that you’re going to have to dig around in forums and the manual to prepare your music for. It is the antithesis of plug-n-play.

Sound

Hardware and software are all very important, but ultimately it just comes down to what you hear. Stanton delivers with a warm sounding output from the 1/4″ leads, but the RCA outputs are terribly drowned out and will require an external mixer to boost it’s volume to an adequate level. The effects section has some pretty good effects. The flanger in particular sounds very good (possibly even better than the flange on my pioneer djm800), but I guess that’s purely personal taste. One odd choice was the “Slicer” effect which is actually just “Random” effect. It engages arbitrary reverse and brake messages at specified intervals with one parameter dedication to how random it is. Not fun. I’ve never known djs to be anything but deliberate people. If I push a button on a piece of gear, I don’t want to be surprised by the outcome.

Conclusion

Don’t buy this unit at retail price. Until Stanton releases an update to the scs.4dj that fixes it’s sluggish OS, I don’t think it’s worth $599. That being said, I found mine new-in-box on eBay for $200 and I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. It’s the perfect unit to keep plugged in at home next to my computer to test out a quick mix. Once you get used to running their companion QuickGrid software on your USB drive before you start mixing, it’s actually a really compelling unit. Definitely fun, but not dependable for a professional environment.

This entry was written by yeahdef, posted on June 21, 2012 at 9:29 am, filed under news.

  • Ecoco

    Try new update 3.02 you will change your mind, now much more responsive and with hot ques

    USB analysis is best done by Quick Grid software

    Since the last upgrade my laptop / Traktor / BCD3000 are now fully retired

    This month I did four 6 hour gig on a large PA system (Behringer 2x EMP2500 + 4XB1520pro + Zenyx mixer ) great sound not a single glitch

  • Bearbeats

    Thanks for the reassuring comment ecoco!
    Looking into this a quick budget solution for a semi-prepared live set with a bass+sax+myself also playing guitar as well as dj’ing so wanted something i could reliably play about with ,beat matched without stressing out so i can play guitar as well. And thank christ its midi so offers a solid upgrade path when we get round to developing the set into an ableton enviroment.looks like im gonna have fun with this.

  • General3s

    my stanton scs4 dj freeze all the time i played a gig and the staton scs4dj froze on mi i did not get my full payment for that night the second time i was play at a 40th birthday party i was only play for 45 minutes an the stanton scs4dj froze so please tell me why the staton scs4dj freezes

  • ecoco

    1. Cleanup your music library, first clear and then rebuild your id3 tags try mp3tag. organize songs in directories Use Stanton BeatGrid PC software to analyse songs and and last let SDS.4DJ create playlist.

    2. Use a fast and good brand USB memory and install it in the hidden compartment. you tend to knock memory if you install them in the front or rear USB outlets.

    3. Make sure that mains power supply and DC plug are well secured.

    4. Update to new firmware V3.3