View Poll Results: VCI-400 (EGE) or Traktor S4?

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  • Traktor S4

    10 41.67%
  • VCI-400 (EGE)

    14 58.33%
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Apr 2012
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    Default Yet Another VCI-400 vs S4 Thread... Hopefully we'll find a winner *LOTS OF INFO*

    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
    Pros:
    • 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)


    Cons:
    • 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
    Pros:
    • 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)


    Cons:
    • 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.
    Last edited by padi_04; 05-01-2012 at 01:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor kamjongill's Avatar
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    Default

    VCI-400 EGE, I traded my S4 for it and don't really miss too much about it. I will agree, there is a learning curve. It took me a week or so to get up to speed.
    http://soundcloud.com/kamcoolidge

    VCI-400 EGE - Macbook Pro 13" - Traktor Pro 2 - Lots of Lights

  3. #3
    Tech Wizard
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    Apr 2012
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    Default

    The more I research the VCI the more torn I am (in both directions really). Every video mentions that custom firmware... which I'm not really sure what exactly it does? Kind of confusing that mappings have to have a custom firmware and if so does it expand the amount I could do with my own personal mappings or just what the DJTT mappings will be able to offer me?

    But keep the input coming guys. This is a heated question in the digital DJ community right now and having a good thread with solid input and opinions is the best way to answer it!

  4. #4
    Tech Guru synthet1c's Avatar
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    the firmware changes the midi messages for the unit so you have hardware shifts, and things like knobs and buttons can send different messages at the same time... without the firmware advanced mapping would be impossible in traktor.. The major con is native instruments dont allow the jogs to work optimally.

    use the search for everyone's opinion as there has been heaps of these threads...
    Why did the elephant get lost... Cause the Jungle is MASSIVE!

  5. #5

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    Got the S4 one year ago. Super happy with it. If you lack a few extra buttons you can expand it with an additional controller

  6. #6
    Tech Wizard
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RockingClub View Post
    Got the S4 one year ago. Super happy with it. If you lack a few extra buttons you can expand it with an additional controller
    Very true... I think i'm going to plop down for the S4 since it also comes with software. Also an additional controller will end up offering more functionality in the long run probably (although it's upsetting how limited Midi is!).

    Thanks and please continue to offer input. I'll be updating once I get my S4 and try it out for a week or two. Thanks all!

  7. #7
    Tech Wizard
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    Default

    Dave, welcome to DJTT, hope you enjoy your time here!

    I had both the S4 and VCI-400 EGE and can say, I do like creativity of the VCI as it was the perfect setup for me. I do miss some of the very tight integration the S4 provided but learned to adjust with the VCI fairly quickly. What really sold me though was the grid portion of the VCI, it was the perfect compromise/combination of my old gear (S4 + Midifighter Classic, sadly all stolen). My word of advice though is: the S4 is a better deal as it is a better package (comes with software). If you feel that you have reached a plateau with the S4, sell it (or not) and upgrade. That is the beauty of it all. Have fun!
    TSP 2 / VCI-400 EGE / MBP 15" Intel Core Duo 2GB / Audio-Technica ATH-M50

  8. #8
    Newbie
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    Default but...

    Quote Originally Posted by RockingClub View Post
    Got the S4 one year ago. Super happy with it. If you lack a few extra buttons you can expand it with an additional controller
    i think i would really miss the push button encoder knobs that control the loop size/move functions.

    i wonder how hard it would be to map out.

  9. #9

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    Yes that's a very nice feature. I use it a lot especially for setting up beatdrids and hot cues.

    I assume there should be a mapping feature like "half/double loop length" and "jump 16 bars" and so on as it is already possbile to toggle these via mouse on the Traktor GUI. The push button of the encoder is the loop in or loop out. With a modifier it should be possible to map this as well. Can't test it at the moment but this is what I would expect
    The NI trio - Traktor Kontrol S4 - Maschine - Komplete - and some more gear...

  10. #10
    Tech Guru DJZILCH's Avatar
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    to be honest, the VCI400 paired with the upcoming Serato DJ support seems awesome

    too bad it costs $199 extra on top for the software
    DJZILCH.COM // My SOUNDCLOUD! // ZILCH on MixCloud!
    // MIXCRATE!
    Zilchified: My blog
    Setup: Pioneer DDJ-SX / Serato DJ / Traktor Pro 2.6 / Audio 6 / Kontrol X1 / Rane TTM-56S / HD25 / MASCHINE

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