TECH REVIEW: DENON DJ MC2000 | DJMag.com Skip to main content

TECH REVIEW: DENON DJ MC2000

Budget banger

While every DJ from old skool to newcomer wannabe lusts after the latest all singing, all dancing top-end DJ equipment the reality is that in the these austere times unless your parent is a banker or landed gentry the likely hood is that the equipment that DJs learn their craft on is going to be more basic and from the budget price range. Denon’s latest controller the MC2000 manages to keep the same great build quality we have come to expect from Denon but has been priced to make it competitive in the budget controller market and could be the perfect controller for DJs to start their journey to becoming the next generation of mix-masters.

These days buying budget doesn’t need to mean sacrificing quality but inevitably it will mean foregoing some features, however this could actually be a blessing for newbie DJs as well as their audiences. In the world of music production as well as DJing it is all too easy to get caught up in the promises found in the shiny advertisements that the latest equipment will transform performances instantly to give the owner god like skills, but there are no shortcuts to excellence. The core skills of DJing remain the same and only by mastering the basics of mixing, track selection as well as reading a crowd can anyone become truly awesome in a DJ booth. When first starting out DJs need a good solid controller with enough features for them to grow into as their skill increases, more advanced features can tend to be an expensive waste that are seldom used as well as being a distraction when trying to get to grips with the core skills of DJing.

This is where the DJ MC2000 steps into the ring, while it is both a compact controller as well as managing to keep the price within the budget range it still manages to pack everything a DJ needs to rock a crowd into its small case in addition to some features that would normally only be seen in much more expensive controllers. The MC2000 has been designed to integrate seamlessly with Serato DJ Intro which comes included with the controller and setting up a laptop or computer to work with the controller is incredibly straight forward and possibly one of the easiest installations processes we have seen to date. While Serato Intro has gained some criticism due to its relatively lean set of features there is no denying that it is a professional piece of software which when paired with a controller like the MC2000 it works amazingly well and is perfect for newcomers or DJs who prefer to keep it about the ones and twos, using the music and mixes to do the talking rather than relying on technical trickery, and once mastered DJs can for a small price upgrade to Serarto’s new flagship Serato DJ software which ships with Pioneer’s top end DDJ SX controller.

When first released from its packaging the weight of the MC2000 is the first thing that is noticed, it feels reassuringly heavy and that is because it has an all metal construction with the sole exception being a plastic silver band running around the edges, meaning that this controller should last a very long time. The colour scheme and labelling on the control surface is a black and white affair that is low key and looks professional with the fader and knob caps completing the business like feel of the control surface. The faders, knobs and encoders Denon have used when constructing the MC2000 are high quality and feel great to use with just the right amount of resistance. The MC2000 has a similar footprint to a widescreen laptop which makes it very portable even if it is a little heavier than most controllers of this size.

At the heart of the MC2000’s control surface is a two channel mixer with a gain knob, three EQ knobs and a cue button to compliment the channel faders. At the bottom of the channel faders is a crossfader with a small throw that is perfect for cutting and scratching. The master gain knob and headphone control knobs have been placed away from the mixer section and are found at the edges of the control surface which although being unusual this placement works perfectly well. At the centre of the mixer section between the EQ knobs is a track browsing and loading section made up of a push button rotary encoder knob surrounded by buttons to take care of loading tracks into either of the decks and navigating through the crates when looking for tracks to load. The MC2000 also has an additional two audio inputs, one for a microphone and an aux input for an external audio device which have their own separate volume control via knobs on the back of the unit next to the input connections, which although being handy are made much less usable by the fact that they cannot be controlled via the mixer’s faders and EQs. What is noticeably missing from the mixer section is a VU meter, this is an oversight that is compounded by the fact the Serato DJ Intro does not have a VU meter ether and is a disappointing omission. But not a problem if using it with Serato DJ

Sitting either side of the MC2000’s mixer are two deck sections each with a jog wheel that while being on the small side uses high quality components and has the kind of resolution that is normally only seen on much more expensive controllers, they are very nice to use for mixing as well as being more than up to the job when it comes to scratching. At the bottom of each of the jog wheels are back lit buttons for sync, cue, play along with a button to select vinyl mode and two buttons for pitch bending. Pitch control faders are found at the sides of the jog wheels which have a action that oozes quality along with a nice click in the centre to give tactile feedback to DJs when the pitch is at zero. Adorning the top of each deck section is an effects control section with three knobs, three buttons and a rotary encoder, below this is a loop control section with five buttons dedicated to this task. The four hot cue/sample buttons complete the deck section and can either be used for hot cues or triggering samples when used with the shift button pressed down.

With the release of the MC2000 Denon have managed to create a DJ controller that is undoubtedly has the feel of a professional piece of equipment with a good set of features that has a very reasonable price tag attached to it. The MC2000 could be the perfect tool for DJs looking to get their first controller or for DJs that prefer two deck mixing, it manages to strike a good balance between keeping things simple and having enough features to allow DJs to grow as they learn the craft. While the MC2000 isn’t perfect it does have enough good qualities to overshadow the few niggles there are to be found with this controller and the tight integration with Serato DJ Intro along with the build quality make this controller a serious contender within this price range. 

VERDICT

Build quality7.5
Ease of use8.0
Features8.0
Value for money9.0
Sound Quality8.0

HYPE

Great build quality, high resolution jog-wheels, tight integration with the included Serato DJ Intro software and a very easy installation process.

GRIPE

The lack of VU meters is the biggest letdown, and the jog-wheels are on the small side.

A compact two-channel controller that manages to keep the quality high while keeping the price down. The MC2000 could be the perfect controller for new DJs to use to learn their trade.

8.1/10 

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