Review: Stanton SCS.4DJ – Proper Digital DJing Without The Laptop

Review Summary:

the SCS.4DJ is fun to use for anyone who does know what they're doing, or who is prepared to put the time in to learn. It's like the autotune of DJing, the great democratiser. Now, more than ever, anyone can be a DJ - you just need a pile of music you'd like to play to a crowd of people, and you're off. You don't need a computer, you don't need to understand Midi mapping, you don't need to set up sound cards or software options, you don't even need to mix if you don't want to (although it will be hard to resist, it's that much fun). Stanton has a winner on its hands, and digital DJing has just taken another massive leap towards the mainstream.

SCS.4DJ
  • SCS.4DJ
  • Rating: 4
  • From: Stanton
  • Price: $299
  • Reviewed by:
  • On August 22, 2011
  • Last modified:November 20, 2014

The Stanton SCS.4DJ: No laptop required. Is this the controller that is going to blow digital DJing open for the masses?

The Stanton SCS.4DJ: No laptop required. Is this the controller that is going to blow digital DJing open for the masses?

Review: Stanton SCS.4Dj

Imagine having many of the best bits about digital DJing - waveforms, sync and beatmatch, beat-tied loops and effects, all your music with you - but without the need to carry around a laptop as well as a DJ controller, and without any setting up whenever you want to play.

Stanton's SCS.4DJ is a DJ controller with a built-in computer and colour screen, that aims to give you exactly this. About the same size as any other compact DJ controller, this two-deck model offers most of the functions of fully fledged controller/laptop DJ systems, all in one lightweight unit - no laptop required.

And at US$499, it also appears to be great value too. Did digital DJing for the masses just move a step closer? Let's find out...

First impressions and setting up

The black plastic unit looks at first glance like other consumer DJ consoles - until you spot the horizontal angled screen top middle, that is. The unit is quite lightweight, being mainly plastic, but it feels durable and the jogs feel expensive.

It seems to be aimed at hobby and part-time DJs, first-timers, and maybe even pro or ex-pros who just want something to spin a few tunes on at their pool parties and friends' weddings, without the need to hike around a full set-up. It doesn't have any built-in storage for tunes, relying on you to "bring the music", on a USB stick, a portable hard drive, or - as we'll see later - even your iPod or smartphone.

Most of the controls are instantly familiar. There are two jogwheels, with play/pause, cue, sync and tap buttons at the front of each, and "touch" and "scratch" buttons too (more on these later); pitch sliders and pitch bend buttons; various volume controls plus mic and headphone jacks; and effects and looping sections. The mixer part has two faders, a crossfader, three-band EQ, headphone monitoring, and VU meters.

The screen is a bit bigger than that on an iPhone, and has four buttons vertically to both the left and the right; four bigger buttons underneath it; plus two little round "back" and "enter" buttons underneath those.

Stanton SCS-4 DJ Review

Pretty minimal connection options, with no emergency thru, but there are balanced TRS outputs which is a good addition.

Round the back of the unit are an on/off button, the AC socket (the unit needs AC power to work), 1/4" TRS master outputs, RCA master outputs, USB in/outs and a Kensington lock hole.

Finally, underneath is a removable panel revealing a hollow interior section, with two USB sockets.

(Close inspection also reveals a USB socket in the top right of the unit, under a rubber cover, which makes four in total.)

Plugging in
To get going, you switch the unit on (it takes a few seconds to boot up - remember, it's a real computer in there), and introduce some kind of media with music on it. The easiest thing is just to put a set's-worth of music on a USB stick and plug that in either at the top or round the back. It reads .m3u playlists too.

My USB key was wobbly in the top socket and indeed, one time I accidentally disconnected it by touching it; this has been corrected on the production units, according to Stanton. Of course, plugging in safely round the back is the best bet. Safest of all, you could also put a hard drive or two in the slots underneath and inside the unit.

And that's it! It felt strange not hooking it up to a PC, or booting up DJ software, but of course with an all-in-one unit, all you need to do is introduce music. You can plug it into a laptop if you want, so in theory you could leave your hard drive in there and transfer music across. Apparently there's some library software on the way, but it's not there yet.

In use

In order to DJ with this, it needs to analyse your music first - like all DJ systems. You can DJ with unanalysed music, but you'll get limited functionality (no waveforms, no looping... ) and the unit is sluggish while it's analysing.

And it take a long time to analyse - it was considerably slower than my MacBook Pro analysing tracks in Serato ITCH for instance. While it only has to do this once, it's certainly worth setting it going to do it overnight or even over a longer time period if you have a big collection.

The unit adds three folders on any drive where it finds music, containing waveform, BPM and cue point information for the music. This means that it'll always know what it needs to know about your tunes once you've analysed them once - presuming you don't delete those folders, of course. It also means there has to be enough room on your media for the SCS.4DJ to add this information, or it will inform you that the songs won't be analysed. About 15% extra space is right.

Ways of adding music
It's worth thinking about how you'd organise your music with this - if you had it all permanently on removable media that you could plug in to your home computer and then take with you to plug in to the SCS.4DJ while out and about, that would be ideal, for instance.

Stanton SCS.4DJ review - iPhone

DJing directly from my iTunes music and playlist, as stored in my iPhone.

But there's another way, which might just prove to be the best bit about the whole thing: it certainly had me buzzing with excitement when I discovered it, as it's something the manual was coy about. It's this: the SCS.4DJ will play nicely with iTunes music on an iPhone!

The ability to roll up at a gig, connect your phone (keeps it charged, too...) and start playing from your whole iTunes collection, smart playlists included, is something I've wished for in DJ equipment for a while now, and this is the first time I've seen it working in a modern-style controller. Excitingly, I tried it with an old iPod, my partner's Blackberry, and with a friend's Android phone, and it worked with those too.

(A bonus here is that because the SCS.4DJ takes a little while to analyse tunes, if anyone else asks you to plug their device in, you can explain that it's only set up to work with yours. Bingo!)

Let's be clear - it's reading the MP3s direct from the phone, not taking an audio feed. This is something totally new. You can plug multiple devices in, and because the SCS.4DJ will recognise the music on them all and leave its analysis folders wherever it finds music, it can cope fine with this. You can even hit "rec" to record your set, and it'll let you choose which media to record a WAV to, letting you switch to any other device should you fill one up.

This combination of not messing with your actual MP3s, having housekeeping folders in the same directories as your music, and happily working with multiple sources, makes the unit flexible and easy to use. It's clear a lot of thought has gone into the way it handles its media, which is good news, as this is something that will obviously be crucial to its success - and one of the things I knew they had to get right when I first saw the unit back in April at Musikmesse. They have got it right.

Browsing and sorting your music
So with your music analysed (wherever it may be coming from), you're ready to start browsing it in order to DJ. As stated, the SCS.4DJ recognises iTunes playlists, but it recognises any other standard .m3u playlists too.

You can also make your own playlists direct from the unit: you just browse through your tunes list by pressing "browse" then using the big wheel at the centre of the controller, and press "ToPlaylist"(one of the screen's context keys) to add anything you want to "pull out" from your crate to a new playlist.

The unit can save playlists to hard drives, USB drives and so on, but not, I found, to iOS devices, presumably for integrity reasons. (Chances are if you're integrating it with your iTunes music this way, you've already worked your playlists out there, so it's no big deal.) Of course, you don't need to do this at all - you can just play straight from the collection. Playlists are automatically made as you DJ, however, so if you play one week and want to play from the same basic set at the same venue the following week, there the tunes all are.

Stanton SCS.4DJ review - cover art

The unit will display the cover art for tracks that are playing, but there's no 'cover flow' equivalent for when browsing tracks.

I found the music browsing and playlist part the SCS.4DJ to be surprisingly good to use. You can easily sort by title, artist, BPM, time, album, genre and past DJ sessions, and there are thoughtful touches too:

For instance, when you've sorted by BPM, there are context buttons for jumping +/-10BPM, and when your music is sorted by something alphabetical, you can jump forward and back a letter easily. The search function works quickly - you simply "type" in the first few letters using the jogwheel - but you can also add a USB keyboard if you think you'll be doing this a lot.

One omission is recognition of the "key" column in MP3s, so you need a little workaround if you're the type of DJ who mixes in key. The most obvious way is to add the key information to the front of the Comments field of your MP3s using your key software (Mixed in Key can do this for you), and then sort by Comments on the SCS.4DJ.

Analysis, beatgridding and automix
The SCS.4DJ does a great job of BPM analysis. However, if it doesn't get it right, you can't adjust the BPM yourself past doubling or halving the reading, so sync becomes worthless. Time to call on those manual beatmatching skills...

To be fair, the first firmware upgrade will let you shift the beatgrid to line it up if the BPM has been guessed correctly but is slightly off the beat (the usual scenario when software gets BPMs and phasing wrong), which is going to work for 95% of the music most DJs play with.

The fact that the SCS.4DJ makes a good job of analysing and beatgridding is important, because the unit is sold on its sync and "Auto DJ" ability. Auto DJ will keep the music going when you're too busy or not feeling confident enough to do it yourself: It's easy to take over the controls when you want a go. A definite plus point for beginners (although automix DJ sets are always instantly recognisable as such...).

Real DJing with the SCS.4DJ

So you might think this is just a flash toy - but you'd be wrong. To start with, the waveforms are excellent, better than some computer DJ software. They're colour and have clear beatgrid markers to help with sync, loops and so on. This is one of the major innovations that this unit offers, and why for DJs used to laptop DJing, it will feel great to use right from the off.

Furthermore, the platters have been tuned to mimic vinyl as closely as possible - they are pseudo-weighted in software so when you execute a spinback, for instance, it ends naturally even when the physical platter has stopped. This feels a bit unnatural to the seasoned vinyl/one-to-one platter DJ, but it makes sense for the sector of the market this is aimed at.

Scratch performance is very good, and the only time I managed to make it fail was doing ridiculously over-the-top spinbacks, which introduced breakups and digital distortion. There's one feature I've not seen on any other controller, which I really loved. It's called "touch". When the "touch" toggle button is enabled, the feature works sort of like the "cup" button on some controllers, which jumps to a cue point and starts playing when your hand leaves the button. In this instance, though, the touch button makes the top of the platter exhibit the same action. Touch the platter, and the track stops, jumping and pausing at the cue point. But your hand is right on the platter - just where it wants to be for scratching!

So basically it makes it really intuitive to just grab the platter and start scratching a pre-prepared beat, and then the track just begins to play from that beat when the platter is released. The platters work in a pretty standard way otherwise - the metal top part is for scratching (when scratch is turned on), the edge is for nudging, and they feel solid enough in use, with a slightly rough metal top and knobbly rubber edge.

One thing I didn't like was that the scratch functionality doesn't turn on automatically when the track is paused, if it happens to be turned off. This should at least be an option - if you're not a scratch DJ so you don't normally have "scratch" turned on, you still need the jogwheel to let you spin through the track looking for a good cue point when the track is paused. This option would save you having to manually turn it on to do so.

Speaking of cueing, you can't set multiple cues: there's strictly one per track. However, the unit will remember your cue points so at least you can set the first or a suitable downbeat for your music and have it there for next time. Holding down the "scratch" button lets you use the jogwheel to scrub really quickly through a song, which is a welcome additional function.

In the mix
Once you're up and running, your attention will naturally turn to the mixer section.

Stanton SCS4.DJ Review - mixer

The mixer section: I missed having gains for each channel.

The EQs are great - they cut to kill, so switching bass lines and so on is easy. There is auto gain so there aren't any gain controls: If you're a "gain abuser", you'll therefore have to learn to keep your channel faders at two-thirds to give yourself a bit of leeway.

I missed the gains - I like to use them to extend fading outros on songs, for instance - but I doubt a beginner would and you can see why they've been left off: Indeed, overall while the unit's controls may seem a little basic to a pro, they'd still be pretty daunting to a beginner, and it appears that Stanton has therefore tried to keep everything nice and simple without sacrificing too much flexibility. I think they've got the balance about right.

Metering is good. There are seven-bar main VU meters, plus deck A and deck B level LEDs, that flick from green to red when the channel is too loud. As there are no gains, the only way to really overdrive a channel is to push the EQs way past 12 o'clock. Still, these LEDs should help to instill good habits in new DJs.

Looping works exactly as you'd expect, and there's only one loop allowed per track, which is always beatmatched - no manual option at all. There's a snap function that snaps to the nearest beat if you want it, and you can set default loop length in the system menu.

The effects section is basic, but the filter sounds good, flange too, delay approximates a delay effect without giving you much control over things, and "slice" is kind of a sampling glitch-type effect but which can also rather cunningly repeat a loop roll allowing you to use it as a kind of "third deck" to open a few doors when mixing.

Slice is different from the other effects in that the track continues to play underneath it while it's activated - it's a bit like the beatslicer in Virtual DJ, but more random as you ramp it up.

More about the computer
I've covered the library section of the built-in computer, but I'd like to now look at what else you've got there.

If you've ever navigated a digital camera OS, with options layered within options, and the ubiquitous "back" and "enter" buttons for confirming or exiting menus, this will hold no mystery for you - it's pretty much exactly the same idea.

There are four buttons across the bottom of the screen. These let you look at the two tracks currently playing (you can switch between one screen showing the cover art and 1-2-3-4 beat counters plus small waveforms, and another showing the full-colour waveforms), the library, the current playlist, and the system settings respectively. As mentioned earlier, there are context-sensitive keys down the sides of the screen whose functions vary depending upon which screen you're on.

At all times there's a bar across the top of the screen giving you information on the two tracks currently playing: It has play state, title, artist, tempo, BPM and effects settings.

Although the screen isn't touch sensitive, it would still have been nice to have some kind of coverflow for browsing music, as lots of DJs still think in pictures and having just a list is not very exciting. Maybe something for a future firmware update.

The system settings are where all the tweaking takes place. Here you can set a whole wealth of options that rightfully belong on far more expensive controllers: headphone split, pitch slider range, auto cue and loop length options, platter start/break/release speed, crossfader curve (and reverse!), auto DJ mix settings, "soft takeover" settings (for taking manual control of the pitch), and various display options.

It's a good idea that these are tucked away in the options, because the unit "looks" complicated enough as it is, and many users aren't ever going to want crossfader curve adjust and reverse (for instance), so why clutter the hardware with them?

Finally, I'd like to point out that the unit can play MP4 video files (although there's no way of outputting the signal), and can also be used as a Midi controller for Traktor and Virtual DJ (and any other software you map to it) - the manual points to more information on the Stanton site, but I'm writing this before its launch, and that information isn't there yet for me to investigate further. Stanton says its planning a "mammoth" Midi capabilities update, so stay tuned for that.

Conclusion

Stanton SCS4.DJ Review: Out and about

It's not pro gear, but is the Stanton SCS4.DJ coming to a pool party near you?

I am excited about this unit. Sure, it isn't a pro DJ device (no audio thru for a backup in case it crashes, no multiple cue points, and no way of routing the microphone through the effects, plus consumer build quality are things that should all make that clear) - although having said that, it's still better than it should rightfully be for the price.

But that's really not important here - this thing succeeds where other previous attempts at making a simple-to-use digital DJ controller have failed. It's like the autotune of DJing, the great democratiser. Now, more than ever, anyone can be a DJ - you just need a pile of music you'd like to play to a crowd of people, and you're off.

You don't need a computer, you don't need to understand Midi mapping, you don't need to set up sound cards or software options, you don't even need to mix if you don't want to (although it will be hard to resist, it's that much fun).

Instead, you just plug in your MP3 player, USB stick or smartphone, and after your tunes are analysed, you play. This family-friendly device even has a "lock" function so your kids or pushy/drunken friends can't mess with the music while you nip to the bathroom!

As I say, there have been units that have tried to do this before, but they've all failed because they haven't had the "best bits" of DJ software like the Stanton does. They need two USB sticks, or they have rubbish library navigation, or they don't let you see any kind of waveforms. In short, 100% consumer hardware DJ controllers up to now have sucked.

Stanton makes a big deal about the Auto DJ and sync functions, as befits a DJ console aimed at consumers, many of whom won't have all the DJ skills present and correct (or indeed the time to hunch over the decks for the full duration of the family barbecue...), and in this area, the company has succeeded - the truth is, it's pretty hard to sound bad on one of these.

But more than that, the SCS.4DJ is fun to use for anyone who does know what they're doing, or who is prepared to put the time in to learn. The "touch" function is genuinely innovative and will have scratch DJs queuing up for a go, and I can't state enough how good it is to be able to DJ from whatever device - USB stick, removable drive, smartphone - you happen to have your music on. It seems so simple, but the work that has gone in to making it thus must have been substantial.

If you look at Stanton's product releases over the past few years - the tiny, no-moving-parts SCS.3 system that was in many ways a precursor to the new Novation Twitch, the SCS.1 motorised mammoth DJ system (the precursor to Numark's NS7), and now the SCS.4DJ - there's evidence of market-leading thinking in all of them.

Stanton SCS.4DJ Review - Touch function

The 'touch' function that lets you jump to a cuepoint and scratch simultaneously just by touching the top of the jogwheel is genuinely innovative.

The company hasn't always succeeded, but with the SCS.4DJ, it's got it right. The risk with building a unit with a built-in computer is that the operating system sucks and everyone gets frustrated using it, but the thoughtful file browsing and playlist system, the ability to work smoothly with consumer media, and the wonderful waveforms, combined with convincing scratch performance and great sound quality, mean that in this case the opposite is true - it all works well, and you get more and more delighted with it as you're using it.

And that's me speaking as a pro DJ - as a consumer buying this as his or her first DJ controller, it's simply is going to blow you away, especially at this price point. You'll probably wonder why anyone ever did it with a computer at all.

Stanton has a winner on its hands, and digital DJing has just taken another massive leap towards the mainstream.

Product Summary

Review Summary:

the SCS.4DJ is fun to use for anyone who does know what they're doing, or who is prepared to put the time in to learn. It's like the autotune of DJing, the great democratiser. Now, more than ever, anyone can be a DJ - you just need a pile of music you'd like to play to a crowd of people, and you're off. You don't need a computer, you don't need to understand Midi mapping, you don't need to set up sound cards or software options, you don't even need to mix if you don't want to (although it will be hard to resist, it's that much fun). Stanton has a winner on its hands, and digital DJing has just taken another massive leap towards the mainstream.

SCS.4DJ
  • SCS.4DJ
  • Rating: 4
  • From: Stanton
  • Price: $299
  • Reviewed by:
  • On August 22, 2011
  • Last modified:November 20, 2014

Does this look like the ideal first controller for you? Are you a pro DJ who'd consider this as a "second" controller? Are the days of the laptop numbered? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Comments

  1. DJ Max D. says:

    certainly sparked my interest but I think I’ll wait a while for the first reviews after a prolonged use of this device and then I might jump on that wagon :)

  2. Hello. First post here.

    I feel I owe it to my fellow online companions to elaborate on my personal experience with the Stanton SCS.4DJ as of late. I want to preface this by saying that I am not a Stanton ‘hater’ but actually, up until recently, was a owner of other Stanton products.

    I purchased an SCS.4DJ from Best Buy almost a month ago. I admit, I’m a newb and had been doing my share of online research leading up to my first purchase. I had looked at the Xone DX, DN-MC6000, among others but decided on the SCS.4DJ due to the all-in-one-ness, my Best Buy card, and my misled respect for Stanton.

    After using the unit at home brielfy, it became apparent that Stanton was marketing the SCS.4DJ to the everyday consumer/beginner/bedroom dj. As I would reluctanly ascribe myself to this group, I still felt the unit was lacking in several areas. Not only did it feel cheap (I honestly thought I might scratch the plastic surfaces with any mild use) it was, in my opinion, limited in functionality for the aspiring user. I was basically just starting to learn and felt immediately hindered by this unit. I suppose my biggest gripe, which most reviewers love, is the screen. It was actually the same size as my phone and when I made a comment regarding the screen size on Stanton’s YouTube page, they blocked my account on both YouTube and Facebook. Needless to say, I retuned the unit, wrote an email to Stanton’s PR contact, and sold my T.62 turntable. As a result, I will not be dealing with this company in the future.

    The SCS.4DJ may be suitable for some applications, but as a brand newbie-n I must say that it didn’t fulfill my expectations in the very least. The build quality, limited loop/cue points, limited effects, and TAKING HOURS to analyze a few dozen songs really made me reconsider my purchase. Their business practices made me reconsider my future dealings in general.

    I would advise anyone looking at this unit to determine their needs up front and watch the 4-part review on YouTube before making any decisions.

    • I think you have to consider the price here – US$499 is very low for a complete DJ system, so you won’t get “pro” quality or features. A laptop and pro DJ controller will cost you three times that.

      What you do get is an astonishing amount of innovation in a product that’s genuinely something new.

      You don’t need loop/cue points and effects to DJ, indeed until a few years back nobody had them at all – and Stanton is gambling that lots of people feel this way and want a basic, convenient, entry level, all-in-one DJ unit with the best bits of digital minus the fuss.

      As always, we certainly recommend trying the product before you buy it, though – same with any such purchase.

      • Phil,

        I agree that the price point certainly says a lot about the unit. However, I can get a Xone DX or MC6000 for roughly $600 so I don’t think that it’s price point is entirely indicative of the build quality or feature set. I also don’t really consider the price of a laptop since I would have that regardless of any DJ kit. I respect your opinion on the unit also but I guess I would simply disagre about it having an “astonishing amount of innovation.” I mean, slapping an HTC Evo size scren on a 2 deck controller with 4 effects may be innovative in that it’s the first to have true ‘All-in’one’ functionality. But for me, personally, I can’t buy into the gimmicky nature of the kit. There were a lot of issues, as a beginner, that I encoutered during my brief trial that persuaded me to invest in something more capable. I suppose I’m just a beginner who does want all the fuss. It may be perfect for pros who want to spin without hooking up a whole system, or beginners who don’t need anything but straight basics. All in all, I appreciate the review, keep up the great work!

  3. Very interesting product. Not sure that the pratical nature of the laptop would be exceeded just yet. But if there are more products like this and improvements occur, particularly with the search for music, then it would be a viable alternative.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see current leading software in units like this in the future.
    Think about it: A Numark NS6 with a built in 6 inch screen running Serato ITCH lite? OR VCI-100 MK3 with a 4 inch screen with Traktor Pro lite.

    The possibilities would be exciting!

    • Agreed – this may be just the start of something.

      I was worried that the usability of the software would suck, or the file browsing / library functions would render it impractical in use – but they’ve nailed both things first time, which for a new concept is encouraging.

  4. I think it’s the only logical conclusion for Digital DJing: Controllers with built in hard drives and software. I still prefer to have those things seperated though (If my laptop breaks, I don’t have to repair my controller and if something is wrong with my controller, I can use the CDJs with my software), but I’m glad that this is happening.

    • Hear what you’re saying about things breaking, but I guess with a custom, stripped-down “PC” built in, there’s less to go wrong on a unit like this. I remember the same debate about external soundcards, but they’re pretty much built in to DJ controllers as standard nowadays…

      • And even here I prefer my soundcard to be external, just because it’s easier to upgrade the single parts. I don’t have to buy an all new controller when I just want a better soundcard.
        Anyway, I don’t want to sound like I’m against these “all in one” solutions, especially because controllers with inbuilt computer and software are a damn good idea, but I tend to be a little bit too analytical, when it’s about equipment. I expect everything to not work at one point and I just prefer losing one piece over the whole thing.
        And I repeat again: It is a good idea! You can use turntables and CDJs as stand alone equipment, but for your controller you still need a laptop and software. Until now. I really like the idea of it.

  5. Thank you for the review, Phil! I’m currently looking for a new setup and considered this unit along with the Novation Twitch and Vestax VCI-300. So far this has been one of the only in-depth reviews of the unit and now that I know what I need to know I can make a better decision. Since I’m moving from Ableton “DJing” (Decided to use what I have instead of buying DJ gear) I plan to learn the basics of actual DJing either on a MIDI controller or buying a pair of CDJ-200s and a mixer.

    Would you recommend I immediately start off with a MIDI controller provided I don’t have a DJ background and am more familiar with production? Or would you suggest I start with the very basics using CDJs?

    • It’s fine to start with a Midi controller. a Midi controller can let you “do” what you do on CDJs just as easily. You need to learn to beatmatch manually, though, which means no using the SYNC, AUTOMIX etc buttons. Once you can mix manually, you are then doing what CDJ and vinyl DJs do, any then you can look at understanding how the sync is helping you and using the shortcuts thus provided.

  6. in my days, we used to carry our laptops to the club. kids nowadays just come with their usb sticks

  7. Hi Phil Im interested in this just for the sake of simplicity,Apparently the text size on screen cannot be made bigger this could be a deal breaker for me, I wear glasses for close up computer work email etc and struggle a bit with the text size on my phone htc but do not need them for djing the larger text size in traktor is fine, as you also wear glasses hows the text size for readability?
    Also If I add an external hard drive with different folders do these different folders show up on the stanton or is it just all combined into one large folder within the stanton? thanks

    • All the songs from external hard drive will show up as one big playlist under the main browse display. But the sort function allows you to organizes the display into BPM, Artist, Title, genre, Album…etc. Not to mention there’s also the Search function if you’re too lazy sorting out the songs. What you can also do is save the songs in playlists using your fav audio program such as iTunes or Winamp as it will also display your tracks according to playlists.

      hey for $400 I’m having a great time with it!

  8. DJ Steve Moller says:

    This product has had me interested since they first announced it. Low cost, and it would be PERFECT for the gigs where the full scope of more advanced software/hardware aren’t really needed. I dont always need to have a ton of effects or my entire music collection for a one or two hour slot that isnt headlining. I hope this is a trend of things to come from the rest of the major players in the DJ hardware scene.

    The automix stuff has me a bit concerned though, as someone who started out on vinyl, I remember thinking CD’s were cheating, and as someone who gladly adopted the cdj once I had some time to mess around on them, I wonder whats going to be left for the dj to even do with the software literally mixing the music for you. I know theres programs that do this already (mixmeister and ableton can be set up to do this) but as this kind of stuff becomes lower cost and more mainstream, I fear that a ton of people who really dont know what they are doing will start referring to themselves as DJ’s, a term that used to be associated with a bit of prestige, as not everyone and their mom was doing it.

    • I am also very excited about the SCS4.
      I dont get why automix is a threat for real djs. I mean, djing is all about playing the right tunes @ the right time. And how can automix do this?

      • Thats right, agreed. Lets not forget the most important tool of all, the mic!!!! DJ Malarky out.

      • nice comment. Every good dj need to know in which parties you can use cheating function. Be True Dj at thousants people openair , and be nice guy with headphones , who smiles to children at market opening when your gear autimix all your music and you making money+0)

    • Auto-DJ mode is kind of blown out of proportion. It is basically bathroom break mode-you can set a time to crossfade between two songs and have them beat-sync’d. If you don’t want to use Auto-DJ, you never have to touch it. Same with the SYNC function-while it is great to use, if you don’t want to you never have to.

      • That is a fact, I mean calm down people. This is very exciting as we move forward into the future of DJ gear and just remember where it all started. My two turntables and a microphone. Regards DJ Malarky out.

    • prestige names… just vanity, we all want it. If kids these days wants to be called a DJ because they think it’s cool, let’em have it. If they love it then let them love it and watch the industry and market grow. It only benefits the ones that’s already doin it.

      The reason why DJ is high associated with technology and how it allows techonlogy to shape it’s market is the fact that 97% of the people on dance floor don’t really care what the DJ use. They just want good music and the 3Ds; Dope, Drink and Dance, oh and having fun.

      DJs creativity style should only be limitd by imagination, not a tiny piece of silicon.

  9. OldManVinyl says:

    Credit to Stanton for trying to innovate but this product is a little premature in my opnion. Just like their controllers with the touchpads. Perhaps in a few years after they have refined this type of controller, the product will be better.

    I’d be very hesitant to buy this product over a more expensive competing controller because I get the feeling that in a year or two from now, this unit will be an obsolete piece of electronic junk. If you buy a premium controller like a Traktor S4 it will likely still be a solid useful product years from now.

    You generally get what you pay for so think of the quality you’re getting by shelling out $500 for Stanton’s all-in-one laptop + controller combo when a laptop + an S4 or NS6 would cost 3 times that. If you want to go cheap thats fine, but just keep expectations realistic.

    From the turntable age, I was always a subscriber of “don’t bother with cheap turntables, just get 1200’s and be done with it” and I think that same logic applies today. Get a quality product right off the bat and save yourself from buyers remorse and feeling the need to upgrade.

    • Sorry but your sadly mistaken my friend. If you think that just because the higher the price the better the unit, then you have made some strangers very rich people. As I’ve stated before, I have used it all from various turntables and mixers to various cd players as well as software systems. I’ve learned that if it works, it works and if it doesnt then it’s broke. NO MATTER HOW MUCH IT COST!!!!! Some of the tightest Dee Jays Ive ever seen, have rocked the spot with budget gear as I have myself. Why? Because we are DEE-JAYS. Adapt and over come. I dont think you need to spend an arm and a leg to go out and rock a wedding for 5 hours. Just have to be professional and understand your gig. You cant re-invent the wheel but you can make it better. You have to start somewhere and with Stantons new product, I give them 2 thumbs way up. It really all boils down to what works for you. If you can rip it up with the system that you use, good for you. But dont think for one minute that the same cant be achieved by spending less. I play my twelves for fun in my garage. Then again my 8 Dee Jays keep my pockets fat with my budget oriented hp Walmart laptops and simple software of there choice. Not to mention whatever controllers they want to gig with. Heck I think Im going to purchase this new SCS 4DJ, I’ll get back to you….Regards DJ Malarky out!!!

      • Hey DJ Malarkey, what you meant I’m sure is… “sorry but in my opinion you’re sadly mistaken…”

        We are all entitled to differing opinions and so we should respect other people’s, however wrong we think they are. You make some valid points but we ask “be constructive, be polite”. Let’s bear in mind that everyone who comments here is entitled to respect for taking the time to contribute. :)

  10. With regards to my comments on Oldmanvinyl’s opinions about the Stanton SCC 4DJ, I meant no disrespect and apologize if thats how it came across. Phil you are correct my friend, everyone is simply entitled to there own opinion just as I was. However, engaging in a heated debate is always good for the soul. If you cant take the heat, then stay out of the kitchen. I respect our right in freedom of speach and how we express ouserlves. I seriously didn’t mean any harm just a great debate. Regards as always…DJ Malarky out.

    • Phil Morse says:

      No worries, I know you meant no wrong but I know you! :) Some take these things the wrong way which is why over-polite is better than the other way.

  11. i had very high hopes for this thing ever since i first saw teaser vids about it. i finally got my hands on it when i was at the dj expo earlier this month in atlantic city, nj. i was excited to play with it but i got a little disappointed very quick when mid mix, it just froze on me…less than 5 minutes of playing with it. the only solution to get it working again was turn off and reboot. pro or not, that would be the most horrific experience i can imagine myself going through if i was at an actual gig. i know there’s no perfect system out there but the experience made me really think twice about having this unit as a potential “backup”. maybe in the near future when more updates and further r&d is done to it, i’ll get to play again with it and possibly like it the next time around.

    • It’s a new product and I know the R&D team worked hard to get bugs ironed out… there were scores of improvements in the last firmware upgrade so let’s give them the benefit of the doubt here and hope that the glitch you experienced was from the earlier version fo the firmware.

      • DJ Steve Moller says:

        I will go out on a limb here and say that I havent ever seen a DJ system that doesnt have problems. My tec12’s needed tonearms replaced, and the pitch fader eventually needed to be replaced because my pitch was all over the place. I have played on CDJ’s that couldnt hold a beat to where I was constantly having to adjust them. My friends have had their macs need to be rebooted during an ableton performance, and even I have had traktor freeze on me.

        Nothing’s perfect, and I think when they iron all the kinks out this is where controllers are headed. If Traktor came our with something like this with a preloaded PC that only ran TP2 and a full size laptop screen I would be on it in a heartbeat.

        For those worried about price, a pc set up to run a single app without a licensed OS is significantly cheaper to build than a laptop, esp with all the stuff a laptop has that this doesnt need. it can be built much more cost efficiently.

      • its may use more space in transportation , but i think that independent analog mixer (external or built) is the best backup solution. You can plug any soundsource or mic. All Electronic may crash. So first rule to dont get mess on your gig is to have backup . It may be even Rca – Minijack cable. You should always know that anytime something goes wrong and you neer to be ready for it! Hello From Ukraine Brothers in Arms of Djing+)

    • Great debate folks. I’m a retired (30 year) Dj out of Detroit,DC and Mil bases. I only play for fam e enter in my basement and occasionally at my hole in the wall that already have a house system. This tool works for me. No lugging anything but a padded bag now. I love it! Thanks form letting me share. Rock/jam on!

  12. ex-pro returning to the game (with some luck)

    At the tender age of 19/20 I was blessed with a residency. – a digs that in the “Disco” would hold approx 600 peeps (the license said 450, but the place was at times jammers!) I was forever lugging cases of cds with me. Nearly killed me.
    On the side I was doing some mobile event – birthdays, house parties, other clubs. These always required me hauling my own gear along. Not counting speakers and lights, with me refusing to move the 1210s and precious vinyl I was still left lugging the same cases of cds, a mixer, 2x cdj500mk2, 1x Denon 2500f, Untold amounts of cabling, Amps, Cross-overs – and for fancy work the 21sec sampler.

    Kids these days are ruined with the choice of hardware available.

    Lately I’ve attempted to get into the digital mixing – I’ve purchased a Final Scratch 1 on fleabay – haven’t set it up yet..it’s made it to the attic where I fear it may rest for another while before being sold on.
    I’ve tried a Behringer BCD2k, used it for 2weeks and got so fed up with the poor build that I sold it on – the new owner is delighted with it and has been using it for the last year and a half.
    My last investment was set of the American Audio Radius 1000 units with the flightcase and mixer – awesome units but NOT as portable as I wanted.

    This new Stanton Doowad looks to fit the bill – comparatively small in size – no cabling to speak off.

    I haven’t yet found a reseller in Ireland but when I do I’m defo going to have a muckabout with it.

    It would SO fit the bill for transporting music AND the player.

    I’m in my mid 30s now – started doing house parties when I was 15, was 18-24 when I had the residency AND I’m looking to get back into the swing of it. Im in the fortunate position of being in the running for a residency in a proper nightclub again.

    Once a dj, always a dj.

    and yes – it does drive the mrs up the wall! ;-)

  13. Good to see a real review SCS.4DJ. Finding a way to leave the laptop out of the DJing picture is something I’ve been patiently waiting for: it looks like Stanton is on the right track here and I’m hoping this is a sing that we won’t have to wait too much longer until a more pro spec unit comes along. One element that’s crucial to get right is the browsing/track selection/playlist/track info functionality. Based on your review it’s good news that Stanton appears to have paid attention to this and are on the right track.

    What I would like to see in a more professional all-in-one unit:

    1) Larger display. This is critical for me. 8″ would the probably be a good minimum size. Of course this would push the price up but I’d gladly pay the extra $.

    2) Software that can analyze the tracks, adjust BPM if needed, tweak the beat grid, etc. on a computer. I need a way to get these things 100% right. Then I can copy the necessary folders to portable media to use with the controller.

    3) A way for the user to remove the computer module to send it in for repairs, etc.

    4) “Pro”, rugged, build quality.

    5) High quality audio specs and outputs.

    I’ve been holding on to this vision for several years. Hopefully the SCS.4DJ is an indication that my wait will be shorter than I thought.

    • 100% agree with this!

      The Stanton SCS4.DJ is an excellent (re)start of a new generation of product that bypass (at least during performance) external computers, software and iPound! I hope it will be a commercial success.

      It helps me keeping interest and hope for digital DJ equipment that so far made me curious but never convinced me of being able to replace the standard setup of the 20th century and the endangered species that vinyl and CD are.

      I would love to see a deck version for an easier integration in existing setup.

      Regarding functionality:
      Deck: + hot cues + bigger platter + reverse + 2 decks in 1 (like Denon DN -HS5500)
      Mixer: + gain + x-fader curve adj. and replacement => A&H Xone

  14. DJ Demand says:

    Pretty solid review that revealed some things that other sites didn’t, like it’s integration with Iphones.

    However, one point that must be more fully explained here, especially for seasoned DJ’s, is the the song analysis handicap.

    DJ’s that have an agenda, making mix tapes, playing gigs, etc, don’t like having to cater to the hardware to get on with what they have/need to do.

    The song analysis will take an incredible 1/5 of the total time of EACH song. On a standard song, possibly, up to a minute for every song in your collection.

    If that’s true, imagine analyzing ONLY 1000 songs on the unit!!!!

    There is absolutely NO excuse for releasing a product that totally negates a DJ’s most valuable commodity….TIME.

    Keep in mind, that every new USB device would have to be analyzed to be useful (waveforms, etc).

    The problem with this all in one unit is the processing power onboard the unit itself. Engineering a controller with just enough processing power to be stable with audio playback and manipulation is quite different from the huge amount of processing power involved in analyzing media for that manipulation.

    Until a standalone analysis software is released be buyer warned that you could spend days, if not longer, in frustration before you can actually use your product in the manner that you want.

    In fairness….Stanton has stated they will release this software version of the analyzer. However, this should not have been an after thought as it severely inconveniences it’s customer base.

    • That’s true but you can always process your current set overnight, then leave it running over a long weekend when you’re not using it to do a complete collection. We’re not fans of big collections here anyway, and for this price? It’s a necessary compromise I’d say.

  15. alex sofianos says:

    i ve bought scs 4dj last week..seems ok…too slow analysing..also bad browsing…why they didnt make a browser so that we could see the folders of our hard disc…could make our life easier..lets say i have in my hdisc 10000 songs…and i sort them in folders regarding their genre(rock,rnb,house bla bla bla)…in the browser of stanton i cant c them…how can i categorise them again so i can jump easily to other kind of music while djiing?
    also i tried to connect it as a midi controler of virtual dj , but no luck…are there any tricks,coz stanton website is not helpfull at all….thanx alex-greece…

    • The Bob says:

      Has anyone tried using Rekordbox (free from Pioneer) to set up folders before transfering them to the USB stick? Does that make browsing easier on the SCS4?

    • Have you checked the consistency of the id3/Vorbis tags of your files? This could greatly improve your situation I guess.

      Playlists and auto-indexing databases are very useful for managing collections, but at some point we always keep the good (or bad?) habit of organizing files in a hierarchical tree structure on a physical media and that is also a nice feature to see this on a screen.

  16. VirtualDJ support for the SCS.4DJ has been released. You can read more here – http://www.virtualdj.com/forums/156767/x/

    Enjoy!

  17. Wiganunit says:

    Hi guys, been reading the reviews of the scs 4dj and im very interested/close to purchasing one, as previous people have said this is the best in-depth review ive seen yet. I basically have a measly 5,200 tracks (a few more added each month) so for the scs analysing them that would no it be a problem for me, as said previously i can just leave it for a weekend. The main thing for me is the record function, i have a residency in a club and do other clubs too but i love to interact with the crowd, either on the mic or face to face and if i record a couple of tracks together this free’s my time up slightly but i wont do a massive mix as your setup can change with each club/night. I currently dj with a pair of cdj 800’s/1000’s but when it comes to soundcard’s or dj programs this goes over my head, can anyone shed some light on the situation?? Id love to hear if there another recomendation out there for me just to record tracks to. I would prefer to use something where as in i hit the play button and it starts to record. thanks!!

  18. agnelo fernandes says:

    can i connect my laptop to the scs.4dj?

  19. ive been trying to conect my ipod but it doest read the songs.what should i do?

  20. Dj BOMBLiKE says:

    hey my only question has been, how much memory does it have?

  21. sounds good but as in the “how to dj with a laptpo” topic, wouldnt you be hunched over the controller looking at the screen ?

  22. Hi.
    Great review.
    I’m looking to upgrade from my old Numark CDN-88’s as it’s making less and less sense carrying so much gear around.
    Before I ask my question, I must say that I’ve been DJing for about 20 years and also started out with vinyl and learnt to beatmatch with it!
    However, I find the beatlock feature on my 88’s to be a godsend, does the Stanton do this too?
    Any advice greatly appreciated
    Cheers!

    • What do you mean by “beatlock”? I’m not familiar with those CD players.

      • Hi Phil

        Apologies for the delay.
        It’s a feature where one deck ‘locks’ the beat to the other. I’ve noticed some products refer this as Sync or automatic beat matching – have seen some clips of this unit on YouTube and it does appear to do so.
        Always handy when you’re about to mix and great auntie Vera pops up with questions!
        Thanks again, great review.

      • Hi Phil

        Apologies for the delay.
        It’s a feature where one deck ‘locks’ the beat to the other. I’ve noticed some products refer this as Sync or automatic beat matching – have seen some clips of this unit on YouTube and it does appear to do so.
        Always handy when you’re about to mix and great auntie Vera pops up with questions!
        Thanks again, great review.

  23. I think this is great…no more lugging vinyl and no lag issues with midi. Nobody has mentioned you can also mix VIDEO on this unit. IT seems to do it all. Regarding many of the complaints about lmited effects and slow analyzing time etc… read this :-

    Today (10/19/12) Stanton has announced and released the new 3.0 Firmware update to the Stanton SCS.4DJ that is now available for free download on the Stanton Website which will drastically improve the usability of the unit and also clears up some of the shortcomings. Some of the new capabilities include:
    • BeatGrid editing – The ability to edit a track’s beatgrid in real-time, with both “Tap Tempo” and “Dial-In-BPM” functionality, for better Sync
    • Three Hot cues per deck – Quick access buttons on the home/waveform screens allows users to add and delete hot cues on the fly. Hot cues are saved even when the unit is powered on and off.
    • Optimized system management – Switching screens is now much faster. Navigating large libraries/playlists is more responsive and precise. Performance gains are seen throughout the system.
    • Loop memory – User-created loops are remembered through power cycles, allowing for more powerful set-preparation.
    • Broader device support for smart phones, MP3 players and tablet computers.

    Some of the improvements include:
    • Headphone gain boost now selectable via a menu item.
    • Improved recording to USB media.
    • When a deck is paused, scratch functionality is automatically enabled to provide fine seeking and setting of cue points.

    In light of the new developments a few of the shortcomings are now satisfied and the list of Pro’s and Con’s will now reflect these findings. The first gripe that is now being removed is the lack of Hot Cues. With the new update Hotcues can be stored and remembered for each deck on the fly. The next gripe that is being covered is the long times to analyze tracks. Tracks are now analyzed a lot faster than before and it is no longer a real issue when using the system. Users can also analyze tracks using the computer which will make the process even faster yet. So Stanton was paying attention to the users needs and came out with an update that truly makes the unit better than ever.

    I’m seriously looking into getting the scs.4 after feeling seriously let down by midi controllers and all the crazy configurating required on them. I found the software cumbersome and slow to work with and they were all shit for scratching. So glad I stuck with my 1210’s and vinyl.

  24. Can you use Rekordbox with this?
    Are there any controllers which do use Rekordbox?

  25. Would you consider this usable in a club setting or strictly a bedroom controller or a secondary/backup even with the new features?

  26. bas bertens says:

    my local dealer wouldnt sell it to me because there were to many issues with t and he was getting it beck to often just to let you know

  27. Crazy story. I had interest in getting one of these just for a backup or a fun toy for taking to a buddy’s place to rock out bonfires and or small house partys instead of my taking my other gear but I can’t afford a new one now. Today I was on eBay looking around out of bordom when I all of a sudden I found one of these units being sold as is for $100. Apparently Deck B FX don’t fully function and is missing the FX knobs and pitch fader cap on deck B other than that it functions. I offered $50 and they took it. So after shipping I paid $70 for one. The missing cap and knobs are no issue as I have spares from and old mixer and I the ones off one of my midi controllers may fit as I just put DJ Tech Tools Chroma Caps on it and they are sitting there now. I can live with the flaws in this as is unit for the price especially for what intend to use it for. I would be scraed to take a $400 unit out to friends parties and stuff but this with no fx on one deck for that chea why noy. Can’t wait to get it

  28. I have all my folders in mp3, 70’s, 80’s and such. Is there a way to bet it to read folders, I just keep getting the songs mixed all up. Thanks

    • Cardinal Zen says:

      This is where PLAYLIST comes in. This unit doesn’t arrange tracks by folders, only playlists…works with M3U playlist (I use WinAmp when saving my playlist). Just copy the generated playlist into the root directory of your USB flash drive.

      The version 4.0.1 firmware gives you three (3) hot-cues/cue points.

      Analyze your music files using the QuickGrid software on your computer, much better than analyzing it inside the SCS.4DJ built-in operating system as it really takes time and annoying.

  29. This device is remarkable for the price and offered features that a novice or a pro would be happy about. As for those people complaining about not having enough effects and all, In my experience without elaborating to much, effects is not what gets people dancing but your choice of music and your ability to transpose. It may lack the bells and whistles of a high end device but it does not hinder a dj from being creative. As for torture test, my staton survived pounding and excessive scratching from kids. Thanks Phil for the concise review.

  30. Stanton Launches SCS.4DJ Version 5.0 Software Update at NAMM 2014

    see http://blog.mixonline.com/briefingroom/2014/01/23/stanton-launches-scs-4dj-version-5-0-software-update-at-namm-2014/

    Also there is a little program let you edit SCS.4DJ’s bpm and beat grid.

    https://bitbucket.org/biggerfoot/scs4djeditor/wiki/Home

  31. are there separate controls for master out and booth/monitor out? I need to be able to control the DJ booth monitors separate from the master out?

  32. I’m liking this controller – I’m surprised other companies havent jumped on this way of integrating the USB stick / smart phone music connection thing more than they have been doing. Getting rid of the computer is awesome!

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