Music Thing: Numark's all-USB DJ console

Each week Tom Whitwell of Music Thing highlights the best of the new music gear that's coming out, as well as noteworthy vintage equipment:

Not so long ago, DJing was simple. You turned up with a box of 12-inch vinyl records. The club / bar / shed / bedroom you were playing would have a pair of Technics SL1200 (or 1210 - the same but black) turntables. The DJ before you would explain how the switches worked on the mixer, you'd try to work out how to get sound in your headphones, and you were in business. Now things are different. Numark's D² Director has one USB port on the front, and two on the back. It can play tracks from a flash drive, an iPod or a portable hard drive.The huge LCD display shows waveforms and playlists, so you can assign tracks to either channel with the assisted beat-matching that's now common. If you can bear the shame, it's even possible to plug a USB keyboard into the thing, so you can search for songs by name. Essentially, it's a more professional version of Numark's IDJ2 iPod mixing console, with the Fisher-Price styling toned down and no iPod dock. Also, unlike the IDJ2, you'll need an external DJ mixer to crossfade between the two outputs. The suggested retail price is $799, which is considerably less than you'll get for a used pair of Technics decks on eBay. Numark has also released a load of other high-high-high end digital DJ gear at Summer NAMM, including the iCDX, a $999 CD player/pod dock, while the HD Mix is a all-in-one mixer, CD player, 80GB hard drive, USB host and effects box for a slightly eye-watering $1,699.