At the year's halfway mark, and with the smell of summer in the air, we figured we'd take a minute to honor some of the year's coolest digital DJ tech. Whether you're a veteran of the DJ booth or just an audio nerd looking for some futuristic eye candy, there's no way you can escape this hardware roundup without getting a twinge of gear lust.
Why we love it: The CDJ-2000 is one of the most flexible, format-agnostic DJ decks ever built. The 6.1-inch color LCD is the largest yet on a CDJ system and the adjustable tension of the jog wheel will satisfy even the pickiest user.
Why we love it: To us, nothing begs for abuse and finesse more than arcade buttons. Being able to leverage years of Street Fighter button combos into a killer DJ routine seems like a worthy cause. Also, each unit is made in San Francisco.
Why we love it: If you love Native Instruments' Traktor DJ software (and many do), you've probably seen the Kontrol S4 in your dreams. Just as the software goes a little further and gets a little nerdier than its competition, the Kontrol S4 is the perfect complement. Great for loopers and sample mashers.
/ Photo: Native Instruments
MIDI Fighter Pro
Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4
Pioneer DDJ-S1 Controller
Vestax PMC-05 ProIV
Price: $1,299 street
Bundled software: Serato Itch
Why we love it: This thing is built like a tank and boasts great sound quality and a first-class cross-fader. The bundled software is solid and the two mic inputs are just begging for an MC battle.
Why we love it: The ProIV brings USB MIDI integration to one of its top-shelf battle mixers. The oversize transformer switches over each fader, allowing you to chop audio to your heart's content. Also, we like red stuff.
Why we love it: If you can do without jog wheels and leave beat synchronization to your software, the Twitch will make it up to you with extra buttons for triggering and manipulating samples and song cues.
Why we love it: The Denon MC6000 packs an incredible number of controls into a compact system that won't break your back. The four-channel mixer can be used on its own, even when not connected to a computer.