Full Behringer CMD Studio 4A DJ Controller Review: Behringer has always had a reputation for making music gear that's exceptionally well priced, and also came up with a couple of the very first DJ controllers many years back, the B-Control BCD2000 and BCD3000. However, the company has been totally quiet in this area ever since then, while other brands have taken centrestage. But to say Behringer is back would be an understatement: It has just simultaneously released seven new controllers: several modular devices, a micro all-in-one, and the device we're reviewing today, the Behringer CMD Studio 4A.
The unit is quite large (about the size of a Traktor Kontrol S4, although not as deep, and slimmer), and also like the Traktor Kontrol S4, it is made of plastic, but with a black metal faceplate which means it feels nice to touch and use, while still being quite light. Compared to other units under $200, it looks extremely professional.
Because of its size, it is not in any way cramped, and the extra space has also allowed the designers to incorporate large (6") jogwheels, really long-throw pitch faders, long line faders, eight hotcue buttons per deck, decent sized buttons everywhere, and lots of spacing between the EQ and FX knobs. With the cue/master mix and headphones volume knobs moved to the front side of the unit (along with the 1/4"-only headphones socket, the only items on this part of the controller), all of this means a very user-friendly control layout overall.
The actual layout contains no surprises whatsoever; it's totally standard, eschewing the current trend for big pads and sticking to hard plastic "click" buttons, all backlit in various colours. The FX are channel assignable, and big A/B/C/D buttons let you controls four software decks, the scratch/nudge behaviour switched again by nice big buttons (the only round buttons on the whole unit in this case).
One pleasant surprise is the "kill" buttons (not often seen any more) in the mixer EQ section; however, I'd like to have seen the eight hotcues per deck be bigger and easier to press; cue juggling would be just about possible on this but they're no way as good as many controllers nowadays. Worth noting here too that there are no external inputs at all; not even a microphone-through.
The back panel is very simple, with a USB socket for the computer, a DC-in (power transformer is provided), and a pair of RCA stereo outputs. The outputs are identical; both are controlled by the Main volume control on the unit, so in other words the "second" output is neither a booth output with its own volume control, nor a true "record" output (that bypasses the Main volume control).
The jogwheels have some weight behind them so they will spin freely for several seconds once turned, something I like because it potentially allows for more fun "vinyl" effects when DJing; however, when you push down with a little force on the edge of the jogs, they grate against the plastic casing underneath them, which gives a cheap impression. It won't affect performance, but it doesn't feel very nice. The knobs Behringer has used throughout, on the other hand, are really nice: kind of chunky, rounded and rubberised. Overall, the controller feels pretty good, and certainly isn't far off the build quality of something like the Traktor Kontrol S4.