Review & Video: Stanton DJC.4 Virtual DJ Controller

Review Summary:

Great little controller for Virtual DJ users. If you already have Virtual DJ Pro and want a controller that unlocks as many features of your software as any, is well-built, and yet still remains portable, you ought to be interested in this as it's aimed squarely at you. Overall, a well built, capable, nicely sized and flexible controller that's also adaptable to pretty much all needs except use as a true standalone mixer, including open-source digital vinyl.

DJC.4
  • DJC.4
  • Rating: 4
  • From: Stanton
  • Price: $349
  • Reviewed by:
  • On July 9, 2012
  • Last modified:November 20, 2014
The Stanton DJC.4: A capable, well-built controller especially suited to Virtual DJ users.

The Stanton DJC.4: A capable, well-built controller especially suited to Virtual DJ users.

Review: Stanton DJC.4 Virtual DJ Controller

If you're looking for a well-built DJ controller to use with Virtual DJ software, that isn't overly large, yet manages to pack in pretty much all the features a digital DJ would want for either home or public use, you'll be interested in today's review item, the new Stanton DJC.4. It feels right, it looks good, and with balanced and unbalanced outputs, aux and mic inputs, and inputs for two phono or line sources, it also looks almost too good to be true for the price. Which in a way, does turn out to be the case. Time to take a closer look...

First impressions and setting up

It's similar in look and feel to a Reloop controller, and that's a compliment. Nice and compact (Reloop doesn't go in for physical bloat either), the DJC.4 is equally well made, and indeed I am pretty sure they come from the same far eastern manufacturing conglomerate ultimately. It's got a metal chassis, all the nicely rubberised knobs are bolted down rather than just soldered into place, and the jogs, replaceable crossfader, rubberised transport controls and rather small backlit buttons all feel built to last; if not best of the best, they're definitely not rubbish either.

Stanton DJC.4 Review Top

Stanton DJC.4 from above: the lights are bright, even in sunlight. (Click to enlarge.)

It's quite sober in appearance until you plug it in, to be hit by a wall of bright lighting from all of those buttons. Unlike, say, the Novation Twitch, these are all perfectly visible, even in sunlight.

The layout is pretty traditional, yet there are a lot of features packed in here: Full looping; four hot cues per side; four sampler triggers per side; a four-knob effects area per side, with the ability to switch one of the pots to the channel faders, Novation Twitch style; filters and key change options for each active channel; push-to-kill on all EQ pots; two layers to control four decks; video/audio switching for the crossfader; and a shift layer to double up all controls in your own mappings. This is indeed a capable controller.

There's more: Mic input (no tone control, though, despite Stanton's spec!), jog sensitivity controls; crossfader curve (no reverse, scratch fans); CD-style pitch bend buttons; and input options to route the microphone and aux, plus analogue thru/software switching.

While it turns out that the unit itself is a rebadged OEM controller (I have seen the same physical design out there from two other brands, with slightly different feature sets), Stanton has clearly put work into fine-tuning its take on the raw design to work tightly with the software, as becomes more apparent later.

Setting up is the usual yada yada, which for the uninitiated means installing ASIO drivers if you're a windows user (it works out-of-the-box with Mac), and installing the supplied Virtual DJ LE Software, and entering the supplied serial to get the software working. From there you can run LE, or try a 20-day trial of the full version of Virtual DJ, after which you'll have to buy it, for a whopping US$249 (that's with US$50 off, too).

In use

The control is a solid performer. The jogs are pretty good; they're responsive but not the finest resolution so if you're a scratch DJ you're going to want to look elsewhere, but for everyone else they're more than good enough. There's the usual touch-the-metal (scratch), touch-the-plastic-edge (nudge) option.

The pitch faders are pretty good, although for really fine manual beatmatching I've used better. The crossfader is nice and loose, the other faders a little less so (as is the norm), and the transport controls are really assured and pleasant to use.

Stanton DJC.4 Front

The Stanton DJC.4 front: Note the headphone controls are here; maybe not the best place, but understandable when you consider how "busy" the controller is up top.

The generous loop, hot cue and sampler areas let you access a large proportion of Virtual DJ's functions (though by no means all - for instance, there are many more sample slots than you can use from here), and the effects area particular is actually overkill for Virtual DJ LE, which is light on effects and for which you really don't need all those controls.

Sound quality is pretty good, although it's not the loudest controller I've ever used - maybe due to the fact that it uses USB power (you can power it via mains power, but there's no adaptor in the box), and has all those LEDs, there's just not enough left to really push the outputs hard. The headphones were loud enough, but if you're DJing with it in a club for instance, you'll maybe find yourself pushing the gain a little if head-to-heading it with someone playing on standard CDJs. Don't let this put you off though, as overall the sound was good: clear, full and decent quality.

There are both balanced TRS and unbalanced RCA outputs, but no XLRs (the mic is a TRS too, by the way), but you do get the choice of 1/8" and 1/4" headphones outputs. There's an AUX on the back (1/8" TRS) which is great for plugging in an iPhone, MP3 player or equivalent as a backup should emergencies strike, and you switch this in via a small switch at the top of the line fader. An equivalent switch on the other channel handles the Mic. A tiny switch round the back decides whether the external inputs are routed through software or not.

Using the external inputs with software
It's important to understand how the external inputs work. This is not a standalone mixer; it won't work without a computer, and it won't work how you might expect it to with the software that's in the box.

You have two choices: Route your aux input/one external input through the unit entirely, effectively bypassing it (good for a backup as mentioned above, but not much else, as there's no mixer control over those sources at all), or set things up so the two external decks route through software.

Stanton DJC.4 back

The Stanton DJC.4 back: Line/phono inputs are good, but make sure you understand the limitations.

On paper, that's good; if you route two decks or two CDJs through software, what that means is that in Virtual DJ, on, say, decks 3 and 4, you have your external inputs, and can use all EQs, effects and other mixing tools (no loops, obviously) just as if these were software sources. You can also use open-source DVS (digital vinyl systems) in exactly the same way - plug your control units in the back, and DJ away.

Except - the software supplied with the DJC.4, Virtual DJ LE, won't let you do this. The box doesn't say otherwise, but it is a bit vague. The truth is that to DJ with software and external sources, you need to spend that extra $249 on Virtual DJ Pro. If you're buying this thinking you can plug all your existing gear in and just DJ away, you should be aware of this fact.

Conclusion

Great little controller for Virtual DJ users. If you already have Virtual DJ Pro and want a controller that unlocks as many features of your software as any, is well-built, and yet still remains portable, you ought to be interested in this as it's aimed squarely at you. If you are currently just dabbling with Virtual DJ and think it is going to be the software for you, again, consider this controller; while the upgrade price is steep, you do get free upgrades for life, including to Virtual DJ 8 that's just around the corner. I can vouch that Virtual DJ is true it this, having not paid a penny since I originally bought the software in 2005 for any of my upgrades.

Indeed, if you use other software (there are third-party mappings for Traktor already, but Stanton tells me there's something officially due imminently), and are looking for a small controller that won't break the bank either as a backup or because you really aren't turned on by the oversized models, this is more than capable, especially with the shift layer effectively doubling up all the Midi controls.

If you were thinking that for your $350 you'd get a true centrepiece to a full to a digital/analogue system, though, it's not all good news; the two CDJ/vinyl inputs are pretty useless out of the box, apart from using one of them as a backup music source; to mix with these they need to be routed through software, and thus you need DJ software that allows you to do this, which doesn't come with the controller as sold and will cost you extra.

Overall then: Well built, capable, nicely sized, flexible, and adaptable to pretty much all needs except use as a true standalone mixer, including open-source digital vinyl. If you're a long-term Virtual DJ user or thinking of becoming one, that makes it a bit of a bargain. Otherwise, add in the cost of the software upgrade or the effort of getting it to work with your software of choice.

Product Summary

Review Summary:

Great little controller for Virtual DJ users. If you already have Virtual DJ Pro and want a controller that unlocks as many features of your software as any, is well-built, and yet still remains portable, you ought to be interested in this as it's aimed squarely at you. Overall, a well built, capable, nicely sized and flexible controller that's also adaptable to pretty much all needs except use as a true standalone mixer, including open-source digital vinyl.

DJC.4

  • DJC.4
  • Rating: 4
  • From: Stanton
  • Price: $349
  • Reviewed by:
  • On July 9, 2012
  • Last modified:November 20, 2014

Video Review

Looks like a bargain? Are you a Virtual DJ type who's been waiting for a controller like this? Or did they miss a trick not making it true standalone having added those external inputs? Please let us know your thoughts below.

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Comments

  1. the reloop and stanton controllers are made manufactured by one company in china, called rockport. that's why they had the same feel. there is a very good traktor mapping of this controller at djtt, the one who made the same mixage mapping, forgot his name.

  2. Thanks Phil, this review has answered the burning question for me which I have not been able to answer anywhere else, including Stanton's support; can I run my turntable through this. I really thought this controller was my perfectly priced holy grail out if the box. Not sure if I'd want to spring the extra $250 to get that just yet. Shame, it seems perfect for me otherwise.

  3. synthet1c says:

    They lost me at "push to kill eq's" they feel absolutely terrible on the digital jockey 2, I can't imagine these are any different as you are correct in assuming they come from the same Taiwanese manufacturer.

  4. Thank you very much Phil for your review. I didn't find any topic on the forum about the Stanton DJC.4 and I've just booked it. I come from Italy, and I'm not sure about my complete understanding of a part of the review. I suppose it isn't possible to use cdjs or turntables without the laptop, isn't it ? Why is it called "standalone mixer" on Stanton website ?

    If I'd like to use Traktor, with external input too, would I need to buy Traktor Scrathc instead of the normal Traktor Pro ?

    Thank you very much 😉

    • Yes you need your laptop. If you wanted to control Traktor with external decks, not only would you need Traktor Scratch Pro but you'd need an NI Audio 6 interface too.

      • Thank you very much Phil. I knew I had to buy the NI sound card and I've just sent e.mail to Stanton in order to ask if is possible to release a standalone mixer version of this controller, as they say it is (in the official website).

        Thank you very much again.

  5. DJ Malarky says:

    Hi Phil, just wanted to hear your thoughts on this stanton unit vs. the adj versadeck for mobile dj application? Thank you in advance my friend. DJ Malarky out.

  6. PM Love says:

    I'm in the market any day to step up from my NuMark MixTrack and am watching the input here daily regarding the newest controllers. There just seems to be too many "ifs" with this one. Right now I am a VDJ user, but am willing to make the switch for the right combination of price, hardware, etc. in the $500-$800 range. Looks like patience is going to be the key. Thanks, Phil and Digital DJ site for all the info that you provide.

  7. i got this controller to mix 2 decks and do digital mashups but this just wont do that with the software. i spent a long time trying to find this out and ended up just purchasing it an then finding out it doesnt do this. why would stanton make it seem like it would and not come threw. the best thing i could compare this to is the wii in the fact that the wii comes with a dvd drive but wont play dvds. but besides that it is a great controller for vdj but you will have to unlock the pro version to get the full potential.one last note ive been searching alot to find traktor mappings every where. they say theres a traktor tsi file or something like that but i cannot locate it. if you have found one please help me. thanks

    • Hi John, it is very common for controllers to come with LE software, unfortunately it is also confusing for beginners, which is why we try to outline it in the reviews we do. I agree in this case things are particularly unclear if you want to plug external decks in.

  8. I have bought this controller but why after I use the software within 20 days, pro and eventually became a free version of the software again, please help thanks

  9. Arbalest says:

    hey phil,I just wanna ask you this real quick,
    which one should I get between this Staton djc4 or numark mixtrack pro?I use traktor scratch 2 by the way and I'm still a beginner,so to speak but I play in small gigs sometimes,so I really need a controller that easy to setup and capable for most hardware/software.Therefore,any comment will be much appreciated

  10. Hi Phil,

    If you upgrade to pro, do you get VDJ Pro (latest version) or is it an upgraded version of the stanton specific LE software bundled with the controller?

  11. For better or worse, I like using VDJ best and am in the market for a DJ midi controller (home use only, I hasten to add). Will mostly use 2-deck, but want the ability to use 3 decks, thus need a 4-deck controller. Can't decide between the Reloop Terminal Mix 4, Stanton, DJC.4, Numark 4 or Hercules 4-Mx. All roughly the same price. Leaning towards the Stanton as it's the newest and I believe has the tightest integration with VDJ. (I have no issue with upgrading to VDJ Pro.) Would like to hear other opinions. Thanks in kind.

  12. Sean Static says:

    Hi Everyone.

    I have the DJC.4 and just want to say that I think it is awesome. It has very good build and sound quality. Literally only two let downs, kind of sucks not having a standalone mixer but at the price not a deal breaker. It also has no EQ for the MIC input.

    For anyone wondering where to get the Traktor mapping it is on the German Stanton site. Link to the mapping below,
    http://www.stanton-dj.de/fileadmin/_stanton/Treiber/DJC4_2xdeck_2xremixdeck_2_5_1.zip
    Just bear in mind the mapping is for Traktor 2.5 and will not work correctly with any older version.

  13. Hi

    After months of deliberation I have finally purchased this as my first controller. Out of the box for 24 hours and really pleased with it. I have used VDJ before and this really maps well; just a shame the pro upgrade is as expensive as it is! Phil's review was spot on and was very much pointed me in this directtion; thanks Phil.

  14. Lex Vergroesen says:

    Hi,

    I just bought the stanton djc.4. Now my question is:

    How can pre-listen a track trough my headphones when the other tracks are playing trough the speaker of my laptop. Thanks in advance.

  15. I have two questions: 1 in this controller I can connect a 64-ohm headphones without listening very low?

    2 Is it worth buying?

    thanks!

  16. Hi folks!
    Just thought id leave some feedback on this controller. It is an excellent starter controller for any body wanting to move into digital djing and has all the features you could ever want. The only thing i would suggest to anybody buying this is to purchase the full traktor software. it is a fraction of the price of vjd pro and in my opinion has alot better features ie: effects are 100 times better and the jogs perform flawless with the stanton official mapping. I also found the guys at stanton were more than happy to help with any issues i had.

  17. Now it also is available in an more expensive and updated version (other brand name though).
    New features: standalone mix-abilities, DVS, extra output (booth). http://www.voxoa-pro.com/products.php?lang=en&kind=13&pid=65&kind2=3

    or second other brandname:

    http://www.djinnseries.com/produits.php?id=2

    • Whare can i purchase the Voxoa here in the UK ? I just cant find it anywhere on the internet tho i found the site but no contact details for me to ask them direct,shame as its awesome kit.

  18. Whoa! Is this distributed in Europe? What is the est. price?

  19. Hi all,

    Just to talk about my misadventures with this controller so that people wondering whether they should buy it or not are informed.

    There is a big issue with some DJC4 (not all) : as soon as it is turned on we can hear a high pitched humm/tone on the head phones and the output master.

    It appears that it is linked to the LEDs : this noise gets bigger when more and more LEDs are illuminated. On startup it is the most loudest (as all the LEDs illuminate).

    There are many discussions about this issue on the Gibson forum :
    http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/90866-high-pitched-headphone-noise/ (for example)

    One thing to know is that Stanton/Gibson doesn't seem to care about it. Maybe they don't have any solution.

    In brief, before buying this controller, please keep this in mind.
    I wasn't aware of this and after having spent 300€ I've got a controller that I can not use !

  20. Where can i buy a Voxoa c60 in the UK ? I want it, love the look and features on it and its miles ahead of the Stanton yet looks the same,it isnt the same tho..I justcant seem to find em in uk and how much they are

  21. citrico says:

    I was wondering if anyone has had an issues with master volume and sampler volume, mine stopped working and I can't seem to make them work again, any thoughts?

  22. Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I wanted to be safe and ask before trying it. Is it possible to use both the balanced and unbalanced outputs simultaneously? I understand that I'd need a separate power supply instead of USB power. I wasn't sure if the "dual stereo" outputs meant 2 sets of stereo outs that work at the same time, or just that there are 2 sets in general.

  23. No built in soundcard?

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