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Thread: Controllers... what to do... what to do?

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    Senior Member ukpartydj's Avatar
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    Default Controllers... what to do... what to do?

    The backstory:

    Fairly recently I bought a Pioneer DDJ-SX from a friend it was 3 years old and he was offering it at a good price. I had issues with it crashing along with the early signs of fader bleed. He said he never had any issues and I believe him however I decided to get another slightly newer 1-year-old DDJ-SX (bedroom use only, hardly used, always dustcovered according to the seller) to see if that solved the issue. It didn't but after reinstalling windows & rolling the Traktor version back to 2.6 which is what I had before the 1 year old one works perfectly. Well the software does.

    I didn't notice any real issues with it for a few weeks, but I had noticed a slight drop in volume occasionally, I thought this was an XLR issue so I swapped the cables over. Seemed okay for one gig then the next the same again but slightly more dramatic (from 12 o clock to 11.30 maybe), I checked the XLRs and they seem to be good at the connectors. I experimented a little and it seemed like it only happened when I rested my hand on the metal casing? So today I 've tried every knob everything to find an issue and now I've noticed that the channel 3 fader bleeds... AHHHH !

    Where I'm at now:

    I like the DDJ-SX, I use Traktor so being a Serato controller it's not perfect but it's the "best" controller I've used. Do I get another NEW DDJ-SX maybe the mk2 and hope the faders don't bleed after a year?
    Do I get this one repaired, and then possibly have the other faders / pots go sooner or later?
    Or do I look at another controller entirely.

    I'm looking at the Traktor S4mk2, S5 & S8 and Denon MX8000. Considering I have no intention of using remix decks the S8 seems overkill, I always plan to use a laptop so Denon's controller also seems overkill. Which leaves me thinking mainly about the S4 & S5... Both cannot be used standalone?

    Maybe Benny or other S4/S5 users can help me out here:

    A) If Traktor crashes what do you do?
    B) Can you plug an external source (phone, laptop) via RCA into the unit and should traktor crash play from this source?
    C) Is the microphone on it's own channel?

    It looks like the S8 does everything I would want ... but it's twice the price and has loads more features I will never use.

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  2. #2
    Resident Antagonist Benny Smyth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukpartydj View Post
    Maybe Benny or other S4/S5 users can help me out here:

    A) If Traktor crashes what do you do?
    B) Can you plug an external source (phone, laptop) via RCA into the unit and should traktor crash play from this source?
    C) Is the microphone on it's own channel?

    It looks like the S8 does everything I would want ... but it's twice the price and has loads more features I will never use.
    The Traktor S8 is marketed at those who play dance music and remix on the fly. For the mobile DJ, it is severe overkill and you may as well be driving a Ferrari at 20mph. The Traktor S5 is a smaller version of the S8 and has many (if not all) of the same features.

    In answer to the questions:

    A) Touch wood, never happened but I have two laptops which have both Traktor and MYDMX 2.0 and are mirror images of each other. I also have the S4 MKI as a backup controller just in case.
    B) Yes you can plug external sources in but the S4 MKII (and MKI) is not a standalone mixer - it needs to be connected to Traktor to function. The S8 & S5 are standalone mixers and will work fine should things fail and you need to reboot.
    C) Simply put, no. You can run the mic through one of the four channels if you want the EQ but then you'll lose a channel for playout.
    Last edited by Benny Smyth; 11-05-2016 at 12:03 PM.

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    Senior Member ukpartydj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benny Smyth View Post
    The Traktor S8 is marketed at those who play dance music and remix on the fly. For the mobile DJ, it is severe overkill and you may as well be driving a Ferrari at 20mph. The Traktor S5 is a smaller version of the S8 and has many (if not all) of the same features.

    In answer to the questions:

    A) Touch wood, never happened but I have two laptops which have both Traktor and MYDMX 2.0 and are mirror images of each other. I also have the S4 MKI as a backup controller just in case.
    B) Yes you can plug external sources in but the S4 MKII (and MKI) is not a standalone mixer - it needs to be connected to Traktor to function. The S8 & S5 are standalone mixers and will work fine should things fail and you need to reboot.
    C) Simply put, no. You can run the mic through one of the four channels if you want the EQ but then you'll lose a channel for playout.
    Ooh that as quick, did you hear your name?

    So just to clarify, if I plug a phone into one of the RCAs and no laptop no music would be passed though on the S4 MKII at all. I guess its one of those if it doesn't crash you don't need it anyway. I'm quite nervy about crashes of recent due to having a lot in a short space of time and relying on my backup to get through seamlessly.

    Ahh why do they make things so arkward!

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    Resident Antagonist Benny Smyth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukpartydj View Post
    Ooh that as quick, did you hear your name?

    So just to clarify, if I plug a phone into one of the RCAs and no laptop no music would be passed though on the S4 MKII at all. I guess its one of those if it doesn't crash you don't need it anyway. I'm quite nervy about crashes of recent due to having a lot in a short space of time and relying on my backup to get through seamlessly.

    Ahh why do they make things so arkward!
    Because I spend so much time in the office, I actually leave this place logged on. I also wear my underpants over my trousers and wear a towel round my neck should a superhero moment be required.

    You are correct, it wouldn't work unless Traktor is on and working.

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    Don't know if this helps, but I see that my beloved ADJ VMS 4.1 can be purchased with Traktor ( whatever that is ). If the software crashes, and you need to reboot the laptop, there are two other analogue channels spare on the controller, which will continue to play from your phone, ipod, ipad, other tablet, portable CD player, tape deck, minidisc or anything else which you can attach to two phono plugs ( I have a handful of 2 phono to 2.5mm stereo jack cables in my bag expressly for this purpose.

    The controller ( allegedly ) can be powered by USB from the laptop, but it has its own external PSU, and really, it needs it to work properly.
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    Senior Member ukpartydj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Excalibur View Post
    Don't know if this helps, but I see that my beloved ADJ VMS 4.1 can be purchased with Traktor ( whatever that is ). If the software crashes, and you need to reboot the laptop, there are two other analogue channels spare on the controller, which will continue to play from your phone, ipod, ipad, other tablet, portable CD player, tape deck, minidisc or anything else which you can attach to two phono plugs ( I have a handful of 2 phono to 2.5mm stereo jack cables in my bag expressly for this purpose.

    The controller ( allegedly ) can be powered by USB from the laptop, but it has its own external PSU, and really, it needs it to work properly.
    Traktor is nowadays a live remix program and it seems to be going further in that direction.
    Thanks for your suggestion Peter, the VMS is a bit too "mobile DJ" for me though. I'm still clinging onto my nightclub days!

    I just popped into my local music shop (Absolute Music) and had a go on an s5... I looked at the s4mk2 but I was drawn in by the hi-res displays and after spending a good half hour fiddling and I was actually really surprised how clever this little thing is lots of little details which I wasn't expecting.

    Backup + Mic work without laptop on a seperate invisible channel with hidden volume control, not ideal but better than having the volume on the back IMO. So which soothes my crash anxiety issues. Doesn't look like it has mic EQ though ... might be able to route through a traktor channel if it bothers me.

    7 days to try it and return if I don't like it.

    I might do a full review on this after a while as I couldn't find any mobile DJ related info on it.
    Last edited by ukpartydj; 11-05-2016 at 05:15 PM.

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  7. #7
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    Default ddj

    Quote Originally Posted by ukpartydj View Post
    The backstory:

    Fairly recently I bought a Pioneer DDJ-SX from a friend it was 3 years old and he was offering it at a good price. I had issues with it crashing along with the early signs of fader bleed. He said he never had any issues and I believe him however I decided to get another slightly newer 1-year-old DDJ-SX (bedroom use only, hardly used, always dustcovered according to the seller) to see if that solved the issue. It didn't but after reinstalling windows & rolling the Traktor version back to 2.6 which is what I had before the 1 year old one works perfectly. Well the software does.

    I didn't notice any real issues with it for a few weeks, but I had noticed a slight drop in volume occasionally, I thought this was an XLR issue so I swapped the cables over. Seemed okay for one gig then the next the same again but slightly more dramatic (from 12 o clock to 11.30 maybe), I checked the XLRs and they seem to be good at the connectors. I experimented a little and it seemed like it only happened when I rested my hand on the metal casing? So today I 've tried every knob everything to find an issue and now I've noticed that the channel 3 fader bleeds... AHHHH !

    Where I'm at now:

    I like the DDJ-SX, I use Traktor so being a Serato controller it's not perfect but it's the "best" controller I've used. Do I get another NEW DDJ-SX maybe the mk2 and hope the faders don't bleed after a year?
    Do I get this one repaired, and then possibly have the other faders / pots go sooner or later?
    Or do I look at another controller entirely.

    I'm looking at the Traktor S4mk2, S5 & S8 and Denon MX8000. Considering I have no intention of using remix decks the S8 seems overkill, I always plan to use a laptop so Denon's controller also seems overkill. Which leaves me thinking mainly about the S4 & S5... Both cannot be used standalone?

    Maybe Benny or other S4/S5 users can help me out here:

    A) If Traktor crashes what do you do?
    B) Can you plug an external source (phone, laptop) via RCA into the unit and should traktor crash play from this source?
    C) Is the microphone on it's own channel?

    It looks like the S8 does everything I would want ... but it's twice the price and has loads more features I will never use.

    I feel your pain on the DDJ.
    I recently got a Mk1 DDJ SX and it's been fine. My main unit was a Mk1 Traktor s2. Sold it and bought a denon mc 4000 and it works well with Traktor but i miss the Traktor s2.

    The SX is too big for my resident gig as not enough space to use it. As for the Denon i am going to sell it and get another Traktor s2.

    Can't you fix the channel bleed on the DDJ??

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    Senior Member ukpartydj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrawuk View Post
    I feel your pain on the DDJ.
    I recently got a Mk1 DDJ SX and it's been fine. My main unit was a Mk1 Traktor s2. Sold it and bought a denon mc 4000 and it works well with Traktor but i miss the Traktor s2.

    The SX is too big for my resident gig as not enough space to use it. As for the Denon i am going to sell it and get another Traktor s2.

    Can't you fix the channel bleed on the DDJ??
    I could fix the bleed, I think a new fader is about £25 but they're real pigs to get to and I'd need to unsolder... Solder the new one in and replace about 60 screws.

    They are supposed to be lifetime faders and I've had 2 units with bleed so I've lost confidence is more the issue than the pile of screws.

    To be honest I'm loving the s5 though and it was only £430 new! Only done the one gig, I found myself more confident with pioneer over Denon and I'm finding myself even more confident again with the s5!

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    Resident Antagonist Benny Smyth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukpartydj View Post
    I could fix the bleed, I think a new fader is about £25 but they're real pigs to get to and I'd need to unsolder... Solder the new one in and replace about 60 screws.

    They are supposed to be lifetime faders and I've had 2 units with bleed so I've lost confidence is more the issue than the pile of screws.

    To be honest I'm loving the s5 though and it was only £430 new! Only done the one gig, I found myself more confident with pioneer over Denon and I'm finding myself even more confident again with the s5!
    It's not a bad controller that S5.

  10. #10
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    When you say you're still clinging onto your 'club' days, what features does a 'mobile' controller lack? About the only thing that put me off the VMS4.1 was where the mic on/off switches are. Seems to me only Denon are doing it right.

    I seriously wonder how DJ controllers cost so much money anyway - especially these days (high res screen controllers excepted). There's a little microcontroller inside reading all the knobs & switches.. and some analogue circuitry but really? Have you seen the kind of analogue mixer you can buy for the same kind of money? All the clever stuff is done in our software - and there's no mechanisms or anything inside a controller... Then look at 'DJ' mixers... oh man. Ah it's for DJs. Add another zero to the price. Shocking.

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