I have always believed that if you treat your equipment properly, it will give you many years of service. My Hercules controller is a good example…since we are on the subject of DJ controllers here. In any case, this twit decides to smash up his Traktor Kontrol S4 just because it was acting up on him. His words:
Big Apologies to every one at (location deleted) l last night i had severe technical issues and had to cut my set early….
I enjoyed using the Tracktor S4 but it has always had a few user issues and after it decided to turn itself off twice last night the only right thing to do was to smash the living daylights out of it…
Lesson learned, back to trusty Pioneers 2000’s..
I mean, how stupid is that? It could have been sent to Native Instruments for repair. maybe it was a case of being worn out. My Hercules is starting to have an issue with the buttons but that is because it is old now…three years old and it has provided sterling service. I can always take it apart and fix it myself, which is what I will do when I can find the time.. This is absolutely ridiculous.
I am a DJ from the old-school. Yep. I started my trade back in the 80s when all we had were records and turntables to play them on. DJ’ing was an art and to me, it still is. When the digital age came, I invested in a Hercules controller and learnt how to use it with my laptop, with Virtual DJ. That was great I thought. No more carrying heavy boxes and crates of vinyl. Everything is on my laptop in MP3 or FLAC format. I load the song on, control the MP3 with the jogwheels, much like I would do by tapping the rims of a turntable platter, and mix my music. “Vinyl is real” scream some DJs. I dare say it is but look, I am getting older and I knew that I would have to embrace new technologies to stay relevant in the DJ age. Controllers with jogwheels helped. That was then until I saw this Kontrol S8 a couple of days back.
Well done Native Instruments….well done. The first thing I did when I saw this by Traktor was to be taken aback. Nice screens with the waveforms. But waitaminute. Where are the damn jogwheels? Oh. They have replaced them with touch strips, akin to a mousepad on laptops. That is the new way they say. Saves on controller real estate they said. Yeah. That is fine and dandy but how about if you mix a 70’s disco song that has an uneven BPM? “Sync button” I hear some people say. Yeah. Like the sync button is the answer to all issues like these. No way mate. That does not work. Trust me, I have tried it. You need a jogwheel to “jog” the song. A touch strip will NOT work.
So i will ask some of you new-school DJs. Say you buy and use this controller. Whatever happened to the art? Wat is the use of DJ’ing anyway if all you do is load a song and press the sync button? That does not make you a DJ. It makes you an operator. So this is the future of DJ’ing? I will say something. Nope. Not at all. And I will say an additional thing…this “controller” is killing the craft.
Saw this in use by a fellow DJ in a bar a week back. It seems like a decent controller and it looks pretty well-built. It is not cheap because I can see the digital readout at the top and LEDs next to the sliders. All this translates to a more expensive controller…about US$499 from what I read on the Internet. The sound did not sound punchy…maybe it is because I was comparing it to my Hercules controller…but it was good enough or maybe the DJ set it that way. No matter what, let us take a look at the specifications:
• 2-Channel Midi Controller/Media player with 2-channel battle mixer
• Bundled with Virtual DJ 7 LE software
• 2 USB slots for thumb drives or hard drives ***
• Built-in 4×4 Audio interface
• Balanced XLR Outputs
• VFD Display features time, track name and number *
• 3 Crossfader Curve Adjustments
• USB Media player Fader Start **
• Seamless Loop with editable out point.
• 5 On-board FX (Echo, Flange, Filter, Skid, Scratch)
• Auto BPM
• 3-Band EQ with Kills
• 3 Cross fader curve settings
• 2 Phono/Line Inputs
• Booth Output
• 4 Hot Cue Buttons or Loop Banks
• Relay Playback
• Folder and Track Search Knobs
• Relay mode
• Adjustable Pitch: +/-6%, +/-10% & +/-16%
• Includes American Audio Database Builder to manage music and Search your database Title, Artist, Album, Genre. (see user manual for Database Builder computer requirements)
• 2 Mic inputs with tone control and Talkover
• Multi-voltage: AC 100-240V, 50/60Hz
• Dimensions (LxWxH): 16.5”x11.75”x3.5” / 420x299x89mm
• Weight: 10 lbs. / 4.4 kg.
Looks like it can also take thumb-drives. That is already a HUGE point in their favour. One thing I do not like about this controller is the A-B sliding lever at the front of the controller for the cue function. I have hated sliders like that because it will wear out and when it does, there goes the controller. It has an XLR output on the back of it and I must say that you do not have to carry a power adapter for the controller because there is a standard AC socket. And it comes bundled with Virtual DJ. You can also use it with Traktor.
Pretty good controller folks, if you ask me!
I was looking at the back of two DJ controllers, namely the Traktor S4 and the Stanton DJC.4 and I noticed that for economical purposes, they have installed 1/4″ TRS balanced phone jacks instead of XLR jacks. So I realise that I will have to make a couple of these. Now the easiest way would be to go to a music shop or even a cable store and have them pre-make it for you. The thing is, I have the necessary cable. All I need ar the jacks. So that is what I am going to do very soon and that is to get the jacks necessary to make the cable. The price should come up to around $10 which is already pretty inexpensive. So yeah, that is what I am going to do. Its soldering time again folks!
To be honest, this Pioneer DDJ Ergo controller has been out for some time. I have seen it in use, have tried it but will it cut the mustard, as they say? Let us have a look at it.
It is a pretty big controller but not as big as the other ones from Pioneer, namely the DDJ-S1 and DDJ-T1 for Serato and Traktor respectively. The V stands for Virtual DJ, which comes shipped with it. Virtual DJ is pretty good DJ software (some say its for beginner and newbies) but I use it to DJ with and it works just fine. It has a rather cheap feel, too plastic-like and the white base will get dirty pretty quickly. It has rather large jog-wheels but the LED lights…let us just say that while spinning at a party, you do not need effects lights at the DJ console because this controller has one dazzling light show.
The feel on this controller can be raised at the rear to allow your laptop keyboard to be lid underneath. There are knobs that allow you to navigate through your MP3 files. They are removable though so you can run the controller flat on the surface, something which I personally prefer because I always use my keyboard to search for MP3s.
As you can see, there is a built-in soundcard and the outputs. There are two master outputs, in RCA or 1/4 TS phone plugs. There is a switcheable mic/aux input. There is no provision to power this controller via a power adaptor…it only powers via USB.
All in all, a very basic controller, albeit a bit expensive compared to some other controllers that come with Virtual DJ and can do the same thing. It is a bit puzzling to note that there are many here in Singapore selling this controller second-hand, so one can pick it up for a pretty good price.
I have heard a lot about this controller from Numark. It is the Mixtrack Pro and it has everything that is needed for the newbie DJ to get up and running. Some people may scoff at hit but I will say this. If I can use a Hercules controller, a rather small and beginner one at that with no issues, AND and keep my customers happy, this should be no problem at all…not one bit. Now that I have done with my rant, let us look at this controller and what it has to offer
Like most digital DJ controllers that are in the market now, this two-channel controller has the same two platters, the channel A and channel B faders, the STOP, CUE and SYNC buttons that are so needed by the DJ nowadays to mix tunes. Unlike my Hercules controller, this controller comes with sliders instead of knobs for the pitch controls. This controller is pretty light too, seeing that it is made up almost entirely of plastic.
Earlier versions of the Mixtrack Pro came with Virtual DJ 7. Newer ones come with Traktor LE (for Europe and Asia) and it seems that it also ships with Serato Intro.
The controller like most other controllers in the market is completely powered by the USB bus power. Also, there are two outputs on the back. Output 1 is for the output to an amplifier and Output 2 is for the headphones, so that you can use it for cue monitors if need be. Also, it is rather inexpensive. It costs about $425 dollars here in Singapore. Relatively inexpensive!
The only thing I do not like about this is the fact that the main output slider is smack between Channel A and Channel B. They should have made the master output a knob instead and put it somewhere on the controller. But what I like about this controller is that it is relatively inexpensive and has everything the beginner DJ needs. Load the software on a laptop, connect the controller to the laptop via USB, connect the amplifier to the Output 1 at the rear of the Mixtrack Pro and you are ready to go. Its as simple as that!
I am not happy. Yesterday, I tried to load my copy of Virtual DJ 6 LE and I kept getting this error message when I tried to launch Virtual DJ. For those of you wondering, was my controller plugged in? Yes, it most certainly was! My controller could not even play the MP3s! So yesterday, I had to do a gig just using Winamp. Luckily it was a bar job and not much mixing was needed but it left me bloody furious.
The funny thing is, I have another notebook running 32-bit Windows 7 and it works fine! What is this with Virtual DJ and Hercules (The brand of my controller) saying that Virtual DJ is compatible with 64-bit Windows 7 when it is clearly not? I must have uninstalled it about 10 times and re-installed, added driver updates and all but to no avail. The forums on Virtual DJ say that I need to load the 64-bit version of the software. Now guys, where is the 64-bt version of the software??
I have been putting off the Traktor conversion because I was very happy with Virtual DJ but they seriously need to solve this issue, with Hercules too. I believe there must be some other DJs with the same issue because I read quite a few complaints, similar to mine, in the Virtual DJ forums. Someone had better do something about this and soon!
***** EDITOR’S NOTE*****
I need to say here that I have fixed the problem. It had nothing to do with VirtualDJ but instead, had something to do with the crappy IDT soundcard on my Dell Inspiron N5050. Once the soundcard was disabled, I plugged in my controller and I was good to go. It does not affect all notebooks because my Lenovo Thinkpad works fine but this Dell…