Decks to die for: Denon DN-S3500

Despite the bad rap DJs get in modern times, there's plenty of mind-blowing technology emerging from the scene. Denon's spectacular new virtual decks took us by surprise

They're famously off their faces in Fabric; incompetently shuffling vinyl; meaningfully holding one headphone cup to an ear attached to their vacant skull. These are all criticisms levelled at the modern groove-donkey, otherwise known as the vinyl-juggling day-release idiot, or DJ for short. No other human profession so completely embodies what the 'shuffle' button on your MP3 player can do ten times better.

Some might argue that a DJ actually has the power to transform a room's mood from one of melancholy to one of happiness and energy. He or she is, in effect, a small god for the length of a set. Do you think that?

After spending an hour on the new Denon DN-S3500 decks, our opinion may be about to change. These units revolutionise the art of DJing. The most impressive thing about these decks is that, unlike the Hercules MP3 decks we looked at a few weeks ago, the Denon lets you use a real vinyl record. It looks like you're kicking it old-school despite the fact your movements actually influence the playback of the CD inside. This gives the tactile impression that you're really scratching analogue-style. Blindfolded, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.

CDs load into the front of the unit and you can mix and scratch exactly as you would with a conventional record deck. There's a proper direct drive mechanism and slip-mat. These suckers pump decibels. The DN-S3500's retail for around £600. Despite our anti-DJ tirade, these will blow your mind. Expect a full review soon. -CS

Update: a full review of the Denon DN-S3500 is now live.