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Numark N4 Review problems dj controllers pro and cons compared to NS6 NS7 pioneer ddj ergo v
This page is under developement 03/08/12.
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Review based on these specifications:
13" Macbook Pro Laptop, 2.4 GHZ Intel Core 2 Core 2 Duo, 4GB Ram, NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics.
Mac OS X 10.6.8, 2
Windows 7 on a Dell XPS 1340 Intel Core 2 Duo p8700 @ 2.53GHz, 4GM ram.
Numark N4 with latest firmware as of 03/05/2012
Serato DJ INTRO version 1.05 (1052) and VIRTUAL DJ
The introduction of the N4
Numark’s NS7 and NS6 are a huge favorite amongst DJs throughout the world and
so is the Numark Mixtrack Pro. The N4 closes the gap between them. There are some big differences
between the NS7, NS6, and the N4 but the biggest difference on the software side is the N4 does not support Serato
Itch and uses Serato DJ INTRO and VIRTUAL DJ instead. Let’s take a good look at the N4 and see how this DJ Controller performs in the real world.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. The NS7 is a pro line DJ Controller which has
the ever popular motorized jog wheels. Its software of choice is Serato Itch, has a built in mixer, and
has been around for about three years. The NS6 is much like the NS7 in which it uses Serato Itch however
it does not have motorized jog wheels, it has touch sensitive jog wheels. The N4 has touch sensitive
jog wheels however has a much different arrangement of knobs, buttons, and faders to control the software. It includes Serato DJ Intro or Virtual DJ.
Serato Itch can not be used.
Even though the N4 is light in weight it seems to have a nice strong build quality, definately more quality than the Numark Mixtrack or Mixtrack pro.
And even though its construction seems very good, only time can tell how well built the N4 truly is; this is true of any DJ Controller built by any manufactuer.
The power adaptor, which is included, seems to have a better build quality than the one we received with our NS6. Also included in the box are the CDs for Virtual DJ LE and Serato DJ INTRO, for both Mac and Windows.
The overall look is very appealing however we aren’t sure how the glossy finish will handle the rigors of daily use.
The image above is of the rear of the N4. There’s an RCA out for the master out as well as the booth.
There are also balanced XLR main outs (one is not shown in the photo). To connect a CDJ, turntable, ipod, or other
compatible device there are two RCA inputs, inputs and channels 3 and 4, which can be switched to line or phono.
The N4 does not rely on the software for its microphone source, it has two 1/4 inch mic inputs and the quality is nice and clear. You can adjust the bass and treble with one set of knobs.
There are two headphone inputs, one ¼ inch and one mini. Headphone sound
quality is clear, loud enough, and the cue mix works well.
Many of the buttons and knobs on the N4 are used to control the functions of the DJ software, unfortunately
there doesn’t seem to be enough knobs and buttons. For example, if you have a track in a loop with Virtual DJ,
one has to simultaneously hold down the “shift key” button and tap the “loop in” button in order to create an auto
loop roll, and repeat the process to shorten the auto loop again. To solve this issue without adding a bunch of buttons
Numark could have easily added “auto loop” knobs, much like the ones found on the Pioneer DDJ-ERGO-V. This would
have tremendously simplified the auto loop process on the N4 and made it a more creative controller.
The N4 has a real built in mixer. Channels 1 and 2 can only be used as virtual decks and channels
three and four can be used to connect CDJs, turntables, or other compatible devices. The cross
fader can be set to two modes, normal and scratch. Though it has a scratch mode the cross fader is not built
for heavy scratching like the easy to replace ones found on the NS6 and NS7. The sound output is nice and clear.
The jog wheels on the N4 are touch sensitive and too sensitive when in scratch mode. If you mistakenly
merely graze the top the jog wheel, which will most likely happen, it will cause a short pause or stop to the music.
If you take it off scratch mode they will not be sensitive however scratch mode is the best and most realistic mode
to be in. We don't see this as a major issue because a firmware update can reduce their sensitivity.
We found the effects on Serato DJ INTRO with the N4 to be more stable and better than what’s
offered on the NS6 with Serato Itch. Surprised? Yes, we were too.
At first the effects available on Virtual DJ may seem hot,
but after a while they become quite boring and very predictable. Stability with
some of the effects is an issue.
Serato DJ INTRO is a free DJ software available by Serato which only offers two virtual decks.
It can easily be downloaded through their website for both Mac and Windows and installation on both to
work with the N4 is a breeze. Current version is 1.05 (1052).
Those who enjoy Serato Scratch Live and Serato Itch will feel right at home with DJ INTRO however
you probably won’t be happy with its limitations, especially with this one. Once you create a loop on the N4 you
will not be able to shorten or widen auto loops with the loop buttons like you can with most controllers and software.
For the life of us we don’t understand why Serato doesn’t allow for such a common and basic feature and fiind it to be its greatest flaw. Another small
but noticeable omission on DJ INTRO is it lack of a “history” feature; this is where you can see the date, time, and
order tracks were played.
Before you go kicking DJ INTRO to the side there are a few things which make DJ INTRO a very serious choice
to consider for the N4. One very important plus for DJ INTRO is that it’s extremely stable. Another thing it has in its
favor is that the jog wheels seem to respond better. The ability to scratch was more precise and sounded much
better with DJ INTRO. With Virtual DJ scratching with the jog wheel was less precise and sounded more digital.
With the limitations of Serato DJ INTRO it seems very obvious a pro level of this software will become
available sometime in the near future, and much like Virtual DJ Pro you will need to pay to upgrade. We look
forward to the day when a full featured version of DJ INTRO will become available. The upgrade price will be well
worth the stability and pro level offered by Serato.
While DJ INTRO ran well on both Mac and Windows 7, with Windows 7 we did experience
some minor pop or click noises when using the effects section. On the other hand the experience on the Mac was flawless.
You can check the specs our test laptops on the top of this page.
One of the reasons Virtual DJ is so popular is because many get it for free.The layout and colors used to identify functions makes it extremely user friendly with laptop only DJs; the problems seem to arise when Virtual DJ is used with DJ controllers such as the N4.
Once you invest and buy a DJ controller your expectations of quality and precision quickly rises. This is where Virtual DJ begins to show its flaws. Precision with the Jog Wheels is subpar, scratching sounds digital, and you don’t always get what you expect when you press a button to trigger a function. While this doesn’t happen frequently, it leaves you with a frightening notion of using them during an event.
(mentioned above) At first the effects available on Virtual DJ may seem hot, but after a while they become quite boring and very predictable. Stability with some of the effects stability is an issue.
Die hard Virtual DJ users will definitely oppose many of the comments above but that’s because many have never experienced the stability and precision of higher end DJ software.
In the world of DJ controllers the Virtual DJ engine seems to be outdated with its competition. The Virtual DJ team is well aware of this and is working hard on a complete overhaul of Virtual DJ in the upcoming release of Virtual DJ 8. They are going to keep the same layout look that you’ve come to love but are building what make it tick new from the ground up.
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