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  • 64 Pro Mobile American DJ SDJ-1

    American DJ SDJ-1 (MSRP 199)

    Over the past couple of years we have seenan array of 'multi media' players -a shiftaway from the comfort zone of CDs into thedigital world of MP3. De Ja Vu. It's like thevinyl versus CD battle we all went throughabout 15 years ago!

    Many DJs have already moved on to thenew technology but thousands still haven't.When do you finally make the leap of MP3faith, what piece of equipment will you buy?

    The MP3 DJ players on the market so farhave mostly been quite complex, some withmore buttons than the Starship Enterprise.All have been well received, are generallyreliable and do the job very well. So whendesigning a unit to compete with theseground-breaking machines American DJdecided to break the rules and turn the MP3battle on its head. Instead of looking at mak-ing a competitor with more buttons, morefeatures, bigger, faster they decided tostrip it back to basics and make it the mostcost effective player by over 100!

    The American Audio SDJ-1 is a DJ MP3player like no other; it's simple!

    The best way to describe this is a 'good oldtwin player'. It has every feature you wouldexpect from a modern dual CD player, it onlyuses 2 rack spaces and weighs a mere1.8kg!

    In addition it has master tempo, seamless

    looping and variable pitch ranges, so is byno means a 'no frills' player. Unlike all itscompetitors there is no playlist functionality,music crates and other fancy features, justload the track and press play.

    When I first found out about this player thefirst thing that caught my attention was thepair of slots on the front of the unit which Ihad not seen anywhere else. The SDJ-1features two integrated SD card slots allow-ing you to carry your music library around onan SD card the size of a postage stamp. Atfirst I thought this was a real negative, SDcards are for cameras not for DJs! However,the more and more I played with the SDJ-1and learnt about it, the more I understood it.

    I think sometimes engineers are trying to betoo clever when designing things, 'it musthave this, it must have that'. I think a primeexample of this is with DJ MP3 players andPC based software, it's all over-engineeredand actually misses the point of what a DJreally requires.

    SD cards should have been the first thingafter CDs to be considered. There are manyadvantages to using SD cards as the DJsstorage medium of choice. They provide anunbeatably fast reading time, they are inex-pensive to buy, totally shockproof (antishock guaranteed!) and totally maintenancefree as, unlike hard-drives, they have nomoving parts. After researching this article I

    Pro Mobile Issue 28.qxp 22/02/2008 14:22 Page 64

  • American DJ SDJ-1 Pro Mobile 65 Reviewed By Mark Francis

    find that SD is fast becoming a standard inthe professional audio and broadcast busi-ness too.

    Each slot takes an SD card up to 4GB. Don'tlet the card's small size fool you, each cardstores approximately 800 tracks in an explic-it quality (5MB/MP3) file. 1600 tracks will beat your fingertips and with each SD cardassignable to either player, or both, you canplay all night without the need to change adisc.

    The two front loading SD slots make discloading really simple. No more USB hubsand USB pen drives that you cannot get toor that stick out from the front panel.

    Putting your music onto an SD card is reallysimple too; you won't need an advancedengineering degree. The SDJ-1 comes witha USB to SD adapter - plug this into a USBport on your computer and the computer willautomatically recognise it as an externalhard drive, copy and paste your music ontoit and bobs your uncle!

    After inserting a card into the slot it takes afraction of a second for the track informationsuch as Title, Artist, Album etc. (ID-tag) to beclearly displayed. Selecting your track could-n't be simpler; the "Folder-Search-Function"allows the user to search MP3 titles accord-ing to categories such as style, alphabeticalor genre.

    There is a great promo video on theAmerican DJ website which shows off thebenefits of using a SDJ-1. One of the thingsthat caught my eye is that from powering upto playing a track takes only 6 seconds!Imagine the scenario of working in one ofthose nightmare venues with a sound meter,the red light shines and your power goes off.If you were on a laptop or using a hard driveplayer you could be waiting for over a minutebefore normal sound resumed. I can see theSDJ-1 being a blessing in this situation.

    So who is going to buy this and where doesit fit in the current marketplace? AmericanDJ have done a brave thing with the SDJ-1,they have bucked the trend and not gone forthe hard drive or USB route. The machineitself is brilliant and does exactly what a DJrequires, it is well built and retails at only199.00. I think for a DJ who is still decidingwhich way to turn regarding MP3 this is theperfect choice for getting started and it won'tbreak the bank. For a DJ who has alreadymoved on to laptop or MP3 player you needto be ditching the spare CD player andreplacing it with this.

    Providing you can get your head aroundusing SD cards this player is an all roundwinner. When the SDJ-1 was firstannounced many thought it was foolish andbackward step but it actually could be astroke of genius.

    Pro Mobile Issue 28.qxp 22/02/2008 14:22 Page 65

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