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Review: C50

C50 REVIEW - By Nimbus

The C50 is one of the most powerful DJ Controllers in the market for both entry level DJing or advanced pro controllerists. The style and construction quality is far in advance of any controller in the same pice range. For a start the unit is quite compact and can fit in a number of DJ bags around today. There is a B50 back-pack available from MDJ made just for it. The construction is very solid indeed... which means it comes up reasonably heavy compared to the cheap plasticy models from the competition. However, its still a lot lighter than most of the early vestax units such as the VCI-100, and personally I like a bit of weight in my gear to give it a good sturdy feeling.

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At first glance the C50 is quite beautiful with brushed aluminium and white finish on the faceplate. The controls are layed out intuitevely. Though my only dissapointment with the layout was the position of the Bdeck wet/dry knob.. its the opposite from the Adeck.. which confused me when grabbing for FX knobs in the heat of the mix. Otherwise the spacing of buttons and knobs is very comfortable and everything can be operated easily without accidentally bumping the wrong things.

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The knobs are all rubberized, except for the pitch and channel faders, so they feel and operate the same as the Pioneer line of mixers. The feeling is high quality. The eq knobs wobble a little, but thats because of their dual function... the knobs can be pushed to activate complete KILL of that eq range... what a great feature! This feature can be de-activated, but I cant imagine why you would want that. As for the rest of the knobs and buttons, they are very sturdy and will take a fair bit of abuse during a set or in your carry bag.

The Jog wheels are surprisingly good. Trying out various controllers I'm usually dissapointed, but the C50 really delivers. Not too heavy not too light. The new models have a nice metallic finish which is nice to touch. The touch sensitivity can be fine-tuned with independant knobs on the front panel.

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The audio interface operates at 16bit/48kHz and is based on the Texas Instruments 24 bit ADDA chip which offers excellent audio conversion between your turntables or CD players and your computer. The RIAA phono pre-amplifiers seem to be up to the task as well, though I recommend grabbing a 6V power supply (optional sold separately) if you are planning on converting your old record collection into digital format.
 
...Yes, the C50 us USB bus powered which is good news if want to be free of the hassle of carrying around extra gear. It also means when your mate trips over the power cord your controller will not cause the software to crash!
Of course, like all USB powered audio devices, they don’t have a lot of power for headphone output, so If this is a big issue for you you may want to consider the optional power pack to boost the power supply, or even consider a C60 controller.

Because the C50 doesn’t function as a stand-alone mixer you can’t mix your CD’s or records in with the audio signals unless you route the signal through your computer first. Think of the C50 as a 2 input, 2 output dj sound card, with a separate controller. This is not an issue for most controllerists however, as the features available from within programs like Traktor Pro and Virtual DJ allow you to manipulate your audio signals and apply audio effects in much the same way you would on a very advanced mixer.
 
There is a feature that allows you to send the AUX or LN/PH 1 signal directly to the master out, and disconnects the computer output. This means if for some reason you need feed a separate audio signal out to your amplifier (maybe while you swear at your laptop and curse at Bill Gates), you don’t need to unplug the cables. There is a level adjust knob on the back too, so you can set the levels to match your laptops audio levels. The great thing about this feature is you can have your iPod set up as a backup plugged into your AUX in, and with the audio level pre-set. This would be useful if you had 2 DJ’s using the same controller... though you may need that optional 6V power-pack if you want to do this.

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SUMMARY:


The Good: Pro grade construction. Good responsive jog wheels with adjustable touch sensitivity. Rubberized EQ knobs with 'push to kill' feature. Ready to go Traktor and Virtual DJ mapping. Great price.

The Bad: No stand-alone Mixer mode (unlike the C60 model). No booth outputs. No tone control on Mic. No full-version software included (Virtual DJ LE only).

The Bottom Line: While it was primarily designed for Virtual DJ, don't be dissuaded if you are a user of other popular programs such as Traktor. This feature-rich controller packs a lot of very well-made components into a small, but not overly-cramped layout. It has decent sound quality and useful features not found on more expensive controllers.