In the present, the DJ’s setup has been going through a revolution, of sorts. Vinyl, as beloved as it is, is too old or a retro statement, while digital files give off an air of laziness. CDs sit somewhere in the middle, as a physical form that’s not too dated but not nearly as versatile as digital files are proving to be.

Developers of DJ equipment realize this, and the products debuting in recent years capitalize on this need for versatility – a player or controller that starts with CDs and extends through all common digital media. The DJ Tech iScratch 201 starts from this point and moves forward.

As a foundation, the DJ Tech iScratch 201 supports MP3, CD, USB, and MIDI files. But DJ Tech designed this gear as more than a player and – again, understanding the versatility and compactness a DJ craves in the present – allows the iScratch 201 to connect to a computer, thus effectively turning it into a USB MIDI controller. MIDI, as well, makes the DJ Tech iScratch 201 compatible with most DJ software, including Traktor and Virtual DJ.

Starting with the physical design, the The DJ Tech iScratch 201 is a solid, dependable piece of equipment. And, while durability is certainly an asset for any gear, the DJ Tech iScratch 201’s touch-sensitive jog wheel stands out particularly. A multi-function feature, the jog wheel allows the DJ to alter the pitch of MP3 files, search for tracks, and, if your genre demands it, effortlessly scratch.

When it comes to computer files, this feature is particularly helpful and, in conjunction with the Databox software, makes retrieving tracks more straightforward. Once the DJ has put together a library onto a USB device, these two features allow him to find the right track by artist, album, genre, or song title.

Aside from this aspect, the looping ability and digital effects additionally make the DJ Tech iScratch 201 stand out. Onboard effects include ECHO, FLANGER, FILTER, SKID, and reverse effects, all of which can be automatically or manually synched with the BPM. Rewind CUE adds more dramatic effects to a mix.

Freezer, a roll effect, is one of the more innovative features of the DJ Tech iScratch 201. For those unfamiliar, Freezer temporarily loops a portion of a track and works with the device’s Autoloop functions. On a purely sonic level, it loops part of a song until the DJ releases the button; then, the rest of the track resumes as normal.

Turning the DJ Tech iScratch 201 into a MIDI controller is possible through Hybrid Mode. Specifically, the DJ can employ time-coded CDs or MP3 and simultaneously use any DJ software through MIDI.

Overall, the DJ Tech iScratch 201 is a solid player-controller hybrid that offers excellent sound quality and digital effects. In the scope of such devices, its sounds surpass those of the Gemini CDJ-700. As a downside, though, its compatibility with audio forms only goes to a certain point, leaving out iTunes AAC files from the list of all possible options.