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Pioneer - are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? :(
Pioneer - are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? :(
Posted by Gizmo on September 16, 2009 :

Pioneer CDJ-2000 1000 MK4

This time tomorrow - thankfully - the excruciating wait will be over. Pioneer Europe, UK and/or US will have sent me the press materials for the new CDJ, and we'll no doubt see a selection of affection, skepticism and just outright polar opposite fanboying and haterism. One thing is for sure - Pioneer have a lot riding on this so it had better deliver. Now while I'm not the first to speculate about what it might be like, I'm still going to offer my opinion about what the alleged CDJ-2000 may bring.

Being a member of the online press, I get the press materials at the very last minute and thus don't get drawn into the Pioneer circle of trust. So not actually knowing what the unit is all about officially, allow me to drop educated guesses of what I expect to see in my inbox tomorrow and in the flesh at the presentation at Ministry of Sound tomorrow evening:
  • Form factor will be the same as the CDJ - same size, colour scheme and overall look and feel. This is about moving things forward, but keeping things familiar. Don't expect radical aesthetic changes - it'll still look like a CDJ, but updated.

  • In a nutshell, I think that we'll see a CDJ-400 and MEP-7000 all mixed up into one CDJ sized unit. The platter will remain static, with the familiar central display, but will be uprated, possibly with a smoother platter with 400 style lightshows. And I think it'll be a little larger too.

  • I don't think that the screen will be touch sensitive, but as is Pioneer's penchant for such things, there may be touch features. A possible NS7 style strip search feature was suggested to me this morning on one of the many renders floating around.

  • The endless teaser vids seem to be about not using laptops or CDs and all about removable media, be it keys, external HDs or iPods/iPhones. Software will accompany the new CDJ, probably akin to Denon's Music Manager that manages playlists, waveforms and seemingly loops and hot cues away from the CDJ. It seems that you can use your laptop to prepare your music world and simply shuffle it off to a USB key or similar, making the new CDJ experience a totally self contained one.

  • USB is a given. I also suspect that we'll see a master/slave thing going on, meaning that very brave DJs can turn up with just one device. Wise DJs will have duplicates obviously, as well as a selection of CDs just in case.

  • With USB almost certainly comes HID, and with it Scratch Live/Traktor compatibility out of the box. I don't believe this to be an ITCH unit - Pioneer are quite proprietary by nature and are no doubt happy to offer compatibility with other industry standards, but not reliability on them.

Or not. What do I know?

My gut feeling - based on what the teasers hint at - is that this will see the flagship CDJ brought bang up to date, but not offer anything really new and revolutionary. This update (for that's what it is) will attempt to drag the CDJ tribe kicking and screening into this year. Media is all but dead and digital delivery of music and video, be it to the DJ or the crowd is the key. I believe the new CDJ will be a cherry picking of the best of what exists in the market and giving it a Pioneer spin.

Let's face facts - Pioneer can't afford to take risks in this climate, especially with their financials last year. So it's a matter of reinforcing and building on what they already have to maintain momentum. It has to be said that although the introduction of the original CDJ was a massive game changing moment, the evolution has - much the like Technics - been in very small steps. To jump to a massively different design would be business Russian Roulette.

But when all is said and done, whatever comes from Pioneer in less than 24 hours will be utterly wonderful and craved by deep pocketed people all around the world. But new species? Unlikely. I'm thinking mutant breed, based on the CDJ foundation, but made with a cocktail of the best DNA in the DJ technology gene pool. I guess we'll know for sure tomorrow.

I'll be at the launch event at the Ministry of Sound, and after taking many intimate pictures and video, I'll be rushing back to my hotel to deliver the nitty gritty - even if I have to stay up all night to do it.

p.s. Message to marketing - the attention span of the internet generation is minimal. If you must tease, be sure that the product matches the hype. Better still, just keep a ducks arse tightness on the whole thing and let the internet storm start on the day of info release.

NOTE: No further comments are being accepted.
29 comments to this story

On September 16, 2009, DJ Nick S said this:
Good Shout, Thats what I've been thinking. There is no way they're going to change the format too much from the EDM industry standard CDJ-1000. I've been working on and off Pioneer gear since they released the CDJ-500, and its great I have recently moved over to a DVS system which gives me far more flexiblity over the CDJ-1000's I had before. Pioneer would have to come out with something really special to tempt me back.

On September 16, 2009, anonymous said this:
I have seen the CDJ-2000 in flesh and Gizmo's educated guesses are very accurate.

On September 16, 2009, DJX said this:
Can't wait to see what they're bringing out, one thing for sure it will be dam expensive. amazed.gif

On September 16, 2009, djeverlast said this:
yeah a pioneer midi controller would be great!

On September 16, 2009, Koitz said this:
I prefered to buy a SCS.1d if I use laptop, a CDJ2000 only to control MIDI... 1d has moving platter!!

Byez to All

On September 16, 2009, rs said this:
I think they'd like to see this cut into DVS market share, but I don't think it will or should.

One huge advantage of DVS is that, yes, hard drives and computers are delicate -- but everybody maintains their own computer and takes it with them when they're done.

With this setup you're basically putting a (potentially) networked series of computers into a DJ booth. I just don't ever see that being as stable. Too many more parts to fail.

I could be wrong but I don't see these things catching on, I think DVS will win the war.

On September 16, 2009, discoian said this:
I too will be at MOS tomorrow with my camerahhh and fancy lenses ready to take intimate pictures for my own personal pleasure (and for blogging on the way home on the train).

On September 16, 2009, pinocchio said this:
its a cdj2000, cdj3000 and a mixer of some sort u heard it hear 1st!

On September 16, 2009, 128bpm said this:
RS: There's a big difference between a player which is running an embedded operating system and custom software (and boots off flash) and an off the shelf general purpose laptop running a full desktop OS and software.

These will hopefully be as durable and stable as anyone could expect. And unlike with a DVS, if one deck dies your other deck (or 2) will still work fine.

On September 16, 2009, rs said this:
128BPM: That is a good point -- I'd rather have one of these fail than my only laptop fail.

I guess time will tell how reliable these are. I just think about the difference between something like an Akai MPC-3000 and a Roland MV-8800.

I mean, both are computers in sturdy boxes, but the more you try to make something do, the exponentially-less reliable it gets.


On September 16, 2009, just be sound said this:
lol... that picture is funny Giz

On September 17, 2009, ekwipt said this:
every button should have the option to be midi mapped. DVS on CDJ is a joke imo basically all they need to be able to do is play the timecoded CD and all the rest of the functions can be left to the laptop running Serato/Traktor.

The display should be able to display, crate info, album art, loop size, effect being used etc, hech even have a dvi input so the laptop can be shut and out of sight thus bringing the performance back to the DJ and two decsk.

You better deliver Pioneer

On September 17, 2009, Roby Soft said this:
amazed.gif CDJ 2000 pic is out now... looks cool!!!!!!

On September 17, 2009, Cisco said this:
what a disappointment! All hype. its all been done before , just like the denon's. Though the needle strip looks cool but not enough to get me off traktor scratch and 1200's. I think DVS is now the way forward.

This was probably the last great hope for a total hardware solution and I don't think brings anything new to the table.

On September 17, 2009, SJ said this:
"The CDJ-2000 will be available in November 2009 with a suggested retail price of $2,150. The CDJ-900 will be available in December 2009 with a suggested retail price of $1,600."

way to price themselves right out of the market... You can literally buy 2 decks, a mixer, Serato, and a laptop for the price of a SINGLE CDJ2000...

On September 17, 2009, Gay Zombie said this:
Ok, so...let me see (just read the press release on Biz News Wire).

1.It has HID! Yay!! I just spent $2000 fucking dollars for a controller!

2.I just loaded some songs into my drive but forgot to analyze them. Woops! I don't get the cool extra features because I didn't use Rekordbox.

3.Pioneer-you are one of the biggest companies on the planet and you went with Mixvibes to do Rekordbox? And, if that is the case, why didn't you at least bundle Cross? Come the fuck on.

4.Needle Search. I liked it better when it was on an NS7, was called Strip Search, came with 2 decks and ITCH for about $800 less PER UNIT.

5.Nice one Pioneer, making it so big that you can't use your old CDJ cases.

6.Again, you went with Mixvibes, who make a perfectly functional DVS with Cross. Couldn't you give us Cross in the box?

7.Or, more to the point, ITCH?

8.Or, saved the played out HD functionality, sold it for $800 less and included ANY DVS which would have given way more functionality?

9.A 24bit/48k soundcard. Dude, you are making us pay $2200 for a deck and can't even give 24/96? In 2009? What the fuck?

This is honestly the most epic fail I have seen from a gear maker in years.

On September 17, 2009, fredware said this:
just checked it out on pioneer's website. nothing really groundbreaking except you have tons of ways to plug in your songs......slip mode's not really impressive on the 900 but i guess that's one of the new features...i'm ready to pick up some cdj-1000's on ebays now since everyone's going to be ditching their stuff.

On September 17, 2009, DJ Tuffer said this:
It's not exactly a looker either is it ?

On September 17, 2009, tin tin said this:

On September 17, 2009, Pulse said this:
@Gay Zombie

... I really don't have anything to say. If you hate Pioneer so much, why are you even posting?

On September 17, 2009, Strategy said this:
I Agree with Gay Zombie and'll be sticking with my TTs and Traktor...

On September 17, 2009, DJ AmsNL said this:

Just as I suspected. A similar product to the Denon S3700 but without spinning platter & without FX. This is ground-breaking for Pioneer but I think Numark was the first to claim that you could do Midi & plug in a HD. Or maybe it was Denon.

The screen is very nice, you can connect 4 players to a single HD and the needle drop is cool, however I don't think this is worth $800 more than the S3700.

I still prefer my Technics 1200's + SSL + MB Pro. I don't want to spend my time hunched over searching 6 tracks at a time when I've got 28,000 tracks to choose from.

I'm pretty sure all the awesome world-famous DJs that get these for free will be enough to convince the Pio fanboys to buy these though.

On September 17, 2009, Gobbinboy said this:
If you need to pre-analyze tracks to determine their BPM and waveform with the Rekordbox software it will have to be provided free on the Pio website. Otherwise those that don't want/cannot afford CDJ2000s/900s won't benefit from those functions, which is a bit unfair.
Unless that's all part of the plan to sell more units?

Funnily enough, that's just how I imagined they'd be.

On September 17, 2009, Wozza said this:
This is an revolution rather then evolution. Sorry Pioneer but not impressed (but thought it would be like this). I was expecting some sort of touch screen for track selection at least. Having seperate software to analize tracks is not good IMO. The software should be built into the player other wise you are relying on a computer when one of the main advantages of sticking to CD players is that you do not need a computer.
When it comes to reliability, I a more then happy using a computer as with the right software, they are very stable. DVS systems would not be so big without being stable and with the controllers comming out, i can not see why you need to touch the computer much, if at all. The difference here is you are looking at a screen on a player rather then a computer screen, i perfer the computer as it gives a lot more iformation.
Sorry Pio but you hyped this up as the next big thing but it has been done before, all of it. I wanted the next big thing but this is not it. Still they will sell as they are Pio.

On September 17, 2009, Gobbinboy said this:
I like the sound of the Slip mode on the CDJ-900 and apparently the CDJ-900 does feature a waveform view, even though none of the images show it, something that the CDJ-800 badly needed.

On September 17, 2009, Gay Zombie said this:

Sometimes we have to tell the ons we love how bad they fucked up.

On September 18, 2009, No_PIO_Peter said this:
Gay Zombie, you are hilarious! And you definately have good points. It's not even a full day since the release and if Pioneer can drop $1 dollar for every legitimate comment from us, then we'd all win by like tomorrow! LoL.. We can only wish but here's a few more bucks off: (or rather comparison of bucks): .. (I see now others have done the same)..

1 CDJ-900 = 1 Vestax VCI-300 Itch Controller + VFX-1 efx.
1 CDJ-2000 = 1 TTM56S + SL1 + 1 SL1200mkII (All New)
1 CDJ-2000 = 2 DNS3700 (All New with spinner patters)
2 CDJ-2000 = 13"Macbook + 1 TTM56S + SL3 + 2 SL1200mkII (All New with change for decent headphones & Carts)
2 CDJ-2000 + 1 DJM-800 = A sweet fantasty or an exceptional cub setup or a good used car or a long-drawn out loan!

Ok, but really:

- Everyone onboard the MIDI wagon knows that open mapping is key. I don't see any dedicated "open" buttons on the new "species". And if mapped, what is the program of choice???

- Pro DJ Link is nice for Duo's (multi-users can link to 4 decks using one source) but can you link from a spinning CD/DVD to the second deck and fully utilizing the loops, cues..etc from the first deck.? And can it be done while your partner is digitally scratching like crazy..LOL..(While the turntablist amongst the dancefloor is saying WTF are they thinkin!. just use a turntable)

- Will owners be forced to use Rekordbox exclusively?.. It's almost obvious what the answer is.. This is simply going backwards when others (like the NS7) are opening the game to other DVS software and going forward (not to mention Pioneer knocked the strip search from Numark to "needle search" and dared to claim industry-first on it?!blink1.gif Shame on you Pionner.

- Who cares about the "huge 6.1 LCD screen" if you have 13" to 17" laptop screen giving MUCH better resolution on your waveforms. (And some screens now come with LED instead of LCD thus giving even brighter more clearer quality). The CDJ-2000 screen looks nice but certainly hurts the price tag even more.

- Where's the iPod connection? (even if we knew Apple probably rejected but it would have scored an extra point if it was included.. Numark and even Gemini did it!!. WTF Pionner!blink1.gif

- Hmmm.. a tag feature using a jog button on a 6.1" screen vs. typing on a full keyboard?! It's counter intuitive because by that time, you would have already prepared it using theory right Pioneer?

- Expandable slots (for perhaps perifs.)?? Now that I think about it, Gizmo you're right - media is dead. More commonly, we travel with iPod's/iPhones + USB sticks and laptops but lugging Cd's additionally?! Becoming less and less..

- Why didn't Pioneer re-invent in the mixer department and satisfy the growing population of scratch/hybrid DJ's (update the sucessful DJM-909, perhaps a 3 channel fully MIDI board with some PMC-37pro features.. but wait Vestax did this over half a decade ago.. Hurry and catch up... Go go go.. the Rane is pouring down HARD!blink1.gif

Regardless, Pioneer still make decent products at the end of the day. Too bad these new CDJ's are not convincing to all the readers as of yet.

On September 18, 2009, DZee said this:
I've extensively been reading all the opinions under both the "New species has arrived?" story and this one. Thumbs up to No_PIO_Peter and Gay Zombie, you guys are addressing fundamental DVS issues with the CDJ2000 which like you say, have already been answered by the likes of Numark and Vestax. I find myself trying to find something that little extra about the CDJ2000's which will make me wanna buy it but it's just not happening.

The price tag is extremely out there, Pioneer haven't made the most of their market share and brand recognition. After all, the golden rule of high returns equates taking RISKS. What's the use playing safe and sticking with a cd drive? At the end of the day ur paying for BOTH a cd player AND an mp3 controller. Think about it in say a year or two, when every DJ using a CDJ2000 is used to plugging in their hard drive or what have you, they won't care about burning CD's anymore, so you've essentially paid for something you don't use.

Secondly, the WHOLE POINT (like No_PIO_Peter said) of DVS is the size of the laptop screen and being able to see the WHOLE SONG NAME. That aside, how much scrolling with that tiny jog wheel is it gonna take, ur hands'll practically be acheing by the time u find a song in a 5000 song collection on a hard drive, no matter how well organised. Typing is much faster.

The whole "laptop prevents crowd interaction" theory is blown out of proportion and pessimistic. If u look at the NS7's laptop stand its level with your chest at the most, add that to the fact that the only time you're looking at the laptop screen is when finding the next song (again WHILST TYPING), then once you've got it you're set. It's all about how you adapt as a DJ, you make the time to see how the crowd is reacting, and it doesnt take forever either to judge the feel, unless ur extremely daft.

It seems to me Pioneer were in limbo, they didnt know what to include or what to exclude, and basically didnt want to take risks. When they have more than enough R&D CAPABILITY to do so.

The CDJ-2000 is basically still a 1000mk3 with all those extra bells and whistles, not to mention taking the strip search and instant loop features from Numark, changing the names and claiming to be the first to implement them.

The CDJ-900 is basically an "if u cant afford the colour LCD screen we'll chuck you with this below-par screen, remove the auto loop feature and give u the bare bones of the 2000".

Seriously, reminds me of that movie Pirates of the Silicon Valley, where Pioneer are Microsoft and Numark are Apple. Silly comparison but true, pioneer are mainstream and know they can pry on the mass of DJ's who dont want to experiment and stubbornly stick with the norm. HINT HINT : Do we remember the "i'll always play vinyl and hate CD's" times, well this is exactly it except we're talking hardware and software. Why don't we see PVD endorsing these 2000's?!?! coz he's fully embraced the digital era, he is a leader in his field because he took risks a long time ago and now they pay off >>> UNIQUE SETS and on-the-go remixes.

That's just my opinion, pioneer enthusiasts, feel free to defend your pride possessions, but i'm putting in my vote, DVS IS THE FUTURE, WE WILL WIN THE WAR. Hell, look at the Reactable!

On September 22, 2009, Markku Uttula said this:
"- Where's the iPod connection? (even if we knew Apple probably rejected but it would have scored an extra point if it was included.. Numark and even Gemini did it!!. WTF Pionner!blink1.gif"

It seems to be located on the topleft corner of the players. It is called "USB-connector" smile.gif

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