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Best 10 digital DJ rigs (photos)

CNET's Donald Bell rounds up his top 10 favorite digital DJ systems, including controllers and interfaces from Numark, Serato, Vestax, and Pioneer.

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Donald Bell
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1 of 10 CNET

Numark NS7

Pros: Numark's NS7 affords laptop-based DJs the look, feel, and control of using professional, motorized turntables, without all the hassle and limitations of analog gear.
Cons: At around 35 pounds, the Numark NS7 is a beast of a system, and not nearly as portable or affordable as its competition.
Price: $1,600 ($1,300 street)
Full review
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2 of 10 Allen & Heath

Allen & Heath Xone 4D mixer

Pros: The Allen & Heath Xone 4D is an uncompromising piece of DJ gear that combines a high-end analog DJ mixer with a full-featured MIDI controller. It can be used with software or as a standalone analog DJ mixer.
Cons: Insanely expensive. Plus, you'll still need to invest in software.
Price: $2,999
More info
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3 of 10 Allen & Heath

Pioneer CDJ-1000 MK3

Pros: The Pioneer CDJ-1000 MK3 is an industry standard when it comes to CD DJ decks. Intuitive controls, rock-solid construction, and a futuristic design. No laptop required.
Cons: It's pricey, the interface is cramped, and scaling up means buying an additional deck.
Price: $1,499
More info
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4 of 10 Native Instruments

Traktor Scratch Pro

Pros: Native Instruments' Traktor software offers more features than its main competitor, Serato. The company's Traktor Scratch Pro bundle includes software, virtual records, and a high-end audio interface for transforming your analog turntables into digital software controllers.
Cons: You'll need turntables or MIDI controllers to get the most from the software, and the software's deep features can feel overwhelming to beginners.
Price: $400-$600, depending on the bundle.
More info
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5 of 10 CNET

Vestax VCI-300

Pros: The Vestax VCI-300 is a professional bundle of digital DJ hardware and software, offering high-resolution controls and the reliability of a closed, integrated system.
Cons: The Vestax VCI-300 isn't designed for use with third-party software; it's an expensive system; and the bundled software is short on features.
Price: $1,300 (around $900 street)
Full review
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6 of 10 Rane

Rane Serato Scratch Live 3

Pros: Rane's Serato Scratch Live 3 software/hardware bundle is currently the hottest system around for professional DJs who want to use existing analog turntables to control Serato's Scratch Live DJ software. The system is prized for its stability and the realistic resolution of its analog-to-digital control.
Cons: It's not cheap, and just like Native Instrument's Traktor Scratch Pro, you'll need turntables or MIDI controllers to really take advantage of the system.
Price: $879 ($699 street)
More info
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7 of 10 Numark

Numark CDX turntable

Pros: The Numark CDX turntable offers all the convenience and precision of a CD player with the feel and control of an analog turntable. No laptop required.
Cons: Scaling up means buying more decks, the controls and LCD screen are a little cramped and out of the way, and the plastic construction is a little flimsy feeling.
Price: $899 ($600 street)
More info
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8 of 10 Stanton

Stanton SCS.1d

Pros: The Stanton SCS.1d is a virtual vinyl system similar to the Numark NS7, and includes a single 10-inch direct drive platter and tons of assignable buttons and knobs for controlling whatever DJ software you choose.
Cons: The SCS.1d lacks an audio card (you'll need the SCS.1m for that), works only over Firewire, feels a little flimsy, and isn't bundled with DJ software.
Price: $1,499 ($700 street)
More info
9 of 10 CNET

Numark iDJ2

Pros: The Numark iDJ2 provides a professional, one-stop solution for DJing with an iPod MP3 player or USB drive. Features such as XLR output, video output, a built-in color screen, and multiple pitch-control modes can't be found in comparable products at this price.
Cons: The Numark iDJ2's plastic construction doesn't inspire confidence, there's no support for protected-AAC files, and there are no built-in effects.
Price: $599 retail ($499 street)
Full review
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10 of 10 Akai

Akai APC40

Pros: For DJs who are less about scratching and more about creatively triggering, layering, and remixing audio with a program like Ableton Live, the Akai APC40 offers a tightly integrated hardware interface with spacious controls.
Cons: Doesn't offer as much club credibility as spinning records and still requires an investment in Ableton Live software.
Price: $599 ($399 street)
More info

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