on February 15, 2013
This has got to be the best controller I've ever owned, which is what makes it so saddening that it's not very popular. If you're a vinyl DJ that wants to transition to digital, or you're a digital DJ like me that likes the feel of vinyl but doesn't want to give up the benefits of going digital, look no further. Everything you need is here.
The first thing you'll notice about this controller is how big it is. It's a *lot* bigger than it looks in pictures and videos. This is a good thing because it gives you plenty of room to hit the various buttons, knobs, and sliders without accidentally touching the wrong thing. one of the reasons why I chose this over the Numark NS7/V7 was the size of the platter, and it doesn't disappoint. Cueing and scratching feels very natural on this massive beast, since the record is only two inches shy of full-size vinyl.
Speaking of which, let me take a second to compare between this controller and actual vinyl. It is similar to vinyl in that it rotates at 33 RPM, has a non-instantaneous startup time (anywhere from ~2 sec to 0.2 sec depending on your torque setting), and that it can be manipulated & scratched in any way you can do with a vinyl record. This means that in order to start a tune in time with the other one, you have to either give the record a slight push just like vinyl DJs do (personally I think this is so much more fun than just hitting play), start it with the cue button, or put the controller in jog mode, which disables the motor and makes the controller act just like a CDJ.
Now where it differs than vinyl is that the motor moves at a constant 33 RPM regardless of pitch setting. This might be seen as a bad thing at first, but what this means is that you can increase the "size" of the audio sample by lowering the pitch, allowing you to get a lot more detailed with your scratches than is possible with vinyl. Let me explain: On vinyl, lowering the pitch slows down the turntable, thus slowing down the audio. However, the audio still takes up the exact same amount of space on the record no matter what speed you play it at. Now, on the SCS.1D, lowering the pitch slows down the audio as well, but because the turntable does not slow down with it, the audio takes up a lot more "space" on the record. Now you have to move it a lot further to play the entire audio sample than you would if it was playing at normal speed. Make sense?
The other major difference is that the center spindle is designed differently than vinyl, making it difficult to twist if you're the kind of DJ that likes to do that sort of thing.
Anyway, the nice thing about this controller is that you only need one to do an entire set, great if you're on a budget. Pair it with the SCS.1M mixer and you have a very nice sub-$1000 setup for mobile gigs. However, you're going to eventually want to get a second deck for the following reasons: While the deck switch toggles most functions over to the other deck instantaneously, there is a slight 2 sec delay before the platter responds to the other deck. This makes turntablism impossible with just one. Also, switching back and forth between decks with a button gets confusing a few drinks in.
Now for some software specific things that may or may not apply to you. Keep in mind that I was using Virtual DJ 7.3 when I wrote this review; I have *not* tested this controller with Traktor, Serato, Mixx, Deckadance, etc.:
Contrary to some reports, the entire controller is completely remappable. By default, the pads on the bottom control loops and cues while the knobs on the top are for effects. You turn knob 1 to select an effect, then click it to enable the effect. Now knob 1 controls effect parameter 1 while knob 2 controls parameter 2. The one problem with this is that you have to enable an effect before you can adjust it (thankfully you can reprogram this). So that covers the first two knobs. Now knob 3 is for VDJ's built-in filter, while the last knob is for loop shifting.
On the top right you have 15 programmable buttons that do nothing by default. Personally I set them up to control loops and samples, with the bottom 3 buttons controlling key lock/master tempo & hamster mode. They also have LEDs in them which you can program to light up.
Before wrapping up this review let me use this paragraph to mention a few things I forgot:
First off, motorized pitch control is the most underrated innovation I've seen in DJ controllers. It's one of those things you didn't realize you needed until you have it. Say you're on any other controller and want to slow down a tune while it's playing, but you already did the same thing with the last track that was on the deck. And because you forgot to physically reset the pitch slider's position before loading another tune onto it, you no longer have any room to slow down the current track! If only you had an SCS.1D with its motorized pitch that updates its physical position with the software's pitch position!
And to contrast something great with something awful: the LCD scribble strips. They suck. Even brand new units arrive with chunks of dead pixels in them. Thankfully they're redundant anyway, only needed for people who absolutely *hate* looking at a monitor.
Now keep in mind that this controller is FireWire. There is NO USB CONNECTIVITY AT ALL. Anybody who claims they have a FireWire to USB adapter is selling you snake oil. There is no such thing as a working adapter. Make sure your PC actually has a 6-Pin Texas Instruments IEEE 1394 FireWire port for best results.
This controller takes up more CPU power than cheaper ones, so have a modern machine. My 3.4GHz Core 2 Duo isn't enough to run lag free. However, keep in mind that this PC is half a decade old. Also, while the software lags, the controller & audio itself don't, so I can keep mixing and scratching as hard as ever while getting 1FPS in the software. I almost didn't mention this since mixing is unaffected, but I would still suggest owning a machine made after 2010 since high CPU usage can lead to other issues.
Finally, here's a couple of protips:
1. Unless you *really* want the feel of a crappy belt-driven turntable, crank up the motor's torque setting. To do this, power on the unit without any DJ software running, press Setup, then twist the first knob from the left until it reads "Torque". Lastly twist the "Adjust" knob clockwise until the platter is nice and torquey.
2. If your music sounds like it's playing from a warped record, don't panic. Your unit is NOT defective, the motor just needs a few minutes to warm up. I would recommend the first thing you do is turn on your decks while setting up so that they're all ready to go by the time you are.
3. Don't forget to update the firmware! Newer units with the sticker on the box don't need to be updated, but the older units do. The latest firmware takes this thing from barely usable to fully-functional, so do not slack on it.
I hope this review helps convince you to buy this setup. It's a shame how under appreciated it is. Despite the cons, this is one of the best controllers you can own, especially when paired with it's mixer. Don't pass this one up.
on February 2, 2014
Okay this deck is wonderful. I will agree with the other reviewer.
Here is some downfalls of these deck.
1394 firewire only.
Works best with TI firewire chipset. Other chip sets will work just fine if you are only using one or two SCS 1.d Decks. If you are trying to uses 2x SCS 1d's and 1x SCS 1m you will not be able to push the audio via 1m sound card running any chip set other than TI.
The down fall to this deck at this time is Firewire, fire wire is no longer on most laptops, nor are expansion slots such as Express card slot or even PCMCIA slots. So ordering a joe blow laptop from best buy is most likely not going to cut it.
You will find that if you are wanting to run these via a laptop you will need to purchase a slightly older laptop, or purchase a High dollar laptop that still has an Express card slot, and you will want to purchase a express card for fire wire that specifically is TI chipset.
If you do some heavy web searching you will find there is 1 company that specializes in selling laptops with the TI firewire ports. These are pricey about 2k also as of Jan 2014 the Dell M6700 or M6800 will suit your needs with an express card slot, They are fully current computer specs, with all the ram and processing speed you could possibly need. Probably one of the last in the lines that dell will be making with an E/C slot Its Dells Precision series laptops. But they are built like tanks, they should stick around for 5+ years as a laptop compared to consumer laptop of 2-3 yrs