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DJ Scott Mad Flip

DJ Scott Mad Flip
March 1, 2011

Pioneer DDJ-T1 vs Native Instruments Kontrol S4 vs Denon DN-MC6000 vs Allen & Heath Xone DX

Controller-palooza is upon us!  How do you decide which one to invest in and what are some of the differences?  We compared some of the intermediate and beginner controllers here, and now we have put together a comparison of some of the 4 deck controllers to help you decide which might be best for your DJ carnage.

Allen & Heath XONE DX – This was the first 4 deck Serato Itch controller to hit the market.  It’s construction is metal and  it is built very well.  The audio interface on this bad boy is the most dynamic of the four considering you can have up to 4 RCA inputs and a digital out.  It works nicely with Itch controlling 4 track simultaneously, but I the rotary pitch adjust and the small non touch sensitive jog wheels took a little getting used to.  Overall, it worked very well and sounded great.

Denon DN-MC6000 – This controller comes with Virtual DJ LE and is the lone stand alone controller of the four.  We did a review on it in January and that can be found here.  This controller also gives you an assignable booth out which is very convenient if you want to play music in different areas in a venue.  It’s very well built with almost a full metal construction and it is also rack mountable in a standard 19″ rack.  Virtual DJ LE allows for video mixing, sampling, and karaoke and it was relatively easy to learn.  The controller can also be mapped to Traktor which makes it very versatile.

Native Instruments Kontrol S4 – The S4 comes with Traktor Pro S4 and is the lightest controller of the four.  Our review can be found here.  This has been the most popular of the four and is the first controller from Native Instruments.  The Traktor Pro S4 software boasts 8 sample decks, 4 per side, that can be played along side 2 decks on channels A and B.  The effects, loop, and cue section also suggest that it can be played like an instrument for you controllerists.  The real juice of the software is it’s effects suite.  They are quite incredible and can be used in an advanced manner or chained with 3 on each FX slot.  This is my weapon of choice, but I really wish it had a separate booth out.  Otherwise, it sounds great and the controls are very accurate and precise.

Pioneer DDJ-T1 – This controller comes with Traktor Pro Pioneer editon and is the biggest in size of the four.  It has full plastic contruction and the biggest jog wheels of the four.  Those who are used to using the Pioneer CDJ400′s will see the same layout on the DDJ-T1 with the addition of the Needle Search feature.  This controller has been much anticipated considering Pioneer has long been the standard of excellence in DJ equipment for many years.  It has similar effects layout as the S4 considering the software is almost identical with the exception of the sample decks on the S4.  It has a built in computer dock so that your laptop can slide directly under the controller for a sleek, streamlined performance layout.  We have a more in depth review coming up very soon as well.  It sounded great, responded very accurately.  This controller is best suited to those of you making the transition from CDJ’s and mixer to a software based controller.

Yes, there are some others out there and there are some to come soon, but we went to our warehouse and pulled the ones that you guys asked about first.  It’s important to remember that it really takes a lot of research before you make your choice and we understand that you want to spend your money right the first time.  I definitely have my favorites but I’m willing to see other people, too.  That’s what she said.  Anyway, check out the video and stay tuned for more to come.  Cheers!

 

Video Transcript:

What is going on? This is Scott Magno, DJ Madflip, here with UniqueSquared.com. Today we’re going to talk about some of the advanced controllers out there.

We’re going to do a comparison and look at some of the standard features that you come to expect from the advanced controllers and then you can decide which one’s going to be best for you.

Who are we playing with today? We are talking about Allen & Heath Xone DX, this is going to come with Serato Itch. Now we’ve got the Denon DN-MC6000, this is going to come with Virtual DJ LE.

Next we have the Native Instruments Kontrol S4, this is going to come with Traktor Pro. And then lastly we have the Pioneer DDJ-T1, this is also going to come with Traktor Pro, Pioneer edition.

Ok, so what do they all have in common? Well, upon looking at them you can see which ones are going to be a little smaller, which one’s going to be the biggest, but what they all have in common is that they can all mix four decks of audio simultaneously.

Some of the other things, they’re all going to have a master output whether it be XLR or 1/4in, they will all have a balanced output as well as an RCA output. Now of the four, a dedicated booth output, you’re only going to have in the Denon DN-MC600 and the Xone DX, that’s very, very important for a lot of you, some of you not so much.

Of the four, which can you use as a stand alone mixer in case your software goes down, or your laptop just decides to stop working? That’s going to be the Denon DN-MC6000, they are all going to have input capability to plug in additional CDJ or turntable but of the four you can use the Denon DN-MC6000 as a stand alone.

So, let’s talk about some of the things you need on your controller if you are a controllerist, you’re going to need a really good EFX section, a really good loop section, and also a very good hot cues section so you can play kicks and snares and all that.

All of them are going to have that, but what I am going to recommend the most is, the Pioneer DDJ-T1. That one’s going to have a really good section those of you who are used to doing it on the other Pioneer products are going to be right at home, but I’m going to favor the Native Instruments Kontrol S4. That’s going to be because, the Loop section is very dynamic.

You going to be able to do a lot more in the software in Traktor, they also have a loop recorder and sample banks so you can switch out your 3rd and 4th decks for sample banks and that’s really, really nice.

You can be really dynamic as a controllerist with the Kontrol S4. Ok, let’s talk about scratching if you’re a turntablist. It’s very important to you something that you want to be able to do switching from decks & a mixer to a controller, now, I can do scratching on the Denon DN-MC6000.

That’s going to be sort of a smaller jog wheel but it’s still going to be effective because of its touch sensitivity. On the Kontrol S4 a little bit bigger and that has a very, very accurate feel when it comes to doing any kind of scratching.

Now, the biggest jog wheels are going to be on the pioneer DDJ-T1, really, really nice. Sometimes you need a little bit more room to define your cuts. The jog wheels on the DDJ-T1 also have the rotating LED, you’re familiar with that with the CDJ 400, also a very nice jog wheel.

Now, the Xone DX has the smallest jog wheels of the four it does not have touch sensitivity, so you are not able to do any kind of scratching on that one.

Ok, let’s talk about the layout of each, I’m probably going to recommend, if you’re into the mobile scene, we’ll go with the DN-MC6000, it is conducive more to doing a lot of like, mobile and karaoke stuff, the software also allows you to do video as well.

Now, as far as being a standard DJ layout, what you’re used to from a pair of turntables and a mixer, I’m going to recommend the Kontrol S4 and the Pioneer DDJ-T1.

So, we’ve just scratch the surface with this, there is a lot more detail we could go into but we just wanted to go over some of the standard features and give you a comparison so you can choose what’s best for you.

Feel free to leave a comment below and I will answer it personally. As always, visit us online at the UniqueSquared.com/blog, follow us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. My name is Scott Magno, DJ Madflip, Be you, be unique, at UniqueSquared.com

Comments

  1. MrDrixx says:

    Was wondering what you thought about the ns6, that would fit perfect into this category. LOVE the ns6 cant wait to get one

    1. jimmy says:

      Yeah man, we will totally compare the NS6 to these controllers. Check out our exclusive video on the only working NS6 in the country here: http://www.uniquesquared.com/blog/2162/knowledge-base/product-reviews/numark-ns6-wmc-mobilestudio-exclusive/

      1. MrDrixx says:

        NS6 = Winner in this area. Medium size, steel construction, booth out, just awesome! Good job numark

  2. Jay says:

    I’m stuck between the Traktor S4 and the Xone DX, any particular one you would recommend?

    1. It really depends on your style of djing. If you are into doing a lot of tricks I would recommend the S4 because of the bigger cue buttons and the touch sensitive jog wheels. It also depends on which software you’re comfortable with, Traktor or Serato.

  3. Skylar says:

    I am looking at getting a controller of this type, the top two im looking at are the Kontrol S4 and the DDJ-T1. Those are not the only two I am considering though just the two I have heard the best things about from blogs and reviews. I would like to combine whatever I get with a midi fighter as well. I wanted to know from DJ MadFlip what your favorite controller in this category is and why? I am looking to dj mostly in the hip-hop/ dubstep/ electro house genres. I would also like to have something that I will be able to do shows with and translate to professional equipment easily if I ever feel the need to make a change.
    My experience is limited to some production experience just on my laptop as well as some dj experience but that is only limited to messing around at house parties with friends equipment.

  4. Omar says:

    Hello, I want know which one is better between Denon dn mc6000 and DDJ-S1 ? since both become much more equal in term of standing alone in case of program went down. Well, I’m using Mac and I have Serato and Virtual DJ with me and a DJ set of Denon dn s3700, I sold my DJ set since I travel a lot and I need a controller that I can carried and practice everywhere I go, and when I playing at the I can use both or either serato or the controller. Which one do you recommend ?

    1. The DDJ-S1 has been more popular and I think it would be a better fit for you because you are comfortable with the DNS3700′s platters. The S1 version of Itch is incredible, too. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Veron says:

    Can anyone do a comparison between the 2 sound cards, namely: Traktor S4 and Pioneer DDJ-T1? Or possibly more information (bit, Hz, etc.)

    1. Sure thing. There wasn’t a noticeable difference in any type of latency or audio quality. I use the S4 personally and record from many sources and it has been spot on every time. I’ll try and gather more info do a blog about it.
      Cheers!

  6. Daniel says:

    Hey, Just wondering, DDJ-T1 or S1? and I’ve heard a lot of negative feedback from both of these controllers whilst researching them.
    I have a Numark Mixtrack Pro and was originally looking to upgrade to CDJ’s 350′s or 400s but then I came along these.
    So can you clarify for me, DDJ-T1 or S1? and comparison with CDJ 400/350? sorry for all the questions haha but thanks anyway :)

    1. If you are comfortable with your Mixtrack Pro and would like to upgrade, the T1 and S1 would suit you well. They are basically the CDJ350′s built in to a controller. The S1 is for Serato Itch and the T1 uses Traktor Pro. Their quality and feel really are tremendous and it would be easy for you to transition into either, although the T1 might suit you better because VDJ and Traktor are very similar. I hope this helps!

  7. vegynho says:

    Hi Scott,

    My choice has narrowed down to S4 and DDJ T1.
    I did some research, practically came to an answer that I can’t miss with any of these two controllers. I just need a final touch from a professional.

    I see that you prefer S4 when it comes to effects and that it also has samples you can record.
    Also S4 is much tougher comparing to DDJ T1, which is made most out of plastic.
    On the other hand T1 has bigger jog wheels, nice effects section and I really prefer Pioneer dj equipment.
    Which one do you favour more when it comes to scratching?

    If only I could feel the both controllers, test them a bit, I’m sure I would made a good decision :-)

    Many thanks!

    Traktor S4

    1. I still like the accuracy and magnetic tension of the jogs on the S4. I spent two hours scratching with it in the studio before I took it home last year, it really is legit. There’s a great scratch session with Happee and Bakspin on the S4 on youtube, check it out.

  8. Andreas says:

    Hi Scott,
    I’m a student and sitting here with my laptop and wanna get started mixing a bit… Had my hands on DJMs CDJs before. But I’m a student and cant afford space or cash for those fancy once. So a controller would suit me perfectly, I think.
    The S4 and A&H controllers are the once I’ve grown found of. Is the S2 as S4 from traktor the same except 2 less decks?
    When you talk about controllarist can you explain that further?
    Is it something like I’ve seen Madeon do (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTx3G6h2xyA) or is that more sampling?
    Which of the A&H and S2/4 which is most compatible with synths or samplers etc?

    Cheers and thanks!

    1. Hey Andreas, thanks for the question. The S2 is the 2 deck version of the S4 and they both would be great to use in addition to the Novation Launchpad with Ableton. You can send midi sync to and from either device to do things like Madeon in his beautiful mash-up. I really think you should consider the S2 and Maschine Mikro together to accomplish great production and DJ performance as well as remix/production. You can import tracks from Maschine into Traktor on the fly during performance, too. The most important thing about controllerism is having your tracks well prepared and beat-gridded before hand so you can trigger and invent while you play, as Madeon does with the Novation Launchpad but adding the S2 or S4 for the DJ aspect of the performance. I hope this helps!

  9. George says:

    Hey djmadflip I’m from Australia im looking to get into djing for the first time I was looking at the s4 or denon mc6000 because if the laptop crashes i can still use the mixer which one is better? Thank you in advance

    1. If you are playing mostly mobile gigs with your own PA and the such, the MC6000 might suit you best because of it’s ability to act as a stand alone mixer. Otherwise, I prefer the S4 for my nightclub gigs. I don’t necessarily need the S4 to be a stand alone because if it goes down, I’m done anyway. But it has been very reliable for over a year now and I prefer the accuracy and response of the jog wheels on the S4 better than those on the MC6000. Thanks for the question and I hope this helps!

  10. nabil says:

    the denon pioneer n traktor have their unique features..but fr a start fr an amateur,which is recommended..?

    1. Rocksteady says:

      I have the Mc-6000 I think it is a great choice. It is extremly well buuilt and does not feel like a plastic toy. The only thing I dod’t like was that the buttons were close together, but it plays just fine. And as far as the jog wheels, you can set the sensitivity so itll be adjusted to your touch. And it can be a stand aloe mixer. There are a ton of inputs in the back to add other stuff also. The piuoneer is so big and the jog wheels are (IMO) plastic piles of junk. I expected more from pioneer. I also run Traktor pro with the Denon, you would ot be able to use timecode vinyl, but you really don’t need it. Either way, the Denon mc-6000 or Allen& Heath or the S4 are all great products !!!!

  11. Riadee says:

    Bro, which one is the best for me…
    Im a noobie for Dj-ing,
    I really – really need to be a pro somedays…
    I need a club standard controller…so i can play it on a club, big party, etc.
    Which one?…Denon MC6000 or Pioneer DDJ-T1…?

    1. taylor says:

      Which DJ software do you use?