DJ Tech Dragon-Two DJ Controller Review

DJ Tech Dragon-Two DJ Controller

Overview:  

The Dragon-Two Digital DJ Controller is the newest release by the new DJ Tech company that has lots of features that DJ’s will appreciate.  There are (12) Performance pads per deck along with a standalone mixing function and a great crossfader feel on the Dragon-Two.  We’ve got one in the DJbooth Lab for a full out HD-Video review to put it through the paces.  See how it held up and if the DJ Tech Dragon-Two is right for you inside.



Staff Review


Review Video & Demo


Setup & First Impressions

The new DJ Tech Dragon-Two is the newest and compact Digital DJ controller that comes bundled with a four-deck version of Virtual DJ LE and sports a compact but solid metal build quality throughout. The DJ Tech Dragon-Two is pretty sturdy all around. There is a bit of plastic on the top of the unit, but you can tell that it’s mostly for aesthetics as there is metal throughout the design. I like the overall compact size of the Dragon-Two which puts it right up there in the same size-class of a Traktor Kontrol S2, Stanton DJC.4, or a Vestax VCI-380 controller. All of the knobs on the unit have metal-posts underneath meaning the unit should last for a long time. Every single button on the Dragon-Two illuminates very brightly to let the user know what is active at a glance. The DJ Tech Dragon-Two comes with a power supply and it must be used in order to run the unit. I think this is a good thing because all of the lights are very bright and the volumes of the headphone and othe outputs are adequate enough for performances. The Dragon-Two is a fully MIDI-mappable DJ controller that can work with almost any DJ software out on the market today. For this review, we quickly checked the Traktor Pro 2 Mapping which was pretty decent, but we are going to review the Dragon-Two based solely on the Virtual DJ LE software that comes bundled with the controller. The DJ Tech Dragon-Two controller has some unique buttons and layouts that are only inherently found in Virtual DJ, making this controller an excellent companion for the software that is bundled with it.

The setup of the Controller is relatively simple with the user only having to use the supplied CD to install the Driver and Software for the controller while plugging in the USB connection to the computer. You must also connect the supplied power supply around the back, plug in your speakers through the supplied RCA or balanced XLR Master Outputs and you’re ready to play your digital audio files through the Virtual DJ and the Dragon-Two. There is a Booth RCA output with its own separate volume control knob for easy monitoring situations. Also around the back there are (2) RCA inputs that can be selected as either LINE level or PHONO level with an included Ground Post for vinyl decks. The DJ Tech Dragon-Two can act as a standalone mixer straight out of the box. You do not even need a computer to DJ with the Dragon Two if you want to use it in strict mixer mode and you can also do a combination of virtual mixing and external deck mixing by simply switching the post to the input of the particular channel. The Dragon-Two also has an internal soundcard that is attached to these two RCA inputs and it can be used for Virtual DJ Digital Vinyl setup (DVS) with timecode control. So if the DJ decides to purchase a Dragon-Two, upgrade to Virtual DJ Pro, then attach two CD decks or Vinyl Decks via RCA and pop on the timecode CD or vinyl in order to manipulate the digital tracks using the external decks. This is an excellent feature, but you must have the timecode CD/Vinyl and you must upgrade to VDJ-Pro in order to pull this off. VDJ Pro is a $300 upgrade but you won’t ever have to pay for VDJ again as all upgrades will be free for life.


Features

The DJ Tech Dragon-Two has loads features and functions that most DJ’s need and want for mixing. The all of the knobs (EQ’s, Effects, etc.) are all big and oversized for easy manipulation. The crossfader is not readily user-replaceable, but it feels just like the fader in the DJ Tech DJM-303 which is a very good fader by itself. The Crossfader feels like it is high-quality and feels like there is a great deal of metal in the construction.

The crossfader is loose and has a very low cut-in distance so scratch DJ’s can pull off everything they want. The Crossfader also has a curve control knob in the front to change the cut of the fader. There’s also a switch in the front of the Mixer that changes the crossfader from MIDI to non-MIDI depending on whether you are mixing live decks or virtual decks. The Line faders have much more resistance to them and they don’t feel the same as the crossfader. They feel like they have more plastic in the construction, but they are definitely good enough for nice and accurate mixing.

The VU Meters in the middle of the controller are nice and bright and they show the deck volume and the master volume levels all at the same time. The (12) performance pads found under each deck are fantastic! The pads feel just as good as those found on the F1, the Vestax VCI-380, Novation Twitch, etc. They are really made for performing and they just feel very good in use. These (12) buttons make up the transport controls, hot-cues, and loops. They are all nicely laid out and work perfectly with Virtual DJ. The Cue controls for headphone monitoring are found on the top-right of the Dragon-Two along with the Master Volume, Booth Volume, and other Mode controls. There is a plastic knob for the CUE/Mix fade and another knob for the Volume level. There is a choice of quarter-inch or a mini connection for the headphones on the front of the unit along with a metal TONE knob to change the EQ setting of the headphone output. There’s also a quarter-inch Microphone input on the front which also has a TONE knob to alter the EQ, a volume knob, and a talk-over swtich to turn the mic off, on, or to talk-over mode.

The Jog wheels on the Dragon-Two are pretty good overall. The feel sturdy and they don’t shake or wobble. They are solid with a touch-sensitive, and slightly textured surface to the top with a harder plastic feel to the sides for nudging and slowing down the music for beatmatching. Each Jog wheel has its own touch-sensitivity knob on the rear so that the user can customize it just right. The Jog wheel performance for scratching isn’t quite one-to-one in operation, meaning you will get some minor delays when performing rigorous back and forth style movements and scratching. The Jog wheels can be in either Scratch Mode or Mixing mode depending on the style of play that is favored. The Tempo sliders feel like they had the same high resolution as some other controllers out there and they have a good amount of tension to them and a center-click so you know when you are at absolute zero.

The DJ Tech Dragon-Two looks like a two-deck controller but there are layering buttons so that the left deck can control Deck A or Deck C, while the right deck can control either Deck B or Deck D. The Dragon-Two has four Sample banks, four hot cues per deck, and a nice full-function loop-section for each deck. The Sampler/Effect section of the Dragon-Two is located in the upper left hand corner of the unit. The Left two knobs are for Deck A/C effects, while the Right two knobs are for Deck B/D effects. So you are allowed to apply two effects per deck with the Virtual DJ LE that is included with the package. The S1, S2, S3, and S4 buttons under the effects are used for the samples. You can load any sample into a slot and activate it at any time. Not much more you can do with the samples in VDJ LE, but they work nicely for one-shot situations and for quick loops or playbacks. Each Deck also has an LED encoder knob located right near each jog wheel which has different uses… One of those uses is to shrink and grow loops on the fly.


Conclusion / Recommended For

In Conclusion, The DJ Tech Dragon Two is a tight compact controller with a sturdy build quality and lots of features right out of the box. The Dragon-Two can function as a legit standalone mixer and does not require a computer connection to work. The Dragon-Two comes bundled with a four-deck and nicely featured version of Virtual DJ LE to get you started along the way. The Dragon-Two has a nice crossfader feel and performance while the (12) performance pads for Transport, Hot Cues, and Loops work brilliantly. On the downside, the Jog wheels are not a perfect one-to-one mapping meaning you will have trouble pulling off any complex scratching or rigorous jog wheel movements, and the Dragon-Two also does not come with a full Pro version of a DJ software which means the user may want to upgrade in order to unlock the full potential of the controller. Overall though, the Dragon-Two controller has lots of good features that DJ’s will appreciate and are not found on other DJ controllers in this price-point. We are going to recommend the DJ Tech Dragon-Two controller to any new or beginner DJ’s as well as any other DJ who wants to get a strong controller with a standalone mixer function and a good basis for the Virtual DJ Platform.


Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Very Compact and Heavy-Duty Build Quality (Metal Chassis)
  • Can Function as Standalone Mixer Out of the Box (2 RCA Inputs)
  • Comes bundled w/Virtual DJ LE (4-deck) & Is Fully MIDI-Mappable
  • Internal Soundcard Capable of DVS Timecode Playback with VDJ-Pro Upgrade
  • Good Crossfader feel and performance (Definitely Scratch-worthy)
  • Excellent (12) Performance Pads for Transport, Hot Cue, & Loops Controls

Cons

  • Does Not come with a Full Version of DJ Software
  • Jog Wheels are not Perfect one-to-one Mapping for Scratching

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Written by on 09/12/12




Features & Specs


Features:

4-Deck Controller optimized for Virtual DJ LE

Built-in on-board Mixer with Filter Effect

Advanced Audio Mode for 2-deck Control and 4-deck Control

Built-in 4-in 4-out audio interface with low latency ASIO audio driver

Balanced XLR master outputs and RCA booth outputs

2 X Stereo inputs (Phono/ Line) for external audio source

Direct access to 4 samplers

24 rubber pads for direct access to Cue, Loop and Transport Control

Adjustable touch sensitive jog wheels with LED ring

Long-life crossfader for scratch performance

Aluminum brushed panel for heavy duty use

Stiff, reliable knobs faders and buttons

Includes Virtual DJ LE software




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