Although MP3 appears to be the future of music, the feeling within
the DJing community seems to be that no matter what new technology is invented; vinyl will never die. Sure there will be those that switch to CD mixing and others that choose to mix with their computers using software such as Ableton Live, however the purists among us will remain loyal to that trusty age old invention, the turntable. Turntables can range massively in price from low-end belt driven ones which can be picked up for next to nothing, to more high-end, professional use turntables such as Technics and Vestax which will set you back about £800 for a pair. When I bought my pair of KAM DDX 2000 online near on 3 years ago, they cost me about £320 for the pair and I have been mightily impressed with what I got for my money. Sure, they're probably not the best decks on the market, however they look good, perform well and are perfect for the bedroom DJ as they are priced well for the quality that you get and will certainly not stop you from progressing if you are a beginner, and even if you're at a more advanced level they should serve you well. When I first got them I had little previous experience, however found them easy to use, and with a quick flick of a switch at the back and a press of the play/pause button I was soon creating mixes that weren't too painful to listen to.
Aesthetically, the DDX 2000 looks great, with it's lovely silver finish it will look perfect on any DJ stand or table, the look is by no means tacky and when you're paying out £160 for each then this is to be expected really, you wouldn't want to spend that much money on something that was ugly to look at. The look of the DDX 2000 is what drew me towards the deck in the first place, I thought the silver finish looked stylish and compared with other decks on the market, KAM certainly seemed to have the most attractive deck to offer and when switched on the blue backlit colour displays look amazing. When I began to look at the technical specification of the DDX 2000 I was further impressed with what I found and knew that these were the perfect decks for me to begin my DJing assault on.
The DDX 2000 offer great pitch control with ±8/12/20% which is a brilliant selection to have and should suit your needs whatever you require the turntable for. Having said this, I'm not sure why anyone would have any need for much more than an 8% change in pitch, after all - this is the only pitch control that Technics have and they are the biggest name in the game. I feel that using the ±8 pitch control is best as it is this level that offers the most precision in your mixing and is therefore the best for beat matching, however I have experiment with ±12 pitch control before and this too seems to work quite well. The ±20 pitch control setting is only really useful for entertainment value for creating chipmonk versions of your favourite tunes, it's far too steep a curve to be able to have any sort of precision in what you are doing so is best avoided for mixing. As well as pitch control there is also a reverse function with which with the press of a button, the record will almost instantaneously start playing in reverse. This will allow you to search for any hidden satanic messages in your favourite records if you so wish, I don't see much other purpose for the reverse function, and unless you are performing scratching tricks then you will probably find little use for this function.
Typically you will find that records will play at a speed of 45rpm, however 33rpm is also quite common. With these decks you are given the option to play your records at 33, 45, or 78rpm so this should more than meet your requirements allowing you to adjust the speed at the press of a button just in case while mixing you find you have a mixed bag of records with some that play at 33rpm and others that play at 45rpm. The KAM DDX 2000 is quick to change speeds and although occasionally I have embarrassed myself by playing records at the wrong speed, this being through my own fault for not actually reading the speed of the vinyl when I place it down to play, at the quick press of a button the problem has soon been resolved, restoring my dignity along the way.
The 1.6kg high torque direct drive motor which comes with the KAM DDX 2000 made them unrivalled in their price category when they came out as the motor here is practically on a par with Technics allowing for smooth, high quality mixing. With cheaper turntables on the market it is often the case that they are belt driven, however the belts are prone to slipping so with a direct drive turntable you avoid the stress of the belt slipping at a crucial moment and ruining your mix. Since I bought these decks it seems that KAM have done away with their DDX 2000 model in favour of the DDX 3000 which has a superior 3.5kg motor. Although the DDX 2000 has been replaced, this model is still available online, priced similarly to the DDX 3000. If you're looking for a Technics style replacement then perhaps you're better off investing in the DDX 2000 as the pitch control with these I feel is better. While the DDX 2000 offer ±8/12/20%, the DDX 3000 gives you ±10//20/50% and as I have already stated, the ±20 pitch control isn't much use so you're restricted to merely using the ±10 pitch control really with the DDX 3000 rather than having a choice of 2 that you have with the DDX 2000 and having the ±8 pitch control which is the same as that of the popular Technics 1200/1210 models. The ±50 pitch control you get with the DDX 3000 is useful for cleaning your records, and obviously you would probably benefit from having a superior motor, don't let this put you off going with the DDX 2000 rather than 3000. The choice is yours as to whether you want a more powerful motor or more responsive pitch control, oh and due to the superior motor of the DDX 3000, it's actually heavier than the DDX 2000 so you may be swayed towards the DDX 2000 more for this reason if for travelling purposes weight is going to be an issue.
Much like Technics, the DDX 2000 come with an S-shaped tone arm and although there will be some who criticise an S-shaped arm on a deck as many decks use a straight arm, I have seen claimed that a straight arm will not accurately track the groove of a record from start to finish meaning that S-shaped arms are in fact superior. I have also read that a straight arm wears out your records over time, so again the S-shaped tone arm is at an advantage here and can be seen to claim superiority over a straight arm. I can not vouch for the validity of these claims so can't be sure that they're fully accurate, however if these claims are taken as fact then it can be seen that with KAM, you are receiving a superior tone arm with your product, something that you are unlikely to see elsewhere unless you shell out for an expensive Technics deck.
The removable target light that you get with these decks is useful as in a lot of clubs you tend not to have much light on the subject, so the target lights come in handy when playing out for you to be able to keep an eye on what you are doing and be able to have a clear look at the vinyl and know where to drop the stylus down. If you get to know your vinyl well, you may be able to judge the point in the record that the tune will drop, so the target light should help you judge your vinyl for a clean drop even in the darkest of places.
Although these decks are of a good standard, the stylus and cartridge that you are provided with when you purchase them are not too great, so I would advise you to invest in a decent new pair when you start getting somewhere with your mixing as they will help you to develop and refine your mixing talent and should aid the progress of your new found skill as a DJ. Don't get me wrong though - the stylus and cartridge that come with the DDX 2000 are by no means poor and will not break easily as is the case with cheaper decks, you just need to understand that there are better available and it's probably worth getting some in order to improve an already great turntable as the cartridges here are prone to the build up of dust which could cause scratchiness and thus effect the quality of your mix.
Overall, you cant go far wrong in investing in a pair of these decks - they perform extremely well and are great for mixing and even for scratching too once you've changed the styli and cartridges. For the price that you are paying here, what you are getting is of an exceptional standard and when compared with the price of say the Technics 1210, you really begin to realise that what you are getting here is a great bargain. While Technics continue to have a high mark up price, the competition around them is improving and for half the price here you get decks that in my opinion perform just as well. Feel free to splash out the extra cash on Technics if you can afford it, but be aware that while Technics use to be the benchmark for a good turntable, other quality decks are now available so it's worth shopping around, trying out a few decks and seeing which ones you get a real feel for. Choosing a new pair of decks is really down to personal preference as to what you prefer and feel comfortable on, however if you're looking to splash out for a new pair then I'd say you should strongly consider KAM and at least try them out. I think that I'll be sticking with my DDX 2000 for a while yet as so far they have served me well and hopefully will continue to do so in the future. If you're after some decent decks that will serve you well as a beginner, yet will allow for you to progress and improve without putting you too much in the red then KAM DDX 2000 are the decks for you, they are of a terrific standard and for the money that you are paying, they truly are fantastic. Many hours of my time have gone into these over the past few years and as far as I'm concerned it has been time well spent.