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In a world dominated by computer depended DJ controllers, we have a look at the best all in one DJ systems available on the market today. Usually, these systems are midi capable DJ controllers as well, but the focus is mainly on the standalone aspect. Most of them still carry CD decks, but the tendency is to move more and more to USB support only.
Why a standalone DJ system and not a midi DJ controller? In many cases, DJs are hesitant to bring their expensive Macbook Pro’s into a greasy DJ booth, for understandable reasons. Also being able to read track information directly from the deck screens in front of you instead of looking at the laptop screen helps to connect with your crowd.
You might look for Gemini’s upcoming SDJ-4000 in this list, but since it’s not been released yet (hopefully it will be around Q3 this year) I didn’t add it. But as soon as it’s out, this article will be updated!
Let’s have a look at a few units that are available on the market today.
TOP PICKS in this article
|Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX|
|Gemini GMX Drive|
|Numark Mixdeck Express|
TOP PICK! Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX
The Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX looks on the first inspection like it belongs in Pioneer DJ’s DDJ family of DJ controllers, but looking closer reveals this is really in the first place a media player, hence the XDJ denomination.
It has a big, high-resolution screen above the mixer, that displays all necessary track information and waveforms. The decks contain the usual controls found on Pioneer’s CDJ/XDJ units, such as looping controls, a big jog wheel similar to the one found in the DDJ-RX. Additional to that, it has 4 performance pads per deck for auto loops, hot cues, and loop slicer.
The mixer has sound color effects build additional to a full blown FX module, much like on other Pioneer DJ DJM mixers. It has 2 channels you can connect turntables to each channel if you prefer using those over the built-in decks.
At approx. USD 1.499 the XDJ-RX doesn’t come cheap, but on the other hand, any combination of CDJ/XDJ media players with a DJM mixer will be (much) more expensive. Plus here you get “controller” like features, like the performance pads on each deck. Finally, the fact it will also work as a midi controller for Rekordbox DJ is a big advantage of the XDJ-RX.
TOP PICK! Gemini GMX Drive
The Gemini GMX Drive has not received much attention in the dedicated press, and that is a shame. There is much to like here, such as the flat spacious jog wheels, the 8 pads per deck and the high contrast screens that show rough waveforms and other track information. It plays CDs or USB, and it can also function as a midi controller for Virtual DJ.
It won’t be the unit that has the best sound or is build to the highest standards, but if you need an all-in-one DJ system and you are on a tight budget, this unit is worth your consideration, especially since it sells for approx. USD 300.
TOP PICK! Numark Mixdeck Express
The Numark Mixdeck Express is standalone DJ system with large jog wheels, 3 channel mixer and 1 screen per deck that displays basic track information. The mixer’s third channel is switchable between AUX and a microphone input. On the back you will find XLR and RCA outputs, and AUX and microphone input.
The Numark Mixdeck Express accepts USB sticks and CDs. The onboard screens are very basic but do display everything you need regarding your tracks.
Overall, the Numark Mixdeck Express is a good solution for mobile DJ’s that don’t need the latest technological gimmicks. It will get the job done, and for approx. USD 600, it’s a good value for money.
The Gemini CDMP-7000 is fully featured professional DJ media controller, and it does offer a lot of value for your money. At approx. USD 600, it’s hard to find a better deal. Considering the unit came out over 4 years ago, it has held up surprisingly well over time.
So what is the catch? Well, even it mimics the Pioneer DJ gear look, it’s not Pioneer DJ. If you can get over that fact, the CDMP-7000 has a lot of functionality to offer: bright touchscreens for each deck that show a lot of information, support for CD’s, USB’s and SD cards, a 3 band mixer, external inputs for each channel, and much more.
Pioneer DJ XDJ-R1
The Pioneer DJ XDJ-R1 is a well build, professional looking all in one solution from Pioneer DJ. It has built-in CD players and an USB slot. The preferred workflow for the XDJ-R1 is to prepare your music in Rekordbox, export to USB and play from there.
The layout is very similar to a CDJ/DJM setup from Pioneer DJ, and the mixer even has color effects, similar to those on the much more advanced & expensive DJM mixers. It has XLR and RCA master out, RCA booth out and individual inputs per channel.
With the XDJ-R1 Pioneer tried to introduce the concept of wireless DJing, allowing the XDJ-R1 to be fully controlled remotely from your phone using the Remotebox app. Useful for some but, many DJs remain skeptical of controlling (or playing) from wifi, as interruption and disconnection can ruin a set completely.
The XDJ-R1 sells for around USD 900.
Numark CDMIX USB
Another Numark Product worth mentioning here is the Numark CDMix USB a very compact “traditional” double CD player with rudimentary screens and jog wheels. It does support USB sticks, so you can play your MP3 without having to burn them to CD.
The great advantage of the CDMix USB is its compact size and solid build. This is the kind of gear you want in small bar booths. Also, if you have a huge collection of CDs that you don’t want to replace or transfer to USB, this a good option.