There are few names as highly regarded in the realms of DJ equipment as the almighty 'Pioneer
'. But there is a lot that Pioneer have to offer so what is the right set-up for you? I will attempt to break it down as simply as possible to see what you do and don't get from each of the products in their vast range.
Lets start with Pioneers CD decks....
Pioneer's CD decks or CDJ's as they are known, are what really put Pioneer on the map in the world of DJ. The original Pioneer CDJ 1000 changed the way pro DJ's could perform their craft in a club environment (and at home if they had the cash). And as the later MKII and MK3 versions saw themselves finding a home in pretty much every club in the universe, Every budding DJ aspired to own a pair and the pro's really started to move away from vinyl (don't shoot the messenger 'purists' I am just stating what sales show). The Pioneer CDJ now comes in various forms and sizes and to fulfil a variety of requirements from us demanding DJ's.
The Pioneer CDJ 350
offers a great starting point for someone looking to get into pioneers leading CD deck market without breaking the bank. Coming in a variety of colours (Black, Silver and white) the CDJ 350 has a slightly smaller profile than its bigger brothers, this is advantageous in a couple of ways. Firstly it takes up less space which is handy for bedroom/home use where space is limited. Secondly it fits the profile of pioneers similar level DJ mixers that I will get onto shortly. Key features of the CDJ 350 include the ability to play Pioneers Rekordbox
compatible files via a USB drive or traditional audio or MP3 CD's. Other features include adjustable pitch range 'Vinyl' mode and 'Loop Cutter' function.
Pioneer replace their extremely popular CDJ 800 for the new and improved CDJ 850
. The 850 is (similar to the 350) available in black or silver color options. Far more than just now having a black option as opposed to the previous silver only options, the CDJ 850 features USB Midi connectivity (HID mode) to allow for control of digital DJ software platforms such as Traktor
without the need for the time-code CD's! On top of this they again can play Rekordbox compatible audio files from a USB device along with the ability to play CD's (both mp3 and audio). Another function that makes the 850 a significant step up from the 350 is its advance looping triggers that allow you to edit the size of loops on the fly using its 4 'Loop Size' buttons. The increments of these can be adjusted to offer 8 sized loops in total.
The CDJ 900
offers some rally impressive features. You get everything that the CDJ 850 offers but with much more advanced features. Firstly is the 'Slip Mode' function, that allows for on the fly looping and scratching whilst the track continues to keep moving at its original pace. Great for on the fly remixing and edits. Secondly is its advanced connectivity to pioneers Rekordbox software and its 'Link' mode. Thanks to the CDJ 900's Ethernet (LAN
) connection on the rear of the unit, you can either link one deck to another (up to 4 in total) or connect them to a hub that is linked to your computer or laptop and drag and drop tunes from your Rekordbox library directly to any given deck instantly. The 900 also features a much more advanced display than the 850 showing more track and playlist information.
The all new flagship player from Pioneer is the CDJ 2000 Nexus
. Anything that this can't do is not worth doing. It has all of the functionality of the 900 and the previous flagship CDJ 1000 mk3, such as its 3 hot cue and hot loop buttons in the top left of the unit and adjustable platter resistance but thats about all it retains. Ok, it plays CD's but it also can play files from SD or USB devices
. The 2000 Nexus really comes to life even more when used with Rekordbox files. You can quantise pretty much everything, from hot cues to loops. Thanks to its touch strip and intuitive full colour display you can accurately adjust the beat increments of loops and not only do this in standard mode but in the CDJ 900 style 'Slip mode' too. A full accurate waveform display can now be found on the 2000 Nexus that moves along as the track is playing (just like it would in Traktor or Serato style DVS systems) allowing for you to see all the subtle changes in the track and thus allowing you to get creative yet know when its time to stop messing around and drop the next tune. Finally just when we thought it would never be possible, Pioneer have done it. They have added a 'Sync' button that, when 2 or more decks are linked together using the LAN connection, can sync 2 Rekordboxed files together allowing for you to get as creative as you like when in the mix without worrying about the tracks going out of time! Incredible! Oh and I nearly forgot you can even send tracks to your CDJ 2000 Nexus from a smart phone via a wireless hub!!
So that about covers Pioneers CDJ selection. We have all said it before but we will say it again....
"Where can they possible go from here?"