Getting in Touch with Your Inner Mix Master: The stanton SC system 3: reverse-engineered from alien technology by Michael Buonaccorso, Jr.

March 15, 2013 by Aaron Burger

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again-these days, hardware controllers for mobiles are all the rage. With that being said, there is a plethora of mb148_110options available for the disc jockey looking to purchase one. Today we take a look at one of the more unique offerings on the market: the SC System 3 by Stanton DJ.
The pieces of SC System 3 are unique in several ways, the most obvious being that it has almost no buttons! Taking cues from today’s popular touchscreen electronics, almost every control and function is controlled simply by touch.
When you first remove the controller from the box, you will notice that the system is made up of three different pieces- two SCS.3ds and one SCS.3m. The 3m acts as the mixer (or as Stanton calls it, the “Performance Mix Surface”), while the two 3d units act as the actual controllers.  These three items are separate, but can be joined together easily thanks to Stanton’s magnetic locking system.

Setting up the SC System 3 is no more difficult than any other controller. Like some other controllers, this one includes an AC power adapter,
but it can also run straight off USB power. USB cables run from each 3d unit to the 3m, and then from the 3m to your computer. Stanton conveniently provides a cable management system on the bottom of the unit, so you can easily hide the cables, creating a neat look to your setup. There are also additional USB ports available on the unit, which allow the user to add more controllers, hard drives, or flash drives loaded with music.
The SC System 3 works natively with a limited edition of Virtual DJ that is included in the box with the controller. This version of Virtual DJ is specifically designed to work with the Stanton hardware. However, the program is limited in that it can’t do some of the more advanced things that the full version can, like video mixing. Fortunately, the unit works perfectly with any version of Virtual DJ 7+, so an upgrade can be purchased if necessary.
Another cool aspect the system is the functionality of Stanton’s DaRouter software. Available for a free download, this program allows the user to customize the MIDI mapping of the unit to connect with other popular software, including Serato and Traktor. This amplifies the system’s usefulness, making it a tool you can use with a wide variety of digital DJing setups.
Once the controller is interfaced with your computer, the fun begins. I found the unit to perform just as any other controller, with that one obvious caveatÑitÕs all by touch! The exceptions to the touch controls are the play, cue, sync, and tap functions, which are still physical buttons. While it takes a couple tries to get the feel of the controller down, I found the experience rewarding once I got used to it. The touch crossfader was probably the most challenging element to master, but it is definitely possible, and worth the effort.
The SC System 3 is also unique in that it screams portability-more so than other controllers I’ve reviewed in the past. With no moving parts or knobs to break off, the system can easily be taken apart and carried in a small bag or backpack. The DJ who performs at bars or nightclubs with house systems built in can potentially fit his or her entire personal setup into a very small carry bag.
Unfortunately, this controller does not have a built-in audio interface. This means that to you’ll have to use an external mixer to monitor your mixing and fading, or use your computer and Virtual DJ. If you decide to let the computer do the sound processing, Stanton includes an adapter cable so that you can use your headphones and output your music all using the same output on your computer. To me this is an
inelegant solution. If your configure your system this way, it can, at best, only output a mono signal. I would prefer to see future models of the Stanton’s touch-based systems include an audio interface built into the controller. With that addition, this could be a truly killer piece of DJ technology.
The multi-touch nature of this system is a unique twist on the DJ hardware controller. The portability is second to none. For DJs looking to think “outside the box,” the Stanton SC System 3 offers a step beyond the “standard” DJ controller design that has become apparent in the market over the last few years. That step is so big that when you’re mixing with it, it really looks like you’re controlling a spaceship. How’s that for “setting yourself apart” from the digital mixing crowd?

Aaron Burger Aaron Burger (77 Posts)

Filed Under: 2013, Mobile DJ Business, Sound Engineering for Mobile DJs