Let’s face it: a lot of people ignore the four-deck features of Traktor. But for those who exploit that power, and who are willing to invest in a high-end, boutique design, here’s the controller for you.

Faderfox has long been respected for making boutique-quality MIDI controllers for DJing and Ableton Live performance. The previous Faderfox line, though, was restricted to compact devices focused on one task.

Now, enter a small-batch controller for simultaneous four-deck DJ control, specifically in Native Instruments’ Traktor Pro. While NI’s own Traktor Kontrol S4 has a “4″ in it, it doesn’t actually allow the simultaneous use of four decks without switching, preferring instead to reserve that space for jog wheels.

The 4midiloop is a different animal: no jog wheels, just an array of dedicated controls for all four decks and all four effects slots, a strong dose of German and Swiss aircraft engineering. (Really.) The resulting design, contained in a housing machined from a single piece of recycled aluminum, and built to exacting specifications from heavy components, is something unique. It’s all in a layout worthy of a 747 cockpit. And yes, unlike previous Faderfox hardware which had MIDI-only connections and required separate power, the new device is powered entirely by USB with USB communication with the computer.

Features, in a nutshell (see the full specs on their site):

  • 47 potentiometers for effects, nine rubber encoders for browsing, seek/scratch, 152 LEDs, and 166 push buttons. (Damn.) Four faders, “pro” crossfader. See the layout in action.
  • Ready-to use with Traktor Pro 1.2.4 and later on Mac and Windows.
  • 3.6 kg, even with all that metal.
  • USB class-compliant and bus-powered.

You pay for that quality – 1300EUR. Then again, count up the number of encoders and buttons, and that isn’t outrageous for a boutique-quality item. Preorder starts this month, shipping in October.

Here’s a quick preview, as well as a conversation with designer Mathias of Faderfox. I like that Mathias is opinionated about what a DJ controller should be – working with DJ Mole – and what his ideas reveal about the possibilities of different workflows and controllers, even as an alternative to NI’s “official” vision with the S4.

CDM: Let’s compare this to something like the Traktor Kontrol S4. Aside from the obvious lack of the jog wheels, where does the 4midiloop fit in – how does it differentiate itself?

Mathias: The difference to all available 4-deck-controllers is the fact that you have all possible controls for all 4 decks and 4 fx slots on the 4midiloop. So there are no limits and no necessary shift-switchings like on the other devices.

The S4 is a 4-deck-mix-controller with capability to control 2 fx slots and deck function of only 2 decks (simultaneously).
And of course these jogwheels — which I hate and which are unnecessary for techno and similar styles (my opinion).’

I simply use encoders for seek/scratch functions… it saves so much space…

4midiloop has no audio capability (on board soundcard) because my experience is that users mostly prefer to use their individual favorite sound card to have the perfect sound and latency.

The 4midiloop has more mixer controls: 4-band-EQ, key control, kill-buttons for each eq band, filter on/off, key
lock, 4 fx assign keys, cross-fader assign keys, dedicated master section and maybe the world’s best faders (Eclectic Breaks – Pro X Fade)

What would a typical setup look like with the 4midiloop?

You need only:
- laptop (MacBook recommended)
- 4midiloop
- A soundcard (simple NI Audio 2 DJ)
or
- NI Audio 8 DJ + turntable if you want to control by timecode vinyl
(scratch system, see youtube video)
That’s it.

No external power supplies! It’s completely USB-powered.

You don’t need any additional control gear because it’s an absolutely complete device. So you will find more and more new possibilities in Traktor Pro through this no-limit-controller, and the easy access to all possible functions in Traktor.

BTW, it’s no problem to reassign all controls (there are also shift functions on each control). So you can also use new functions in later versions of Traktor Pro, like the sample decks, etc. which will be taken over from the S4 in the future.

Regarding price: of course, it’s quite expensive, like other good mixer gear too (see Pioneer, Allen&Heath, etc.) But note that you get a handmade device which is produced in very
small lots in Germany/Switzerland. And there is no plastic (except the knobs)…

We working on a second version (black faceplate with gray buttons).

Here’s the video from January with DJ Mole:

And a high-res gallery:

http://www.4midiloop.com/

  • http://darylfritz.com Daryl Fritz

    The buttons and knobs look really small in the pictures, and too close together.

  • http://www.ab-arts.de derHa

    the spacing and size of knobs and buttons look somewhat identical to space and size on the smaller faderfoxes, which is just fine for me.

    all this high-tech blinkenlights rubbish of many modern controllers is superfluous, all it needs is a decent faderfox controller :-)

    i am confident, that this new controller can keep up with the usability and built quality of the smaller foxes.

  • http://www.edisonsdemo.tumblr.com edison

    holy shucks!

    thats purdy…

    faderfox makes some dang nice thingssss

  • karlp

    I just read the pdf, but it's still not clear to me if one could use this as a generic controler for e.g. Ableton Live. Or does it only work with Traktor?

  • Emile V

    Agree about the jog wheels: set a beat grid and some cuepoints, no jogs needed; love the 4 EQ control.

    Yes the buttons are close, but there are so much of them.. the design is a bit like the A&H xone 92.

  • http://tagmagic.wordpress.com Jaime Munarriz

    Faderfox controllers are the BEST!

    and 4 decks for djing is a must. so…

  • http://www.ilektron.com Mudo

    Overpriced Peter, you can buy a A&H with soundcard for this price.

    Open source way would be better.

  • http://bedroomproducersblog.com/ bedroom producer&#03

    @karlp

    my guess is that you CAN use it as a generic controller since it transmits MIDI.

  • http://www.faderfox.de faderfox

    of course it's also a generic controller suitable to use it with other software like ableton live.

    don't try to compare the 4MidiLoop controller to any mixers because it's a complete traktor pro control device and not only a mixer with some midi capability.

    there you will find nearly for each traktor function a dedicated button/pot.

  • klacha

    As Peter stated, many don't use the 4 decks, only two. As for myself, I would totally go for a 2midiloop version…

  • drnx

    new traktor comes out at the end of 2010 with sampler etc. little too late for the 4midiloop with all the lableled buttons and knobs.

  • drnx

    but its still awesome ;)

  • http://turntablepoetry.com/blog dj professor ben

    Gorgeous. I agree that it may be too late for many folks — the sampler can be easily midi mapped in, but the whole selling point here is having precise control over every single function, which you would lose with a new mapping. If I could afford this though I'd use it alongside a MIDIFighter and just map all the new sampler stuff to those buttons instead so I could use the 4midiloop as it was intended. But affordability is the key here — from what I know of Faderfox quality, and having followed this project since I first heard about it months ago, I'm pretty sure it is worth the high price tag, but I'm just not in the income bracket to be able to afford to spend this much on a MIDI controller. At least not today… maybe when the black one comes out ;)

  • http://audiovoid.net audio

    um…..Squirt!
    :)

  • http://audiovoid.net audiovoid

    Seriously, This thing looks bad ass. Ive been on the hunt for years for a proper midi controller that mimics a typical 2 or 4 deck dj mixer. No jog wheels, no built in Hybrid audio interface, and no cheap toy-like plastic build quiality. Just a straight up dj mixer-looking controller.

    The vcm600 is close but its HUGE and has some internal (steppying , low res) midi flaws that i've discovered. The bitstream 3x is that trendy long rectangle design that I do'nt [articularly care for either.

    This little unit looks just right though:)

    Im using all of these in Live btw, not traktor

  • Jason

    This looks amazing, but how come so many controllers don't have pitch sliders? Have we decided we're simply going to beat-grid everything and move along?

    I'm a traditional vinyl DJ for the most part, I crave that level of control. Of course I also drive a 6-speed manual car, something 98% of drivers no longer want either.

  • http://vimeo.com/14050862 Chili

    Yeah!

  • Dchild

    Why release this now, when traktor S4 is being released at the end of the year

  • Random Chance

    Looks good. I'm not a DJ, just listen to records, but I've played with Traktor two years ago. It only began to make real sense to me (again as a non-DJ who does not know the pain in the back of hauling around a crate full of vinyl records or two) when I mapped the eq and crossfader to a hardware controller. One thing I discovered was that encoders don't cut it as eq controllers. So this product seems to have it right including four knobs for the eq as it seems. For the digital DJs out there who are still on the lookout for a decent hardware controller I hope they put out one with only two channels (maybe including an easy upgrade path to four channels by plugging two of the units together) as that is probably the format that most people are most comfortable with. But perhaps people are already comfortable with the Allen & Heath offerings which at least in the analog domain seem really nice to me.

  • http://www.faderfox.de faderfox

    you know there is a lot of 2-deck-controllers on the market but we think it's time to have a total 4-deck-controller without any limits.

    what ever you want to do with your mix,

    be sure to have a control for it on the 4midiloop.

    pitch bend function is available by encoders,

    absolutely jump free control with coarse and fine pitching, much more ergonomic as the traditional pitch faders (my opinion).

    in the case of an updated traktor pro with sampler capability the hotcue buttons and the two encoders will control the sampler keys, level and filter so you will not lose any functionality. (note that sampler is an alternativ function to the standard deck)

    of course I will support the 4midiloop in same way as my other stuff

    so each new traktor version will get a new 4midiloop setup file asap.

  • Alex

    Nice design and adaptation for traktor! ridiculous price though!

  • Microwave Prince

    1300 eur for a plastic controller? Stop that "boutique" thing, because it's overpriced toy.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Obviously, people have never priced out buying components like this. So I dare you – do a machined aluminum case, buy up your pots and buttons, and see how much it costs you. ;) Seriously.

    I'm not being glib; I *have* actually priced out some similar things.

    Anyway, if it's not in your budget, it's not in your budget; that's cool (a lot of stuff doesn't fit *my* budget, for sure)!

  • http://www.myspace.com/raikard Rics

    1300 euro for me are too much, but surely this will inspire my midibox project that i'm going to update! I'm sure that i can build an almost perfect clone of this one, perhaps not the same quality components and case, but something near sure!

    Thanks to the 4midiloop developers for the firestart!

  • Kim

    Im an old school 4 deck vinyl techno DJ. My comment is: Simply beautiful! :)

  • prevolt

    Mathias was one of the first to get into this years ago, and he's always been the best.

    I hope he sells a ton of these–never mind the cheapskate comments.

    I just wish he had done this a couple of years ago. I like seeing larger-scale, WYSIWYG-style controllers from Faderfox.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, this *is* an expensive controller – no argument there. If it is out of budget, though, it's worth looking at the "traditional" Faderfox modules; I really love that they're so small, and they're also a valid option. Hoping for more live performance-focused controls, too.

  • fx23

    This must be really sweet with traktor indeed…

    But when you can get a Zero8 second hand for half the price, with 8x track eiteher midi or audio, this is definitely overpriced for multisofts uses. i would go for it if was

    <800e. btw im not djing with traktor but every function can also be maped to traktor

    on zero 122 avcontrollers , do it once save and

    have your 700bucks template customized). so exept the nice buttons that's pretty demesured price tag to get success vs zeros/evo/Ni ones imo

  • fx23

    btw i always loved faderfox and agree they are some of the best ever, and wish them to sell

    a lot of these, and bring an ableton controller,

    but maybe would have econic reality being more

    strategic to get true multitsofts or lower price

    tag if traktor only targeted…

  • Mike

    fx23: One of the reasons you can get a Zero8 so cheap is that they aren't very high quality. I had one and really tried to like it. I paid $1200 with tax for mine and would pay $600 for it as a straight up MIDI controller but the soundcard in it is pretty bad. If you are looking for a low noise mixer that also isn't really bulky with limited FX routing then the Zero8 isn't the best choice. I actually liked the Zero4 more than my Zero8 but recent QC experiences have told me to stay away from all new Korg products.

    But, I also find this offering from Faderfox to be overpriced. I have a Kontrol S4 on order that ran me $899 shipped. It still offers MIDI for other software but uses a higher resolution protocol with Traktor for tighter functionality. I expect it to compare to Kore 2 in responsiveness which is much better than 0-127 will ever be.

  • fx23

    yep i totally agree sound is not good, i was

    also disapointed and went to a tckonnekt, kept only zero for midi until i retried: if using 8 track sound from computer and optical out with better DA it's quite clean, the cheap side are in ADin and DA out so it still offers a fairly descent numeric mixer from computer on top of the midi ability at low cost now.

  • http://twitter.com/dirtRAID Brand B

    In the video that MIDI cross fader appears to be very precise. Do the faders on this machine send out 14 bit MIDI? Also on the rotary encoders how many pulses per rotation can we expect? Thanks.

  • http://www.faderfox.de faderfox

    - all pots send standard 7 bit cc commands

    - all encoders without detents

    - you can select 3 different fader curves independently for line- & crossfaders (linear, rapid, switch)

  • http://www.faderfox.de faderfox

    - encoder resolution is 30 pulses per rotation

  • http://soundcloud.com/moldy-1 moldy

    Does it work with serrato?

  • http://www.djforums.com Swerv

    Very nice controller! Faderfox always makes a great product but although its a very sleek design.. One could easily hit the wrong button while in the middle of a mix. Some of us know when we are gigging and seem to fall into that groove at one point that we can get very into the mix and dance around… when you start moving like that its easy to get sloppy.

    I hope the buttons arent that sensitive so accidental button pressing isnt a huge fault.

    My main gripe with this controller (Because other than this one thing its perfect in every way) is that it has nothing to go along with

    Traktors new interface… They had said they were going to release one with all of the sampling functions… Lord knows since Faderfox uses such small buttons they could have easily added an extra row or two for sampling.

    In my opinion even though it has 4 deck support and a layout for everything… the fact that they will not be on board with the future updates in sampling has pretty much made the controller already obsolete.

    Even though controllers like the S4 dont have a button for every single function, they at least will be able to utilize all of the programs functions.

    Faderfox should have added a shift button for the cue point buttons so they could trigger hot cues and also samples when the shift button is pressed.

    I guess people will just have to make a choice.. or a seperate controller for sampling.

  • http://www.djforums.com Swerv

    Well i totally jumped the gun on my last post after reading this:

    "BTW, it’s no problem to reassign all controls (there are also shift functions on each control). So you can also use new functions in later versions of Traktor Pro, like the sample decks, etc. which will be taken over from the S4 in the future."

    So it looks like this controller does have everything and if its possible to use the shift function with the cue buttons then it will be easy to map the alternate midi commands to trigger the sample deck…

    Way to go Faderfox!

  • CHoc DOnut

    this is cool if you think scratching black guys saying YEAH is music… Lot of work for a style that was old 20 years ago. First off, a musician should be able to play an instrument. Second, if you're going to do loop-based music, then do something original, not old, tired yeah and yo music. We dont need more of that, fer sure.

  • http://jools.ch JooLs

    Just had the chance to try the 4MidiLoop.

    The buttons arent too close together, if you ever used a Faderfox. I`ve used it for about an hour and never touched a wrong button. :D Direct access to any parameter! I never used a shift function.

    The midi-map is programmed for Traktor Pro. But, like the Faderfox controllers, you can use this thing with any program.

    The used parts are 1A. Never had better faders in use. (I`m DJing for 16 years now…) This guy makes not much money with this product. The thing is not a plastic toy. The controller is worth its price.

    No audio-interface. Right! Cause I want to choose the soundcard! (I use a RME Multiface, b.t.w.) If I have a problem with my controller, I still can use my soundcard and vice versa.

    Don`t hesitate to write my friend some lines and ask, if you need further infos: info@4midiloop.com

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