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

Last updated 5 March, 2019

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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 than that, much more. Let’s find out the whole story in our hands-on Denon DN-SC2000 review…

First impressions/setting up

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.

In use

Overall, the build quality is excellent and it is tactile and fun to use. With 8 cues, 3 FX with good parameter control and onboard 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…

The Complete DJ