Link: Stanton — Price: Free software download
Just around 2 years ago Stanton decided to buck every trend that every manufacturer had been following and release one of the first truly reliable all-in-one DJ solutions to the market. We here at DJWORX ran a review back in August of 2011, and while it keeps coming up in conversations around, which says a lot for a unit this old, we haven’t really revisited it.
Stanton has been continuing to support the SCS.4DJ over the last few years and providing much-needed and heavily requested updates. They recently rolled out Version 4.0 firmware, and we got our hands on it to give you a bit of insight into how much the product changes over time.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I was involved in beta testing the SCS.4DJ for versions 1 and 2).
When I first started using the SCS.4DJ back in the day the most miserable part about using it was the browser. It was slow, it was clunky, playlist management was practically unavailable, and it felt like taking a huge step back after all of those months with my laptop and controllers. This update, however, offers a breath of fresh air compared to what I was used to. The browser is quick and snappy, leaving behind the days of scrolling too quickly and suddenly being at the end of the track list. If you are working off of larger collections you will definitely see an improvement.
Playlists have finally been given an artist column. Not having it made me not want to use playlists, and not having playlists made it far more frustrating to navigate my collection, making me not want to DJ with any serious collection. To follow that up, the active playlist can now be sorted by artist, BPM and time. Working with playlists now, well, works. It took a while but they finally have made managing the workflow of my tracks not awful.
They have also offered Song Preview, which you can access straight from the browser instead of needing to load the track to cue it. To get to the option you select a track and hit Enter, going into the track detail mode (gives you the album art and more tag information). From there on the right hand side there’s a button that says Preview. It’s a nice add, but I don’t know why they didn’t put it on the main browser screen as that same button is empty. At least I can still scroll through tracks from the detail window.
While no changes are made to how the SCS.4DJ sounds there are changes to how we can perceive and control it. Stanton has added the ability to edit the gain for each deck, and that gain is then added to the track data so the next time you load it that track will be leveled for you. I was always confused that there wasn’t a gain knob, but this is a good compromise. To get to the option you hold the Back or Enter button for Deck A or B respectively. Once you turn the browse wheel you will see a window appear to edit the gain.
You can also switch the VU meters from reading out just the Master output to showing Deck A and B. Thankfully these are set to PFL, so the information is actually relatively useful. I did find them to be a little sensitive to the frequency changes, seeing small changes in my EQ to show huge differences in the readout, or vice versa, depending on where I was at. For example, if I killed all of my EQ, and raised just the mids to unity I saw very little change from when I had all of my EQ up. So it’s a nice touch but it’s not entirely helpful. You can make the switch in the System menu under VU Display.
They have also added a Headphone Gain boost to the settings menu, allowing for a 6db boost. Wish I could say more on this, but you select the option in under System – Audio Settings and it, well, boosts your headphone output by 6db.
I always had good luck with the SCS.4DJ beat detection. Granted, song analysis was always painfully slow, and even with Stanton releasing the QuickGrid software it was never really as fast as I’d like. That being said, the detection was almost always rock solid on tempo, even when I needed to move the grid point. To simplify this they finally offered Tap Tempo and “Dial-in-BPM”. Dialing in allows you to tell the SCS.4DJ what the tempo is, and you can then set the grid easily by lining it up with your current cue point (which was already available).
They also added in +/- 8% and +/- 15% to the pitch fader. I didn’t really miss them but I’m sure there are people who did.
After all this time, the SCS.4DJ finally has hotcues available. You enter Hotcue mode from the Play window, and you can add up to three per track, allowing for four if you include the active cue you can trigger with the platter. The buttons around the screen control adding and deleting, as well as leaving the mode to go back to your standard screen. This is a feature I know has been requested for, oh, since it came out. Well, Stanton has finally delivered. You can view your hotcues from both the zoomed in WAV form as well as from the zoomed out track view. The buttons aren’t the best for triggering anything intense or for heavy controllerist routines, but they get the job done with what is available.
The SCS.4DJ has always been well respected by the DJWORX team and these improvements, while a long time coming, definitely make it better. If you are already an owner of the SCS.4DJ and have not upgraded, please do so just to take advantage of the added browser and playlist functionality ( and HOTCUES!). If you do not already own an SCS.4DJ then I would recommend putting thought into how these added features may change your perception of the unit. It is not for everyone, but for mobile DJs or for a club DJs backup solution, this update goes to show that Stanton is not going to let this piece of kit fall by the wayside.