Switch to S4 from CDJ-400 and DJM-400
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard jagaloon's Avatar
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    Default Switch to S4 from CDJ-400 and DJM-400

    Hey all,

    Got the itch to try using a controller and found a S4 MKII used for around 200. I have a copy of Traktor 2 that I have been using on and off with my CDJ-400's and DJM-400 trying to transition to controllers.

    The reason why I'm interested now is that I'm getting more and more frustrated at having to setup my gear each time I want to play. I have to make sure each CDJ's audio routing is set right, lug the coffin case up, hook everything in and the fact that I don't have full control over the entire Traktor software program makes me think I'm short changing myself due to my inability to accept change.

    I would rather not have to sell my CDJ-400's and DJM-400 mixer but it seems that the way the market is heading, it's going more controller based and having extra gear taking up space, when a S4 can fit neatly in my office studio seems like the next move.

    I'd like to incorporate other hardware synths for midi sync/clock and Maschine and figured the S4 MKII, may fit the bill. Have I overlooked any other controllers for Traktor? The price point is obviously what drew me in as I am not 100% sure I'd like using a controller, something about it just being "dumb" still bothers me. And when I say "dumb" I mean, it is useless without the laptop.

    Looking to be able to just fire up Maschine/Traktor and just get right to having fun without all the audio routing headaches and logistics of having full fledged physical CDJ's and a hardware mixer.

    Any input/suggestions about the S4 MKII along with any caveats I may have overlooked from coming from a hardware cdj background?

  2. #2
    Tech Guru Yul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jagaloon View Post

    I'd like to incorporate other hardware synths for midi sync/clock and Maschine and figured the S4 MKII, may fit the bill. Have I overlooked any other controllers for Traktor? The price point is obviously what drew me in as I am not 100% sure I'd like using a controller, something about it just being "dumb" still bothers me. And when I say "dumb" I mean, it is useless without the laptop.

    Looking to be able to just fire up Maschine/Traktor and just get right to having fun without all the audio routing headaches and logistics of having full fledged physical CDJ's and a hardware mixer.

    Any input/suggestions about the S4 MKII along with any caveats I may have overlooked from coming from a hardware cdj background?
    You should enquire further as for the time being:
    - the S4 as an all-in-one controller isn't the best piece of kit to do that. If you think that will be without hassle you may be mistaken.
    - apart from the new link feature, there's no real integration between Maschine and Traktor. That would probably and obviously change in the future, but when...
    - I like the S4 "platters" but they're not, absolutely not, cdj/turntables type of platters, they're just big encoders, quality ones, but don't expect any turntablism action on those. Or very limited. Just saying as you put your thread in the CDJ & Vinyl djing sub-forum.

    Now at that price point that's a sexy offer you got. Just check with the seller all buttons, faders, etc... Quite a few NI controllers tend to have sticky/unresponsive buttons after a while.
    All that S4 is a really good kit, probably not really "up-to-date", it lacks quite a few functions and features from more recent controllers but it is very capable and solid.
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  3. #3
    Tech Wizard jagaloon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yul View Post
    You should enquire further as for the time being:
    - the S4 as an all-in-one controller isn't the best piece of kit to do that. If you think that will be without hassle you may be mistaken.
    - apart from the new link feature, there's no real integration between Maschine and Traktor. That would probably and obviously change in the future, but when...
    - I like the S4 "platters" but they're not, absolutely not, cdj/turntables type of platters, they're just big encoders, quality ones, but don't expect any turntablism action on those. Or very limited. Just saying as you put your thread in the CDJ & Vinyl djing sub-forum.

    Now at that price point that's a sexy offer you got. Just check with the seller all buttons, faders, etc... Quite a few NI controllers tend to have sticky/unresponsive buttons after a while.
    All that S4 is a really good kit, probably not really "up-to-date", it lacks quite a few functions and features from more recent controllers but it is very capable and solid.
    Thanks for the input. I did not know about the build quality, my Mkii maschine after years of use is doing great, I just assumed that NI's build quality would be the same for the S4.

    I do not scratch very often but have cdj's which is why I put this post in this category. Good to know about the encoders, I think they may be smaller than my cdj-400's.

    I'm wondering what the S4 is missing to be "up-to-date" as you say, is it that the Traktor 2 software has additional options that are not able to be controlled on the S4?

    As for Maschine, I figured one could route maschine into traitor and use the midi clock to sync and play along with a track. I will look into this further.

    Again, thanks for the input. You've given me pause and some additional points to look into.

  4. #4
    Tech Guru Yul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jagaloon View Post
    I'm wondering what the S4 is missing to be "up-to-date" as you say, is it that the Traktor 2 software has additional options that are not able to be controlled on the S4?
    Not all hotcue buttons are rgb: the 4 "samples buttons " are orange only.
    You don't have stems controls or step sequencer controls.
    You don't have any "performance" pads/functions like most bigger controllers do have nowadays.

    I did not know about the build quality, my Mkii maschine after years of use is doing great, I just assumed that NI's build quality would be the same for the S4.
    There were over the years a lot of testimonies from people having unresponsive/"not as responsive" buttons on the S4. That's why I mention that, better check the unit before buying it.
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  5. #5
    Tech Wizard jagaloon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yul View Post
    Not all hotcue buttons are rgb: the 4 "samples buttons " are orange only.
    You don't have stems controls or step sequencer controls.
    You don't have any "performance" pads/functions like most bigger controllers do have nowadays.


    There were over the years a lot of testimonies from people having unresponsive/"not as responsive" buttons on the S4. That's why I mention that, better check the unit before buying it.
    A rather large oversight on my part when thinking about the pads. I've never had a go on a controller and the price was certainly what drew me in. I could get to try it out for short money and see if I would like it.

    On the other hand, I struggle with the question of why cant I use my Maschine mkii as an extension of traktor so I have control over its effects and loop slicing/remix decks? It may be due to the fact that I'm blending in older gear, cdj-400/djm-400 external mixer with Dj software that was designed to work specifically with a NI controller.

    Either that or I am suffering from GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) again!

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