Lessee. Features I love:
- Anti-skip memory: Skipping CDs due to table bumps has pissed me off repeatedly; end of problem, I hope. (I tried it out, and couldn't make it skip by shaking or bumping the table.)
- BPM Indicator: Okay, it's not perfect, sometimes getting confused in some parts of tracks, but wow does it make beat-mixing easier when you don't have to do it all by ear!
- Pitch Correction: One of the problems with changing speeds is that the pitch of sounds (i.e. key) also shifts, and this effect is painful on the ear of sensitive music types. These players can correct for this effect, speeding up or slowing down a track and compensating for pitch change. Again, very useful for beat mixing.
- Jog Wheel and Shuttle Ring: These are just plain nice interfaces for moving within a track. Intuitive, easy on the fingers, and much faster than fast-forward and rewind buttons.
- Hot Start, Looping and Stutter: Technically, I could do this before, using a sampler, but this is tons easier and faster. One of my main gripes with Roland's SP-505 sampler is that it seems to take bloody ages when writing to internal or external storage, so editing on the fly is time-consuming. Acceptable for the studio, but when playing live, time is in short supply. These are nice for effects within a track and for providing lead-ins and -outs for mixing.
- MP3 Handling: This is a nice bonus for me right now, although I might gradually switch to using MP3s for live playing (less plastic to lug around). My wife, on the other hand, is very happy about this, since she collects MP3's and doesn't like having to extract them all to full audio CD's to be able to play them on the good sound system.
- Brake effect: Okay, okay, it's not that all-fired important, but it's a cute bonus. This effect makes it sound like a record player slowing to a stop when the track is halted using the pause button. One can fake it using the pitch shifter set to no compensation and 100% speed range, but having a button just for that promises to cause all kinds of trouble, as I will of course be tempted to overuse it.
There are other features, of course, but these are the biggies for me. The only thing I really miss is alpha track, a feature that lets one play two independent points on the same CD simultaneously to separate outputs. To get that would require spending about twice as much money for a DN-D9000 though, so I'll just have to make do for now.
Now I just have to get my tax money back from the government... nurse, forceps please.