DJ BLAZE’s Top-10 Best Media Controller/CD Turntables

To continue with the best DJ Equipment Roundup Series, I am bringing you my top-10 picks for Digital Media Controller/CD Turntable units currently available at retail... I decided to group CD turntables and Digital Media Controllers together because many CD turntables also have the ability to act as Media Controllers, and if used with software, they can act in the same manner. In this day and age, more and more DJ's are turning away from vinyl and adopting the (relatively) new digital media controller/CD format turntables for their ease of use, file-browsing capabilities, and on-board features. They also (sometimes) have a smaller form factor than an analog set of turntables which can help save on space and weight for Mobile and Club DJ's. The Digital Media controllers/CD Turntables can be used with a digital software interface such as Traktor, SSL, Virtual DJ, etc… and some of them can use an internal software with on-board navigation to search files on inserted USB media. There are many different options out there to choose from, so in order to help the DJ’s who are ready to spend their money on a pair of decks; I put together my top-ten list of Professional-Grade Digital Media Controller/CD Turntables which are currently available to the public. Some of these decks are labeled as discontinued but I was personally able to locate all of these turntables for sale online. You will notice that I have numbered the list below only because I wanted to show 10 distinctive selections, but each of these decks possess high-quality characteristics and all have been built with outstanding usability in mind. Some decks in this list will be better suited for scratching and juggling as they possess actively spinning platters, while others may be more suited for mixing with a non-spinning platter. Each deck has their own pros and cons but in the end, the user must make up their own mind to decide which features/aesthetics/functions are more important to them before making a purchase. Each of these decks have their own followers and fanboys as well and I don’t want to get into any arguments as to which turntable is better or worse… All favoritism aside, I am pretty sure that any DJ who ends up with either pair in this list will be more than satisfied with their pick. Again, the numbering in the list is not for ranking, but only to categorize 10 distinct best decks as some decks are so similar in brand/features that it doesn't require an additional entry. Below each deck is a short description of the device and its capabilities. If your favorite deck didn’t make the list, or if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please comment below or drop me a line at djblaze@djbooth.net.

(Click on the name of each Digital Media Controller/CD turntable for more information and reviews!)


1)---Pioneer CDJ-2000 and Pioneer CDJ-900 (Previous Models Pioneer CDJ-1000 and Pioneer CDJ-800 also VERY GOOD Players)

-Pioneer CDJ-2000
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* Multi Format Playback - The CDJ-2000 enables playback of MP3, AAC, WAV and AIFF audio files on CD,DVD-ROM, SD card and USB memory devices.
* Pro DJ Link - New Pioneer Pro DJ Link that enables up to four CDJ-2000/900s to beconnected and share a single music source.
* 6.1” Full Color LCD panel and Graphic User Interface - For displaying song titles, jacket art as well as detailed track information and wave form display of each song so DJs can find informatio nneeded to select a song at a glance.
* Needle Search - Helps DJs instantaneously get to a specific part of a song with a simple touch of the Needle Search pad.
* MIDI - Users can assign various buttons of the CDJ-2000 to trigger other devices, such as DJ effecters and software with MIDI mapping capability.
* Free Rekordbox Music Management Software Included - Both the CDJ-2000 and CDJ-900 turntables include rekordbox, Pioneer’s proprietary music management software that organizes and catalogs a DJ’s entire music library. When music files are imported to rekordbox, the software analyzes each file and prepares them for use specifically with thenew CDJ turntables.





-CDJ-900
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* Compatible Media: Music CD, CD-R, CD-RW, USB Devices
* Compatible Files: MP3, AAC, WAV, AIFF
* File Systems Compatible with USB Storage: FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, HFS+
* Frequency Range: 4Hz - 20kHz
* Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 115dB or higher (JEITA)
* Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.0003% (JEITA)
* USB Ports: USB-A (1), USB-B (1)
* Audio Output Terminals: AUDIO OUT (RCA) x1, DIGITAL OUT (COAXIAL) x1
* Other Terminals: CONTROL (3.5mm mini plug) x1
* Audio Output Voltage: 2.0Vrms
* Power Supply to Use: 120V axac(60Hz)
* Power Consumption: 26W
* Maximum Dimensions (WxDxH in inches): 12.01 x 14.78 x 4.55
* Unit Weight: 8.6 lb







2)---Pioneer CDJ-350 (Previous Model Pioneer CDJ-200 also a good deck)
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* Compatible with Various Media and Music Formats – Playback of MP3, AAC, WAV and AIFF files recorded on USB devices and CD-R/RW discs as well as conventional music CDs.
* Rekordbox™ Music Management Software – Through the rekordbox software, music files are analyzed by BPM2 and beat position and can be categorized by genre. Analyzed music can be selected by genre, album or artist on the CDJ-350.
* BEAT Display Function – Visually illustrates the beat position of a song and the playback point providing easier hand, eye and ear coordination when performing scratches and loops.
* Auto Beat Loop Function - With one press of a button on the player, the user can create various loop performances including:
o Beat Loop - Matches the beat and repeats a 4-beat loop
o Loop Divide - While playing a loop, plays the loop at a different rhythm
o Hot Loop - While playing a loop, returns to the start of the loop and plays it
* Auto BPM Lock – Users can set a Master beat per minute (BPM) on the CDJ-350 that current playing songs can be synchronized to with a touch of a button. The feature enables beginners to easily match the tempos of songs by simply adjusting the speed to the Master BPM on each player.
* Create Playlist Function – While a song is playing, users can immediately add it to a new playlist with a touch of a button for future playback of favorite songs.
* DJ Software Compatible – The CDJ-350 is MIDI compatible with other DJ software allowing it to be used as an audio interface.
* Other features include:
o Vibration-resistant utilizing Shock-Proof Memory3 and Floating Architecture
o Four level tempo settings for maximum variation range of a song's tempo (±6%, ±10%, ±16% and WIDE)
o Resume Function enables users to remove a disc and resume playback at the same spot when the disc is reloaded







3)---Denon DN-S3700 and Denon DN-HS5500 (Previous Model DN-S3500 also a good CD Deck)


-Denon DN-S3700
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* High Torque Direct Drive Motor and Spinning Platter Design
* Fast Loading Slot-in Drive
* USB Device Hosting and Midi Interface Control
* Internal 24-bit Processing and USB Audio (sound card)
* 5 Superb Built-in Effects
* Waveform Display with Multi-line Text and Icon Support
* 3 Hot Starts, Auto Loop and Manual Loop Functionality
* 3 Platter Effects
* Deep Pitch Resolution & Key Adjust
* High Torque Direct Drive Motor & Spinning Platter Design
* Fast Loading Slot-In Drive
* USB Device Hosting
* MIDI Interface Controller (PC/MAC)
* Internal 24-Bit Processing & USB Audio-(sound card)
* Waveform Display w/ Multi-line Text & Icon Support
* Hot Starts / Auto Loop / Manual Loop
* Auto Loop/ Manual Loop
* 5 Superb Built-in DSP Effects
* 3 Platter Effects
* Deep Pitch Resolution & Key Adjust
* Memo function
* Two Way CUE Search System
* Next File Function w/Cross Fade
* Strobe Indicator
* Platter Mode Functions: Classic Vinyl (spinning), Pitch Bend, Frame Search
* 4-Way BPM Counter: Auto Beat Detection, Manual TAP, Manual BPM Input, Reads MP3/WAV BPM Metadata (if available)
* Directional Scratch Lever
* 3-way Pitch Bend
* Fast Search / Quick Jump
* Memo Import/Export
* Dimensions: 12.6 (w) 4.8 (h) 14.0 (d) inches






-Denon DN-HS5500 (Discontinued)
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* 2 Decks in 1
* Modular HDD Internal Option
* High Torque Direct Drive Motor with real analog TT feel & control
* USB MIDI/HID Interface: Controls any MIDI mapping DJ software (PC/MAC)
* USB 2.0 Audio Interface: (24-Bit Internal Sound Card)
* Supports MP3/WAV audio formats
* D-Sync: Connect two players together for shared device operation
* Supports external USB Hub with up to 4 devices and USB keyboard
* 8-Way File Navigation System
* Offers 9-Onboard Effects
* 2 Hot Starts, 2 Seamless Loops
* Includes Denon DJ Music Manager application
* Automatic plug & play device detection, no driver required
* Firmware is upgradeable for further feature enhancements



4)---Numark V7 (Stand Alone Controller) and Numark NS7 (All-in-One System)

-Numark V7
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* High-resolution turntable software controller
* Direct-drive, motorized turntable platter with high and low-torque settings
* Includes Serato ITCH software, compatible with Serato Scratch LIVE libraries
* Works with all DJ mixers for custom system configuration
* Extensive loop, cue, and track-access controls
* Strip Search virtual needle-drop control
* Complete effects controls for audio manipulation
* Premium, rugged, all-metal construction with high-end knobs and buttons
* V7 motorized turntable software controller
* Turntable platter system
* 7-inch vinyl record
* 7-inch slipmat
* Spindle wrench
* Spindle screw
* (2) Stereo audio cables (RCA)
* Link cable
* USB cable
* Power cable
* Software CD
* Quick start guide
* Audio Outputs: Deck 1 (Stereo RCAs L/R) Deck 2 (Stereo RCAs L/R) 44.1 kHz
* Bit Depth: 24-bit
* Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz
* Dimensions: 12.6" x 14.5" x 4.4"
* Weight: 16.4 lbs.





-Numark NS7
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* Adjustable high-torque, direct-drive motors with 7” Vinyl
* 2-in, 4-out. 24-bit USB 2.0 audio Interface
* High speed, double precision MIDI controls (Compatible with any MIDI software)
* Rock solid CP-PRO crossfader
* All metal construction
* Extensive Looping, Cue Point and Track Selection controls
* Additional assignable controls include 8 rotary, 8 triggers and 2 mini sliders
* Audiophile-quality analog circuitry
* Audio Inputs:
o RCA (unbalanced) line
o Mic (1/4" balanced)
* Audio Outputs:
o Master - XLR (balanced)/RCA (unbalanced)
o Booth - RCA (unbalanced)
o Headphone - 1/4" and 1/8" stereo





5)---Numark CDX (CD Version) and Numark HDX (Hard Drive Version)

-Numark CDX (Discontinued)
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- Ultra-high torque (5.0 kgf/cm) direct drive motor
- Full size 12 inch aluminum platter with vinyl record control
- Slot-load CD transport with CDR compatibility
- Integrated DSP effects include sonar, slide, echo, filter, chop, auto-pan, and auto-dissemination
- Multiple scratch modes for tricks and effects
- Seamless loop with smart loop, live trim, and beat shifting
- Built-in Beatkeeper™ with auto-synchronization of loops, effects, and MIDI devices
- Bright VFD (Vacuum Fluorescent Display) shows BPM, time, and unit status.
- Dedicated wheel for effects and search control
- MIDI I/O for synchronization with drum machines and other MIDI devices
- 3,000 cue point memory
- 2 hot stutter starts
- Dual "battle-style" turntable platter controls
- Adjustable start and brake speeds
- Forward/reverse toggle with bleep
- ±6, 12, 25 and 100% pitch control
- Key Lock at any tempo up to ±100%
- Anti-Shock™ buffer technology
- S/PDIF digital output
- Fader/remote start and relay play
- User-updateable through internet downloads

-Numark HDX (Discontinued)
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* Authentic turntable feel
* Ultra-high torque (4.7 kgf cm) direct drive motor
* Full size 12” platter holds a real user-replaceable vinyl record
* Extensive DSP functionality
* Scratching, looping, smart looping via Numark's proprietary Beatkeeper™ technology, auto beat matching
* Beat-synched effects include sonar, slide, filter, echo, chop
* ±100% pitch control, Key Lock
* Slot load CD transport
* Fast CD loading
* Front-load slot
* I/O panel connections
* Audio input
* Audio Output (RCA)
* Midi In/Out
* Digital Output
* Fader Start
* USB 2.0
* PS/2 Keyboard



6)---Numark X2 Hybrid (Discontinued)
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_ Ultra high torque (4.5 kg·cm) direct drive motor
_ Full size 12” aluminum platter and slipmat
_ Numark spindle with vinyl interlock record for CD control (Patent Pending)
_ 12” vinyl record with spindle locking
_ ±6, 12, 25 and 100% pitch control (motor limited to -80% for vinyl) (DSP limited to +50% for MP3)
_ 33 and 45 RPM
_ Adjustable start and brake speeds
_ Forward/reverse toggle with Bleep (bleep cd only)
_ Fader/remote start and relay play functions (relay CD only)
_ User-upgradeable through Internet downloads
Connectivity:
_ Line output
_ Detachable power and audio connections
_ Illuminated output bay
CD/MP3 Control:
_ Full MP3 capability, including anti-shock, scratching, looping and pitch control functions
_ Key lock at any tempo up to ±100%
_ Seamless looping
_ Built-in Beatkeeper™ automatic beat calculation
_ 2 hot stutter starts
_ 3,000 cue point memory
_ Anti-Shock™ buffer technology
_ Sleep mode



7)---Gemini CDT-05 (Discontinued)
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-Audio CD, CD-R, CD-RW, and MP3 compatible
-Removable, virtually unskippable straight tone arm system
-High-Torque Direct Driven platter (3.6 kg/cm) provides full
control over CD playback
-Independent audio outputs for turntable and CD sections
-3-position CD/TT mode switch allows simultaneous playback
of both CD and vinyl
-3 DSP effects: Filter, Echo, and Phase with variable parameters
-Reverse switch
-Motor ON/OFF switch
-3 Hot-Startable cue points with easy to operate memo button
-Master cue w/ hot-start feature
-Key Lock (Master Tempo)
-Anti-Shock Protection using RAM buffer memory
-Slot Loading mechanism with LED illumination
-Single auto-cue/continuous play modes
-Seamless looping with reloop/stutter & loop editing
-Pitch bend via platter or buttons
-Three mode time selection
-Frame accurate search & cue
-Large 4-line backlit dot matrix display
-Sturdy aluminum platter with finger grooves
-Variable Pitch control with ranges of 4%, 8% , 16%, and 50%
-Soft touch buttons with bright LEDs
Unit Dimensions: 17.75” x 14.65” x 6.3” (450 x 372 x 160.5mm)
Weight: 19.8 lbs. (9 kg)
Shipping: 22.8 lbs. (10.36kg)



8)---Stanton SCS.1d
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- Flagship deck controller for laptop DJs and remixer / producers
- Adjustable high-torque 10” motorized platter with vinyl surface and superior tracking
- 100mm motorized pitch fader with recall for sync with software
- Velocity-sensitive pads assignable to loops, cue points, etc.
- Assignable Encoder section with 360° of LED feedback
- LCD “scribble strips” for two-way communication with selected software
- Familiar Transport section for direct music control
- Perfect for adding maximum control capabilities into existing DJ software
- Easily controls multiple virtual decks for powerful multi-channel mixes



9)---Stanton C.324
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* 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





10)---Technics SL-DZ1200 (Discontinued)
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- Direct Drive 8" Platter
- Reads CD, MP3, CDR, AAC, and SD audio
- Scratch and mix from SD media
- Record Scratches
- Sound Effects
- Manual Cue Point - set the start of a sample to a specific point on the platter
- Pitch Lock
- Instant reverse/forward
- Customizable brake speeds
- Digital Out
- Tempo and Range Control
- +/- 8/16/33/50 pitch control
- Dimensions: 4.5" X 12.5" X 13"
- Weight: 12.8 lbs
- "Freewheel" - Turns off motor
- 4 cue points can be stored in memory, and activated by cue pads
- 4 audio segments can be stored in memory, and activated by sample pads
- BPM Counter
- Headphone Output with volume control
- 2 RCA Outputs
- "control" output allows connection to other Technics SL-DZ1200s or mixers with CD controls



Other Notable Decks not on the list:
Reloop RMP-3


DJ ControllersCD TurntablesCD PlayersDenonGeminiNumarkPioneerVestax

Written by on 06/14/10

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