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Sometimes it feels like the whole world has turned into a Portlandia sketch, the one where Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen are cajoled by everyone (the bank teller, a garbage man, and even Carrie’s mom) to “come to my DJ night.” But all jokes aside, as a music fan, more DJs is a good thing. The more DJs there are, the less likely I am to hear the same old “untz-untz-untz” when I head out to my neighborhood bar. But learning how to DJ is quite daunting—the gear can be expensive and complicated, not to mention wickedly heavy. Stanton’s SCS.4DJ changes all that.
There are plenty of DJ controllers to choose from, but the SCS.4DJ has one crucial difference: all the software is built in to the unit, so there’s no laptop required. Not only does that lighten your load, but it also lowers the cost of entry for beginners looking to drop their first beats. Plug in a storage device filled with tracks via one of the four USB ports, and get to mixing, yes, an iOS device. The large, color LCD displays track lists, waveforms, and everything else you need to keep the beats flowing.
Matching beats is one of the most crucial (and difficult) DJ skills to learn. For novices, the SCS.4DJ features Smart Sync at the touch of a button. It can instantly sync two tracks, and handles double- and half-time BPMs, so it’s easy to match songs with wildly different tempos (70 and 140 beats per minute, for example). Once your skills have matured, you can forgo automatic syncing, and use the two platters and pitch controls to manually mix tracks. Cue points, loops, 3-band EQ, and even digital effects are onboard, making the SCS.4DJ a pretty complete package. The only sour notes are the somewhat lightweight construction and the length of time it takes for the device to analyze new tracks. Windows users have the option of offloading that chore to a laptop with software called QuickGrid, but there’s no Mac version. (UPDATE: After this review went to press, Stanton released a Mac version of QuickGrid. You can download it on stantondj.com, under the Support tab.)
The bottom line. Stanton hardly misses a beat. This controller is simple enough for new users to get the hang of, and experienced DJs will appreciate the MIDI compatibility, looping, pro-grade effects, and onboard recording features.
No laptop needed
All-in-one design. Extremely portable. Secure integrated storage for USB drives. Can access playlists on iOS devices. Works as a MIDI controller with traditional laptop DJ setups.
Mostly plastic. Analyzing new tracks takes forever.