We finally got our hands on the Denon MC3000, their new digital DJ controller and to say we are impressed is an understatement. So lets start from the beginning, this is the baby brother to Denon’s older MC6000, still offering 4 decks in the space of 2 whilst cutting down on clutter and cost. The MC3000 offers nearly everything the MC6000 does but fits it all into a smaller case, cleans up the layout slightly and as a result makes it easier to use and for newer DJs to get into.
Denon are increasingly rivalling Pioneer in the DJ equipment quality states and the MC3000 is no exception. Its heavy but its a nice weight, you know this piece of kit will take a battering getting lugged between gigs and will still work just as good as the day you bought it. Everything about it screams quality from the smooth action of the faders which we’ll get into more later to how simple it is to set up.
The MC3000 comes with Tractor in Europe and Virtual DJ in the states, no idea why but they both work pretty similar. Setting up takes minutes. One usb lead into your laptop and another lead into the power socket and you’re away. Setting up Traktor to work with the MC3000 is a snap, it instantly recognises it from the drop down menu and allows you to tweak some of the options or carry on with the defaults. Using Traktor itself is pretty simple but if you’ve never touched it before it basically mimics the look and layout of the MC3000.
The controller is small, not as small as some digital controllers out there but we’d probably say is the perfect size. Denon use smaller jogwheels than most to allow for smaller units but they don’t lose any of the functionality of bigger johwheels. Expect the same sort of functionality such as scratching or touching the sides to nudge. The faders are silky smooth, at the very least as good as the faders on Pioneers mixers if not slightly better, they are that good. Everything else has a nice textured rubberised feel and the buttons have a nice clickyness to them. Don’t forget the lights either, this is filled with LEDs so you know whats selected and what isn’t.
The headphone jack is on the front of the unit which is what we prefer and apart from that the front is clean. The microphone socket is at the back kept out of the way and is positioned directly behind the microphone controls. The main difference between this and the MC6000 is there are only two physical channels instead of 4 which depending on your preference for clutter is a good thing. You can still do some video mixing which is a lovely extra as VJs become more popular and means its more versatile than other controllers out there.
At the top you’ve got a number of effects banks and cue buttons giving you a lot of scope to mess with your mix on the fly. This controller has almost everything you’d want and more and its something which Denon, much like Pioneer do well, offering you exactly what you want but giving you enough toys to have some extra fun. The back of the unit is pretty simple, apart from the microphone jack, and usb lead you have two balanaced outs, two unblanaced outs and two line ins. The line ins are a great extra, allowing you to plug in an ipod to help with your mixing or in case the worst happens with your laptop at that crucial moment.
Like most controllers you can navigate the library through the software or through the controller. Everything is kept compact in a small area in the center of the controller so accidents shouldn’t happen and it means you don’t get crossed arms trying to mix and control a mouse at the same time. As mentioned the jogwheels live up to their bigger brothers, you have a vinyl mode allowing scratch djs to do their things but non scratch djs will find they are perfect for navigating tracks. They feel nice and tight instead of loose and can be disabled by DJs who would prefer not to use them which is a nice touch.
You also have all the expected mixer controls per channel and some tight filter controls. As with most Denon DJ equipment the filters are lovely to use and you won’t have any complaints about using them.
For DJs who like to use looping options you are more than catered for with manual loop in/out and an auto looping option which allows you to speed up or slow down the loop.
But the main point of this controller is you can control up to 4 decks at once. Whilst there is only enough controls to control 2 at any one time you can have up to 4 decks ready to mix into. Swapping decks is as simple as selecting which deck you want loaded up without affecting the other decks playing in the background. It takes a small bit of practise compared to the MC6000 which had controls for all 4 decks but we think it works better having less clutter on the controller.
This is a very well rounded controller, meant for mobile DJs as well as beginners. We can especially see it being used at parties or weddings but bedroom and club djs will certainly find a use for it and won’t be disappointed. If you are after a professional digital controller then this is easy to recommend, recommending it above the MC6000 is slightly tougher as they are both as good as each other. In fact the MC3000 improves on the MC6000 in a few areas such as layout but its too close to judge for most DJs, if you feel the need to control 4 decks at once all the time as well as more comprehensive microphone options it has to be the MC6000 but apart from that we couldn’t recommend one over the other as there is not much in it.
Either way which ever one you pick up you won’t regret it, we love the MC3000 and can see many top DJs using these in the future.