DJ Controller: Sound Quality - whats the best choice?
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  1. #1
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    Default DJ Controller: Sound Quality - whats the best choice?

    Hi,
    guess thats an old question, but i couldnt find a thread that answers this already.

    Which DJ Controller provides the best sound quality?

    Last week I once again experienced that the DJ after me sounded so much better then me. He was using CDJs, i am using NI S4 MK2 and Traktor. (I believe my Traktor settings are okay, headroom 9db and all...)

    Is the sound card in a CDJ better?
    How about XDJs?
    Or the Denon DJ SC5000 Prime?

    Or what are Controllers with the best sound?


    I thought the S4's sound card would be no less good than the CDJ, thats what the guy in my store told me. Guess he wasnt right there...

  2. #2
    Tech Guru astromech's Avatar
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    Are you planning to use it on a Funktion One sound system or a 20,000 home hifi? Because otherwise I'd guess it's more likely your settings and cables/outputs than the audio coming out.
    A&H Xone:96 | Xone:K1 | 2 x 1210s | Traktor Pro 3 | Apple Macbook Pro (2015) 13" | Sennheiser HD7 DJ | Maschine Mikro Mk3
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    Maybe he was using better audio files?
    Maybe he was playing .wavs?
    Maybe he wasn’t clipping any of his channels?
    Maybe he was using EQs right?
    Maybe it just sounded better from where you stood while listening to him compared to where you stood when you were playing?
    DJ'ing: 2x1200MK2, DJM 850, Dicers, F1, Zomo MC-1000, Sony MDR-v700, i7 Win 10 HP Envy
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  4. #4
    Tech Guru the_bastet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bertbusch View Post
    Hi,
    guess thats an old question, but i couldnt find a thread that answers this already.

    Which DJ Controller provides the best sound quality?

    Last week I once again experienced that the DJ after me sounded so much better then me. He was using CDJs, i am using NI S4 MK2 and Traktor. (I believe my Traktor settings are okay, headroom 9db and all...)

    Is the sound card in a CDJ better?
    How about XDJs?
    Or the Denon DJ SC5000 Prime?

    Or what are Controllers with the best sound?


    I thought the S4's sound card would be no less good than the CDJ, thats what the guy in my store told me. Guess he wasnt right there...
    There are a lot of variables in a live sound situation to take into consideration.

    How did the sound guy have you running (RCA into DJM, XLR to back of house). If running XLR to house, what were his settings on the board for you?

    Where are you purchasing your music? Are you using .wav, flac, or 320kbps mp3?

    Where was your master set?
    - Equipment - 2X Technics 1200, 2X Audio Technica ATLP1240, 2X XDJ700, 2X XDJ1000 MK2, Denon DNX-1100, Mixars DUO, DJM750 MK2, NI Audio 10, NI Aduio 4, Serato SL3, 4X Shure M44-7, 2X Ortofon Pro S, 2X Numark Groove Tool, Maschine MK3, Samson Carbon 49, Roland SE-02, Novation Launchcontrol, TouchOSC, Nocation Peak, Arturia MiniBrute, Korg Volca Kick, MicroKorg (Classic), NI Komplete Audio 6

  5. #5
    Tech Mentor pacific808's Avatar
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    The S4 Mk2 is good for up to 48kHz/24bit which is a bit better than CD quality(44.1kHz/16bit). In order to fully use this you need make sure your sample rate is set to 48kHz in your traktor preferences. Another setting that I have seen have an affect on sound quality is your latency setting. I had an incident several years ago when a buddy of mine called me up in a panic cause after hooking up to the system he has been playing on for almost a year, the sound sounded super distorted. Come to find out his latency setting got set to be incredibly small and his CPU couldn't really keep up. If this is the case I always suggest people start with a buffer size of 512 and listen to some music, and then try to lower it a bit and keep experimenting til you have a quality sound with as little latency as possible.

    Besides that it all comes down to song file quality, using balanced cables instead of unbalanced ones, cable quality(cables do go bad over time especially not wrapped correctly or taken care of), staying out of the red to prevent clipping, and making sure the house system has decent headroom as well to prevent clipping there as well without hitting any limiters/compressors.

    Most older CDJs that I know are capable of playing at 48kHz/24bit so it should match that of your S4 Mk2. The newer NXS2 CDJs and I am pretty sure the newer denon units play at 96kHz/24bit. Only a couple of controllers support that level of digital sound(Roland DJ-808(up to 96kHz/32bit) and Pioneer DDJ-RZX(96kHz/24bit)).

    One alternative way of possibly getting that level of sound while using a S4 is to take advantage of Traktors ability to select which sound device to use. In theory you can plug in any audio interface and select it as your audio output for Traktor. You will still need to use internal mixing within traktor but you will be able to select higher sample rates on your sound device. Latency will depend on the sample rate you use and also the type of connection the interface has with your computer(USB2, USB3, Thunderbolt, etc...)

    I hope this helps.

  6. #6
    Tech Guru SlayForMoney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacific808 View Post
    The S4 Mk2 is good for up to 48kHz/24bit which is a bit better than CD quality(44.1kHz/16bit). In order to fully use this you need make sure your sample rate is set to 48kHz in your traktor preferences. .
    Comparing DJ controller's sound quality based on manufacturers specs is like comparing digital cameras based on how many megapixels they have.
    Denon X600 - 2x Denon SC-2000 - AKG K181DJ - NI Audio 2

  7. #7
    Tech Mentor pacific808's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlayForMoney View Post
    Comparing DJ controller's sound quality based on manufacturers specs is like comparing digital cameras based on how many megapixels they have.
    That is why I listed all of the other possible factors to consider. I do sound engineering for a living.

  8. #8
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    Apart from the low end budget stuff, most modern controllers sound acceptable played through an average club/bar system.
    As already said, use high bit rate or wav tracks where possible & stay out of the red, & you'll be just fine.

    I personally think the Denon controllers sound nicer than Pioneers, & the Mixars Primo i've brought sounds nicer than my Denon 7000. .....but audio quality wise, i'd be happy to play out on any of them.
    Cheers

    IAN WILLIAMS

  9. #9
    Tech Guru SlayForMoney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacific808 View Post
    That is why I listed all of the other possible factors to consider. I do sound engineering for a living.
    SOME possible factors. only some.

    main point: controller with interface that has specs 44.1khz/16bit can sound better that other's brand 48kHz/24bit one used with same PA/laptop/cables/media. those specs are almost irrelevant.
    Denon X600 - 2x Denon SC-2000 - AKG K181DJ - NI Audio 2

  10. #10
    DJTT Mapping Ninja Moderator Stewe's Avatar
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    Although it is oldie the best sounding DJ controller is Xone DX hands down.

    S4 MK3 also sounds great.

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