Not content to go after Pioneer’s crown of top-flight media player with their fantastic SC3900 alternative to the CDJ2000, Denon hits out again with their new SC2900 player, aiming to put the cat amongst the pigeons at the Pioneer camp.
It’s been a long time since any company has designed and made a high-end deck that is aimed solely at the top end of the scene; a lot of manufacturers play it safe and aim for the mid market or entry level category, as we all well know that they just can’t compete with the industry standard of Pioneer. But Denon had a stab at this and released the excellent SC3900 digital turntable, with a rotating platter that harked back to the days of the all-conquering Technics 1210. Denon, with their new deck, have gained many fans and proved that there is a place for high-end turntables in the DJ market. So we were more than happy when they dropped another top-end player at our feet, their new SC2900. In the space of a few months, the guys at Denon have gone for it and offered up not one, but two new decks for DJs.
Straight out the box, the SC2900 has a lot of similarities to the SC3900, with the only major difference being that the SC2900 does not have the motorised platter of its counterpart; it also doesn’t have Hybrid DVS mode, so conventional timecode CDs will need to be deployed if using with DVS software like Traktor. Removing the motorised platter for DJs who prefer the CDJ style of jog-wheels, it also means that Denon can offer the SC2900 for less than £800: a lot of deck for a reasonable amount of cash, cheaper than the CDJ900, but more in keeping with the CDJ2000 in specification and features.
It has the same sturdy build quality of the SC3900 and the same controls and layout, so things are quite uniform in this department. The new platter on the SC2900 feels good, has a great action, and in use is perfect for mixing and scratching — all the things a DJ would need from a jog-wheel on a digital deck. Denon have added a smart LED ring around the jog-wheel that shows DJs the rotation of the platter, so it’s easy to see where a piece of vinyl would have turned by one rotation. Not only this — it is also a visual aid for cue points.
The colour of the lights can be changed if so desired, more of a gimmick than an innovative option. The tension of the jog-wheel can be adjusted with the Torque Adjust switch — this is on the edge of the platter, and offers five settings. The start and stop time of the platter can also be adjusted to suit how the DJ wants the platter to feel. One thing that has changed only in name is Dump Mode. On the SC2900, it is now called Slip Mode. It works exactly the same, by allowing a track to resume in its timeline even though the audio has been subjecting to scratching, spinbacks or reverse.
The SC2900 has the same operation modes as the SC3900, and in use, two decks work the same. Both players engage Denon’s new Engine software for track preparation and music management, which works really well and adds another dimension to the player, especially when used with an iPad. To get Engine to really shine, DJs can link up to four players together and plug in a laptop running the software. Once connected, tracks can be selected directly from the laptop onto the players. It doesn’t take long for the tune to load up and it’s there on the SC2900 rather than being played from the laptop itself: a rather nifty and tight way of doing things.
The unit has the same four buttons above the raised display screen for selecting the various modes of play that can be adopted on the deck. The four modes comprise of CD, which is pretty obvious and is the one that DJs would select if using CDs; USB, for using USB sticks or external storage devices that will play MP3s or tracks in whatever digital format; Link mode, for connecting a string of SC2900 or SC3900s together; and finally, MIDI. This is the button that will allow the SC2900 to be turned into a MIDI controller for using software like Traktor etc.
And let’s not forget the SC2900 actually does play CDs. With all the other features that decks like the SC2900 are capable of, it is easy to forget that they are CD players first and foremost. The CD action on the SC2900 is great; very responsive, with no lag when navigating the track via the jog-wheel. The audio quality from the player is really good — it sounds great. Denon have always made sure that their products sound good, and this is no exception.
Standard connections to the back of the SC2900 include RCA line-out for connecting the deck to a mixer, a digital out, USB for a computer, a link cable socket for linking players together, a power socket and a power switch.
Just like the SC3900, the SC2900 doesn’t have any onboard effects, as Denon have decided to do away with this area and concentrate on delivering a top-notch player that does what it does excellently.
I have had fun playing on the SC2900. A fantastic deck, the vibe is slightly different to the SC3900, partially because of the motorised platter of the latter, but I think what we have here, are two players for different styles of DJs. Many DJs will quite happily jump onboard the Denon speed train with the SC2900.
Denon have once again delivered the goods and have made a deck that is simple to use, sounds great and is a lot of fun. It sits nicely alongside the SC3900 and isn’t found lacking to its elder brother in any way. There may be the odd omission, but considering the price, it’s nothing worth complaining about. The SC2900, alongside the SC3900, has given DJs and clubs a real choice when it comes to buying an alternative deck to Pioneer’s offerings, and this is healthy competition that can only result in better equipment for DJs to use
|Ease of use||8.0|
|Value for money||9.0|
No Hybrid DVS mode.