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Thread: Want to add a Digital DJ controller to my CDJ setup. Suggestions?

  1. #1

    Want to add a Digital DJ controller to my CDJ setup. Suggestions?

    I've been through the last few pages and didn't see an answer so I'll make a new post and hope somebody has some advice.

    I've only ever spun on decks (first vinyl, then CDs) and want to keep the feel as close as possible with a controller. Ideally I'd like something that I don't need a computer to run, but it looks like all the Pioneer gear requires either Serato or Rekordbox (if I'm wrong please let me know).

    So I need a 4-channel mixer that I can plug my CDJs into and I'd like standard size platters for a bit of light scratching.

    Which software will get me more of a CDJ feel - Serato or Rekordbox?

    I'm leaning toward the DDJ-RX or the DDJ-SX simply because they are available used in my area for around $500. Don't have my heart set on either one. Anybody have any experience with either of these?

    Or is there anything else I should be looking for? I'm not in a huge hurry to buy so can wait until something else comes available...

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Deez Beats! KLH's Avatar
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    The DDJ-SZ, -SZ2, or -RXZ are as close to CDJs as a controller gets. Of course, if you'd rather go the other way, the XDJ-RX or -RX2 might be more to your liking as a computer isn't required. The same could be said of the XDJ-700 or -1000 series of CDJ replacements too.

    You have choices, my friend. Lots or choices.

    As for SDJ or Rekordbox, I think you'll be fine in either eco-system.
    -KLH
    Visit DJF's Beginner's MEGA thread and drop by my Facebook Fan Page.

  3. #3
    Well.. you say you want a controller. Then you say you don't want to need a computer??
    A controller is just a thing that controls software on a computer.. so that's by definition going to require a computer

    But maybe what you want is something like an XDJ-RX2.. all one piece unit, self contained.. does not require a computer, can play directly off USB thumb drives. Using Rekordbox on a computer to manage your files (which are then copied to the thumb drives, and you don't need the computer while you are playing) enables certain features, but isn't required. Basic mixing works fine without it (I have been doing that for years now).

    Has inputs for your old CDJ's.

    It can also work with the computer attached, like a regular controller.

    Other option is, if you already have a mixer.. you can get a pair of XDJ-1000mk2.. basically similar to a similar to a newer model CDJ but without the CD slot, only play off USB.. or off a laptop with Rekordbox (tho this is not required).. can also be used as deck controllers with some software.

    Last option without a computer.. is trade up your CDJ's for a newer set eg. CDJ-900 or CDJ-2000 (depending on whether you are looking for new or used gear, there are several different versions.. the new ones are very expensive but the older models are still good).

    Again, these will play off USB without a computer. Using Rekordbox ahead of time enables some features. And they also play CD.

  4. #4
    Ok.. reread my post and it's a little confusing. Let me break it down:

    In Pioneer:

    All the XDJ models.. play tracks off thumb drives, with or without Rekordbox having been used to create those thumb drives. they do NOT play CD.

    The XDJ-RX2 is an all in one unit, two decks and a mixer. It also works as a controller.

    The XDJ-1000mk2 and XDJ-700 are single decks.. just like CDJ's.. you use two of them with your existing mixer or any mixer. You can network up to 3 decks together so any deck can play music from a thumb drive in any other deck. They also can work as controllers with a laptop. In that mode, they control the deck part of the DJ software, and provide the sound card for each deck.. you still use your regular mixer as usual.

    The CDJ-900 and CDJ-2000 (as well as the newer NXS/NXS2 models) do as above, but also play CD.

    It really depends on your intended use.

  5. #5
    There's the EKS Otus, a dual-layer DJ controller with audio interface but it's discontinued. Very much like CDJ from what I read.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by light-o-matic View Post
    Well.. you say you want a controller. Then you say you don't want to need a computer??
    A controller is just a thing that controls software on a computer.. so that's by definition going to require a computer
    lol I know. What I meant was I don't want a setup that does everything for me mix-wise and I especially don't want something that requires me to prep the music in any way. I don't mind using a computer as a storage device to grab my songs from, but I just want to be able to pull random tracks out of my library and mix them on the fly without having to pre-set queue points and stuff. I'd like to be able to just load up a song and use the platter and cue button to set my points like on a CDJ. Then get a rough BPM and adjust it manually with some nudges and the pitch. A lot of the streamers I watch seem to just cue up a track and push play and don't touch anything and the songs are already on. That doesn't seem like much fun to me. So I'm not set on CDs per se, I'm ok using a USB stick as well. Using my hands works best for me. Giggity.

    (I admit, I could be completely wrong about how controllers work. I'm basing what I know of them on what I've seen other DJs do, not personal hands-on experience).

    I'd prefer to stick with CDJs but I want to get all the benefits of a mid- or upper-tier CDJ and mixer without having to spend $800+ on each piece of kit.

    Thanks for the input guys. I like the idea of an stand-alone all-in-one XDJ but so far it doesn't look like there's a 4-channel that does what I want and the individual units are not in my price range.

    I think I'll keep watching for CDJs. Just having bad luck; the last two deals I've been ready to buy were sold out from under me
    Last edited by DJ Elroy; 08-12-2018 at 10:30 AM.

  7. #7
    Member djeternal's Avatar
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    Hey DJ Elroy you asked some important questions. I've put together a video to answer questions like yours - check it out and let me know if it helps.

    I think that you would really like the Pioneer XDJ-RX2 or the Pioneer DDJ-1000.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Elroy View Post
    lol I know. What I meant was I don't want a setup that does everything for me mix-wise and I especially don't want something that requires me to prep the music in any way. I don't mind using a computer as a storage device to grab my songs from, but I just want to be able to pull random tracks out of my library and mix them on the fly without having to pre-set queue points and stuff. I'd like to be able to just load up a song and use the platter and cue button to set my points like on a CDJ. Then get a rough BPM and adjust it manually with some nudges and the pitch. A lot of the streamers I watch seem to just cue up a track and push play and don't touch anything and the songs are already on. That doesn't seem like much fun to me. So I'm not set on CDs per se, I'm ok using a USB stick as well. Using my hands works best for me. Giggity.

    (I admit, I could be completely wrong about how controllers work. I'm basing what I know of them on what I've seen other DJs do, not personal hands-on experience).

    I'd prefer to stick with CDJs but I want to get all the benefits of a mid- or upper-tier CDJ and mixer without having to spend $800+ on each piece of kit.

    Thanks for the input guys. I like the idea of an stand-alone all-in-one XDJ but so far it doesn't look like there's a 4-channel that does what I want and the individual units are not in my price range.

    I think I'll keep watching for CDJs. Just having bad luck; the last two deals I've been ready to buy were sold out from under me
    I totally hear ya on all that.
    Well, most (not all) controllers will let you do things for yourself if you want. The three things you have to look out for are: Some controllers leave off the gain knob because they expect you to use auto-gain, some have smaller than normal pitch sliders or none because they expect you to use sync, some have no jog wheels or lame ones. Watch out for that and you will be ok. The nicer Pioneer controllers are more or less like using a CDJ. They do have automatic functions, eg sync.. but so do the newest CDJ's!

    Keep in mind that there is no such thing as "just picking tracks off the computer".. it may feel that you are doing that and that the controller does everything else but in reality everything is in the computer and its software, the controller is useless without it.

    Personally I am a curmudgeon, I tried to change to a controller but I did not get into it, I don't like dealing with the laptop while DJing. So I sold my CDJ-800mk2's and got CDJ-900's.. which were great. Then from the 900's I went to XDJ-1000 (mk2).. also great but most of their fancy features don't work without prepping your tracks ahead of time with Rekordbox. Which I don't do, so I still use them pretty much the same as I did my CDJ's.. except picking tracks out of folders on my flash drive instead of CDs in my case. There is a significant amount of "lock in" when you start using Rekordbox to organize your tracks.. I am not into that so I have avoided it. But they REALLY REALLY want you to.

    On one hand, if you prefer to play on CDJ as I do, getting a Pioneer -RB model controller with Rekordbox make the most sense, because then your music will be all prepped and ready.. you can play using the controller at home, and when you go out, you can export the tracks to flash drives and plug them into CDJ/XDJ's and everything will be organized and ready exactly the same as you had them at home. But making that choice means that you are more or less committed to Pioneer since they make it quite difficult copy your data from there to any other DJ software (your tracks are still copyable of course, but the organization of them and the key information etc is locked into RB).

    I use Mixed In Key and Foobar2000 to prep all my tracks (mark them with key and bpm in the track name, and convert all flacs and wavs to aiff). Then I sort them into folders. So that can be played anywhere, not just Pioneer. So I have a Traktor Z1 controller I use rarely and my friends have a Serato DJ setup.. because I don't use RB I can use these systems as well as my CDJs but of course I give some functionality up for that.

  9. #9
    The more I'm learning, the more you're talking me out of a controller lol. I have a friend bringing his over this weekend so I can try it out, but I'm leaning towards keeping it simple (and cheap) with some CDJs.

    So you've had CDJ 800 mk2s, how is the scratching action on them? Is it a standard size platter? I found a guy asking $700 for a DJM 800 mixer and 2x CDJ 800 mk2s.

    Is scratching as easy as this guy makes it look?

    Last edited by DJ Elroy; 08-14-2018 at 09:12 PM.

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