Denon DN-SC2000 Review: Single-Deck DJ Breakthrough?

Review Summary:

It's not the first single-jogwheel Midi deck, but it's the best so far due to its professional features and build, and its extreme portability. Add a small, lightweight laptop and you've got the smallest serious DJ setup you can have. I DJed for five years without a controller just using my laptop, but if this had existed then, I would have probably bought it. Minimal/portable DJ? Get in the queue...

Denon DN-SC2000
  • Denon DN-SC2000
  • Rating: 3.5
  • From: Denon DJ
  • Price: $205
  • Reviewed by:
  • On October 18, 2010
  • Last modified:February 20, 2014
The Denon DN-SC2000 is a compact, professional, single-jog DJ Midi controller.

The Denon DN-SC2000 is a compact, professional, single-jog DJ Midi controller.

Review: Denon DN-SC2000

One of the great things about the wide choice of modern digital DJ equipment nowadays is the combinations of kit you can put together to get a DJ set-up that suits your own personal style of DJing, software choice and size/weight preferences.

For instance, if you use Traktor Pro with no controller, but have looked at adding the Native Instruments Kontrol X1 to your digital DJing setup to give you some knobs and buttons to play with, the Denon DN-SC2000 will probably already have you thinking again. But there’s more to it that that, much more. Let’s find out the whole story in our hands-on Denon DN-SC2000 review…

Two decks in one

As you can see, the Denon DN-SC2000 is a single-deck Midi controller. Along with a sound card, it will let you control Traktor Pro or Virtual DJ’s features without having to continually resort to the keyboard or worse, mouse. It is a lightweight and compact steel-cased unit, being only 6.7″ x 1.7″ x 8.6″ in size and clocking in at a couple of pounds. It is smaller and lighter than it looks in its picture, but nonetheless the jogwheel is of good quality and the pitch fader is long-throw and also feels right.

The first innovation is that it can actually control 2 decks, despite looking like it might only control one. By hitting the deck switch button, the unit’s backlighting changes colour to indicate which deck you’re using, so you can easily DJ a whole set with just the one controller.

Well-built and feature-packed
Overall, the build quality is excellent and it is tactile and fun to use. With 8 cues, 3 FX with good parameter control and on-board music library navigation, it doesn’t skimp on the features either.

Denon DN-SC2000 review

It is well laid out and has a lot of controls without feeling too cluttered (click to enlarge).

Who is it for?

I can see 3 groups of people who may already be wanting to get their hands on one of these having read this far:
1. DJs who have no hardware controller but want something small
If you are quite happy DJing with your laptop plus keyboard shortcuts, yet yearn for the ability to have at least some hands-on control of features, this unit will be great for you. It is small, light, professional, reasonably cheap, and for the minimal/portable DJ, it could be all you ever need. Certainly if you’ve been looking at the Native Instruments Kontrol X1 but wondering if you can DJ with that alone (even without jogwheels), you will probably be better off with this. If you want something tiny to throw into your pack so you can play impromptu DJ sets, it’s going to be a great fit.

If your DJing is in tiny bars, challenging installations, outdoors, up mountains, if you’re travelling and you want something tiny to throw into your pack along with your laptop so you can play impromptu DJ sets, or you’re just minimal in nature, it’s going to be a great fit.

2. DJs who want to add 3rd/4th deck support to an existing control set-up
If you’ve got a DJ controller that you’re happy with, but it can only control 2 decks and you want to control the third and fourth decks in Traktor Pro (or 2 extra decks out of the 99 available in Virtual DJ Pro 7), as long as your sound card has 4 outputs, you can add this little unit to your set-up and the job’s done.

(Same goes for DVS users who’d like to add some 4-deck spice easily to their DJ sets, with just a small extra footprint.)

Denon DN-SC2000 rear

Not much to report round the back of the unit, which is USB bus powered (ie no need for external power)

3. DJs who want to use an existing mixer but run 4 decks through it
With a 4-channel sound card and a 4-channel mixer (or a 4-channel digital mixer) you could add 2 of these and have a compact and powerful 4-deck digital DJing system, while keeping your existing mixer at the heart of your DJ set-up.

Conclusion

It’s not the first single-jogwheel Midi deck, but it’s the best so far due to its professional features and build, and its extreme portability. Add a small, lightweight laptop and you’ve got the smallest serious DJ setup you can have.

I DJed for five years without a controller just using my laptop, but if this had existed then, I would have probably bought it. Minimal/portable DJ? Get in the queue…

Product Summary

Review Summary:

It's not the first single-jogwheel Midi deck, but it's the best so far due to its professional features and build, and its extreme portability. Add a small, lightweight laptop and you've got the smallest serious DJ setup you can have. I DJed for five years without a controller just using my laptop, but if this had existed then, I would have probably bought it. Minimal/portable DJ? Get in the queue...

Denon DN-SC2000
  • Denon DN-SC2000
  • Rating: 3.5
  • From: Denon DJ
  • Price: $205
  • Reviewed by:
  • On October 18, 2010
  • Last modified:February 20, 2014

Comments

  1. Looks promising, but the price point isn’t quite right. The street price puts it in competition with 2 deck controllers (such as the mixtrack or hercules) and it isn’t fancy enough to compete with other single deck controllers (EKS Otus, Numark V7, etc). I would even venture to say that the market value is closer to the $100-150 range.

  2. Denon products are better built than Mixtrack or Hercules.

    My only suggestion would be bigger jogwheels… everyone has played with CDJs.

    Small jogwheels make this look a bit toyish.

  3. So, no usefull info (DJTT style) on the:
    - resolution of Pitch fader
    - resolution of jog dial
    - usb HID availability
    Please?

  4. ToS

    So, no usefull info (DJTT style) on the:
    - resolution of Pitch fader
    - resolution of jog dial
    - usb HID availability
    Please?

    Harsh but fair ;-)

    Especially HID or Midi latency etc etc

  5. Phil Morse says:

    At this price and nowadays, aren’t all jogs/faders hi-res? Pitch is 14-bit, not sure about jog, but control certainly feels tight. Not sure on HID, but I actually guess not – they’re specifically aimed at Traktor Pro.

  6. Weslochan says:

    looks cool/price not to bad, but could be lower for what the unit can do versus 2 deck midi controllers on the market already and HID???/latency. Reminds me of what Dj Tech products are already doing with their usolo MKII to usolo pro porducts/ noted “steel case” good build quality that’s a plus. I think the CDJs I used in demo shows where plastic cases and over priced in my opinion….

  7. So what would be the perfect mixer to go with this? Maybe if I want to use one of these for now for a 2 deck set, but want to open the option of being able to do 4 decks later..? I’d appreciate anyone’s input!

  8. Got a good look at DNSC2000 up close today, kind of smaller then what I thought it would be. All the Numark controllers I saw, perfect size and layout. The new M-Audio Xponent was a nice size too and nice jog wheels size/not to small.

  9. Phil Morse says:

    New M-Audio Xponent? Are you sure it’s a new one? Tell us more!

    Yeah the Denon is tiny – that’s partly why I like it.

  10. Correction on the M-Audio Xponent, still the same. Saw it at Sam Ash while in the mall. For the Denon and size/price, I would go with a Dj Tech controller.

  11. DJ Fernandough says:

    hey Phil, neck deep in research here….. i dare to say this joint seems better than the NI Kontrol x1, but would you say this, along with a numark V7 and whatever 4channel mixer would make a good set up for virtual dj 7?

  12. Phil Morse says:

    This basically does the same thing as a Numark V7. but the V7 is made for ITCH – you could probably get such a set-up to work but I don’t understand why you’re complicating it so much. Care to explain?

  13. I recently purchased this product in the UK, upgrading my current set up which was a numark total control. I think its a very well build product. The jogwheel is very responsive, similar to some of the cdj’s on the market. All pots and bottoms are also of a very high standard (only gripe are the denon rubber play/pause and cue button – not quite as nice as the pioneer buttoms, but non the less good quality). The pitch fader is superb! – very much like technics 1200. It is also very long in comparison to many midi controllers on the market.

    The leading competitors for this product are the Numark v7, NI X1, and to a lesser extent the EKS Otus (just an opinion). The reason why I picked the denon controller over the rest was due to its price, the build quality, the jog wheel and definietly the pitch fader. In addition the chaps at a couple large dj stores in london recommended this product suggesting it is the best product denon dj have released in recent year.

  14. DJ Fernandough says:

    hey Phil, forgive my noobness, my vision was for the v7 (that spinning wheel for my scratching keeps calling me, lol) to control 1 and 2 and the denon to control 3 and 4 on virtual dj (7 pro comes mapped for numark v7 now), read your response and you are right it is complicated specially cause 3 and 4 may end up having more features than 1 and 2 among other things, and since a)i am not making any good money from spinning yet, except for the ocassional house party
    and b) dn sc 2000 seems to give me more choices control wise and offers better portability, so i decided on 2 denon dn sc 2000 just ordered the 1st one and 2nd one shall come later, will be using with an ecler nuo 2 that i just bought used about 2 months ago….. thanks for the eye opener

  15. Phil Morse says:

    No problem, glad to be of assistance

  16. i am between x1 and this i use traktor pro scratch for about 2 years

    4 quick questions:

    1. numark v7 is only designed for serato ? looks good too.
    2.can you scratch perfectly with this ? and this is the advantage from x1
    3.is the Reloop Contour has 4 decks control but it’s not so nice a this ?
    4.can you control 4 decks only by buy a second unit? can you configure it to control 4 decks?

    well between those 3 …… numark v7- traktor x1 – Reloop Contour ….. for traktor scratch pro what you recommend best ?

    i found the site about a week its very nice & helpfull even for por djs keep on !!!!!!

    • Phil Morse says:

      Yes, the V7 is intended for Serato ITCH. The Dneon has hi-res jogwheels but it is obviously not vinyl, so scratching with it will be different. The reloop contour is much bigger and has a built-in soundcard – the Denon doesn’t. And you’d need 2 DN-SC2000′s to control 4 decks.

      All those controllers are different so I can’t recommend one over another – you need to compare the feature sets to see what suits you.

  17. are the cue/sample buttons good and responsiv?
    is hid better than midi in terms of responsivness??

    • Phil Morse says:

      Cue/sample, yes they’re great.

      The jogwheels are hi-res Midi, HID is something else. They’re very responsive.

  18. why is it that they are saying hid have faster info transfer as well as transfers display info. i read somwhere there is a lag when using midi but on hid you wont have that.
    another thing i heard on fast movment on jogwheel hid performs better? any of this true??
    i am planning on buying but if i am spending money i wont to future proof as well as get the most responsive unit to your touch as i use a lot of looping hotstarts and scratching.
    i used my denon 3700 with midi on traktor and it just not the same responsivness as i have when i use 3700 on its own !
    THANKS for answering and helping !!!

    • Phil Morse says:

      Both systems can perform perfectly or can perform laggy – don’t get hung up on it is my advice. the Denon controllers with suitable computer hardware and software will perform as well as anything on the market.

  19. Chris Argueta says:

    A few questions regarding the Denon DN-SC2000:

    1) Can a pair pf DN-SC2000s be connected to a powered USB hub, so
    as to not use up so many USB ports? Would it affect their
    response?

    2) Has anyone seen a transport case for these yet?

    3) Can the button that swithches between decks be defeated (or
    disabled)? Probably in the mapping, I’d bet.

    • As long as the hub is powered, I don’t see why not. Not seen a case yet. I am sure you can disable the deck switch button, but don’t have one to hand to check it.

  20. Shahanslv says:

    Is it posible to setup 2 of these denon SC2000 to a normal mixer?If it is how can this be done…
    Plzz advise…
    Thank you..

    • Phil Morse says:

      Yes, you’d need a separate sound card and then to put Traktor (for instance) into external mixer mode. The sound card’s two outputs would be routed to each channel of the mixer. If you wanted four channels, you’d need a four stereo outs soundbcard, like the NI Audio 8 or Audio 10.

  21. What does anyone think about two of these, a DDM4000 and a Dell 1530?

  22. Can you use this controller as a 3rd player along with 2 x SL 1200? So u have 3 decks??? Playing at once

  23. I hope that there will be more single deck controllers in the years to come as there are so many all in one DJ controllers but not enough single deck controllers. I guess they expect us to just use turntables or CDJs…

  24. complete absolute beginner to djing, wanted to pick up two of these and an external mixer , how do the sc2000s connect to the soundcard/mixer? as in cables etc? sorry for the nooby questions many thanks

    • They don’t connect to a sound card at all. they connect to the laptop and offer Midi control over the laptop’s decks. You could use a “normal” DJ mixer (ie analogue) and an external sound card like the Traktor Kontrol Audio 2, only using the decks to control the “decks” parts of your software, or pair them with a mixer that has an audio interface built in. If you went for a mixer with Midi too, you could add some extra functionality over your DJ software if you wanted.

      Frankly it’d be far simpler to buy a DJ controller that basically does all of the above in one simple box!

  25. Hey Phil, I was wondering if you could give me some advice on what gear would suit me best. I use to have a killer setup that I had to give up; my setup was composed of two pioneer cdj 800’s and a vestax 4 channel mixer. After giving up my setup, I found a Vestax VCM 600 controller on ebay for a killer price ($250) and I couldn’t resist getting it. I also ended up getting the Traktor 2.5 software for about $89 dollars. It is a great setup, but I really miss having some sort of jog wheels so that I can scratch, nudge, and do other cool things. So here is my dilemma… I already have a soundcard, traktor pro, and the VCM 600, so should I just buy a pair of these DN-SC2000 controllers (I can get the pair for $300)? Or should I just get something like the S2 Mk2 for $499? My main concern with the S2 Mk2 is how small the fader is and how short the volume faders are compared to regular dj mixers. On the other hand, my main concern with the DN-SC2000 is that they are over 3 years old and I don’t know if they would still work with future Traktor and Windows versions.

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