This is just a quick review as I have already reviewewd the CDX which is basically exactly the same but CD only.
Price: Discontinued ($1900 New)
Pros: Great quality and good feeling of vinyl control. HDD is a nice option.
Cons: Is big and heavy and has few features compatred to modern options
Model: HDX (discontinued)
- Removable 80GB laptop hard drive provides portable storage for thousands of songs
- Hard Drive Playback of MP3, WMA, WAV, Ogg–Vorbis, and FLAC (lossless) formats
- Search by artist, album, song, genre, BPM or playlist
- USB 2.0 for fast loading
- Rip and Encode Audio or Data CDs to the HD
- Record tracks or your whole set, through analog input, as raw WAV or MP3 encoded files (record function works during playback)
- Create your own custom playlists, at home or while you DJ
- Illuminated slot–load CD Drive for playing CD Audio and MP3 Data CD/CDR/CDRW files
- User–updateable through Internet downloads
- MAC/PC compatible
- Keyboard included (for searching songs)
- Complete vinyl emulation with 12" platter and high-torque direct drive motor
- Full playback control and file manipulation
- Built-in FX
Already owning a Numark CDX I was already aware of what to expect (which is why I purchased the HDX). The first thing that hits you is how silver this thing is.... Too silver. And the actual Vinyl record that was fitted to the CDX has been replaced by a clear plastic "Vinyl" styled record which doesn't feel the same. It is possible and easy enough to fit a real record to the HDX if you have one and you can still use the record when not fitted to the HDX. I have not bothered at this stage.
Apart from the overuse of the silver paint bucket, the only other visual difference from the CDX is a nice blue illuminated CD slot which makes finding it in the dark simple, tho with the HDD inbuilt this is less of a requirement unless someone hands you a CD you just have to play.
Around the back is the same array of connections but a couple of new connections are available for USB connection to a PC, PS2 keyboard connection for searching quicker for tracks and an audio Input to record audio into the player onto the HDD. The included keyboard is a nice compact size but being a PS2 style means you are a little limited should this one break.
Just like the CDX the build quality is excellent. The player is heavy, solid and all the controls feel like they will last a lifetime. My CDX is getting close to being 10 years old and functions just as good. The HDX would be the same.
In terms of quality there really isn't much for me to fault. The only thing I was a little dissapointed with was the choice to use a plastic disk for the "record" instead of a genuin vinyl record.
Powering on the deck it powers up in the same way as the CDX except it seems to check 3 times for a CD and you can hear the gears going. It also takes about 20 seconds to start where the CDX you could already be scratching in that time so the boot sequence is a little slower as it loads the HDD. Once powered up you have all the indicators visible and the LCD display glowing brightly (which is more white colour than Blue).
Using the Menu System
You can use the little thumb knob to navigate the entire menu. The way it sorts tracks is pretty clever. Search by album, artist, song title etc and then it allows you to scroll through each letter before entering into the sub menu and selecting a track. Click down on the knob to select a track. You can select and queue tracks on the fly and use the keyboard to just go direct to letters or enter in artists/songs etc to search for.
There are all the common menu options and the ability to setup the audio input to record audio to WAV or MP3. All other options from the CDX are here allowing you to set things such as the sleep time for the deck/cd when not in use, LCD brightness, Firmware update, deck link operation etc.
By todays standards, the HDX is not a real desirable solution for the club DJ. It is modelled off an actual turntable, has the look and feel of a turntable but is heavy, large and limited. Today, many CD DJ solutions are quite compact and can do the same scratching and effects and even time coded vinyl can connect a Real turntable to a PC for DJ use. There just isn't a good place for these in the market anymore. But one thing they have going for them is their instant "on and play" functionality and the fun factor. It is just a lot of fun playing with these things and they are just as simple to use as a turntable.
Loading and searching through songs and even getting the BPM time from the tracks is super simple which makes beat matching a breeze. The decks can sync together via
The scratch sampling is a little "digital" sounding but pretty close to the real thing and no real change from the CDX. It works better from a WAV file than MP3 especially if your source is good quality. I use a WAV sample scratch pack full of common scratch sounds for doing scratches and they sound pretty good to me.
For a live DJ there is also the hands-on live show these offer. Rather than a DJ with CD decks, to someone that doesn't really know it appears as a record and we all know that a real DJ spins records, not a CD or iPod.
Having already owned a CDX for years the HDX wasn't as exciting to me as the CDX was when it was new. The HDX was only purchased as a spur of the moment thing on ebay and no one else bid on the thing. Still for the $400 it cost it was a good deal and it came in original box with all original accessories etc.
The HDD does make it a more attractive solution than the CDX allowing thousands of songs to be stored on it but there is no way to share that HDD with another HDX so for a DJ you would need your files on both players.
I personally use the CDX and HDX to provide scratch samples and to help inspire me when I am stuck. I like the scratching feel of them and that is mainly what I use them for. I had plans to maybe start DJing with them but never did and I find myself using the CDX more for the simple fact that for scratching it feels better than the plastic disc and is on and ready in 5 seconds not the 20 seconds to load the HDX and a further 20 seconds to find a track.
Bottom line is these are fun toys for their day and work very well to provide scratch sampling but are simply not a valuable option for todays digital DJ. If you are into turntable-ism and want a hands on approach to mixing similar to working with real vinyl then maybe consider some second hand HDXs.