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Cortex HDC-500 USB Digital Music Controller

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The Cortex HDC-500 is a USB equipped combination of brains and brawn that can handle a beating and your beats while controlling your digital music. Knowing that the DJ environment can sometimes be a b... Click To Read More About This Product

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The Cortex HDC-500 is a USB equipped combination of brains and brawn that can handle a beating and your beats while controlling your digital music. Knowing that the DJ environment can sometimes be a bumpy one, the Cortex engineers placed the brains of this digital music controller inside a fine steel frame with ABS plastics and ensured the buttons, faders, and jog wheel are tough enough to handle the abuse of nightly use.

So you know about the "hard" part of this piece of hardware, but what about the "ware"? Well, first off the HDC-500 can play all your MP3s, whether they be CBR or VBR at any bitrate up to 320kps, with two high-speed USB ports (one front, one rear) and internal support for recognizing multiple storage devices like iPods or external CD/DVD drives. It can also handle store-bought CDs, or your own MP3 and WAV music files via a USB CD/DVD-ROM drive. Once you've got your music collection together, utilizing the free, downloadable Cortex database software and an optional USB keyboard, you can search through even the most massive libraries of music within seconds by artist, title, genre, album, keyword, phrase and even BPM, much the way you would on a portable music player. The radiant 4-line, 80-character LCD display makes this easy to do whether at home or in the confines of a dimly lit DJ booth. And the frame accurate searching means you'll get pinpoint search, cue and playback at all times. Savable user configurations are also a convenient benefit.

Once you've got the music going, the playback screen displays detailed track information such as artist, track title, pitch, time elapsed/remaining, file format (MP3 or WAV), genre, track length and waveform display. When you have two separate devices supplying tunes, a simple click of the Info button for a corresponding side (front or rear) will cause the ID3 tag information for that particular song to pop up. You can play your tunes in single, continuous, or shuffle mode, with customizable fade-ins and outs, with no fear of digital file corruption from sudden accidental shutdown with the HDC-500's exclusive protection feature. You can also create seamless loops. During playback, the Jog Wheel provides lightning fast forward or rewind, and in Select Mode allows you to search, edit, and cue up your favorite tracks. In Scratch Effect Mode, it's super sensitivity offers realistic "vinyl" scratching of your CDs and MP3s. Lastly, there is a pitch fader for a smoother transition, a pitch button for quick bursts of fine tuning, and the jog wheel for a more casually adjustment, all three options which give you a range of 8%, 16%, and 24%.


  • Full CBR and VBR MP3 Compatibility
  • Support for various hard drive & flash-based music players, such as Apple iPod and external CD/DVD-Rom drives
  • Intelligent music database management
  • Multiple search options including file explorer and BPM search
  • Playlist creation with iTunes Playlist Compatibility
  • Dual 4 line 80-charcter LCD displays for playback information, parameter adjustments, and waveform display
  • Front and rear USB ports for easy access
  • USB keyboard connection for search and navigation
  • Jog wheel with Jog Mode Select
  • Scratch effect mode
  • Seamless Loop
  • User-configurable setup menu
  • One touch song and ID3 tag info button
  • Free cortex database manager software
  • Single/continuous play modes
  • Shuffle mode for unattended playback
  • Auto-fade mode
  • Two time display modes
  • Frame accurate search
  • Pitch control fader and bend button with range of +/- 24%
  • Performance protection eliminates accidental shutdown
  • Rugged 1U rack mount slim designed steel frame construction for any application
  • Balanced XLR outputs
  • German, Spanish, and French language support
  • Dimensions: 19"(L) x 1.75"(H) x 3.15/32"(D)
  • Weight: 3.75 lbs.
  • Customer Reviews

Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
CortexHDC-500 USB Digital Music Controller

(based on 1 review)

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Reviewed by 1 customer

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(9 of 9 customers found this review helpful)


Cortex HDC-500 USB Digital Music Controller review

By John Moorhead

from Roseville, CA

Comments about Cortex HDC-500 USB Digital Music Controller:

I am not a DJ; I purchased this unit for my home stereo system to provide an easy way for me to access my MP3 library. I like it so much that I am actually going to take this unit to my vacation home for use there, and purchase it's big brother, the HDC-1000, which is essentially two units in one case, giving me even more flexibility. The unit is very easy to use; I have over 3000 MP3's and organizing them and accessing them has always been a problem before now. The Cortex products come with a software database that you install on your PC; you use this tool to create a file on your stick or USB drive that the HDC products use to quickly and easily access any tune by artist name, song name, a word portion of that name, genre, etc. I especillay like the feature of this software that creates an automatic backup of this database; when you first insert your stick the system asks you to verify the database; if there is any corruption in the primary copy you can recover from the backup copy (I have not ever had to do this however). The jog wheel makes it a cinch to access any song on the stick in a few seconds. You can insert queueing points at any spot in the tune which I find convenient to cut out long lead-ins to songs and gets me right to what I want to listen to. The ability to flash a new firmware upgrade is very important and allows me to keep the unit up to date. While less important to me as a non-DJ, I find the pitch control interesting and fun to play with. The pitch slider control can be re-configured as a volume control which I find handy. Play display time counters can be set to either show total time played so far, or countdown of how much time is left in a song. Multiple MP3 sources can be attached (I have a USB CD drive allowing me to play regular CD's, a 500gb USB hard drive, and various sticks) and you can select which source to use. I was originally going to purchase the Cortex product from another company, but it was very important to me that my purchase location be an authorized Cortex dealer; I selected Guitar Center specifically because they are an authorized dealer. Although I have a store in my home town, I am currently disabled, so ordered the product via the mail. The unit arrived from the Guitar Center warehouse within one week in great condition, packing was good, no problems. The people I ordered from in the store were courtious and professional over the phone; I would definately recommend them.

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