Which USB Flash Drive for DJing?


There have been a number of posts on this forum alone, describing scenarios where every setting, every cable, every file and every button press has been correct, and yet the DJ still experiences difficulties. In some cases, the DJ has eliminated the problems, by swapping their original USB flash drive.

Usually after each such revelation, the suggestion is made that a list should be made, showing good or bad (or both) flash drives. The flash drive list suggestion usually fades out once the reality kicks in about just how many different makes, models and variations of USB flash drive there are in the world.

I’m very pleased, therefore, that we’ve recently found that USERBENCHMARK have already done the work, and are still adding newer models to their tests all the time.

See here >>>>> http://usb.userbenchmark.com

They have a list of over 600 USB thumb drives and thanks to a handy downloadable user test application, Windows users can test new USB flash drives and upload the data into the main list, automatically.

The table of results can be sorted and filtered in many ways. Different data columns can be added or removed as desired. When you look at the results table, click on the orange arrows near the top right corner of the table - this allows you to change which columns feature in the results.

For DJing, one of most important properties for a USB flash drive is how fast it can read data (sustained, not burst). The UserBenchMark table offers a column of data called “Peak Read MB/s” which captures this information well. Dont confuse that data/column with “Peak 4K - R” which is a rating of how fast a flash drive can read many tiny files, which isnt applicable for DJs, where audio files are huge, in comparison.

Remember also that bloatware, or other hidden features on USB flash drives can taint their performance and their suitability for DJ use. Most of the USB Flashdrive manufacturers offer free downloadable removal tools for such hidden bloatware and utilities.

Please note that the userbenchmark site is external to the forum, and may display links or adverts which we may not endorse, sponsor or control and therefore accept no responsibility for.

The results in the UserBenchMark table have not been verified by ourselves and we provide the link to their site purely for your consideration.


Anyone tried testing their own current pen drives yet?

I know it’s the first thing that I did when I found the utility.

Just ran it and found out my pen drive is distinctly average. Saying that I have used it in the MCX8000 since day one and had no issues at all.

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the link Gee

I am a little amaze about the results of my flash drive. But on its defense I have to say I haven’t had any audio drop out using it on the MCX8000. I’ve tested the 16GB, 64GB & 128GB Sandisk Cruizer Glide and I have to say I’m supper happy with them.

Now I got a question. What’s the benefit using a USB 3.0 flash drive on a USB 2.0 port? The MCX8000 is a 2.0 isn’t?

My results:


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The MCX8000 is indeed USB 2.0.

There’s often no benefit is running USB3.0 sticks on USB2.0 equipment - in fact, due to poor “backwards compatibility” of some USB 3.0 sticks, the stick could have issues on USB 2.0 equipment.

The only slight caveat, is that USB3.0 sticks “could” have been made with newer faster chipsets, than USB 2.0 sticks - however, that’s not always the case.

For DJing, the speed that the stick can push huge files is critical - DJs are starting to learn that. However, for other domestic users, speed may be of little importance and instead, capacity is the only thing to consider. Price will always be a consideration, until people know to look deeper into the specifications.

Consider this… lets say there are three different USB sticks hanging up in a store - Each of them are 20 US dollars - all the same brand/manufacturer. All well built, sturdy cases, good design, tough materials etc.

  • 16GB - Very Fast even with large files - $20
  • 32GB - Fast for small files, slow with larger files - $20
  • 64GB - Slow with any size of files - $20

A student or office worker wanting to move dozens of simple word processing letters, or PDF files etc could spend their $20 and get the 64GB stick. it may not matter much to them if the stick takes 20 minutes to copy loads of small files, taking a little rest every gigabyte or so (Sustained Versus burst transfer rates).

The DJ on the other hand, may need to forget about the 64GB and the 32GB sticks, due to speed, and spend their $20 on the fast fast stick.

The other consideration, as you’re surprised by the overall poor score that your stick got, can sometimes be another problem. I’m not, however, saying that this next thing has happened to you:

Counterfeit / fake /clone sticks versus genuine, authentic sticks…

Unfortunately, good, fast, reliable, high speed chipsets cost more than slow, and/or lower quality chipsets. With that in mind SOME places have been selling very cheap chipsets in what look like genuine high priced USB sticks - often sold in very authentic looking outer packaging…

Think of this a bit like buying a Porsche Motor Car for 40% off the proper price, but someones swapped the Porsche engine for a cheap moped engine. Ouch!

The student or the office worker will probably never know… but the DJ could find out mid-set.





Hi Gee,

Interesting read.

I do understand about Flash drives speeds, I’ve been looking under the hood for some time, for Solid States and Flash Drives. Still is interesting read from your sharing knowledge stand point.

When I buy flash drive I buy them from a reputable source; no ebay, no wish, no alibaba or what so ever, just to make sure I don’t get a knock off, and If I do I can claim an exchange.

By the way I do own a 2TB flash drive, that in reality is like a 4GB drive. I bought it for testing purposes, but not for audio and so far I haven’t find a way to hack it back to its real storage capacity.

I agree with you, a 3.0 USB should have better electronics that at the end a USB 2.0 can take advantage of.

Thanks Gee


Hey all, I wrote an article on this a while back giving some tips and recommendations for USBs that might help:


Nice one J

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Ive been using the “Sandisk UltraFlair 64GB” drives and they seem fine. I carry 2, and both are exact replicas.

When ever i change my tracks and crates i update both USB keys, with 1 hidden in a little pocket in my wallet. Just as a backup.