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MIDI controllers with 14 bit pitch faders

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:35 am
by madjester
I started DJ'ing in 2006 with a Gemini CD-240 Dual CD Player. I've also played on Dennons and Pioneer CDJ-100s, CDJ-200s and CDJ-400s. Needless to say I've used quite a lot of CD players.

I switched over to mixing digitally, using Mixxx, over a year ago. I'll admit to using the detected BPMs as well as the waveforms as hints for when I mix. Regardless, I still mix the good old fashioned way using my ears.

*Warning* Now it get's a bit technical...

The problem? MIDI as a standar only usually uses 7bit values. This gives an effective range of 128 steps, from 0 to 127. This allows for this resolution of:
  • ~0.1% at 4% pitch range (decent, but 4% range isn't that useful)
  • ~0.15% at 8% pitch range
  • ~0.15% at 10% pitch range
  • ~0.25% at 16% pitch range
  • ~0.32% at 20% pitch range
  • ~0.64% at 40% pitch range
Usually to shift up or down a BPM you need multiples of the following values:
  • 0.7% at ~145 BPM
  • 0.65% at ~150 BPM
  • 0.6% at ~160 BPM
  • 0.5% at ~180 BPM
These are approximations but are more than sufficien to fool human ears.

Suffice it to say you need a resolution of at 0.1%, but hopefully of 0.05% to be able to beatmatch manuallly. To get this resolution at 10%+ range you need 14 bit values.

On the market there are some MIDI controllers that can use 14-bit values (or 9-bit values, sufficient for 0.1% resolution up to 20%).

Here is a list of all the MIDI DJ controllers I know of which have 14-bit pitch faders:
  • American Audio VMS4
  • Dennon SC-2000
  • Dennon MC6000
  • Mixvibes U-MIX Control 2
  • Reloop Digital Jockey 1
  • Reloop Digital Jockey 2
  • Reloop Digital Jockey 3
  • Reloop Mixage
  • Vestax VCI-100 with firmware 1.4 (9-bit, but still, good enough)
  • Vestax VCI-300
Has anybody else found any other machines with 14 bit pitch faders? Does anyone know if the Traktor Kontrol S4 has 14 bit pitch faders?