Hey everyone, so I'm fairly new to dj'ing but have been around for a few months and just recently played my first club gig (all my software went apesh*t and I somehow managed to still pull off a nice smooth set ha ha). Really starting to get into this and as a result want to invest some dough into some good equipment.
Ignore the Italicized text if you don't care about how I DJ and don't think that should impact my decision...
So lets start up with how I DJ now (i plan to grow so take this with a grain of salt). I'm big into house and dubstep right now. When I mix dubstep I focus primarily on using drops and chorus (breakdowns) as points to mix other tracks in or echo out on vocals after a slicing them up to get a really nice build into the next track. Plenty use of effects when i mix dubstep to create improvised drops and risers as well (Thanks armyofme!!!)
When I mix house I enjoy dropping elements in randomly and using tons of loops... house is a pretty amazing playground for creativity. It's actually driven me to be interested in producing and I have started making some fairly simple drum loops and such to incorporate into my sets.
My current setup is:
- 13" macbook air (planning to get the refreshed MBP when it comes out)
- Hercules 4mx (nice little controller... just so damn cramped!)
- Traktor 2.1
- An Ipad running touch OSC (i use this for my echo out, army of me knob, gratification mappings, and filter settings... something I recommend all DJ's start using. I built a very versatile addon controller with an extremely cheap program!
Now, I'm currently looking at the VCI-400 and the Traktor S4 and have acquired a fair amount of information and pros and cons on each. I'm going to list out what I know and then let you guys throw input down and I'll give my input at the end.
Traktor Kontrol S4
- Tightly Integrated (1 to 1 with Traktor Interface)
- Solid Build Quality
- Timecode support (I don't use any external CDJs or decks so this seems less important for me)
- Great Jogs
- Solid Default Mapping and plenty of alternative mappings
- Bundled with Traktor Pro (like I said, I was a bad panda because I'm new and poor ha ha)
- Fairly large controller
- Tight Integration means less extra buttons for customization
- Not a standalone mixer
So the S4 seems like what I would say is a cookie cutter controller, the one that everybody is going to go after because it's a safe bet. Honestly, at this very moment I'm leaning toward the S4 primarily because I'm a newbie and it will give me a nice safe solid environment for me to grow from. Basically a nice solid foundation that doesn't have a ton of elements for me to mess with but still all the features I would want to be able to perform and do some pretty neat things.
Moving on to the: VCI-400
- Sturdy controller
- Bit smaller than the S4
- Ean Golden edition will receive support from DJTT meaning new mappings and doodads frequently
- Lots of configurable buttons (more than I would know what to do with)
- Great look and feel (I like the LED input on the VCI more than I do on the S4 personally)
- No "stable" mapping for traktor, there is bound to be bugs that need to be squashed and could possibly put a set in un-needed jeopardy
- Because of lack of direct 1:1 like the S4 there is a learning curve and the possibility (albeit unliely) to forget where something is... I doubt that would happen to me because I'm pretty accustomed to these kinds of layouts because of Touch OSC.
- No bundled software
- Fair bit pricier
- Customization means you're going to have to learn how to map things EXTREMELY well (modifiers and such/redundancies)
- No timecode support
- Have read a few reviews of people returning it with problems... either on windows or just general controller issues such as effects not toggling regardless of button toggling etc. etc.
- Lesser jogwheels than the S4 (I try hard to make my 4mx jog wheels a cool thing to have during sets... but they kind of suck ha ha)
The VCI-400 seems like a playground for creativity to flourish. It doesn't give you any foundation to start with but rather lets you create your own... meaning you could make a skyscraper that makes the S4 building look like a starter home or create a shack that would make the S4 look like the best thing since sliced bread.
The biggest turn offs are the lack of "stability" that comes with customization. Some would argue that this is a controllerists controller but being an optimist I'd say this is the controller you should buy if you hope to someday be a controllerist (and seriously who doesn't want to have more control over their sets if they could?).
Conclusion: Definitely leaning toward the S4 due to money (although this is the lesser of my issues) and stability but the VCI-400 has definitely prevented me from pulling the trigger already. Been doing research for about 2 weeks now and I need to find a definitive answer or consensus and making my own thread seemed the best way regardless of the abundance.