I remember a time when no DJ worth his salt took CD players seriously (I say his, because they were all blokes back then). The objections were longer than a 12” (remember those?). “CDs are all very well, but what are you going to do when one starts jumping in the middle of a set?”…“It’s not like you can scratch with them is it?” “CDs? What next, female DJs?” Enter Pioneer (DJ booth left), with their now legendary CDJ-1000s, which, combined rock solid performance, optimal ergonomics, industrial build quality and the ability to emulate the entire cannon of vinyl tricks…and then some. The CDJs revolutionised the industry to such an extent that it’s almost impossible to find a club that doesn’t have a pair. But with a whole new generation getting their tunes direct from the net (some even, legally…) and the ever growing popularity of laptop DJing with Live, Traktor and Serrato, it seems that the graffiti’s on the wall for CDs. So what next?
Over the last few years all sorts of hardware interfaces and controllers have been tried and though they all work to varying extents, they all come with their own set of problems and limitations, not least of which is the simple fact that laptops can be unreliable at the best of times, let alone, in hot, sweaty clubs, where they and half a dozen controllers and interface boxes, none of which were actually designed to work in such environments, or with each other, have been hastily wired together, with dodgy leads…and the warm up DJ’s girlfriend’s mate’s, mate, who shouldn’t have really been in the DJ booth to start off with, but was, because you thought you could pull her because she’s off her faces on E, has just spilled her cider and blackcurant over the entire setup…not that that’s ever happened to me you understand…
So what’s the answer? Well given that none of the hardware interfaces I’ve tried can touch the CDJs (much less put a dent in their tank like casings), how about a CDJ with a built-in soundcard, colour screen and tune browser, that can play audio from multiple sources including USB drives, SD cards and DVDs and that can be used to control Traktor & Serrato without the need for timecoded CDs? Sound too good to be true? Well it’s not! It’s called the CDJ-2000, it was officially announced by Pioneer today and it is unquestionably the next great revolution in dance music!
I’ll post a full length review as soon as Pioneer send me a pair. In the meantime, here’s an exclusive Technofile preview, plus a bonus video from the Pioneers themselves (for more of which, keep an eye on their DJ Sounds blog)
Both revolutionary and evolutionary, the CDJ-1000 inherits much of its design and layout from the CDJ-1000, ensuring that everything is where you expect it to be. However, some key additions make it much more than just a CDJ-1000 on steroids.
First up, in addition to standard CDs, the CDJ-2000 can play 16/24 bit WAV & AIFF, AAC & MP3 files from CD, DVD, USB storage devices (including thumb drives and hard disk drives), SD cards and even Tonium’s tasty little Pacemaker (in other words everything but vinyl). SD cards and memory sticks can be slotted straight into the deck’s top mounted slots, whilst other USB storage devices can be hooked up via a standard USB lead.
Second up, the addition of an elevated 6.1-inch LCD screen and a rotary selector, enables selectors to browse for tracks by text or artwork, using the CDJ-2000’s purpose built GUI (graphical user interface).
Third up, a ribbon controller, underneath this display, offers an industry first – Needle Search™/Needle Drop which digitally simulates the action of needle dropping on vinyl, allowing instantaneously previews and searches with needlepoint accuracy.
But that’s just the start. ‘Rekordbox’ database management software can analyse track information such as BPM and wave data, providing editable beat grids that utilise the CDJ-2000’s new quantize performance features, allowing cue points and loops to be set perfectly on-beat every time. Using it, DJs can prepare cue points, loops and Hot Cues, create, edit and manage playlists, tag information and, having edited and arranged their set, export it lock stock and two smoking DVJs, to a USB device, then simply turn up to a show, at which point the DVJ will ask, in one of 7 programmable female voices and 96 different languages, “Is that a two hour set in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?” OK, so I made up that last bit about the programmable voices, but you get the point! And if that’s not enough, the CDJ-2000 also creates a history playlist on your storage device, for review (or recording) when you next sync with rekordbox™.
Other advantages of Rekordbox include three Hot Cue Banks, (in addition to the the CDJ-2000’s three Hot Cue buttons) and another industry-first in the shape of ‘Pro DJ Link’ which enables up to four DVJ-2000s to be linked and synced to a single USB storage device, via a LAN hub.
However, if you prefer to use digital vinyl systems such as Serato’s Scratch Live, Native Instrument’s Traktor or MixVibes’ Cross*, the DVJ-2000’s built in 24-bit/48 kHz sound card, Human Interface Device (HID) and MIDI over USB offer you native control of these systems… without any need for time-coded discs!!!
Add into the mix an improved audio output circuit with a Wolfson DAC processor and all new jog dial that’s illuminated in four places and which is said to be quieter, smoother and with a greater tension ranges than the CDJ-1000 and it’s clear that a new legend is born
But it doesn’t end there, as today, Pioneer also announced a baby brother, in the shape of the CDJ-900, which offers much of the same functionality (minus the ability to play audio DVDs) plus some exclusive functionality in the shape of a Slip button which lets DJs perform tricks such as as looping, reversing and scratching and always return on the beat when complete; Quick Return scratch to jump back to a set cue point as soon as they touch the Jog to perform a scratch and Advanced Auto Beat Loop which makes it simple to play a precisely timed loop.
The CDJ-2000 hits the streets in November at a suggested retail price of €1799 (including VAT and the rekordbox software). The CDJ-900 hits the streets at the end of December, with an SRP of €1299 (including VAT and rekordbox).
More info: www.pioneer.co.uk
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