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.
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.
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.
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.
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 news., posted on June 21, 2012 at 9:29 am, filed under