Stanton C.324 CD Turntable Review
Overview: Packing all of the benefits of our best-selling C.314 plus an abundance of upgraded features, the new C.324 is a must-have for any true CD DJ.
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Stanton C.324 Review
Stanton has been in the DJ business for over 30 years and they have been super-successful with their great line of high-quality Turntables and outstanding Mixers (that seem to just last forever). They recently moved into the digital age, like many other DJ equipment manufacturers, and started creating CD-Turntables. Their latest CD turntable, the C.324, is Stanton’s best CD Turntable Deck to date, boasting great scratch abilities and good MP3 playback algorithms. Stanton goes as far as saying the new C.324 is a must-have for any true CD DJ; so DJbooth.net will put that to the test!!! I would like to start out by thanking the good people over at Max Agency for getting us more Stanton BRAND NEW Goodies to review on the site!
First Impressions/Build: When I first opened the package of the Stanton C.324, I was definitely impressed by its high quality of build and nice sleek styling and color scheme. The black and silver is great to match most DJ layouts of today’s day and age. The unit has a nice heavy/beefy feel to it that let’s the consumer know that the units will stand up to nearly anything you can throw at it. And with a retail price tag of only $380 (you can find cheaper if you search); it really feels like a steal! The unit is made up of a very dense/hard plastic casing that I had to tap a few times to make sure it wasn’t really metal. Overall, I felt very confident that this unit would do great in a mobile DJ setup where it would be subject to the most wear and tear. Definitely Quality Work here on Stanton’s Part!
Front of Unit: The front of the unit is pretty plain, (as it should be); only holding the CD slot and an LED light to let you know there is a disc inside the unit. The front loading CD slot was slightly different than I was used to on my DZ1200’s. It seemed that I had to push the CD in almost half way before the Stanton C.324 actually “grabs” it and loads it. CD load times were better than most other CD Decks out there that I have used in the past.
Top of Unit: All of the controls along with the big blue LED display are prominently displayed on the top of the unit. Below the platter; you will find the 4 Sample/Cue buttons that can be used to create cue points or full out samples of anything which is playing on the CD deck! The 4 Sample buttons themselves are made of a plastic and they seem a bit “wobbly” upon pressing them down; but I was never afraid of any type of malfunction. Each of the 4 banks can be up to about 30 second samples long and they can be played at the same time you are playing the CD inside the Deck!!! This was a huge surprise for me, as I can’t think of any other Deck that allows you to playback a sample AND scratch it up at the same time! BIG KUDOS to Stanton for allowing this feature. There are endless possibilities as to what can be done by a creative DJ when they use this active sample system. You can also create SEAMLESS Loops and Samples based off the current song’s BPM…This means that you can get perfect timing with your loop by trimming or expanding in real-time by beat increments using the “TAP” Auto BPM feature found above the platter. There are plus and minus buttons on either side of the LED screen which allow you to trim or stretch the loop/sample to achieve the desired length. You can trim/expand the BPM’s by ¼ bar, ½ bar, ¾ bar, a full bar, two bars, or four bars. All the sampling and looping can even be done WITHOUT the actual disc inside the unit; as the unit will store the samples in internal memory. I was really impressed by this feature as well. The Stanton C.324 also has a Re-loop button to play a certain section of a track over and over which can all be done while still playing the CD in a totally different spot than the loop or sample. There is a small Save button on top of a Clear button that is obviously used to Save and Clear the 4 Sample Banks. The Sampler Button on the right (Sample Adjust), allows you to Adjust Each Sample for editing. To the left of the unit you will find the Eject button, followed by the plus/minus track selector buttons and the fast forward/rewind buttons for searching through songs. Below that there is a nicely oversized Cue button which you can use to set Cue points of where you want the action to start. Below that is another nicely oversized Play/Pause button which plays and pauses the tracks being played on the CD. These two oversized buttons felt really good and it just gave me a sense of quality when using them. To the right of the Stanton C.324, you will find the normal location for pitch controls and pitch slider. On the bottom right; we find the Pitch Bend (+, -) button that will allow the pitch to be adjusted independently of speed. The pitch Slider feels nice and sturdy with just enough friction so that you don’t accidentally change the pace of a song when you don’t want to. Above the pitch fader; there is the Pitch Lock button that will make sure the Pitch stays the same even when you speed up or slow down the record. Above this feature is the selector button which allows you to change between +/- 8%, 16%, 25%, and 100% for ultimate controllability! There is also a Key Lock button that will return you to perfect speeds at the touch of a button and the LED on the slider indicates that the Lock is on. The top left of the Stanton C.324 shows a Sampler Sequencer section where you can switch the unit’s 4 Buttons at the bottom to be either Sample or Loop Mode OR if the 4 Buttons should be in Play mode or Record mode. There is a Reverse Button which allows the tracks to play backwards, and above that is a Touch Rewind Button that means when the platter is active and it is touched by your fingertip; the track will automatically play backwards. Above the Touch Rewind Button is the Play Mode Vinyl Button which allows DJ’s to switch in and out of Vinyl Mode. In Vinyl Mode means that the Platter is used to manipulate the sound and when Vinyl Mode is off; the CD plays normally without platter manipulation. The Display Time button allows you to change the way the Track time is displayed on the LED screen either showing time remaining or time played. The LED itself illuminates a Blue color and displays File information, BPM, Active Platter motion/Cue Point, Effect status, Pitch, Track number, Track time, and Cue. The C.324 can play full fledged MP3 CD’s with folder access and browsing capabilities right there on the LED screen. Full Text of artist/track information is obtainable threw a few simple button and knob movements.
Platter: Now this is the moment most of you have been waiting for…The platter breakdown! You guys/gals may have seen a video or two on YouTube showing everyone that this thing can get down with the big boys when it comes to CD Turntable scratching…so is this true? Well, Yes and No… The Stanton C.324 features a non-actively-spinning platter similar to those found on the Pioneer CDJ series. While this setup is really good for mixing and light scratching; I don’t believe that you get a true scratch feeling or manipulation without an actively spinning platter. You do, however, get good sound control and good sound emulation while scratching and manually cueing with the platter. It’s all made of rubber/plastic which feels good to grip. One gripe I have with the platter on the Stanton C.324 is that the platter is just too small for me to comfortably scratch on. I had to cut my scratches short; or follow the platter in a circular motion to stretch them out. I also noticed that when performing very precise scratching (fast transform scratches) or rigorous twitch like scratches that I would not pick up every sound that I intended. I then try the same scratches on my DZ1200 deck and it worked perfectly…I don’t know if this is because of lack of familiarity with the unit or if the Stanton C.324 Platter is inferior. Another gripe I have with the unit/platter is that when the unit is powered off; the vinyl mode does not stay in the on position. This was an inconvenience as every time I had to turn on the unit; I had to press the Vinyl Mode button to get it back to the mode I use all the time. On a good note, the platter responds to start up and stops very quickly (depending on the adjustment desired). Baby scratches and tears were a breeze to pull off.
Effects: I’ll be the first to tell you that I am really not an Effects DJ, but the Stanton C.324 may just have changed my mind! The Stanton C.324 offers six selectable effects which are found on the top right section of the mixer which are: Filter, Echo, Pan, Phase, Flanger, and Transform. All of these effects work perfectly on this mixer. You can also combine effects to give unique effects on the track being played. On the left side of the LED display there is rubber/plastic FX Time knob which allows users to change the time a specific Effect lasts (e.g. allowing an echo to last 8 seconds after the platter is stopped); (This knob also doubles as a Vinyl Start adjustment to control how slow or fast the track will start the sound from a full stop and to change the Pitch (speed) of the samples being played). On the right side of the LED display there is a rubber/plastic FX Ratio knob that allows the DJ to change the saturation level of the selected effect (This knob also doubles as a Vinyl Brake adjustment to control how slow or fast the platter will stop the sound and to change the level of the Sample). Overall, I was very IMPRESSED by the overall control and usability of the entire Effects system on the Stanton C.324.
Conclusion: The Stanton C.324 CD Turntable was a very surprising unit. Honestly, I didn’t expect this unit to perform up to my standards as Stanton is still trying to find their place in the CD Turntable Market. This unit can do SO MUCH MORE than I could have ever imagined. My review doesn’t even do justice to the amount of possibilities that this machine is capable of doing. I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this unit to beginner and Intermediate DJ’s who need an affordable CD deck with all the trimmings! Even a seasoned Mixing Pro would have lots of fun using the Stanton C.324. The Hardcore Scratch/Hip Hop jugglers may want to look elsewhere; but when it comes to solid playback, excellent effects, decent Scratching Abilities, and awesome sample/loop capabilities all in an affordable package, the Stanton C.324 is your choice!!!
Features & Specs
* Tabletop CD Player with Touch Sensitive Jog Wheel for Scratching and Beat Juggling
* CD Slot Drive Mechanism
* MP3 Playback with Text Display and Onboard File and Folder Browsing
* Onboard Pattern and Real-Time Sequencer for on-the-fly Drum Machine Style Performances
* 7 High-Quality Beat Synchronized Digital Effects: Filter, Auto Filter, Echo, Phaser, Flanger, Transform, Pan
* Beat Synchronized Sampling and Looping With Four Trigger Pads and Cue Memory
* Auto and Manual BPM Control
* Vinyl Emulation with Adjustable Platter Start / Brake Speed
* Adjustable Pitch (+/- 8%, 16%, 25%, 100%) with Pitch Bend
* Key Lock Allows a Song's Tempo To Be Changed Without Affecting the Original Key of the Song
* Reliable Anti-Shock Playback with Auto Cue
* Blue LCD Display with Visual Marker for
* S/PDIF Digital Output
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