Denon DN S3700 CD Turntable Review
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The Denon DN-S3700 has been modeled from the older version unit – the Denon DN-HS5500. It has fewer features than its predecessor but now comes with a bigger and better platter design. Every DJ has been eagerly anticipating the release of this sexy machine to give it a spin. Turntablists and DJs alike must be waiting to see this unit with its looping features and built in effects.
To add on to this, you will be able to play all CD’s and any USB device without relying on any operating software such as Traktor or SSL. This clearly makes it a winner. Even before the release, Denon was creating hype about the unit ranging from its USB and MIDI interface, actively spinning platter, strong Direct Drive Motor and you can understand why we could not wait to get a hold of this unit. Now here we are, having had some time to test the machine and now we give our review of the Denon DN-S3700.
Setting up the platter assembly and getting it ready on the table will take you about five minutes. You can immediately tell from the start that these decks mean business. Once you switch on the power, blue lights will light up with bliss alongside many other colors that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. The unit is constructed from a blend of metal and hard plastic. The unit is supported on four metal legs, and the black outer casing gives you the feeling that this is made from heavy duty plastic. This makes the platter solid and very sturdy.
The Pause/Play/Pitch/ Cue controls are exactly where they should be; in an analog deck orientation. The Vinyl record placed on the platter contains four tracks that can be played on any standard analog Turntable. This means that Denon has remained 100% true to Vinyl with the feel of the DN-S3700. Almost all of the buttons have a soft rubbery feel to them and have been designed to last for a long time. The other inset buttons are made from hard plastic and have a click-push to them. Effects and Parameter knobs look like they are made from metal, though they could also be made from hard plastic.
On the front side of the unit, there is the CD drive which can play all types of CDs and even MP3 CDs. The CD drive is rather quiet and feels much stronger than the one on the Gemini CDT-05 or Numark CDX. The back side of the unit has the digital output and the RCA Line outs. The other ports are connections for UCB-B for PCI/MIDI, 1/8-inch Fader start, PS2 keyboard input and a D-Link RJ45 which can be used to connect two DN-S3700’s together. Finally, there is an on/off power button and a power cord that is permanently attached.
Actively Spinning Platter
The Platter is the primary component of any deck that the DJ will want to put their hands. We must start by agreeing that after using so many Platters from Technics, Pioneer, Stanton and Gemini, it finally feels like Denon has gotten everything correct. The platter is 9 inches in size which allows you to use any vinyl provided you use the attached adapter. On the lower side of the vinyl, you will find a regular slip mat which is common in any analog deck.
The platter is constructed of metal, same as the Technics 1200. The motor is high torque unit with a powerful Direct Drive. This can be adjusted to three different presets and the user can set it to 33rpm or 45rpm. It makes it quite easy to pull off any type of scratch including drags, scribbles and complex tears without digital distortion. Even when using lower bit-rate samples from a given library, you can tell that the emulation does not give the impression of degradation. The platter starts in an instant just like every DJ expects. Denon seems to have gotten everything PERFECTLY!!
One cannot help but note the similarity in the display of the Denon –S3700 to the Denon-HS5500. The difference is only in color and a few other features – the most notable being the dual deck display items. The display is placed at an angle facing the DJ making it quick to read the information without having to bend too much.
Despite there being a lot of information to read, it is clear enough to read. Information that can be read from here includes A-B looping, track number, BPM, Track title and information and Platter Place-Holder. The addition to the display is the waveform output of the track along with the timeline indicator which will tell the DJ how far they are with a given record. The waveform is one of the stand-out features of theDN-S3700.
Besides the active spinning platter, the next best feature on the DN-S3700 is all the different types of media that it can play. The unit can not only play all the traditional media, CD, CDRW, CDR, CD-MP3, but it can also play music from any USB device including iPods, huge hard drives or flash drives. These can be plugged directly into the unit and start playing immediately. Every Denon-S3700 allows the DJ to set up the music to be played on the unit using the Denon DJ Music Manager Software which comes with a Software CD.
Once the USB device is plugged in the unit, you only need to press the USB button, and the display will turn into a navigation area where the DJ will now use the Parameter knob to scroll through and select tracks, artists or albums to play. This unit can also be used with the MIDI device controller for those who want to use it with a computer. It will require the DJ to power down to switch from CD or USB to MIDI. Switching between CD and USB can be done on the fly.
As had been earlier mentioned, Denon got it almost perfectly with the DN-S3700. For all they were trying to achieve, especially in bridging the gap between digital and analog and making sure they had all the effects at your fingertips, they did a tremendous job.
It is near impossible to find fault with the Denon-S3700 but not to say that will apply to every DJ. The main issue with this unit is its pricing since it comes at $899 in most DJ gear outlets. This could be explained by the fact that this decks has the potential to become the industry standard for small form DJ turntables.