Review: Numark DJiO

grfxguy October 9th, 2008

As annoyed as I am about the explosion of “people who think they are DJ’s”, one of the nice things that has emerged from this is the availability of new technology. Like cruise missile advancement during the Cold War, DJ technology, especially digital, has grown by leaps and bounds in a very short time period.

Having shunned the digital DJ world in favour of my beloved CD collection, I have been happy to sit on the sidelines with my dual disc player, popping out school dances and weddings. The digital stuff showed promise, but the entry price was prohibitive: at the minimum, a shiny new laptop was required, plus some heavy software investment.

Well, returning to school this year placed the burden of picking up a laptop on me, so I took the plunge into the digital DJ realm as well. All sorts of great products exist, but what about for that mobile DJ? Sure you can go into the super-advanced world of virtual vinyl or CD’s, which map your existing platters to a computer format, but I don’t have a thousand bucks to drop.

Enter the DJiO from Numark.

This unassuming little box can be had for about $120 CDN new (or $90US used on the Numark website). A straight USB connection, it requires a small driver package to be installed and it’s ready to go with your favourite ASIO based DJ software (which is pretty much all of them). It features two outputs (both RCA), a mic input (outputs through one of the channels) and a headphone jack. Headphone and mic are 1/4″ standard jacks. The unit can be powered through USB or independently through a wall plug (purchased seperately).
It’s quite flexible as well. It will operate as a USB sound card through your computer outside of your DJ software (Windows or Mac, Vista too!) if you want to interface with an external amp at home, for example. The outputs can be assigned: one deck per channel, for external mixers; one master, one booth, for software mixers; or one master, one recording. Headphones work well with in-program cueing, but unfortunately don’t seem to work outside an ASIO driven program. The mic input has a gain built in to the box.
Cool circuit pattern, too!
The drivers give you the option of selecting your sample rate, if you care about freeing up some system resources.

The verdict? Well, for the price, you can’t beat it, especially if you already own a mixer. Those new USB mixers are flashy, but for the price of one of those, you can grab this box and an even BETTER analogue mixer, with the same results. The box is portable: you can take it out of your rig, and use it around the house. The mixers aren’t. Even compared to other units (and there are several), it is by far the best package for the money, especially since most of the other brands don’t offer dual outputs, much less assignable ones.

Now, can anyone help me transfer 700 CDs to digital?

  • Hmmm that is interesting tech, I didn’t know such a thing existed. How long until the USB mixers are cheap enough to make analogue ones (relatively) obsolete?

  • It won’t be long. There’s some new technology out called Time Coding, where you can use analogue decks with timecode vinyl, or CD decks with timecode CDs, which interface with your computer via a USB mixer. It basically lets you scratch or mix MP3’s with your analogue turntable.

    I’d give it two or three years (so another generation of product) before it’s the norm.

  • That’s pretty much the norm actually for the past few years.. Everywhere you go you see laptops (most apple funny enough), using systems like Serato..

    I’ve been on the verge of getting that for a long time..

  • CJ Wallace

    I have been a DJ for over 20 years and understand the reluctance to switch to digital. I will be the first to admit that going digital was the best thing that I have ever done. I have been using the Numark DJ IO for over a year now and it performs flawlessly. I have recommended it to quite a few DJ friends and they all agree with me. It takes the abuse of moving to as many as 5 events in 1 weekend and has never failed. Numark has also created some great (and inexpensive) hardware for Digital DJs that don’t need timecodes. Check out the DMC2 if you are using a 19″ rackmount set-up and the iCDX CD/MP3 players if you want versatility and the ability to continue using CDs. The iCDX is my favorites becasue they can control software (I am using Numark CUE) and play CDs or MP3 discs. Trust me when I say that the ability to play discs is very important if you are using Windows, it will crash sooner or later and having back-up is key.

  • Wunjo

    This is the same paradigm as we see with things like, using a pencil to draw as opposed to using a graphics program. Taking a photo then developing it in a dark room to produce the desired effect as opposed to using a digital camera with photoshop. All of these instances and their opposites produce great results. What it ultimately boils down to is: Tradition. I’ve used vinyl to spin gigs for 10 years now, and I love nothing more than getting a new plate and throwing it on and listening to what I have to work with. However, vinyl is extremely hard to find and expensive at times. As well as other things like longevity and availability in finding that hot new song on wax.

    We saw the emmergence of CD players which alleviated the fear of losing your beloved vinyl collection. But we still see you can encounter problems such as having CDs skip, and still hauling around bulky gear. Technology is the application of information to create something that relieves us of a certain task so that we can focus on doing other more important things. I see digital mixing as the only way to go. And by digital I mean with a computer. I use an $800 laptop with 3gb of ram, with the Numark Total Control and Dj I/O along with an external hard-drive of hundreds of gigs of music to choose from with the click of a button and not selecting through pages of cds and cleaning it off then loading it up. Most Dj softwares can detect the BPM and even the root key of the song! I can then group these by Artist, Genre, BPM, or Key in a database on screen in the program. Anyone who is against this is just pure ignorant and stubborn.

    This is no different than someone saying calculators are stupid and take all the work out of it. Well all know how inefficient things would be without the aid of calculators. Do we rely on them heavily? Yes. Do we still know how to do basic math without the use of calculators? Of course (at least I hope most people do). So when you look at it this way, you can see the obvious progression to a more efficient and creative way of mixing. Do you want to look cool doing the “wicka-wicka” on turntables or do you want to have a flawless and improvised set?

  • Hooverhoover

    how can i do? i lost my sofware and i have new computer window 7. how can i do?

  • Manudrumz

    HEY PLZ HELP me to buy a numark dj i/o .i am from india..we dnt have any distributors here..some bdy plz help me ..wat shud i do to get one  ..

    mail to —

  • Asdf12

    “Now, can anyone help me transfer 700 CDs to digital?”
    CDs are actually digital. You just need to rip them to your computer hard drive, which is easiest done with software such as iTunes. Cheers

  • C1TZN.X

    Thanks for the info, I’ve been eyeballing one of these at my local pawn shop, and i really need a soundcard for this gig I’ve been offered bc my digital output shorts out.  My only question is are 2 outputs going to be enough when DJing in a club with 6 amps?  I sure hope so.

    As for your 700 CDs, not sure what to tell you except perhaps it’s time you start ripping them.  You can use Windows Media Player to do it, and the audio files come out in 320kbps wma files, you can also use Virtual DJ, which takes longer but your end result is a damn near lossless mp3.  I’ve been a digital DJ for almost 3 years and have a 500gb hard drive with almost 200,000 songs on it, all genres from hip-hop to rnb to rock to techno to classic rock to dubstep to country and classical, ranging from the year 1950 to 2011, but I was lucky to have met with a number of people in my local dj community who happened to have access to just about all the recorded music in the known history of the world.  My advice, track down someone who already has a lot on digital, and get them to make you a copy, then find more people with more music, get them to make you a copy, and so on.  You’ll need to pick up an external hard drive, i would recommend a 500gb or a 1tb.  hope that’s helpful.