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CD Decks: Juno Plus Ultimate Buyer's Guide

Rarely will you find a club or pub in this day and age without a pair of CD decks in its DJ booth. CD decks serve as something of a bridge between the worlds of traditional vinyl decks and digital DJing, and as such are an important tool to master for any DJ regardless of their format of choice. In this ultimate buyer's guide to CD decks, the Juno experts have tried and tested every major model on the market, and given them a rating that takes into account price, build quality and features, and penned detailed reviews so you know which model is right - or wrong - for you.


Denon SC2900

Denon's SC2900 digital media player features a seven inch jog wheel with torque control, touch sensitivity and multiple hot cue buttons as well as auto loop and manual loop control. You can connect your USB storage devices to gain control over your music collection and manage those same songs using Denon's Engine music management software. This deck also doubles as a MIDI controller for use with popular DJ software (such as Traktor) and features linking technology, allowing one USB storage device to be used by multiple decks. There is a display that shows the waveform of your selected music as well as the configuration of the SC2900's extended functions such as tap tempo and pitch fader width.

Dimensions: 36 x 33 x 12cm       Weight: 4.4kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: AAC/AIFF/MP3/WAV

£649.00 Buy   Read more

Denon SC3900

The SC3900 from Denon is a deck featuring an excellent motorised vinyl-style platter with adjustable start and stop time and torque. There is also a port on the top for accessing music stored on a USB device such as a memory stick or an external hard drive. In addition, this unit can act as a MIDI controller for popular DJ software such as Traktor or Scratch. Like the SC2900, this unit also allows for connection with other decks, so you can access music from one storage device on multiple decks. The controls feature four hot cue buttons as well as auto looping and manual looping functions. There are four BPM modes that can be displayed on the large screen, including a tap tempo function. It's possible to manage your storage device using the included Engine software. Put simply, this unit is the vinyl jog wheel version of the SC2900. Suited to a professional DJ who still loves the feel of vinyl.

Dimensions: 36 x 33 x 12cm       Weight: 4.4kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: AAC/AIFF/MP3/WAV

£799.00 Buy   Read more

Numark Mixdeck

The Mixdeck Universal from Numark is ideal for the mobile DJ. Featuring a front loading CD player, a dock for your smart phone as well as USB ports for accessing music stored on external devices, such as memory sticks and hard drives, this unit also doubles as a soundcard and MIDI controller for your DJ software of choice. Its mobile DJ friendly credentials are further enhanced by the mic input and professional grade outputs around the rear. The Mixdeck Universal also features looping and cue functions that you would expect to find on a DJ deck in this class. Although this unit doesn't quite reach the heights that single decks in this price range reach, it is a decent solution designed for the professional mobile DJ.

Dimensions: 73 x 30 x 10cm       Weight: 5.5kg       Power: N/A       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£699.00 Buy   Read more

Numark Mixdeck Quad

The Numark Mixdeck Quad Universal features fully functioning dual deck CD players and mixer, and allows you to access music stored on USB devices or use the entire four channel unit as a software controller using the USB MIDI protocol. One of the unique features of this unit is the iPad dock that allows you to make use of DJ apps such as Algoriddim's DJAY, seamlessly integrating app based DJing into your rig. Flexibility is the key here, with two large touch sensitive jog wheels with multi functioning modes as well as built in DSP FX, making this a choice unit for mobile DJs as the set up time is very quick. The built in mixer sports four channels and a cross fader for maximum versatility, including room for a mic input for those moments when you need to address your audience.

Dimensions: 74 x 44 x 15cm       Weight: 9kg       Power: N/A       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£799.00 Buy   Read more

Pioneer CDJ2000 Nexus

As an improvement to their ground breaking CDJ2000, Pioneer have added Wifi connectivity to their flagship deck in the shape of the CDJ2000 Nexus. This deck features all the features from the original CDJ2000 but this time they have released an App version of the Rekordbox software to allow you to prepare your music on your phone and then load it onto a deck using Wifi technology. You can still link up to four different decks together, but this time you can set one as master tempo, allowing you to lock the BPM of music being played across multiple decks. It also indicates which songs in your playlists are compatible in terms of mixing in key (another addition to the latest Rekordbox software). There is an improved jog wheel tension control and a full colour screen displaying the wav form of the music as well as zoom features and multiple remix functions. With slip mode and all the loop and cue functions found on the previous model, the CDJ2000 Nexus is hard to beat when it comes to multimedia DJing.

Dimensions: 32 x 11 x 41cm       Weight: 4.6kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: CD/DVD/AAC/AIFF/MP3/WAV

£1499.00 Buy   Read more

Pioneer CDJ850

The CDJ850 from Pioneer features a waveform display, loop and hot cue functions, front loading CD player as well as USB storage access. You can prepare your externally stored music in advance using the Rekordbox software supplied by Pioneer to manage cue points, loops and hot cues. Although this unit doesn't feature the Pro DJ link technology that allows multiple decks to read from one storage device, featured on later models, it is a professional grade CD and multimedia player. One of its special features is its ability to become a MIDI controller and soundcard for your DJ software of choice. Featuring a touch sensitive jog wheel with multiple modes, this deck is ideal for a professional DJ.

Dimensions: 31 x 36 x 11cm       Weight: 3.3kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£759.00 Buy   Read more

Pioneer CDJ850-K

The Pioneer CDJ 850-K replaces the well respected CDJ 800. This version includes USB slots, allowing the user access to music stored on external devices. Its compatibility with Pioneer's Rekordbox software means you can manage your playlists and cue and loop points with ease, or create tag lists on the fly. This unit also features soundcard technology and doubles as a controller for your DJ software of choice, supporting MIDI and HID. This professional grade CD deck features a lot of the control function that is found in the top range Pioneer decks including a touch sensitive jog wheel with vinyl mode and adjustable start and stop curves. This unit is suitable for the professional DJ.

Dimensions: 31 x 36 x 11cm       Weight: 3.3kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£759.00 Buy   Read more

Pioneer CDJ900

With assignable controls and a professional DJ link allowing multiple decks to read from a single storage device, the CDJ 900 from Pioneer is full of professional features. It is a front loading CD player which doubles as a MIDI controller and soundcard for use with DJ software. With an eight inch, touch sensitive jog wheel and plenty of cue and loop functions including auto sync, this unit ships with Pioneer's Rekordbox music management software which makes it easier to browse and select music stored on USB devices. It also helps you to prepare cue points and multiple loop points before you even set foot in the club. This unit is geared towards the serious professional DJ.

Dimensions: 48 x 21 x 41cm       Weight: 3.9kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: AAC/AIFF/MP3/WAV

£949.20 Buy   Read more
  Price Juno
Verdict
Colours Touch Sens. JW MP JW Tension Control JW Size (cm) VM SM Pitch Range Auto Loop Hot Cue/ Loop WD FX BPM KL Q ND Digi. Out USB In SD USB MIDI HID Pro DJ Link MMS
Denon SC2900
£649.00 BK 18 4,8,16,100
Denon SC3900
£799.00 BK 23 8,10,16,100
Numark Mixdeck
£699.00 BK/S 14 6,12,25,100
Numark Mixdeck Quad
£799.00 BK/S 14 6,12,25,100
Pioneer CDJ2000 Nexus
£1499.00 BK 20 6,10,16,100
Pioneer CDJ850
£759.00 S 20 6,10,W
Pioneer CDJ850-K
£759.00 BK 20 6,10,W
Pioneer CDJ900
£949.20 BK 20 6,10,16
Prices correct at time of publishing.

American Audio Encore 2000

American Audio's Encore 2000 allows you to play from CD or USB storage devices such as memory pens or hard drives; it is also a MIDI controller, allowing you to use the jog wheels and other mix controls to manipulate your software of choice. This unit is ideal for the mobile DJ that needs as much flexibility as is possible in one unit. It has a built in mixer and soundcard and even a mic input. It's a small unit packed with functionality but its lack of a vinyl mode brings its rating down here.

Dimensions: 45x29x11cm       Weight: 5kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3/WAV

£399.00 Buy   Read more

American Audio Radius 3000

The Radius 3000 from American Audio takes deck mixing and USB integration to the next level. Along with being a CD player and USB media player, this unit also features a slot for SD cards and will also act as a MIDI deck controller for your software of choice via the USB connection at the rear. Featuring a headphone port on the back, the Radius 3000 is a comprehensive mix solution for the intermediate DJ looking to enhance his or her versatility and experience.

Dimensions: 27x36x11cm       Weight: 3.6kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: MP3/WAV/CD/CDR

£319.00 Buy   Read more

Denon D4500 MkII

This all-in-one dual deck design from Denon features a robust two unit design. The D4500MkII is based on the simple usability and tough build quality that is demanded by mobile DJs, and this unit's simple features have been augmented with the inclusion of ports for accessing music stored on USB devices. However, although this unit is an update of an older design, digital media player technology has moved on quite a bit in recent years and neither new users nor veterans will appreciate the small jog wheels. However, as ever with Denon, the build quality is of a high standard.

Dimensions: 49x9x26cm       Weight: 8.1kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: WAV/AIFF/MP3/AAC

£569.00 Buy   Read more

Denon DN-S1200

Denon's DNS1200 is a CD deck and USB media player with an ultra sensitive jog wheel designed to transfer the subtlest of touches and manipulations by the DJ. It also has other functions such as pitch bend, scratching and a dry/wet control for FX. This unit can be linked to another DNS1200 allowing both machines to read from one USB storage device, and has the ability to act as a MIDI controller for your favorite DJ software. This deck comes with Denon's music management software which facilitates the ease of browsing and selecting your music (this can even be done via keyboard). This unit is one of the more professional grade decks in its class.

Dimensions: 47x27x10cm       Weight: 3.2kg       Power: N/A       Supported file formats: WAV/MP3

£429.00 Buy   Read more

Denon DNS3700

The Denon DN-S3700 deck features, arguably, one of the most realistic jog wheels ever created. Its nine inch motorized wheel features a real vinyl platter designed to emulate the feel of playing vinyl perfectly. It also allows you to play from CDs or from USB devices and Denon offer their own music management software to facilitate this. If you prefer, you can hook up this unit to your laptop and use it to control your favorite DJ software. It also features linking technology that allows you to put two machines together to read from one USB source. With built in FX and a looping and cue features, this deck is for the professional DJ.

Dimensions: 42 x 32 x 19cm       Weight: 4.4kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£574.00 Buy   Read more

Gemini CDJ700

Gemini deliver on their promise of media versatility and control in the form of the CDJ700. This machine features a unique touch screen interaction that allows you to search and control FX on the screen. With a front loading CD drive, USB slots as well as SD card slots, there isn't much that can't be played from this unit. If you're a computer based DJ, this deck also acts as a USB MIDI controller with a built in soundcard. With sample pads and auto looping functions plus hot cue buttons and built in FX, there is plenty to keep a developing professional DJ busy here.

Dimensions: 33x30x11cm       Weight: 3.3kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: MP3/AAC/WAV/AIFF

£349.00 Buy   Read more

Gemini CDMP6000

The CDMP6000 is an all in one, two deck, solution for digital DJs from Gemini. There are two large jog wheels for each side and USB ports that allow you to access media stored on external devices. Although there is no auto BPM counter, you can get an approximate BPM display by tapping the tempo using the button provided. Hot cues and loops can be implemented and there is also a built in mixer for added ease of use. The unit does have a slightly plastic feel to it, but for beginners and intermediate users this unit could be ideal if you are looking into entering the world of mobile DJing.

Dimensions: 49x26x11cm       Weight: 5.5kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: FAT32/NTFS/WAV/MP3

£369.00 Buy   Read more

Gemini CDMP7000

For a complete DJ solution in one unit, look no further than the CDMP7000 from Gemini. It features two front loading CD players with USB slots to access music stored on external devices as well as MIDI over USB to allow control of popular DJ software such as Traktor and Serato Itch. This unit also features a built in three channel mixer and dual touch screen interactive displays for navigating and selecting music. The six built in DSP FX with auto sync BPM control enhance the package, and, as you would expect, there are looping functions and cue functions to match most decks on the market. This unit has been built for the needs of the professional mobile DJ who requires plenty of flexibility.

Dimensions: 72 x 32 x 10cm       Weight: 7.7kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: AAC/AIFF/MP3/WAV

£586.99 Buy   Read more

Numark Mixdeck Express

Numark offer an all in one solution for DJs with the Mixdeck Express, which features two decks and a built-in mixer that allow you to get control over both your CD collection and music stored on USB devices. This unit also works as a MIDI controller for your DJ software of choice and features a built in soundcard, negating the need for costly additional equipment. This unit is ideal for a mobile DJ who needs a short set up time and maximum flexibility.

Dimensions: 61x29x8cm       Weight: 8.4kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£479.00 Buy   Read more

Numark NDX900

The NDX900 from Numark is a front loading CD deck with the capability of accessing music from a USB device via the top loading slot. It can also act as a controller for your software of choice using MIDI via the USB port on the rear. Its sturdy jog wheel and pitch controls help you create tight mixes and with looping functions and built in FX, and there are plenty of ways you can inject creativity into your sets. This unit is suited to an intermediate DJ looking to broaden his or her horizons.

Dimensions: 32x37x11cm       Weight: 4.1kg       Power: AC , Switchable voltage       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£329.00 Buy   Read more

Pioneer CDJ350

The CDJ350 is compatible with Pioneer'S Rekordbox music management software and features a touch sensitive jog wheel with hot loop and hot cue functions. Play from your CD collection, a USB storage device, or, alternatively, use the CDJ350 as a MIDI controller for your DJ software of choice. This is a versatile deck for DJs of all levels.

Dimensions: 22 x 29 x 11cm       Weight: 2.3kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: MP3/AAC/ WAV/AIF/FAT16/FAT32/HFS+

£527.00 Buy   Read more

Pioneer CDJ350-S

The CDJ350-S from Pioneer marries versatility, connectivity and style in this silver version of their professional grade CD deck. It is compatible with the well known Rekordbox software; this allows the user to manage large collections of music stored on USB devices. DJs can play a wide variety of file types from CDs or USB devices or even hook it up to your computer and turn it into a MIDI controller for your DJ software of choice. With a touch sensitive jog wheel and loop and hot cue functions, this deck is suitable for DJs of all levels.

Dimensions: 22 x 29 x 11cm       Weight: 2.3kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: MP3/AAC/ WAV/AIF/FAT16/FAT32/HFS+

£527.00 Buy   Read more

Pioneer CDJ350-W

Pioneer's CDJ350-W, available here in pearl white, features compatibility with the Rekordbox software, which allows the user to create playlists and manage large collections of music stored on USB memory sticks. With a touch sensitive jog wheel featuring hot cue and looping functions, this CD deck also allows you to lock the BPM of your set, easing the work load of the busy DJ. This unit is suitable for performers of all levels.

Dimensions: 22 x 29 x 11cm       Weight: 2.3kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: MP3/AAC/ WAV/AIF/FAT16/FAT32/HFS+

£526.00 Buy   Read more

Reloop RMP2.5 Alpha

The Reloop RMP-2.5 Alpha is the latest addition to Reloop's RMP-series. It's a cross media player with additional MIDI function. Besides playing current audio formats such as WAV and MP3 from CD, CD-R, memory stick or hard disk drive, it is also possible to control any MIDI compatible DJ software (e.g. Traktor) thanks to the RMP-2.5's full MIDI compatibility. With looping functions and a scratch mode for the touch sensitive jog wheel, this unit is suited to the intermediate user looking for maximum flexibility from a media player.

Dimensions: 32x11x34cm       Weight: 3.7kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£300.00 Buy   Read more

Reloop RMP3 Alpha

The RMP3 Alpha from Reloop is a CD deck player and a USB media player that features built in FX, auto looping functions, hot cue and software designed to help you manage your playlists. The two part touch sensitive jog wheel allows you to effectively control your music to create tight mixes with built in FX to add more spark. This unit also includes playlist management software for easy use of media stored on external devices via the USB ports.

Dimensions: 32x11x34cm       Weight: 4kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3/WAV

£365.00 Buy   Read more
  Price Juno
Verdict
Colours Touch Sens. JW MP JW Tension Control JW Size (cm) VM SM Pitch Range Auto Loop Hot Cue/ Loop WD FX BPM KL Q ND Digi. Out USB In SD USB MIDI HID Pro DJ Link MMS
American Audio Encore 2000
£399.00 BK 11 4,8,16
American Audio Radius 3000
£319.00 BK 15 4,8,16,100
Denon D4500 MkII
£569.00 BK - 24-100
Denon DN-S1200
£429.00 BK 10 4,10,16,24,50,100
Denon DNS3700
£574.00 BK 23 6,10,16,100
Gemini CDJ700
£349.00 BK 19 4,8,16,24,50,100
Gemini CDMP6000
£369.00 BK 12 8,16,24
Gemini CDMP7000
£586.99 BK 13 4,8,16,24,50,100
Numark Mixdeck Express
£479.00 BK/S 14 6,12,25
Numark NDX900
£329.00 BK/G 18 6,12,25,100
Pioneer CDJ350
£527.00 BK 11 6,10,16
Pioneer CDJ350-S
£527.00 S 11 6,10,16
Pioneer CDJ350-W
£526.00 W 11 6,10,16
Reloop RMP2.5 Alpha
£300.00 BK 20 4,8,16,100
Reloop RMP3 Alpha
£365.00 BK - 4,8,16,100
Prices correct at time of publishing.

American Audio Encore 1000

The Encore 1000 from American Audio has two front loading CD players and a mixer built in, with the option of using the MIDI over USB to control your software of choice. DJs can use the jog wheels to get tactile control over music or even perform scratch type FX. There is also a looping function for adding creativity to your performances. At time however the jog wheels feel a bit too small and the general feel of this unit is a bit on the cheap side. However,the Encore 1000 works as a solution for a mobile DJ who wants to incorporate a laptop into their set up.

Dimensions: 45x29x11cm       Weight: 5kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£269.00 Buy   Read more

American Audio Flex 100

The Flex 100 from American Audio allows DJs to get full control over CDs and MP3s using the jog wheel and pitch controls. With an auto BPM counter to help match beats precisely, plus the option of vinyl mode, key correction and four built in FX, this unit allows DJs to perform tight and creative sets. The deck's simple controls and extended functions make it ideal for a serious beginner, however the jog wheel doesn't feel up to the standard of other models in its class and it could be improved upon with some touch sensitivity.

Dimensions: 35x25x11cm       Weight: 4.5kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/CDW/MP3

£147.99 Buy   Read more

Gemini CDJ250

Functionality is the order of the day with the Gemini CDJ250. With a brake mode and scratch mode to help get tactile control over your CDs and MP3s, viewing and choosing your music is done via the backlit LCD display. This deck is suited to a mobile DJ who needs simple controls with wide pitch bend via the jog wheel and pitch fader. The large jog wheel is welcome but some form of tension control and touch sensitivity would be an improvement.

Dimensions: 36x31x10cm       Weight: 2.6kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£135.00 Buy   Read more

Gemini CDJ650

The CDJ650 from Gemini combines CD deck technology with USB media connectivity to allow for maximum flexibility during your DJ performances. The five inch touch sensitive jog wheel has a vinyl mode that allows for scratch FX and, along with auto BPM and looping functions, there are plenty of tools to help you deliver the most creative set possible. If you're a laptop DJ then you can make use of the MIDI via USB connections to control your DJ software of choice. This deck is ideal for the intermediate DJ looking for flexibility.

Dimensions: 29x22x11cm       Weight: 2.2kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: MP3/AAC/WAV/AIFF

£247.99 Buy   Read more

Gemini CDM3250

The CDM3250 from Gemini is an all in one solution for the DJ who prefers to use CDs as his or her format of choice. It has a built in mixer and houses two CD decks with loop functions and pitch bend via the jog wheel. It is a very basic unit and would probably suit an absolute beginner who needs simple tools to execute their performances. It's all in one functionality also lends itself to mobile DJing.

Dimensions: 34x48x9cm       Weight: 5kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£193.99 Buy   Read more

Gemini CDM3650

Combining functionality and affordability with a user-friendly design, the CDM-3650 from Gemini delivers reliable, professional performance from one inclusive DJ workstation. It has been designed with the mobile DJ in mind as it has a very quick set up time and allows you to control CDs and digital music stored on USB devices. It's also possible to switch the inputs so you can play music from the USB ports on either side of the built-in mixing unit. The small jog wheels are a slight disappointment and it would have been nice to see some sort of tension control. However, the CDM-3650 remains a solid, all in one solution for DJs on the move.

Dimensions: 48x26x11cm       Weight: 5.5kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£259.00 Buy   Read more

Kam KCD550

The KCD550 from Kam allows you to gain access to your music library on CD or on a USB device such as a flash memory stick or hard drive. The jog wheel can be used to get control over your mixes or you can turn on the vinyl mode and perform scratch effects. There are also auto loop functions and five auto BPM based digital effects to really liven up your performances. This media player is ideal as a back up to a larger rig or for a serious DJ on a tight budget.

Dimensions: 22x10x32cm       Weight: 2.8kg       Power: N/A       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£178.00 Buy   Read more

Numark NDX200

Numark's NDX200 CD player is for no-nonsense beat matchers. This robust and simply designed deck allows you to control your CDs via the jog wheel and pitch faders to deliver tight mixes. The layout is simple and intuitive, with the only extended feature being the loop function that can add creative spice to your sets. This deck is ideal for entry level DJs who want to hone their beat mixing skills. The lack of a vinyl mode does limit the use of this unit somewhat and the plastic feeling platter lets it down slightly.

Dimensions: 21x30x11cm       Weight: 2.8kg       Power: AC , Switchable voltage       Supported file formats: CD/CDR

£129.00 Buy   Read more

Numark NDX400

The NDX400 from Numark takes up where the MDX200 left off. With various modes of play such as vinyl, scratch and search, as well as hot cue and loop functions and auto BPM counter, you have all the basic tools required to deliver a high quality set. Along with regular CD play, you can also plug in a USB device and navigate and choose your music via the dedicated controls. This media player is ideal for beginners who want to experiment with playing from USB devices.

Dimensions: 21x30x11cm       Weight: 2.8kg       Power: AC , Switchable voltage       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£199.00 Buy   Read more

Numark iCDMIX 3

The iCD MIX 3 features two CD players with jog wheels and pitch control with a built in mixer. The jog wheels are on the small side but there is a scratch mode as well as loop functions to get a hold of your music, just enough to allow for some experimentation. Its layout could have been better and the jog wheel size and position are a little awkward; this, coupled with its bulky demeanour, makes for a lower score.

Dimensions: 27x48x15cm       Weight: 8kg       Power: AC , Switchable voltage       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£299.00 Buy   Read more

Reloop RMP1 Scratch MkII

The RMP1 deck has been designed with the serious turntablist in mind. Reloop have stripped out all the excess functions in favour of a simple and rugged design. With scratch type techniques possible on the dual function jog wheels, as well as loop and hot cue possibilities, this unit is ideal for those that need close control over their CDs.

Dimensions: 32x34x11cm       Weight: 4kg       Power: AC , Switchable voltage       Supported file formats: CD/CDR/MP3

£176.00 Buy   Read more

Stanton CMP800

The CMP 800 from Stanton is a comprehensive CD player and USB media player with built in FX and looping functions. The jog wheel allows you to get control over your music using pitch bend or even allowing for scratch type performances. One of the extra functions of this deck is the ability it has to work as a USB controller for your software of choice. It also allows you to link two units together so you can navigate and play music from just one USB device (there are actually two USB slots on each device). This deck suits the intermediate DJ who is in need of functionality and convenience.

Dimensions: 22x30x10cm       Weight: 2.5kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: WAV/CD/MP3

£299.00 Buy   Read more

Vestax CDX05

The CDX-05 from Vestax is a comprehensive media player for beginners and veterans alike with some added surprises. Not only does it feature a touch sensitive jog wheel with memory to store 100 cues, but it also features a built in FX unit with the ability for you to change the level as are being triggered. If you prefer the sound of vinyl then you'll be pleased to know that this unit is designed to emulate the warmth of vinyl reproduction, and if you are not a fan of CD player jog wheels then you can link a Vestax turntable PDX-2000 over the Tascam TT-M1 protocol to get tactile control of your digital media. The buttons on this CD player are large but somewhat clumsy - something reflected in our verdict.

Dimensions: 30x25x11cm       Weight: 5.9kg       Power: AC       Supported file formats: CD/CD-DA/CD-R/CD-RW/MP3

£199.00 Buy   Read more
  Price Juno
Verdict
Colours Touch Sens. JW MP JW Tension Control JW Size (cm) VM SM Pitch Range Auto Loop Hot Cue/ Loop WD FX BPM KL Q ND Digi. Out USB In SD USB MIDI HID Pro DJ Link MMS
American Audio Encore 1000
£269.00 BK 10 4,8,16
American Audio Flex 100
£147.99 BK - 4,8,16,100(CD)
Gemini CDJ250
£135.00 BK 20 4,8,16
Gemini CDJ650
£247.99 BK 13 4,8,16,24,50,100
Gemini CDM3250
£193.99 BK 12 12
Gemini CDM3650
£259.00 BK - 4,8,16
Kam KCD550
£178.00 BK 12 8,16,100
Numark NDX200
£129.00 BK/G 12 4,8,16
Numark NDX400
£199.00 BK/G 12 4,8,16
Numark iCDMIX 3
£299.00 BK 8 4,8,16
Reloop RMP1 Scratch MkII
£176.00 BK - 4,8,16,100
Stanton CMP800
£299.00 BK 12 6,10,16,100
Vestax CDX05
£199.00 BK 15 6,10,50,100
Prices correct at time of publishing.

Abbreviations

BPM = BPM Counter
Digi. Out = Digital Output
FX = Built-in FX
HID = HID Support
JW Size = Jogwheel Size
JW Tension Control = Jogwheel Tension Control
KL = Key Lock
MMS = Music Management Software
MP = Motorised Platter
ND = Needle Drop/Search
Pro DJ Link = Pro DJ Link Connectivity
Q = Quantize
SD = SD Card Input
SM = Slip Mode
Touch Sens. JW = Touch Sensitive Jogwheel
USB In = USB Input
USB MIDI = USB / MIDI Control
VM = Vinyl Mode
WD = Waveform Display

Colours

BK = Black
G = Grey
SL = Silver
W = White

Glossary

Auto beat loop:
With some players it's possible to create a seamless loop at the touch of a button with the help of auto BPM detection. Usually there is a choice of loop length between a single beat up to four beats and sometimes eight. The accuracy of this depends on the accuracy of the beat detection.

BPM counter:
A BPM (beats per minute) counter can be a very useful tool in creating tight mixes in your set. However, the accuracy of BPM detection varies greatly; some cheaper models only match to 0.1 of a BPM whereas more expensive models can show wider, more accurate information.

Built in FX:
Some decks feature built in sound FX such as chorus, flange, phaser and even beat sync'd FX such as delays and timed filters.

File formats:
CD players will generally play files commonly associated with audio such as .wav, .aiff and .mp3 files from CDs, CD-Rs (recordable CDs) or CD-RWs (rewritable CDs). Some will support FAT (file allocation system) at 8, 16 or 32 bit or lossless FLAC files that compress file sizes without losing any of the original digital information.

HID Support:
A human interface device (HID) interacts directly with users and generally refers to the USB-HID specification. Although in the case of CD decks it resembles MIDI over USB, HID supports the notion of bi-directional communication without the need for the installation of extra drivers for the device. In short, if you are using your CD deck as a software controller, HID is an efficient protocol for your device to interact with you and your computer software of choice.

Hot cue/loops:
It's often possible to save various cue points in a given track, making them ready for instant recall using the hot cue buttons provided on the player - the same can be done for loops. If the CD player supports SD cards, this information can be saved for later use.

Jog wheel tension control and touch sensitivity:
The more control over the amount of resistance on a jog wheel, the better - the same applies to being able to adjust the weight the platters have. This is useful for tailoring the feel of the jog wheels - i.e. if you prefer a heavy or light touch.

Jog wheels:
One of the most notable features of modern CD players is the jog wheel. These are intended to emulate the feel and action of a vinyl turntable platter on a traditional record deck. On CD players there are usually two modes of operation; CD mode, which is designed for the manual adjustment of tempo, and vinyl mode, which allows you to perform more advanced turntable techniques such as scratching.

Key lock:
Pioneer CDJs have a master tempo button that is designed to lock the pitch of the music playing regardless of what tempo you have decided to play the music back in. When you have put the deck in key lock mode, the music plays at the same tuned pitch whether it is at the original BPM or has been sped up/slowed down using the pitch fader.

Motorised platter:
Some models of CD decks have motorized platters in order to simulate the look and feel of vinyl more closely. Motorised platters tend to be favoured by scratch DJs as they are more reminiscent of vinyl control than players with static, non motorised platters.

Music management software:
Some manufacturers of CD decks that offer USB connectivity have also developed their own music management software to ease the workload associated with having large libraries of digital music. Using this software allows you to browse music more efficiently, create playlists as well as save information such as cue points and loop points. Some software also allows you to fine-tune the quantize grid to allow the use of auto beat loop functions.

Needle search/drop:
This feature appears on more advanced decks and allows the user to search through and play music from different points very quickly. In short it's a kind of virtual record needle that is usually controlled by a ribbon strip or touch screen on the deck.

Pitch range:
All CD players have some sort of pitch fader control that simulates the control found on record decks such as Technics 1200s, and is used to help beat match in order to create tight mixes. Some decks allow you to change the width of the pitch range anywhere from plus or minus 4% to 100%. The resolution of the pitch faders also varies - in this respect you tend to get what you pay for. W stands for wide pitch range.

Pro DJ Link:
With more advanced CD players it's possible to connect more than one player using a LAN (local area network) cable. This allows multiple players to read information from a single source. For example, if a USB storage device is connected to one player that is then connected by LAN to other players, those decks will also be able to play music from that USB storage device at the same time. It can also be used to connect multiple decks to a computer, allowing you to play from playlists you may have created using software designed to ease the workload of DJs, such as Pioneer's rekordbox by or Denon's Engine.

Quantize:
When creating loops or hot cues, there are sometimes inaccuracies in the start points; we don't always hit the desired buttons at exactly the right time. With the use of a beat grid, which can be found on most music management software, it is possible to quantize the loop start and end points so that our inputs snap to the beat grid, making tighter, perfect loops. Of course, if the music you are playing has a tempo that varies, such as can be found on older records, the beat grid won't match up to the individual drum hits and it should be noted that this quantize feature won't facilitate putting out of time records in time, which can be achieved by warping or flexing in software like Ableton or Logic Studio.

Reverse mode:
This feature allows your music to be played backwards.

S/PDIF Digital Output:
This is a kind of digital audio output connection that can use a single RCA (phono) connector to transmit a stereo signal.

SD card slot:
Some of the more advanced models of CD deck will allow you to play music from an SD (secure digital) memory card - the kind you find in portable devices such as digital cameras and mobile phones. In addition, data such as hot cue points or loop points can also be saved for later use.

Slip mode:
This is a feature that can be found on more advanced players and allows you to interrupt the sound coming from your source while not interrupting the real-time advance of the song, and is usually implemented by pushing lightly on a touch sensitive jog wheel. You can create gated effects by tapping rhythms on the jog wheel without affecting the advancement of time.

USB input:
Some CD decks will allow you to play music directly from a USB storage device such as an external hard drive or a flash memory stick, without the need for CDs. The sound from the USB device can be manipulated in the same way as digital music from a CD. Some CD deck brands have also developed their own library management software to ease the workload of dealing with a large amount of digital music files.

USB MIDI control:
With the emergence of software based DJing, a wide variety of MIDI controllers have been developed to allow physical control over a virtual environment. Mostly implemented over USB, some CD decks will also allow you to use their control surfaces (i.e. jog wheels, pitch faders, buttons and knobs) to control your DJ software of choice. Be sure to check the system requirements of your CD player before purchasing to ensure it will work with your computer.

Wave Display:
A waveform display offers a visual representation of the track currently loaded on the deck. It helps show where features such as breakdowns and build ups occur in the music.

The Juno Plus guide to buying CD decks

CD decks are the new staple of DJ decks, having taken over in popularity from traditional vinyl turntables - these days most clubs and bars have some kind of CD deck set-up.

As with most DJ equipment, it's always important to recognise what kind of a DJ you are and what you are expecting from your deck of choice. Are you a club DJ who favours long mixing? If so, certain features, such as a vinyl mode, will be less important to you than jog wheel tension or the accuracy of the BPM counter. If you are a serious turntablist, then you might prefer a deck with a motorized platter and extended touch sensitivity features, along with a vinyl mode for getting accurate tactile control over your music. Are you a mobile DJ looking for an all-in-one solution that includes a pair of CD decks and a built-in mixer? Maybe you like the idea of having a large library of digital music to choose from to suit a variety of scenarios but don't like the idea of taking a computer out on the road with you, In which case you might favour a CD deck that allows you to plug in and use USB storage devices.

With the advent of computer based DJing, a wide variety of USB-MIDI controllers have become available. But if you are looking for a way to integrate your physical set up with a virtual set up using your DJ software of choice, then some CD decks will double as deck controllers, using USB or HID to connect to your computer. Of course, you may be a computer based DJ who wants to get away from the software and auto sync options that it entails and learn to beat match by ear alone.

Although CD decks have been around for a good while now, the predominance for rack mounted decks seems to be over in favour of single table top units. All of the units featured here are table top decks that feature anti shock buffering, designed to lower the chance of vibrations stopping your CD player mid set. All of the CD players featured in this guide will play CDs, CD-Rs and CD-RWs and, generally, all of the decks play .wav, .aiff and .mp3 files. (Note though that it is always safer to avoid using rewritable CDs where possible, as they are more easily damaged.) If you are going to be using USB storage devices, many companies that design and manufacture CD decks have also developed software to aid you in managing your library of music into playlists that you can index by BPM, genre or other criteria.

One of the key advantages of CD decks over traditional decks is the looping and cueing possibilities. These features vary greatly between the different models. Almost all of the decks will allow you to facilitate some kind of loop using a loop in and out marker; some will even allow you to edit your loops while cueing either by using the jog wheel or the transport controls, but if you don't feel confident manually looping your music then there are some decks that will loop automatically using information from the BPM counter or a beat grid that has been implemented using music management software.

It's been said that a good DJ can perform on any equipment, and to that end it is always a good idea to learn to DJ on multiple platforms. This is more relevant than ever to CD decks as they are still the single most prevalent piece of DJing equipment (along with DJ mixers) in clubs and bars all over the world. No matter what spectrum of the DJ experience you come from, be it computer based or vinyl based, being proficient on CD decks is a good skill to have and knowing what your specific needs are will help you choose the right CD deck.

Still online - DJ mixers: The Ultimate Buyer's Guide

Still online - DJ controllers: The Ultimate Buyer's Guide

Still online - DJ headphones: The Ultimate Buyer's Guide