GadgeTell Review: Stanton SCS.4DJ, the “So You Want To Be A D.J.?” Must-Have Mix Station

Sections: DJ, Gadgets / Other

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As a quick disclaimer, I should first point out that this piece of equipment seems best fit for the nightclub/rave style of D.J., not a beat-producer or songwriting kind. The SCS.4DJ all-in-one system would most suitably find itself around dimmed or strobe lights and dancing crowds — whether it’s a warehouse party or a backyard BBQ, I’ll leave that up for you to decide.

scs3djsideviewThe SCS.4DJ is made for performance use. Those hard-bodied, thumping, dancing-all-night type of performances. If that’s a scene you’re trying to break into, Stanton’s got a pretty slick, quick ticket in.

Old-School for a New Generation

So let’s point out the most obvious feature. You can do ‘scratches’ or basically imitations of that classic D.J. vinyl scratch. Like the real thing though, when you touch the ‘platters’ (either the left or the right side, again emulating the definitive dual turn-table setup,) the music distorts and snarls accordingly.

Also while scratching, the playback time and pitch slows down (both as they would,) while you can see it’s corresponding numerical gauge adjust on a vivid 4.3-inch LCD. With only minimal ‘noodling,’ you’ll learn that the device’s intelligent timing sensor and control screen are two of the it’s strongest features.

Each of the two channels have their own volume control, professional-grade sliders and 3-band equalization knobs (lows, mids and highs) with an impressively responsive cross-fader in between. You’ll get a feel for the relationship of the machine’s components while tweaking around in no time, trust me.

On the subject of effects, both left and right side players are provided with four DJ must-have processing alterations by means of: a filter effect, typical of what you’d hear from D.J.s when they’re “bringing up the beat;” a flanger, which you may find use for in making a song more crystal-like. Then there’s a slice effect for auto-fills and a sensitive delay — just as I enjoy them best, with lots of response. All of the effects are manipulated by either the ‘time/rate’ knob or the ‘frequency/amount’ knob.

The ‘slice’ effect was something I hadn’t before seen. After fooling around with it, I happily found that it would sometimes create a fast, random fill; quite glitchy-sounding and completely in rhythm, or it would repeat the beat just played when the frequency knob was turned hard-left. It’s a nifty touch to your more upbeat numbers — again in line with the ethos of the device: to be your personal, out-of-the-box D.J.-gig mate.scs4dj-front-lg

Computer-Armed Disk Jockey

Stanton’s SCS.4DJ has an awesome built-in operation software that connects your thumb drives or mass storage devices (heck, even your smartphone’s library) from an array of USB-inputs — a few on top and two placed behind a latch on the bottom (definitely key for a performer.) Since it has dedicated software with a easy-breezy interface, it deems outside computers unnecessary and overall presents quite a ‘plug-and-play’ experience.

One downer however, occurs when you upload music files onto the SCS.4DJ. Your songs must have their beats ‘analyzed’ by the software and it’s a bit time consuming, for sure. The system must map out each song and figure out their individual tempos, beats-per-minutes and attributes like that. But it is worth the wait, as this is what gives you such control over your playlist live.

Updated June 14, 2013 by author: Stanton has resolved this issue with their free QuickGrid software. The download, available on the company website, allows users to analyze tracks on a computer (in lieu of analyzing them on the SCS.4DJ) before loading them up onto the SCS.4DJ. That way, the majority of preparation time is diminished, providing even more of a plug-and-play experience. For example, a D.J.’s playlist could be analyzed using the computer software overnight, the day before a performance. When it’s time for the gig, the equipment will recognize the tracks, enabling mixing and effects processing. 

And especially after you’ve gathered a bunch of songs into your folders, you can easily control and manipulate them — as you see each measure glide across the screen in a linear fashion — both channels, left and right, streaming side-by-side.

Now, here comes the magic: it’s beat-mapping capabilities are incredible — letting you watch and control the sound waves as they are happening. Your songs, regardless of any difference in tempo or dynamic, can be played together and matched-up, making transitions absolutely on-point and extra-dramatic if you want them to be.

After uploading and analyzing some Notorious B.I.G. and other favorite hip-hop tracks, I had my friends hitting the floor right in my living room. Transitioning from track to track is extremely intuitive and it’s ‘Sync’ button snaps your two selections into rhythm with one another — handling the hard work and setting the stage for your scratches and quirky sound effects.

In terms of creating an all-in-one, no experience needed piece of a equipment, Stanton really hit it out of the park with the SCS.4DJ. My friends and I each took turns with it and we agreed, it’s almost harder to make the machine sound bad than it is to create a real live D.J. experience. This notion is crucial for the device. Stanton set out to create a piece of D.J. equipment that wouldn’t polarize users who have gigged before versus those who are simply curious about what it takes to be a D.J. Regardless, all parties of all skill levels can make it work and do it with their own individual style.

You Can Do It!

scs4djbackAfter spending time with the SCS.4DJ, I can whole-heartedly attest to it’s stellar design and overall performance. Despite the fact that I have no disk-jockey skills or experience with any other D.J. equipment prior to this, I had no trouble feeling like one. Without a need for an instructions manual and simply relying on my own exploration, I was able to paint textural soundscapes just as a professional would. In short, that’s the genius of this device: Stanton’s SCS.4DJ can make a D.J. out of anyone.

For more information about the device, pricing, ordering information and learning how to update and download the system’s software, accessing a .pdf manual and further literature, click here.

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