Category Archives: DJ CD Player

CD Players for DJ

Pioneer CDJ 2000

Filed under DJ CD Player

The latest Pioneer Pro DJ baby. Does it worth it? Tough question. I couldn’t resist anyway because I’ve been waiting so long for such gear!

This CD player is very similar to the excellent Pioneer CDJ 1000 MK3. The big improvement is really in the ability to read from USB device all kind of music format (except the recent FLAC which is more and more used by the way).

One CD player can be connected to another one (up to four of them in line) with a LAN cable and you can browse this way the USB plugged to another player.

In theory you can plug your CDJ 2000 players to a computer via a network switch and play this way any song from your entire library (WAV, AIFF, MP3 and AAC). But this functionality although described in the user manual is not available yet (will be later with a firmware update). Here comes the first disappointment.

The players come with a software called RekordBox. Don’t get excited too much, this is nothing like Serato or whatever. This is just to manage your tracks library in a smart way. The idea is to get your tunes analyzed with the software, you can tag them, store Cue Points and send them to your CDJ 2000 players. But the software is somehow not reliable yet and had one update already. (For example this messes up your MP3 tags) I would strongly recommend that you play around with a small excerpt of your library before you get all your tracks scanned by the software.

This being said the CDJ 2000 is without surprise a jewel of Pro DJ technology and in my opinion the best CD Players available in the market as the CDJ 1000 are.

This important to know that if you cannot afford such a price I would advise you to go for CDJ 1000 players than you can hook up with Serato Scratch Live and play all the tunes stored on your computer. No doubt that the arrival of the CDJ 2000 will drag the price of the MK3 down. You can also get slightly used devices for a lot less.

Don’t forget to take a look at Pioneer DJ Forums that enclose full of information.

Pioneer CDJ 1000

Filed under DJ CD Player

A wide range of CD players for djing is available but it is very hard to get such good quality and reliable gear as the CDJ 1000. The main features will be discussed further in the post but there is also quite a good reason to go for the CDJ 1000: it is now standard in many clubs so if you plan to mix outside your bedroom you’d better to get your hands on it…

I am going to keep the same structure as the user manual and add my personal feelings about what they say with a few mixing hints.

Jog Dial

The 206 mm diameter makes it larger than most of the analog turntables and this gives a very accurate touch to your beat matching. You can also tweak how hard you want it to turn. The scratch play function is available when switched in Vinyl mode. You just have to press the Jog Dial and rotate it at the same time.

Mixing tip: you may not abuse of the scratch function when mixing cds apart from having fun with a couple of friends. If scratching is really what you want to do you would probably go for Vinyl turntables and do it properly (not easy though). As they say: “give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar”.

Mixing tip: the large jog dial can be used to find very accurate Cue point within a track but also to move forward/backward much faster when pressing the fwd/bckwd button at the same time you rotate the jog dial. You can even use this feature to browse your tracks on a CD. Remember that as CDJ 1000 Mk3 handles mp3 you can sometimes have up to 50 songs on a single CD…

Pitch Bend and Tempo Control

You can speed up or slow down your tune like any analog player using the 100 mm pitch bend. The available ranges are:

  • 6%
  • 10%
  • 16%
  • Wide (100%)

Please note that if you press the Tempo Reset button, the track will be played at its pace whatever the position of the pitch bend is.

Mixing tip: you should consider using only the 6% range most of the time. Remember that turntables do not have the “Master Tempo” feature (or whatever you want to call it) that enables to speed up (slow down) the tempo of a track without altering the vocals. Turntables DJs have therefore to mix tracks that cannot be far from each other in term of tempo so that the vocals still sound good if slightly sped up or slowed down.

Wave Display

The structure of a song appears crystal clear with the wave display feature. It gets easy to find breaks and steady part of your track to plan when you’re going to introduce the next song.

Mixing tip: When you insert a common CD the structure of the song will show up straight away, but when you insert a mp3 CD the track needs to be played once for the player to get the wave structure. Luckily, this will be stored in your memory card that you can carry with you when you go out mixing in the club that owns Mk3, same as your Cue Points. More on that later, but now you’re getting why professional DJs now require CDJ 1000 Mk3 in clubs

Hot Cue

Instant starts can be stored in A, B or C.

Reverse Play

The feature can be used to play the music backward.

Mixing tip: Again, I’m not too much excited into pouring down sound effects when playing, but this one can sound great if used wisely…

Master Tempo

As we discussed earlier, the Master Tempo (that can have other name on different players but they do it most of the time).

Mixing tip: when you play live, the Master Tempo will always be on, BUT when you practice I would recommend to switch it off to figure out wether you speed up / slow down a track too much compared to its natural pace. Your combos should probably still sound roughly OK when the Master Tempo is off.

Cue

Most of the time you will set the Auto Cue at -60 dB (by default) just because you don’t want the track to run straight away as you put the CD into the player. You will then try to find one or more proper Cue point to kick off.

Using the Jog Dial you will find the Cue point from which you want to start. Pressing the Cue button will store this Cue point in the memory card, meaning that next time you put the same CD in your Cue points will be ready straight away.

Mixing tip: If you press the Cue button and let it pushed the music will play until you release it. If you don’t want to stop playing just press play while Cue button still pushed and then release the Cue button: the music will continue.

The Cue button can be used to start the track and to play around by hitting quickly the first beat of your tune a few times.

Loop

Real Time Seamless Loop

You can set up a loop at the same time you play a track and adjust to fine tune your start and end points.

Reloop

If you release the loop play you can return to the loop start point using this button.