More advice: Quit traktor for CDJ's
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  1. #1

    Default More advice: Quit traktor for CDJ's

    I started a thread a couple of days asking about which mixer to get for use with traktor (or whether to get an S4) as I wanted a more enjoyable hands-on feel to mixing. After doing more research the last few days I'm now starting to think that a pair of cdj's and a mixer is the way to go (and not even use traktor). The quality and feel of cdj's (pioneer) is way above what a controller can ever give me. I'm not really into cue point juggling, extensive use of fx or anything like that - basically I enjoy playing a set and putting together mixes for my friends. Good tunes played in the right order. I'm competent with ableton live if I need to do any edits or remixes and don't need to do it on the fly. Basically i'm a bedroom DJ only. I have no ambitions to be Tiesto or Avicii or whoever.

    Has anyone here gone from using traktor back to cdj's? Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I can't really speak for the long term, but I went from a S2 MK2 to the XDJ-R1, which - at least from my point of view - is basically the best budget cdj-all-in-one-unit. I'm a bit subjective, because it is still new and exiting, but I am having way more fun with it than the S2. I can focus on the music much more than with a laptop in use, all information is either on the headphones/monitor or on the unit. Of course it is a different workflow, but it works for me.

    The only thing I fear is that people report that the unit crashes a lot. I did experience more crashes on the S2 than on the XDJ-R1 so far. I hope that won't change.

    By the way: I got my XDJ-R1 used with warranty for 450€ (half the original price), what makes it a no-brainer for me. If I ever wish to go back to Traktor I'd just use the mapping (either custom or the official pioneer one).

  3. #3

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    A 2 channel controller and traktor is going to cost significantly less than a pair of cdjs and a mixer, and you're going to go this route because of "quality" and "feel?" It doesn't make sense to me. Especially when you consider that some of pioneers controllers have the same "quality" and "feel" as their cdjs.

  4. #4
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    I went from Traktor-> Cd players -> TSP2 with CDJs -> Traktor

    your statement of "feeling in touch" with the music is true. I loved having Cd players, i just hated transporting them around to local bars and parties. I for one also don't believe in buying Pioneer CDJ's unless i am making a substantial amount of from Dj'ing. (feel free to PM me for an honest opinion on Pio Cdj's). It is awesome being able to know your music well, and a good mix feels rewarding.
    However... do your research before buying your mixer/CD players. You say you don't aspire to be Tiesto or whomever, so i advise you to save some money and get nice none-Pio CDj's (Denon sc2900 is full feature for a cdj-850 price). Also take into consideration whether or not you'd like to use them with Traktor (midi/HID/TC)

    If you are a bedroom DJ and don't have to worry about transporting them around all the time, then go for it. Don't be discouraged if you don't get the hang of CDj's right away, it is a rough transition from having visual feedback of a song, to having nothing but your ears. I spent 1.5 years with a controller, and 1.5 years with CDj's. before settling on my 2x X1 and denon mixer setup. (mobility is key) if you do decide to switch, you will think of music in different ways (phrasing, keys, styles, etc...)

    TL;Dr: You will have a great time with CD players with your attitude. Do not buy Pio unless you are making money/can afford them comfortably. Don't be discouraged if you can't get the hang of it right away (took me a few practice mixes to learn)
    Last edited by no_rex4u; 02-07-2014 at 07:30 AM.
    Done DJ'ing

  5. #5
    Tech Mentor Irrational Fear's Avatar
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    The poster above speaks a lot of sense- if you are only planning on using them for mixing at home, with friends, and for recording mixes etc I would definately research all the options before spending a ton of money on Pioneer CDJs just because they are Pioneer.

    They do make great CDJs no question, but so do other companies. For what it's worth I sold my Pio CDJ900s (in my username pic) to swap to the Denon SC2900s when they came out because they are in my opinion a better unit in every way except for not having HID for software control (their midi control with Traktor is however excellent).

    It will largely depend on your budget but in my opinion if you want USB capable players I would consider the following:

    Lower Budget: Pioneer CDJ400s, Reloop RMP3alphas - none of these have waveforms at this level, but to be honest if you are used to Traktor then only the waveforms on the 3 players in the last catagory are going to cut it.

    Medium Budget: Denon Sc2900 / Sc3900 - IMO these are better (features AND build quality) than the CDJ900 and miles ahead of the CDJ850, and cheaper than either.

    Money no object: Pioneer CDJ900nexus, CDJ2000, CDJ2000nexus - the 3 Pio players with the full LED screen, definately the ultimate solution to go truly laptop-less with software-style browsing/visuals.

    If you are happy to burn & use CDs then I would probably disregard all of the above and pick up a pair of CDJ1000mk3s (no usb port) as I still hold that these are the best built DJ cd players made, and the only Pio players that came close to justifying their price.

    Using a laptop-less setup is a lot of fun, there are far fewer visual cues available to you so you do feel somewhat more involved.

    I would just keep in mind that you are going to have to keep your music well organised. In this regard I would definately consider one of the players that has the 'network link' feature (CDJ900 & above/sc2900/sc3900) as this will at least give you the option of connecting a network cable to your laptop and use it as a music database/browsing screen (running either Pio's Rekordbox or Denon's Engine software) should you wish.

    This is different to using traditional DJ software as the hardware (the CD players) are actually playing the music still (not the computer), the computer is simply acting as a storage & browsing facility- this means you can use pretty much anything for this as system specs are not much of an issue (I often use a crappy 11" netbook for this) and certainly in the Denon's case you can use an Ipad instead if you prefer.

    For me the bottom line is that if you make the switch to CD/media players and mixer you'll be set for the future, then if you decide to incorporate software again further down the line it is easier (and cheaper) to do so whilst still maintaining the option of stand-alone functionality. It is a big investment but I simply couldn't go without the sheer versatility of CD/usb decks now.

    Just do plenty of research (read reviews, watch videos, basically google the hell out of every option out there!) before pulling the trigger, I can't stress this enough. This way you get the equipment that is right for you- at the end of the day if you put a great mix together nobody listening to it is going to care what make of equipment you recorded it on (in my experience only other DJs and equipment manufacturers care what you are using, and they are but a tiny percentage of the people listening to your music).

    I've owned or used a fair chunk of the above players so I'd happily give you some more detailed thoughts on them where I can
    Last edited by Irrational Fear; 02-07-2014 at 06:35 AM.
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    2 Denon SC2900, Denon Dn-x1600, 2 Vestax PDX2000mk2, 2 Technics 1210, Stanton SK6, Gemini SA600mk2, Pio HDJ1500, 2 Synergy CD2000 (antiques)

  6. #6
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    Why would people recommend Pioneers CDJ400 or 350 as a budget equipment over the XDJ-R1? The only real advantages are being able to stack four of them and the better loop control for non-analyzed tracks. Therefor you already pay twice what I payed for my XDJ-R1 (for 2CDJs + an equivalent mixer). What's the point? Did I buy the wrong unit? What do I not see?

  7. #7
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    The pitch faders on the XDJ R1 look tiny and I've heard that the jogwheels aren't very good either. Although to be fair, the jogwheels on the CDJ 400 and 350 don't seem particularly good either.

  8. #8
    Tech Mentor Irrational Fear's Avatar
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    Yes true, I had intended to mention the R1 in my post and got sidetracked.

    The only advantages I can see with the 400s is having a modular system rather than an all-in one unit, or if the OP was expressly looking at a certain mixer.

    Personally I do like the look of the R1 (and I'm all for the concept), if they did one in the mold of the DDJ-SX I'd be sorely tempted.

    I got the impression though that the OP was referring more to the larger players (or at least thats how it seemed to me- I'm not convinced switching to a CDJ400-sized setup would offer much more in feel over a decent controller).
    https://www.facebook.com/ekmobile.entertainment / http://soundcloud.com/dave-eden
    2 Denon SC2900, Denon Dn-x1600, 2 Vestax PDX2000mk2, 2 Technics 1210, Stanton SK6, Gemini SA600mk2, Pio HDJ1500, 2 Synergy CD2000 (antiques)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tilldrop View Post
    Why would people recommend Pioneers CDJ400 or 350 as a budget equipment over the XDJ-R1? The only real advantages are being able to stack four of them and the better loop control for non-analyzed tracks. Therefor you already pay twice what I payed for my XDJ-R1 (for 2CDJs + an equivalent mixer). What's the point? Did I buy the wrong unit? What do I not see?

    while cdj400's are small format cd players, they do offer HID and USB. They were simple mentioned as budget players.
    Done DJ'ing

  10. #10
    Tech Guru 031999's Avatar
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    cdj 850's have become the perfect middle ground, usb, rekordbox, and midi integration

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