DJ Equipment Review: Numark NDX-500

Is the NDX-500 the media/CD player for you?


Whenever we talk about DJ equipment we’re almost always talking about DJ controllers or software. But a surprising number of DJs are still working with their massive CD collections and therefore need something more. This means those DJs need a media player complete with CD player, which is why the Numark NDX-500 is such a great machine.

There are plenty of machines available for DJs with plenty of digital music collections who need the DJ controller and everything that goes along with it. But the smaller number of CD-using DJs still presents a viable market for Numark and the others to target for consumption.

The NDX-500 Media Player & Serato Controller may be the perfect machine for CD DJs slowly making the transition to 100% digital.

NDX-500 First Impression

Opening up the box for the Numark NDX-500 starts out pretty basic. You get the warranty box which you probably won’t read—but you really should—along with your trusty user’s manual. Read the manual even if you think you don’t need to because it’ll make you feel better when those unforeseen problems raise their inevitable heads. You’ll also get a power cord of course plus a RCA cable which you will definitely need to replace. It’s short—too short to be of much use so plan to have one of your own.

You do get a lovely little USB cable that is long and high quality. This makes up (somewhat) for the teeny tiny RCA cable so it’s not all bad.

Now on to the good stuff: the unit itself. On the whole the NDX-500 is made up of plastic and metal. The plastic is of good quality which you’ll notice when you heft this baby up. It’s heavy but in a good way and not unnecessarily so. You won’t feel as though you’re playing with “baby’s first DJ unit”, although the lights when you load up a CD may have you thinking otherwise.

Setting up your new DJ equipment is fairly simple if you’re familiar with the art of connecting cables and flipping switches. Plus you’ve already read the manual so you know how to hook it all up.

Using The NDX-500

When you boot up the Numark NDX-500 the first—blindingly bright—thing you’ll see is that bright blue ring around the jogwheel. If it served a purpose it wouldn’t be so bad, but it is just for show so it would be nice to at least dim it a bit.

The buttons that you do need—loops, cues and FX—are what need to be lit yet aren’t. This is yet another reason I recommend you reading the manual and getting very acquainted with the machine before you put it to use in front of a live audience. Honestly even if you memorize the buttons, the neurotic DJ inside of you will always worry if you’ve hit the right button. It is the biggest downside of the NDX-500 but really the only biggie.


The main buttons are useful, tactile and efficient. The pitch fader is solid. It comes without a center indentation so sliding over the middle point isn’t a problem. This is a personal issue but I think this design allows for easier fine-tuning. What I really like about this machine is the Master Temp button because it is basically a control lock. It keeps the pitches and keys the same so you don’t have to constantly make adjustments.

The layout of the NDX-500 is fairly intuitive, that is, for DJs familiar with this type of machinery. Everything is pretty much where you would expect it to be, so a few practice runs should help you get completely comfortable with the buttons and knobs. The display is crisp and clear and lights up enough to be seen in the darkness of a DJ booth.

A Viable Option?

You’re probably wondering why on earth you’d ever buy a machine with a CD slot in 2015, right? Well you wouldn’t necessarily. But the media player is there and totally helpful and it’s not like the CD player is sticking out and intrusive. It’s just a small opening and besides to get a similar machine minus the CD player you’ll end up paying way more than the $200 price tag on the Numark NDX-500.

Besides unless you are totally entrenched in the world of nightclub and bar DJing then you’ll inevitably pull a wedding, birthday or bar mitzvah where someone has a special song or mix they want to play. And with these days of flash-mobbing bridal parties you might find having a CD player handy and crowd-pleasing.

The bottom line is that this is a solid player that is immensely affordable. The quality is good and the features are solid. It isn’t the best piece of DJ equipment ever invented but it is by no means the worse. If you still have CDs or have occasions where you might use them, this is the way to go.

I hope I helped you find your new DJ equipment. Email in the box below to get access to Free video DJ lessons that will answer all of your questions on how to become a disk jockey!

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