REVIEW: Behringer CMD Micro DJ Controller



LINK: Behringer CMD Micro — Price: $69/€59/£53

Behringer CMD Micro DJ Controller Review (1)

Introduction

Years ago, in the beginnings of the digital DJ market, a few manufacturers released small controllers that resembled the rackmounted CD controllers of old. Numark and Vestax released two of the better known options, with their DJ2GO and VCM-100 respectively. Since that time, though, very few products have been released that are small, compact, and offer all of the necessities for the digital DJ.

Enter the Behringer CMD Micro. While it doesn’t have an audio interface of any kind, it does sport a battery pack and just enough controls to get you through the most basic of DJ sets all by itself. Since there isn’t anything very current in the market to compare it to, it has to hold its own in a market flooded with controllers that look drastically different. That being said, for $69.99 it is hard to argue that it could easily end up on your desk when you want to bring as little as possible with you.

Behringer CMD Micro DJ Controller Review (4)

First Impressions

The Behringer CMD Micro is the stand out step child of the whole CMD line of controllers on my desk. This thing is small with very little control available to it, but for the price it is a great deal for a basic mobile rig or backup DJ rig. You can add two AA batteries to the Micro, as a backup to any power supply issues you may have. And while the main use does seem to be with laptops, the CMD Micro does also work with iPads too. Apparently the components sourced are specifically low powered so as not to drain an iPad, and gets the extra boost from the batteries. It’s a smart move, as I’d rather receive power from batteries than have one more thing to plug in to a wall. I couldn’t get any sort of benchmark information on battery life from Behringer, unfortunately.

The Behringer CMD Micro has two small 2 inch touch-sensitive jog wheels, a standard sized cross-fader and line faders and two small pitch faders. The jog wheels are loose and smooth, but I really don’t like the grip they use. If my touch is too light it feels like they are going to slip away. Some of the buttons suffer from the same inconsistencies I’ve seen in the CMD Studio 4a and CMD Modular units (reviews coming), but others feel the most accurate of all of the line. It is around 2″ thick and 15” long. Its only connector is a USB port, and has a red light that flashes when there is no battery power (whether or not it has sufficient USB power).

Unfortunately it lacks an audio interface completely. While I know adding one would increase the cost, a unit like this is just begging for one. If I could carry a little Macbook Air, or one of the new Asus Windows 8 Pro tablets with this thing I could have a drastically simple DJ rig for practically nothing. While all the ideas are there, I think it needed to be pushed to the next level badly. In fact, there’s a part of me that would love to mount two controllers above this one so I could use the small Micro as my mixer along with a supplemental controller, as needed.

Behringer CMD Micro DJ Controller Review (2)

In Use

The controls are cramped, but it’s not overwhelmingly tight. The layout is pretty simple and elegant, with a browse section smack in the middle over the crossfader. The pitch faders don’t send hi-res MIDI, but I wasn’t expecting it with the price point. It would have been a nice addition, though. The faders also don’t have a center détente, or a light to signify you are in the middle. I would have rather either of those added to remove the need to pay more attention to the screen while DJing.

Behringer CMD Micro DJ Controller Review (5)

As said before, the buttons feel alright, but if you don’t hit them correctly they won’t respond. They are also very hard plastic which when hitting the cue buttons can begin to get a little uncomfortable. I wish Behringer had put at least a little soft rubber on them for comfort, if nothing else. It does still provide all of the controls I need for DJing a simple set on its own, though.

Behringer CMD Micro DJ Controller Review (10)

Final Thoughts

For the price, the Behringer CMD Micro it isn’t a bad travel or practice piece. Bringing this to a coffee shop or on a plane to do basic track prep wouldn’t be a bad plan, but I just don’t see a common use case for it beyond the absolute basics, and with still needing to purchase an audio interface to get any use out of it I am just left unexcited. If this had one added in it would be much more attractive to me.

With all of that being said, for the price the Behringer CMD Micro is a great little controller. While there are many things I could think of to add to it, all of them would significantly add to the price, and Behringer wants to keep these controllers completely accessible to DJs at the beginner level while offering those who are more professional tools to add to their existing setup.

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About Jared Helfer

Jared spends too much time staring at MIDI to have time to cut his hair or shave. He is also a DJ. He currently holds the record as the "Most Fired" at DJWorx, and is willing to challenge anyone to the title. He spends his time DJing in his office and releasing mixes on his website and mixcloud, as well as playing violent video games, reading books, and beginning to get involved in production. He also enjoys tormenting Gizmo about his age and Britishness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/djsix.resurrection DjSix Resurrection

    Hows this stack up against the Numark DJ2go?

    • Arthur-EM

      Dear Jered, can you please comment on this ? Numark DJ2Go vs. CMD Micro ? I am not a DJ yet, but thought of buying either one with a Audio Interface.. Waiting for your recommendation…. Plz help…!

  • The_KLH

    Good article. I wish that there was more said about the jogs than the two sentences above. Are the jogwheels high-performance (like VCI-300) or loose (like the Xponent) when used? Is there sticker drift if doing baby-scratches? Can the jogs do backspins? Can the side of the jogs nudge like CDJs?

    BTW, what app is included? Are there mappings for Traktor, SSL, and VDJ? Would this make a better “companion” controller than an X1 (old or new)?

    • Jared Helfer

      More loose, like the Xponent. I had a very hard time testing scratching on them in general since they were so small, and holding a grip on them was difficult. They can do backspins, but they have a shorter spin than other controllers, which for most cases are very useful. The jogs work like almost any other touch sensitive jog wheel where if you don’t touch the touch sensitive piece you can nudge.

      It comes with Deckadance, like all of the new line, and has a mapping for Traktor provided from Behringer.

      I think the X1 and the Micro serve completely different purposes. The debate is more between this and the Z1, and if you already have an audio interface, the price point for this makes it really compelling, especially if you already have an audio interface.

      • khaiyin

        What if you have an audio interface?

        • Jared Helfer

          If you already have one then I think this is a fine little controller, especially if you don’t need a ton of controls, or have some stuff to supplement.

    • Paco Loco

      It’s worth noting that it comes with no advice whatsoever on how to use it with an iPad and what software you will need to purchase to do that.

      At this point I believe the only option is the DJ Player app (which is very good), and you will need to map it yourself as there are no mappings anywhere online (at this time).

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  • Luca-Z

    No EQs controls?

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  • KingCast

    Hey guys, I’ve had the Behringer CMD Studio 4a for about a month now and I love it! I did a quick review if your interested in some of its features and to see it in action. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLih1Hw3aiU&feature=c4-overview&list=UUuvqiJin3lCG0yeBU9PmYEw

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